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Case study 4: Apo Island (Philippines)



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Case study 4: Apo Island (Philippines)
The Role of Marine Protected Areas in Reducing Poverty
Pieter van Beukering
Johnny Cacatian
Jens Stellinga
Elena Sultanian
Craig Leisher
Report number
November 2007
Nature’s Investment Bank
1.1 Background of the study 4
1.2 Site description 5
1.3 Background literature 6
2.1 General perceptions of the MPA 10
2.2 Assets and opportunities 11
2.3 Empowerment and governance 13
2.4 Security 15
2.5 Qualitative summary 16
3.1 Introduction 19
3.2 Assets and opportunities 20
3.3 Empowerment and governance 32
3.4 Security 33
3.5 General perceptions of the MPA 35
4.1 Assets and opportunity 37
4.2 Empowerment and governance 38
4.3 Security 39
Nature’s Investment Bank
This report was funded by The Nature Conservancy, the Australian Government’s Department for
the Environment and Water Resources, and the Poverty Reduction and Environment Management
Program at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.
The fieldwork benefited from the support of many people and organizations. In the Philippines,
Alan White of The Nature Conservancy and Atty Liza Eisma of the Coastal Conservation and
Education Foundation provided expert advice, documents and introductions. The fieldwork for
this site was led by Johnny Cacatian and Jens Stellinga of the Vrije Universiteit. At the village
level, the study team was assisted by two teams. The interviews held in the District III area (the
control site) were done by Pablo Rojas, Aubrey Rojas, Almeo Bontigao, Maria Sharon Espino,
Kahlil Bermiso and Jevi Dumayang. On Apo Island, the interviews were done by Joanne Matarlo,
Bobbi Benitez, Rosalie Vallescas, Rodney Balagtas, Marcjan Maloon and Jinky Mendoza.
As ever, all errors, omissions or opinions remain the responsibility of the authors.
Apo Island (Philippines) 4
1. Introduction
1.1 Background of the study
This report is part of a larger study looking at how marine protected areas have contributed to
poverty reduction at four different sites in four countries. Between November 2006 and May
2007, the study team conducted almost 1,000 household interviews and many group discussions
in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia and the Philippines. The data and information collected
were focused on determining if the marine protected area had contributed to poverty reduction,
and if so, why. This country report is one of four and provides input for a synthesis report
combining the results from the four study sites.
The study contributes to a growing stance in the literature that conservation practices “should at
least do no harm” recognizing that many of the residents and neighbours of protected areas are
poor and highly dependent on the environmental resources and the services provided by the
protected area to meet their daily survival needs. The study also provides information to
understand and support the recommendation adopted at the World Parks Congress on “Poverty
and Protected Areas” (IUCN 2003) specifically that:
1. Protected areas should strive to contribute to poverty reduction at the local level (either
directly or indirectly), and at the very minimum not create, contribute to, or exacerbate
2. In order to achieve their potential both to conserve biodiversity and to assist in reducing
poverty, protected areas should be integrated within a broad sustainable development system;
3. Knowledge about the linkage between protected areas and poverty needs to be improved.
Site selection for this study was limited to the Asia-Pacific region because this is the geographic
area of interest for two study sponsors. Within Asia-Pacific, sites were selected based on three
factors. First, experts who knew a site had to agree that the marine protected area (MPA) was
likely to have contributed to poverty reduction. Second, the MPA had to be in an area poorer than
the national average. Third, the MPAs themselves had to be as different as possible one from the
other in order to give a wider basis for determining common elements of success in contributing
to poverty reduction. The four sites selected were:
Fiji. Yavusa Navakavu Locally Managed Marine Area on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu.
Solomon Islands. The Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area between the large
islands of Choiseul and Santa Isabel.
Indonesia. Bunaken National Park at the northern tip of Sulawesi Island in central Indonesia.
Philippines. Apo Island near Negros Island in the central region of the Philippines.
