I've always been interested with seeing a fish wag its tail and weave through the waters in an almost synchronized movement, just as the humans move gracefully in a sprint motion with all body muscles and flesh conniving to generate a fluid action, its just that, a fish present it better because it does so in the waters.
I remember when I was still a kid, my mom took me to the wet market one Sunday morning, where I saw her bought live fishes straight from the ice filled drums on one of the stalls. That moment, I really thought she bought it so we could keep it at home alive. When we went home I asked her where she kept the fishes we bought that day. My mom pointed to the table and eagerly I looked inside the pot, I saw the fish alright, swimming but rather lifeless and chopped into pieces floating over a sea of sinigang soup.
That day, I understood the lives of these creatures as a part of Earth's way of balancing nature. They feed on smaller specie of fishes, algae and other bacteria while we, the top order of the draw (or as we'd love to believe) would catch and delight on them, festively over a hot rice or a bottle of beer.
However, that doesn't give us the green light to just catch them all up and throw them all into the frying pan. Many fish species are off limits for human consumption and others are needed to be studied and nurtured to make sure of their longevity and massive multiplication by numbers in the future.
The Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary, located just off the coast of Matnog, Sorsogon gathers a number of different species of marine life, for studies, breeding and a temporary sanctuary before they get released again in the vast open space of the sea.
It is also a place that one can be able to see up close some of the interesting sea creatures previously seen on TV. It was here that I got the chance to see a giant sea cucumber, which sort of looks like an alien life form, with soft skin and a slimy feature that when you gently hold it you will feel its slow breathing and its surrounding tentacles makes you wonder if its a cousin of the alien creature from the movie "Predator".
The owner of the sanctuary, Kuya Lupito (thanks for the correction Christine) has clearly gotten accustomed to his role in the sanctuary. He knows where everyone hangs out in every corner of Juag. He was like "you wanna see the turtle" one moment, then after a few seconds he'll re-appear from the water holding the very cute and adorable sea turtle. Then he'll dive again and after a while will show up with the giant sea cucumber, then again with a bunch of clams and lobsters.
It was a very interesting job for an individual, being this close with some of the nature's sea creatures day in and day out. I imagined an unseen connection between him and the marine species have developed already. That to me was the highest form of any connection between man and nature could ever had.
We continued throwing small fishes and fish pellets into the water in order to attract the other fishes who'd scrambled over one another, like music fanatics in a Red Horse Musiklaban fest, for the feeding prize of the day. I saw different kinds of fishes, one with a seemingly bulging body as if it just drank one case of beer. The others have color yellow and violet, while the others were ordinary looking albeit representing a variants of species only an Ichthyologist would memorize its scientific names.
The enclosure was wide enough and deep enough for these sea creatures to hang out and chat about the biggest whale they've seen. Silt styled shelters surround the sanctuary where visitors could step and view and feed the fishes. Entrance is free but would encourage each visitor to offer a donation of any amount or any kind like snorkels, googles and fins. Travel time from the port of Matnog is around 20 minutes and its also around 30 minutes from the white sands of Subic Beach in Calintaan Island.
The mother of all marine life conservation can be found in the vast sea surrounding Australia. To know more about sea creatures, make the Great Barrier Reef in Australia as among your life's bucket list. Cheap Flights to Australia are given year round long, so take advantage of this opportunity and book a trip to one of the world's largest marine life concentration spots.