07 December 2011

2nd ‘Takbo para sa Taklobo’ in Subic slated on December 9

With the success of the “Takbo para sa Taklobo” fund-raising and awareness campaign in December last year, the second edition of the environment-oriented fun run will be held here at the Subic Bay Freeport on Friday, December 9.

Amethya Koval, manager of the Ecology Center of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), said the fun run will be held to raise fund for the “seeding” of giant clams in Subic Bay and to increase public awareness of giant clams and marine resources management here.

“Most importantly, this is to encourage stakeholders to participate in managing the natural resources of Subic Bay, including the protection and propagation of marine species like the endangered giant clams,” said Koval.

Giant clams (tridacna gigas), which are locally called “taklobo,” are considered as endangered species and are an integral part of the coral reef system that serves as habitat for diverse forms of marine life.

The taklobo is a colorful mollusk which becomes self-sustaining upon reaching adult size, because its mantle with brown symbiotic algae is capable of photosynthesis. It reproduces by mass spawning, releasing millions of sperm and eggs in the reefs and thereby attracting more fishes in the area.

SBMA Chairman & Administrator Roberto Garcia said the “Takbo para sa Taklobo” project is part of the agency’s vision to make the Subic Bay Freeport an eco-urban center that harmonizes industrial development with ecological tourism.

“Eco-tourism is one of our major businesses in Subic Bay, and the bay is one of the best dive sites in the country not only because of its historical ship wrecks but also because of its beautiful ecological biodiversity,” Garcia said.

He added that the agency’s advocacy for the protection and propagation of marine species like the endangered giant clams underscores SBMA’s thrust for balanced development.

“Takbo” and “taklobo,” according to Koval, are two important things that sustain life for both marine organisms and human beings.

“Joining the marathon will enhance a healthy heart and body and at the same time, give life to our ocean by supporting the giant clam seeding program in Subic Bay,” she said.

Project coordinator Rhea Jane Pescador of the SBMA Ecology Center said the first edition of “Takbo para sa Taklobo” attracted more than 1,500 runners from around the Freeport area and raised a total of P54,000.

The money was used to buy 72 giant clam seeds at P500 each from the Marine Science Institute in Bolinao, Pangasinan. Measuring 15 centimeters when they were brought into Subic Bay, the clams can grow up to 1.54 meters in diameter and weigh up to 258.55 kilos.

“We hope to surpass last year’s record (of runner-participants) so that we could purchase more giant clams to be planted in Subic Bay,” said Koval.

This year the “Takbo para sa Taklobo” project is co-presented by RP Energy and sponsored by PTT Bloom, with DML, Johan’s Dive Center, Boardwalk Dive Center, and the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group as partner-stewards.

The fun run is open to the public and runners may choose from three categories: 3-kilometer, 5-kilometer, or 10-kilometer runs. Interested parties may contact Rhea Jane Pescador of the SBMA Ecology Center at telephone number (047) 252-4656. (SBMA Corporate Communications)