Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas

Sustainable Marine Protected Area Management

A holistic stewardship model.

So many MPAs are merely ‘paper parks’ and no positive impacts are being delivered on the ground in terms of fisheries management, habitat replenishment and conservation and community engagement in monitoring and management. As such, C3’s environmental stewardship model focuses on assessing the current functioning of MPAs in a holistic manner (traditional knowledge, governance, socio-economic and biodiversity assessments, financial sustainability) and then developing community capacity for governance and implementation of management plans.

Delivery of key community services including diversified income generation, improvements in health and education services, is key to ensuring MPAs benefit local populations. Sustained, intensive outreach in the communities about fisheries regulations, climate change, species and habitats is a key focal area because only by fully understanding the purpose and objectives of MPAs can the community be fully motivated and mobilised to sustain them.

C3 already works in two MPAs in the Calamianes islands: Sagrada-Bogtong and Concepcion. It is currently in the process of developing a further 9 MPAs.

C3 has achieved success in leading the establishment of a 191 ha Indigenous Marine Managed Area (IMMA) at Calauit Island, Busuanga and in the development of several other IMMAs in the Calamianes. The Calamianes are the home of numerous red-listed marine species as well as the last remaining members of the Tagbanua tribe and are thus not just a centre of biodiversity but a centre of biocultural diversity. Uniquely, the IMMA network will aim to capitalize on existing traditional management of the Tagbanua peoples, integrating these beliefs and cultural behaviours into management plans.

On the main island of Palawan, since 2017, C3 has been working with stakeholders to improve the functioning of El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, of which 36,018 hectares is terrestrial, and 54,303 hectares is marine. The same threats apply; land conversion for tourism and agriculture, illegal logging of hardwoods and mangroves.

C3 is also active in the northwestern Palawan in the incredible Malampaya Sound and Seascape Protected Area covering an area of about 200,000 hectares of both terrestrial and marine areas. This region is of critical importance, ecologically and economically, both as a watershed and a rich fishing ground. In the past, it has been dubbed as the ”Fishbowl of the Philippines”. It is made up of a number of habitats and eco-systems such as tropical lowland forest, old growth mangroves, coral reefs, sea grass beds and coastal beaches. The area abounds with flora and fauna including species endemic to Palawan.


Contact C3 Philippines

Busuanga Office

Salvacion, Busuanga, Palawan, 5317 Philippines

Taytay Field Office

Purok 6 San Lorenzo, Poblacion
Taytay, Palawan, 5312 Philippines

C3 Philippines (C3PHILIPPINES INC.), in accordance with the Corporation Code of the Philippines, is registered as a non-profit organization in the Philippines under the Securities and Exchange Commission with Company Registration No. CN201115227.



Rural Entrepreneurs

Rural Entrepreneurs

Promoting Local Livelihoods

Tailor-made training for communities.

In order to long-term conserve coastal resources, the buy-in and motivation of local people is a fundamental factor.

C3 has conducted business feasibility studies in conjunction with household surveys and focus group interviews to determine the best livelihoods for specific communities. Livelihoods take time to develop, especially in rural communities with a local level of education and financial literacy.

C3 focuses heavily on the engagement and training of women, unemployed youth and minority groups such as the LGBT community, to provide employment opportunities in the growing tourism sector.

Small restaurants, guided tours and handicraft production are all example of successful businesses running today in Palawan, thanks to C3’s support.

In most communities in which we work, people are limited to fishing and farming, often for subsistence purposes. Diversification of household income increases communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate change on dwindling fisheries and helps them continue to provide for their families in times of environmental and economic shocks. C3’s approach focuses on year-on-year technical and financial support, refresher training, monitoring and advice for people starting new livelihoods, as it is a well-known fact that most small businesses fail in the first two years.

C3’s role in the establishment of an Indigenous Marine Managed Area (IMMA) at Calauit Island, Busuanga and of several other IMMAs in the Calamianes ensures that the community is aided in their livelihoods. Our next steps will be to work closely with local governments to develop legislation and management plans and local fishers to establish citizen monitoring programmes. Income from the sale of traditional indigenous crafts will be augmented through the creation of a marketing programme.

Already, Busuanga Women for Dugong Association members make additional Php600-Php1,200 from selling homemade dugong keyrings and toys to visiting tourists. Fishers who work as Dugong Monitors take home an additional monthly income of Php900-Php1,800. C3 will be extending its successful portfolio of sustainable livelihoods to the main island of Palawan in coming years.