This section above borrows from previous writing at: Scherl, LM. 2005 “Protected Areas and Local
and Indigenous Communities”. In McNeely, J.A. (ed.). Friends for life: New Partnerships in Support
of Protected Areas, pp. 101-112, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland; and Scherl, L.M. Wilson, A., Wild, R.,
Blockhus, J., Franks, P., McNeely, J., and McShane, T. (2004,) Can Protected Areas Contribute to
Poverty Reduction? Opportunities and Limitations. IUCN, Cambridge and Gland (Translated
Portuguese version, 2006).
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This portfolio of sites is roughly representative of small, one-community local MPAs (Fiji),
medium-sized, multi-community local MPAs (Solomons), big collaboratively managed national
MPAs with lots of people (Indonesia), and small, co-managed national MPAs with few people
This report addresses the study conducted in the Philippines at Apo Island.
1.2 Site description
Apo Island is a small island located near Negros Island in the central (Visayan) part of the
Philippines. The MPA was formally established by municipal ordinance in 1986 and given
national protection in 1994. Apo is co-managed by the national government and elected
community members. Key stakeholders include the island leaders, the mayor of the local
municipality of Dauin, and the national government through the Protected Area and Wildlife
Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Apo Island is 74
hectares in area with about 700 residents. It is a volcanic island surrounded by coral reefs. Fishing
followed by tourism are the primary livelihoods. The MPA (locally referred to as a marine
reserve or marine sanctuary) was established with support from nearby Silliman University after
local fish stocks had largely collapsed.
Apo Island is located in the province of Negros Oriental, which is one of the poorer provinces in
the Philippines with 37.1 percent of families living below the national poverty line in 2003
compared with the national average the same year of 24.4 percent.
Prior to the establishment of
the MPA, poverty rates on the island were perceived by local people to be higher than in other
parts of Negros Oriental province.
Dauin is the municipality where both the MPA and control sites are located. It is 15 kilometres
southwest of Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental Province. According to 2004
census, Dauin has a population of 22,698 people and more than 4,500 households. The
municipality has 23 barangays—the smallest local-level government unit in the Philippines. Eight
of these barangays are coastal including the control site (District III) and Apo Island. The coastal
barangays have established nine MPAs (Oracion 2005). District III is the lone barangay without
an MPA in the municipality. There is a strong opposition to MPAs from fisher folks in District III
because they believe it will deprive them of their livelihood. District III is, however, sandwiched
between two barangays with MPAs, and all barangays within the municipality have access to all
the municipal waters except for the no-take zones of the MPA and the waters around Apo where a
permit is required. Thus all the fishers in the municipality in principle benefit from fish that
“spillover” from the MPA no-take zones. In practice, most of them fish close to home.
Country reports have been written for each site as well as a synthesis report for all countries. A film
related to this study has also been produced though it does not include Apo Island because of funding
Apo Island (Philippines)
Figure 1 Location of Apo Island (Philippines)
1.3 Background literature
Apo Island has been extensively studied over the past 20 years. Several articles were used as
background material for this report (Vera, Cleofe and Balderrama 2003; Bolido 2004; Oracion
2001, 2005; Raymundo 2005; Raymundo and White 2005; and Vogt 1997—see reference
section). The main findings of these articles are presented here.
