The Pawikan Festival is an annual celebration of the endangered ‘pawikan’ or sea turtles. It’s usually held at the end of November up to the beginning of December in Morong, Bataan, but the festival itself garners the attention of the whole of Bataan. The date more or less coincides with the hatching season of the baby pawikan in the Pawikan Conservation Center and it is also near this very Center that the festivities are held.
The Pawikan Festival aims to draw awareness for the pawikan and its nesting site in Morong, Bataan. The pawikans only return to their place of birth to lay eggs. If they are hindered or unable to do so, they will stop laying eggs! So preserving their natural birthing place is extremely important. Otherwise, their species might go extinct.
The Pawikan Conservation Center ensures the tiny pawikan eggs develop safely from all sorts of predators. They also maintain the beach so that the pawikan will be able to return again in the future. Injured turtles can also find a place in the Center to recover from their wounds.
The festival is celebrated with Sand Sculpture Contests, Paddle Painting Contests and a Street Dancing Competition. There are even Zumba exercises early in the morning, Walk For a Cause event, and you can even buy local produce at the fair. At night, there is a beach party where local artists and bands play to celebrate another successful and safe hatching. As a final culminating event, the Pawikan Conservation Center releases the newly hatched baby turtles out to sea. It’s so cute to see the baby pawikans racing across the beach to get to the great ocean.
The theme of the Pawikan Street Dance is also in line with the festival, namely “the conservation of Pawikans.” Here you’ll catch the 11 municipalities of Bataan and Philippine regions portraying stories or their call to actions for the Pawikan’s cause. Everyone was really creative with their performance and costume designs. Their messages were also very powerful and moving for everyone who watched them on stage.
Congratulations to the Provincial Festival Dance Competition:
1st Place: Dinalupihan
2nd Place: Limay
3rd Place: Mariveles
And these are the winners for the Regional Festival Dance Competition:
1st Place; Tarlac
2nd Place: Bataan
3rd Place: Zambales
I know you’re probably wondering how to #SaveThePawikans, you can do your part as well:
- Do not participate in the trade of pawikan whether as a food, fashion piece or any other commodities
- Report all illegal practices that harm or endanger our pawikan
- Do not support illegal fishing
- Do not litter our oceans or any water source
- Volunteer at your local pawikan center
- Report any sea turtle sightings
I’m so happy I got to attend the Pawikan Festival. I never knew how involved the Philippines was in the fight for a friendly and safe environment for the pawikans. Not to mention how important our shores are to these sea creatures. I encourage you to visit Morong, Bataan during the Pawikan Festival season too so that you can learn more about the conservation efforts of our endangered local pawikans.
Location: Pawikan Conservation Center, Bgy Nagbalayong, Morong, Bataan
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