Contact C3 Philippines

Busuanga Office

Salvacion, Busuanga, Palawan, 5317 Philippines

Taytay Field Office

Purok 6 San Lorenzo, Poblacion
Taytay, Palawan, 5312 Philippines

C3 Philippines (C3PHILIPPINES INC.), in accordance with the Corporation Code of the Philippines, is registered as a non-profit organization in the Philippines under the Securities and Exchange Commission with Company Registration No. CN201115227.



Blue Carbon

Blue Carbon

Seagrass and Mangrove Research and Conservation

The importance of mangroves and seagrass ecosystems.

A heavy emphasis has been put on conserving coral reef ecosystems in the past and it has only become apparent and recognised in recent years how fundamentally significant mangrove forests, tidal wetlands and seagrass beds as a blue carbon sink. It has been discovered these underappreciated blue carbon ecosystems can store more carbon for longer (thousands of years) and at a far quicker rate than terrestrial forests.

C3 has long been involved in seagrass and mangrove research and conservation and contributes to national and global knowledge about these critical systems. Mapping these ecosystems, documenting threats and establishing community monitoring programmes as well as campaigning for their inclusion in new and existing MPAs, forms a large part of the organisation’s work.

In the areas we work, these ecosystems are critical.

They are important in the sustenance of coastal livelihoods, providing nursery grounds, feeding areas and shelter for hundreds of fish and invertebrate species.

Furthermore, with the escalating impacts of climate change, they provide physical protection to vulnerable coastal communities from the increasingly frequent and severe typhoons.


Contact C3 Philippines

Busuanga Office

Salvacion, Busuanga, Palawan, 5317 Philippines

Taytay Field Office
Purok 6 San Lorenzo, Poblacion
Taytay, Palawan, 5312 Philippines

C3 Philippines (C3PHILIPPINES INC.), in accordance with the Corporation Code of the Philippines, is registered as a non-profit organization in the Philippines under the Securities and Exchange Commission with Company Registration No. CN201115227.



Endangered Species

Endangered Marine Species

Dugong Conservation

The country’s first Dugong and Sea Turtle Protected Area.

The iconic yet elusive dugong can be observed regularly around certain bays of Palawan, yet is still very much under threat, having been exterminated from many other areas of the Philippines archipelago by deliberate hunting, accidental bycatch and destruction of its feeding grounds, seagrass beds.

C3 has developed a sustainable community-run dugong conservation programme and the country’s first Dugong and Sea Turtle Protected Area in the Calamianes islands. Green sea turtles and Hawksbill sea turtles, being other charismatic and highly threated species, are found in the same zones and have been highly exploited in the past, with poaching of adults and eggs across the islands. Protection measures focus on long-term seagrass and nesting beach protection and monitoring.

C3 Philippines is pioneering drone technology with Murdoch University and National Geographic to monitor small and threatened dugong populations at low cost in developing countries and the surveys will also include sea turtle and marine mammal counts. Data generated will feed into and help fine-tune the innovative Dugong Detector technology, which was awarded a Google Challenge Prize in 2018.

C3 also acts as an advisory body to the Indigenous Tagbanwa tribes of Calawit island.

There, an informal dugong-watching programme sprung up in 2017, focusing on a particularly bold dugong, named Aban. C3 developed dugong-watching guidelines based on those used in Australia and Vanuatu and has trained a corps of community members as Bantay Dugong (Dugong Monitors). There are still many challenges to ensuring this industry does not have an adverse effect on the dugong or its fragile habitat and following a five-month research study, a set of recommendations was passed to the Indigenous council in 2018, regarding limits on visitor numbers and an equitable sharing of benefits between tour operators and local communities.

C3 is conducting a study on indigenous traditional knowledge surrounding sea turtles and implications for their conservation, also funded by National Geographic.


Contact C3 Philippines

Busuanga Office

Salvacion, Busuanga, Palawan, 5317 Philippines

Taytay Field Office

Purok 6 San Lorenzo, Poblacion
Taytay, Palawan, 5312 Philippines

C3 Philippines (C3PHILIPPINES INC.), in accordance with the Corporation Code of the Philippines, is registered as a non-profit organization in the Philippines under the Securities and Exchange Commission with Company Registration No. CN201115227.