Apo Island’s Marine Protected Area
Apo Island has a successful Marine Protected Area. This has not always been the case. As early
as 1976, researchers from the Silliman University Marine Laboratory noticed that around Apo
Island fish stocks were declining and coral reefs were damaged. The researchers started talking
with the local fishing community concerning marine conservation in order to restore the coral
reefs and fish stocks. During this time, destructive fishing was still practiced while the poverty
was high and the island population growing. Three years later, in 1979, after discussions among
the community, Silliman University marine biologists, and university social scientists, the Apo
Island Marine Reserve was initiated (not fully established until 1985). The community realized
that if fishing activities continued the way it did, there would soon be no fish left. After the initial
efforts to set up a marine reserve, there was a move to allow only traditional and non-destructive
fishing methods. In 1979, marine conservation and education programs were also introduced on
the island by Silliman University extension workers. In 1982 a 0.45 km long area was selected by
the community as a “no-take” reserve, and in 1985 it was declared a municipal marine reserve by
the municipal council of the town of Dauin, Negros and Silliman University through the
assistance of the Marine Conservation and Development Program (MCDP) (White and Savina
1986; Alcala 2001). Almost ten years later, in August 1994, the Island was declared a Protected
Landscape and Seascape under the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) and the
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national government assumed the leading management role and established a Protected Areas
Management Board (PAMB).
Since the establishment of the MPA, an increase in fish abundance and density was generated
within the no-take portion of the MPA and the fish “spilled over” to the surrounding waters
where traditional fishing is allowed. Coral cover also started to increase because destructive
fishing techniques were no longer allowed. Survey data at ten year intervals from 1982-2002
showed steady increases in coral cover, from 34.7% in 1982 to 56.6% in 2002 (White 2002). The
success of the MPA and the increased fish stocks resulted in a boom in diving tourism. The
tourists paid to visit the reef because the PAMB had created a system of fixed fees for visitors.
This money was used for development projects that the community had selected including
development of the infrastructure and livelihood programmes as well as reef protection.
Beginning in 1985, voluntary user fees were also collected that began the process of generating
income for the community and for the maintenance of the marine sanctuary. The MPA was
community managed from 1985 until it was declared a nationally protected site in 1994.
Several articles mention that fishing communities such as Apo Island can benefit from
community-based MPA management through tourism. However, it is important that tourism in
Apo Island and related MPAs is sustainable. The tourists come to Apo for its biodiversity, so it is
important that this is protected. The number of divers that is allowed to dive each needs to be
limited. It is also important that the people working in tourism are locals, so that some of the
benefits from tourism stay within the community. Another important issue is that MPAs should
always be managed in good cooperation with the community. Several authors including Oracion
et al. specifically say how important this is. “When the process works smoothly, those affected by
environmental policies accept their fate—whatever the outcome—and continue to have
confidence in the system of decision-making. However, when management decisions are poorly
received by constituencies, the potential for non-compliance, discontent and resistance can be
suddenly realized. MPA management can breakdown entirely if those regulated perceive that
“their resources” (e.g., aquatic territory or land) have been unfairly “appropriated” or their
access wrongly diminished.” Currently, the community of Apo Island has some complaints about
the management of their MPA by the national government. The national bureaucracy has delayed
return of the revenues to the local government and to the community. The community as well as
the Barangay Captain and the Major of Dauin would rather have it locally managed again.
Nevertheless, some observers have suggested that the national co-management arrangement
through the DENR and the local government with the community has provided a degree of
stability that was lacking prior to 1994 and certainly before it was initially established in 1985.
Community-Based Coastal Resource Management (CBCRM) of the Philippines
The first local government MPA in the Philippines was established in 1974. Now there are about
400 small community-based and local-government supported MPAs in the Philippines but only
about 20% or 80 are well-managed. The others are in various stages of initiation and
improvement of management. Apo Island is within the well-managed group of MPAs and the
community even received an award for the best community managed coral reef in the Philippines
in 1998.
In the article, Accounting a Decade or So of CBCRM: Impacts, Trends And Challenges written by
Allen Vera et al., information is used that was based on a secondary literature review, a
perception survey, raw input from the ongoing evaluation of an Oxfam-Great Britain CBCRM
programme evaluation, and the sharing of experiences of some CBCRM practitioners. The
Apo Island (Philippines) 8
findings are divided into socio-cultural, governance, economic and biophysical issues. For this
report, only the results of the first three are germane.
The most important findings for the socio-cultural part is that formation or strengthening of
peoples organizations is considered as the most prevalent output of CBCRM programs (66%).
