For a caretaker’s son at the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park, coming home is all about re-learning the lessons of family and environmental stewardship.
The Philippines—an archipelago of 7,500 islands, nearly each with its own tongue and tribe. Yet despite this amazing diversity, each has this one familiar dwelling, a safe sanctuary called home.
Rodolfo “Rudy Boy” Manib Jr. knows very well how it is like to come home. He is a resident of Punta Dumalag in Davao City, where the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park, a sprawling eight-hectare outdoor biodiversity park, is located.
“I was born and raised here,” Rudy Boy reminisces, pointing to Punta Dumalag’s pristine shoreline where the crystal-clear water embraces the soft white sand, amid a backdrop of a bright blue, cloudless sky. A native bird softly hums in the distance.
“I remember when we used to play hide and seek or run around the place anytime we wanted. It was great because things were different then. We enjoyed just being kids,” he says.
Opened in 2015, the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park is a joint BetterWorld initiative of Aboitiz Group’s social development arm Aboitiz Foundation and Davao Light that showcases urban-based habitat conservation and biodiversity management.
The park also happens to be one of the few identified nesting sites of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle or pawikan, as well as 66 other species.
Rudy Boy’s father, Rodolfo “Roche” Manib Sr., is a caretaker at the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park. He is the steward of the park’s primary seagoing residents, assisted by the Aboitiz Foundation and Davao Light.
“When Papa started working here, there were already sea turtles to take care of. Early each morning, maybe 5 a.m. or 4 a.m., Papa comes here and scours the entire place for any sea turtles,” Rudy Boy says.
Like other sea turtles, the pawikans at the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park possess a unique trait growing up.
“What I know about the sea turtle is that wherever they were hatched, they always return to that exact place. I learned this from Papa,” Rudy Boy shares, recalling the several pawikans he has seen return to Punta Dumalag over the years.
Rudy Boy and his brothers have long since grown up and now lead separate lives, but they never cease to return to the place they call home.
“We still do come here to visit. We’d help Papa even though he says not to anymore. He thinks we might be tired from the day,” he laughs. “But we’re already here, so we might as well make his work easier.”
Homes are, in a way, like life’s compasses: no matter where someone ends up in life, at the end of the day, he or she always comes back home.
The pawikan (or hawksbill) sea turtle has played an important role in keeping world’s oceans healthy for over a hundred million years. Rudy Boy and his family are helping ensure these critically endangered sea turtles will stick around for a long time.
You, too, can be part of their protection and preservation.
Aboitiz Foundation Inc. encourages people to make a #BetterWorld for the pawikan.