The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is featuring the images of Tubbataha Reefs captured through the lenses of renowned Filipino and American photographers.
The exhibit, dubbed "Tubbataha, the Philippines’ UNESCO Marine World Heritage," features the work of photographers Tet Lara, Marissa Floirendo, David Doubilet, and Jennifer Hayes.
"We would like to help Tubbataha, using our images so the tourist can come. We can create revenue for the park so we could sustain the yearly expenses to protect it," Lara said.
David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes are a photographic team for the National Geographic Magazine, specializing in ocean environments. Their recent collaboration has taken them around the Philippines.
"Coral reefs are the jewels of our planet and Tubbataha is one of the best reefs in the world," Doubilet said.
"Thanks to the work of Angelica, to the many rangers. This is really Philippines' wondrous treasure. I hope that we can continue to protect it," he added.
It was unveiled in the presence of Prince Albert II, who visited the site last year.
"We have been working for many years to showcase Tubbataha. It’s is important to show the world how looked after the reefs and how important it is to have marine reserves. I have been working for many years to bring it here at the Oceanographic Museum," said Patricia Zobel de Ayala, Honorary Consul of the Philippines to Monaco.
In an exclusive interview with Monaco Prince Albert II last year, his Serene Highness vowed to help protect the wetland of international significance before starting his expeditions in the islands of Palawan.
"Tubbataha Reef is a great example of what can be done in a seemingly large scale and the impact that these protected areas have, not only in the fight against overfishing, illegal fishing practices but also the far reaching consequence of the health of these reefs and what they can provide if they are managed in a sustainable way," the Prince told ABS-CBN News.
Zobel De Ayala said the Prince remains committed in the efforts to protect the environment, particularly marine life.
"I’m happy to say that His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, was very impressed on how the marine life was preserved in Tubbataha, so from here, he is going to travel the world. He is going to explore. He is going to use Tubattaha as an example of how marine life should be protected and the rest of the oceans," Zobel de Ayala said.
Video by Thirdy Ado, ABS-CBN News
During the opening of the exhibit, guests had a chance to watch the documentary featuring Prince Albert II’s expedition of Tubbataha Reefs and Cagancillo in April 2016, with underwater cinematography and videography work of Marissa Floirendo.
The Tubbataha Reefs remains one of the dream destinations for many scuba divers because of its extraordinary marine ecosystem.
The London-based International Maritime Organization Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications, and Search and Rescue has approved the Philippine proposal to establish the entire Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Sulu Sea as an "area to be avoided" to protect the fragile marine environment.
"Tubbataha is a world heritage site. Technically, we are taking care of Tubbataha not just for the Philippines but for the rest of the world. It’s our obligation," said Angelique Songco of the Tubbataha Foundation.
The opening of the exhibit was attended by the Filipino community in Monaco and hundreds of dignitaries. It aims to promote the protection of the global marine ecosystem.
"We are very proud and happy that we are able to bring something of this magnitude to the attention of the world. The importance of Tubbataha as one of the world’s heritage site is quite a very big achievement of the Philippines. It is our good fortune that His Serene Highness took an interest in this—in Tubbataha," Ambassador of the Philippines to the UK Antonio Lagdameo said.
The exhibit is presented by the Honorary Consul of the Philippines to the Republic of Monaco, in partnership with the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.
It will run until August 31 and will be featured in the Philippines in late 2017 through the Ayala Foundation and Ayala Malls.