Environmental awareness increasing because of education (64%) is the second most important
achievements of CBCRM. 60% of the programs studied reported empowerment of communities
as an achievement, and 40% of the fisher folks participating in CBCRM experienced
empowerment that encourages them to take action to improve their position.
Seventy percent of the organizations were able to institutionalize coastal resource management
measures or have forged institutional arrangements, with the most common form of
institutionalization through the formation of Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resource
Management Councils. 64% of the organizations have been able to lobby for enactment of
barangay and/or municipal ordinances. In almost half (47%) of the programmes reviewed,
working partnerships have been established. Programmes initiate networking from local to
national level to address issues such as displacement or intrusion of commercial fishing vessels,
incursion of industries, and beach resorts in foreshore areas. Relative success has been acquired
in the user rights of mangrove management, primarily because of the availability of tenure
instruments, such as mangrove stewardship contracts.
Forty seven percent of the programmes reported a diversification in livelihood. These new
livelihoods can be classified into land-based activities, aquaculture and fish processing, and
tourism. However, few of these livelihoods were viable over the long-term. 36% of the
programmes reported an increase in fish catch, which was lower than they expected. 23% offer
savings and credit schemes and in 15% of those programmes people experience shorter fishing
times and increased incomes.
Below are excerpts from a study conducted by Dr. Laurie Raymundo (2005) of the Silliman
University Marine Lab titled, Community-Based Coastal Management of Apo Island, Negros
Oriental, Philippines: History and Lessons Learned.
“Apo’s resources have been managed successfully for approximately 20 years.
The Marine Management Council (MMC), chaired by the Barangay Captain and
composed of members of the Apo community, was the original community-
based managing body. The MMC enforced fishing rules under the authority of
local government, mediated management conflicts, collected a modest tourist
fee, and made decisions regarding how tourism revenue was to be allocated
within the community. It served this purpose from 1986 to 1999. Under the
MMC, Apo was managed under the Marine Protected Area (MPA) model: a
municipal MPA established by local government, which included a “no-take”
sanctuary, bordered by a fished buffer zone. Management of the sanctuary and
surrounding fished waters was participatory, with the community meeting
regularly to discuss issues as they arose. The occasional presence of personnel
from the local police and DENR strengthened enforcement. Today, the role of
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the MMC has been drastically reduced; it mainly manages the community
building on the sanctuary site, receives donations for community projects, and
does not meet on a regular basis.”
“Apo is currently managed by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).
The Board consists of the DENR Regional Executive Director (currently
represented by the Provincial Environmental Officer), the Provincial Planning
and Development Officer, the mayor of the municipality of Dauin, Apo’s
Barangay Captain (the elected village leader), and representatives from various
NGOs: two representatives of Silliman University, and two representatives of
Apo people’s organizations. PAMB works by majority vote or by consensus and
members serve for five-year periods without compensation. Members are
appointed by the national DENR office and meet as needed to address issues as
they arise. The Board decides on allocation of funds, and addresses all issues
regarding management of the protected area. PAMB was formally organized in
1997, and the current system of management and collection of fees was
instituted in late 1999.”
Apo Island (Philippines) 10
2. Qualitative assessment
This country report, and the study overall, uses the World Bank’s definition of “poverty”. This is
a multi-dimensional definition of poverty comprising three elements: opportunity, empowerment
and security. The research and the results were organized around these three elements.
The main methodological processes and tools used to ascertain information on the social, cultural,
governance and some aspects of livelihoods were: focus group discussions, key informant
interviews (primarily qualitative data) and specific questions inserted into the household surveys
(primarily quantitative data).
The qualitative data are discussed in the section immediately
below, and the quantitative data are discussed in the following section. The full descriptions of
the methodologies used for the qualitative and quantitative information collection are in
appendices to this report.
The core of the qualitative assessment is based on fieldwork conducted in late April and early
May 2007 in and around Apo Island.
