Monthly Archives: April 2012

Purple Crab Discovered On Palawan Island

Purple Crab of Palawan

Scientists have discovered a new species of crab on the island of Palawan, located off the west coast of the Philippines, which is characterized by its pretty purple hue. The crustacean, called Insulamon palawanense, was just one of four new species of crabs detailed in a recent study.

“The particular violet coloration might just have evolved by chance, and must not necessarily have a very specific function or reason aside from being a general visual signal for recognition,” said Henrik Freitag, the author of the study from the Senckenberg Museum of Zoology in Dresden, Germany.

Freitag adds that the crab’s purple color may also have evolved so other species of crustaceans could recognize its brethren. The only other known species in the same genus was identified in 1992.

The four new crabs from Palawan, which were described in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, all measured between one and two inches wide. Despite the biodiversity of the island, Palawan is threatened by other species and environmental changes, including mining projects that are commonly carried out in that region. Palawan was declared a Unesco biosphere reserve in 1991, and the island has its own Strategic Environmental Plan.

“The smaller the remaining natural habitat the greater is the risk to endemic fauna and flora,” Freitag said. “Even minor environmental changes can lead to extinctions. It is all the more important to do research in this region and show that the biodiversity of these islands is unique and worth protecting.”

Palawan houses several researchers and scientists, however. The Aqua Palawana, a research institution developed by Freitag’s Senckenberg and Phyllodrom Leipzig, has been active for more than 10 years. Students and researchers from Western Philippines University, De La Salle University in Manila, Ateneo de Manila University, National University of Singapore, and the Vienna Natural History Museum and Philippine National Museum are all regulars of the Aqua Palawana.

About 50 percent of species on Palawan, including the new purple crabs, are endemic to the island. Check out some pictures of the rare purple crabs up above, and tell us your comments and impressions in the section below.


Palawan listed among world's best diving sites

Palawan diving sites listed among world’s best

By Juancho Mahusay ( Updated April 10, 2012 01:01 PM Comments (0) View comments

CALAPAN CITY, Philippines – Two tourist destinations in Region 4B or MIMAROPA (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan) have been listed among the world’s best diving sites, the travel news website of the Cable News Network (CNN) said.

The CNN’s list of best dive sites in the world ranked the Tubbataha reef, located southeast of Palawan, eighth and “The Canyons” in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro 45th among the top diving sites.

According to the CNN website, a diver will have a “super-size dive experience at Tubbataha, where everything comes in giant form.” It also said that Tubbataha’s allure lies in its waters that are “exceptionally clean, so the marine life lives much longer, making it grow to silly proportions.”

“Expect kaleidoscopic colors combined with guitar sharks, black tip reef sharks, nurse sharks, gliding blue-spotted lagoon rays, unicorns, boxfish, scorpion fish and more,” the CNN said.

Tubbataha is located 181 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan Province. The reef is made up of two coral atolls divided by an eight-kilometer wide channel. Its diving area has a depth of five to 60 meters.

Tubbataha is also part of the Tubbataha National Marine Park, which was established on August 11, 1988 and was declared a “World Heritage Site” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in December 1993. The marine park is under protective management by the Department of National Defense (DND) and under the technical supervision by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Meanwhile, “The Canyons” made it to the CNN’s list for being a “first-rate dive site.”

“Schools of spotted and ribbon sweetlips, shiny trevallies and weird-looking batfish make up the scene at this first-rate dive site. There’s also an explosion of coral and plant life including beautiful delicate gorgonian sea fans and hollow barrel sponges; look inside for critters lurking within,” the website said .

The Canyons was rated as a five-star diving site and located at the northeast of Escarceo Point, some five- minute boat ride from Brgy. Sabang.

With a depth of up to 30 meters or about 95 feet to a maximum of 200 feet, The Canyons’ area was designated as a “Man and Biosphere Reserve” of UNESCO in 1973.



Diving (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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PCG Palawan to Redefine their Role for Tourists

Palawan tourism

Map of Palawan showing the location of Coron

Map of Palawan showing the location of Coron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coast Guard Palawan district commander Commodore Enrico Evangelista said they recently conducted a tourism awareness seminar workshop among PCG personnel in preparation for the expected heavy number of tourist since last month

He mentioned that there has been a steady increase of tourists in Palawan. Figures from the provincial tourism showed that in 2009 there were a total of 345,738 tourists who went to Palawan. This went up to 523,872 in year 2010 and 631,135 last year.

Evangelista also admitted that there is a need to redefine the role of the agency to meet the booming tourism industry in Palawan

“We needed to hold a seminar because of the sudden boom of tourism in the province. There would be an increase in the frequency of travelers via water especially those who would be visiting (tourist spots) such as Honda Bay, Sabang, El Nido and Coron”, Evangelista added

He also said that there would be a bigger volume of tourist arrival this year not only because Palawan is a favorite tourist destination but they are curious to see the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) which made it to the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

There would be more people taking boat rides in order to get inside the PPUR and among the measures the agency have taken is assigning K9 teams in their district.

Evangelista mentioned that at present there is no K-9 team deployed in Palawan and he will be requesting the PCG headquarters to send trained dogs to the province to help cope with the demands of the job.

He is also requesting for additional elite divers from the PCG’s Special Operations Group (CSOG) since they only currently have nine divers, and would require four more.

The maritime agency also plans to increase their visibility and vigilance in the areas with heavy tourist areas such as Honda Bay by placing some foot patrol in the area.

via The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online.

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