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Reef miserables: A Tubbataha tell-all |


Reef miserables: A Tubbataha tell-all

Shinji Manlangit - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - It has been more than a week since the US Naval ship USS Guardian ran aground at the Philippines’ most precious marine sanctuary, the Tubbataha Reef. Home to more than a thousand different marine species, a thriving eco-tourist spot, and over 180 kilometers of sheer beauty, the reef is currently in need of dire help and attention. Supreme floats into the heart of Sulu Sea to check up on our ailing nature sister, where she talks about the pressures of crashing in and rising to the surface after being drowned down.

SUPREME: First off, based on the reports, you’ve lost more than 10 meters of cora—

TUBBATAHA REEF: I’d rather not talk about the corals that I’ve lost, please.

How did you prepare for a catastrophe like this?

You don’t. One minute, you’re watching the pilot of The Carrie Diaries, and then biglang BOOM! Anyare? Oh, sh*t, may kumabit na makulit. But this isn’t the first time that it happened.

It isn’t? Have you experienced being struck by a boat before, and your coral smashed into a million tiny pieces?

That’s a very personal question. But yes, let’s just say that in 2005, there was a boat from an “environmental agency” that ruined something like 30-plus square meters of my reef before. Ang ironic diba?  I mean, you’re pushing for environmental protection, pero sinira mo yung pinoprotektahan mo. Kalurks.

How did that 2005 disaster happen?

Well, they’ve got faulty maps daw.

But isn’t that what the crew of USS Guardian is saying right now?

I know, right? Ano ba, 2013 na! Siguro nung 2005, acceptable pa kasi di pa ganon kaganda yung Google Maps. But everyone has a smartphone now! Wala ba silang Siri? I’m pretty sure that robotic b*tch can inform the captain that I am a UNESCO World Heritage Site; that traveling on top of me is not allowed. Ano ba gamit nila, yung Maps ng Apple? May Google Maps na kaya for iOS. Hashtag: imbyerna.

What was the USS Guardian doing in your waters?

Aba, malay ko. Baka hinahanap nila si Nemo. Or mines. Ang tanging “mine” lang dito eh yung MP3 ko ng “Mine” ni Taylor Swift.

And how are you feeling right now?

It’s like I’m under a lot of pressure. Like I have a 68-meter vessel lodged in my back — which actually exists, by the way. I know I said that I’d rather not talk about the coral, but it’s so hard losing them. Rome wasn’t built in a day and so it goes with coral. It takes centuries — even thousands of years — to build an entire coral reef. There are more than 600 species of fish swimming through these waters, they use the coral as food and shelter, and I happen to house half of the coral species in the entire world. Yes, gurl, the entire world.

So the USS Guardian was pretty much like the MMDA squatter demolition squad?

Check na check. Ang kaibahan lang eh hindi siya televised ng TV Patrol, tsaka hindi kaya ng mga isda na batuhin yung malaking barko. Because they have fins.

What are the US and Philippine governments doing right now to ensure your safety?

Well, they better get this ship off my ass immediately before it further ruins my beauty. Ilang araw na silang humo-hohol sa ibabaw ko, wala pa bang solusyon? I think they’re being really cautious, para wala nang masira pa. Thank God there’s no oil spill, we wouldn’t want celebrities like Miley Cyrus getting near bald and donating their hair again to suck up the oil.

You don’t want Miley Cyrus’s hair?

Jusko, please lang wag na. Her hair belongs on her head para matakpan yung fez niya. Or i-donate na lang niya kay Cruella DeVil para gawing coat.

We heard that the US sends their regrets and are willing to pay for their crimes, something to the tune of P24 million.

Pesos? Gawin nilang dollar, para mas okay. Ano pa ba ang pwede nilang gawin eh nasira na ang nasira? Papalitan nila ng gulong yung corals? That is so tacky and it totally ruins the structural design of my beauty! Gamitin na lang nila yung pera pambili nila ng bagong mapa — yung updated. Or GPS, mura lang yon sa CD-R King, pati mga one way sa Makati alam nung GPS. Kung magbayad man sila, sana gamitin yung pera to boost the number of forces guarding my territory. Kung ilan yung bodyguard ni Kris Aquino, dapat x100 yung akin. Sana gamitin yung pera sa iba’t ibang ecological sites sa bansa. It’s not enough na maraming condo at call centers sa Manila, we should also take care of what’s been given to us from the very start.

Our friend, the Scarborough Shoal texted us. She wants you to stay positive throughout these trying times.

Aww, I adore her. We’re not so different, she and I. Sana bitawan na siya ng China.

Amidst the devastation, what’s keeping you sane?

Well, I’ve been getting a pretty good Wi-Fi signal from the patrolling boats from China nearby, so I watch a lot of Homeland. Recently, I saw Zero Dark Thirty, and from watching this and Homeland, I’m starting to think that the USA likes torture — like what they’re doing to me now. I also listen to a lot of music on Spotify.

What’s on your Spotify right now?

I made a playlist called “Tubbataha Riffs” recently. These are the songs on it:

Dave Matthews Band – Crash Into Me

M83 – My Tears Are Becoming A Sea

Matt & Kim – Turn This Boat Around

Hale – Underneath the Waves

How about I Dreamed a Dream?

Shut up. I’m into indie, pop, and OPM. Ayoko ng showtunes. Life isn’t like Glee.

Why don’t you invite the Pinoys to fight for your safety?

Well, why don’t you invite them? I’m sure alam na nila ang dapat nilang gawin if they really care.

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Tweet the author @junellhernando.

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