2.1 General perceptions of the MPA
In all the focus group discussions and key informant interviews there was strong support for the
MPA at Apo Island. Since its establishment in 1985, people have observed increase fish
abundance inside and outside of the MPA’s boundaries. Mr. Chamberlain Babiera, former
Protected Area Superintendent of Apo Island Protected Landscape/Seascape, said, “Before, the
average catch was 5 kilos per day. This catch could provide sustenance to a family and enable
them to still have extra fish to sell. Around 2005, there were times the catch could reach 20 kilos
in just a few hours. Fish stock and fish catch have increased since the introduction of the MPA.”
Support for the protected area comes primarily from the recognition of the importance of
preserving marine resources for the future and the benefits the MPA generates. In focus group
discussions, many attendees expressed their support: “Marine species need a place to regenerate
without disturbance from fishing and in time will sustain our needs and the needs of our children
and grandchildren. People in the community are now better off and this is because of the MPA.
The spillover effect of the protected area is recognized by most members of the community.
Fishers have to spend fewer hours in fishing now and this is because of the MPA. I have
observed this myself being a fish trader of this community.” Moreover, the community is proud
on the attention Apo gets from many researchers and conservation programs, like the continuous
monitoring of fish species by Silliman University (in nearby Dumaguete City).
In spite of strong support for conservation and the recognition of benefits the MPA provides,
there is a concern about equity. During most key informant interviews, people voiced their
opinion about who controls the economic and political aspects of the community. Dr. Enrique
Oracion, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Silliman University, said, “In Apo Island,
political power is limited to certain families. Politically, it has not change for many years but
economically it has widened. There has been no election at the barangay level for more than 10
years now. Even though the people are clamouring for change, they cannot do much about it
Lea M. Scherl coordinated the development of the qualitative methodologies and contributed to the
template for report writing.
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because the system does not allow it. Many participants complained that certain families
benefit most from the protected area, “The owners of resorts and dive centres are reaping most of
the benefits from the protected area.”
In summary, community members support the continuous protection of the MPA and recognize
the benefits it generates. The main issue, however, is the distribution of power and benefits. This
is discussed in more detail later.
2.2 Assets and opportunities
Fishing is still the main livelihoods for most families on Apo. About 90% of community
members are engaged in fishing. Even those families who are now engaging in other livelihoods
still fish occasionally. Most families fish for their own consumption and sell their surplus to
compradors (traders). Every fisherman has his own comprador, and each comprador has about
20 fisher families he works with. The price is determined by the comprador based on the
prevailing market price. Before tourism developed, fish drying was a common activity for
women, but because of the greater economic incentives in tourism, this livelihood has ceased.
Diversification of livelihood opportunities
Livelihood opportunities have diversified since the creation of the MPA. Before that, activities in
the island were limited to fishing, vegetable farming, and traditional mat weaving. Tourism and
working for the MPA have created a number of new livelihood opportunities. Bantay-dagat or
sea wardens are in charge of policing the protected area and receive a monthly honorarium paid
with revenues from user fee. “With the establishment of the MPA, we now have bantay-dagat to
police the area, and this is an additional income for families.”
Tourism is now the number one cash income generator for Apo Island households. There are two
resorts in the island both with restaurants and dive centres. The resorts cater primarily to mid and
high-income tour groups who visit for diving or diving lesson purposes. Aside from the resorts,
there are two households who offer bed and breakfast, and this is the best option for tourists with
a limited budget. The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) has recommended that more
families offer bed and breakfast so that resorts do not monopolize the prospective accommodation
revenue. “We advised families to offer bed and breakfast to tourists and PAMB offered to
subsidize toilet refurbishment. Most tourists, especially Europeans, are very particular with toilet
hygiene.” The two bed-and-breakfasts offer lunch and dinner on request. There is also a
community cafeteria that caters to local tourists as well as for people in the community. (The
study team divided their lunches and dinners between the bed and breakfast and the cafeteria.)
Some tourists also like to do recreational fishing and hire local fishers as guides. Some fisher
families have converted their fishing boats to transportation boats and now serve as boat
operators. They cater to tourists visiting the island, which also reduces fishing pressure around
the protected area. One family repairs damaged boats (banca) which contributes to their income.
Many wives belonging to the Apo Island Women’s Association (AIWA) are now selling shirts.
When a tourist boat arrives, they lined up on the shore displaying their products. Their products
are limited to shirts and women's beach cloths. More variety including souvenir items such as
necklaces and bracelets might help sales. The study team found they are also disorganized and
Apo Island (Philippines) 12
could be annoying to tourists. It might be better for both buyers and sellers to have a single
shop rather than competing with each other.
Many women were traditional mat weavers but because of competition from the outside and the
limited supply or difficulty of getting pandan and romblon (local material for mats), many
weavers have stopped making mats. Some key informant interviews proposed the revival of the
mat weaving activity. During focus group discussions, women were asked if their mat-weaving
activity could be revived: “There are still women who do mat weaving, but their number has
declined. Most of them are older women who do it as their pastime. However, many young
women still know how to do mat weaving, but then they are now more interested in other
activities. The income was also not promising and not sufficient. You spend two weeks weaving a
single mat for 300 pesos. Therefore, this is a good activity for older women who cannot perform
other income generating activities. They added that mat weaving is now for their own use and
that women sell it within the community and not anymore to outside customers. An expert
knowledgeable about the mat weaving noted that the quality of mats from Apo Island has never
been as good as mats from Mindanao and thus they do not compete well in the market place. The
focus of the project work in 1984 and 1985 was to improve the quality of Apo Island mats.
Under the management of PAMB, though its main concern is conservation, some alternative
livelihood programs such as swine dispersal, plantation of mangroves along the coast, and
creation of fishponds were introduced. However, there was no economic incentive and most of it
has discontinued. Plantation of mangroves can only be done once and the area is too small for
commercially viable fishponds. Many families still raise swine for fiestas and their own
consumption. Pig raising is a traditional livelihood in many part of the Philippines.
PAMB has also invited the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to
conduct training on other livelihood programs such as t-shirt printing. But due to a limited market
and strong competition with those operating in the mainland, this died out. All souvenir shirts and
clothes that are currently sold in Apo are now printed on the mainland (Negros Island).
Due to the popularity of Apo Island with many conservation programs and donor organizations,
the MPA has had indirect benefits in the diversification of livelihoods. Dr. Oracion noted, “Many
NGOs visited the island telling the people about their rights, duties and privileges. Even though
many people are not well educated, by listening to others, this inspires them to assert their rights.
Many families now have better houses compared to what they had a few years back because some
family members now work in big cities and abroad. They have seen that there are other
opportunities available to them outside Apo.”
The island also received assistance from international NGOs for the construction and
development of a bakery. However, there was an issue regarding the funding and some members
of the community are suspicious of the way the project was handled. “For such a small bakery, I
don't think half-million pesos [about US$10,000] was spent on its construction and the buying of
Overall, livelihoods in the community have diversified since the creation of the MPA. Welfare
has also increased and this could be attributed directly and indirectly to the MPA. One of the
biggest contributors to greater welfare is the remittance of family members working in big cities
and especially those working abroad.
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According to all key informant interviews, the marine sanctuary has improved the level of
education throughout the community. Income from conservation organizations, international
donors and tourism is partly invested in schooling. Before the MPA was established, the
education level was low. Mr. Mario Pascobello, the Barangay Captain, said that before the MPA,
fishers had to work very hard to catch enough fish to provide one proper meal a day for their
families. To improve their catch, families employed the help of their children, thereby preventing
them from going to school. In fact, children were not obliged to go to elementary school at the
time the MPA was established. Putting food on the table was of more concern than getting a basic
education. When Mr. Pascobello became the Barangay Captain (leader), he made it a point to
urge all parents to send their children to school. Attending school has now become compulsory
for all children in Apo Island. It also now has a day-care centre for pre-schoolers.
The island has also seen an improvement in secondary education in the past two years. A free,
partial two-year high school curriculum is now offered in the island. According to the key
informant interviews, the increase in school opportunities is a benefit of the MPA.
Environmental Awareness
A Department of Environment and Natural Resources person said the department asked the
PAMB to hire teachers for Apo Island, but because it is not within its framework, they could not
do it. They did, however, manage to hire teachers on environmental awareness, as conceived by
the Barangay Council together with Dr. Angel Alcala, the main adviser of the current
environmental programme in Apo Island.
2.3 Empowerment and governance
The most contested issue within the community is the management of the protected area. Some
say that the Protected Area Management Board is neutral and many fear that those who control
the island’s economic and political aspects would dominate the decision-making process if
management were transferred back to the community. Some argued that too much power is
delegated to the current Barangay Captain and this creates a conflict of interest. The national-
level Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) prefers to manage Apo's
resources. Representatives of DENR argue that the area is highly politicized, and there is a
concern about the collection of user fees if management were transferred back to the community.
The responsibility of PAMB is to protect and conserve the biodiversity of Apo. For these reasons
and under the law, only activities related to conservation are included in its management plan. As
Mr. Babiera explained, “The activities are approved by the Board and not by the DENR, and
based on the law, only those activities related to conservation shall be included. There are four
main areas of expenditures and none of those are for social services, but somehow we managed
to include these in our expenditures. For example, we buy medicines (first aid) for the employees
but somehow the whole community has access to it in the guise of environmental purposes. We
also hired or contracted teachers that teach environmental education. The employment of
teachers is the duty of the Department of Education and not of the DENR. But somehow this is
possible with their duty as environmental educators. Other agencies, as well as the local
government unit, are responsible for social services and not the DENR.”
Apo Island (Philippines) 14
Most people feel that they should be more involved in the management of their resources and
issues over the distribution of wealth and power should be further resolved.
Role of Men and Women
The marine sanctuary has changed the role of women considerably. Traditionally, women were
mat weavers and there was an attempt to improve the quality of mats produced through a
development project (the Marine Conservation and Development Program) in 1984 and 1985.
The pandan and romblon, which are the raw weaving materials had to come from outside
because the stocks on Apo Island were not enough. Ms. Evelyn Deguit worked in the 1980s on
Apo Island and came back in 2006 to find that many women stopped working as mat weavers
because there were problems with getting the raw materials from the mainland. The women who
used to work in the mat-weaving business now started to work as t-shirt sellers for tourists.
During the last decade, a lot of women who finished elementary school moved from the island
and started doing domestic work in big cities such as Manila. This is attributed to the scarcity of
opportunities in the island and is not unique to Apo Island. In many parts of the Philippines, the
more education people get, the more mobile they become.
Since the establishment of the sanctuary, women enjoy varied roles. While their husbands are
away fishing, they remain on the island watching the marine sanctuary and doing other activities
such as selling souvenir shirts, fish trading, and fish processing. As the production of fishing has
improved, this widened the opportunities available to women. The conservation program and the
success of the marine sanctuary on the island have improved the condition of women in terms of
social, economic and perhaps political aspects. Because NGOs and outside organizations came to
the island telling them about their rights, duties and privileges, women became more vigilant than
before. As Dr. Oracion said: “Even though they are not well educated, by listening to other
people, this inspires them to assert on their rights.”
Mr. Pascobello noted that women are very important for the management of the marine
sanctuary. Women recognize how important the sanctuary is and they want to have their say
concerning its management. Since 2006, there were also women trained as bantay-dagat (sea
wardens) and dive rangers. During focus group discussions, the majority of attendees were
women and they proved to be the most vocal.
The role of men on the island has not changed considerably throughout its history. More than
90% of the adult men of the island are fishers. The second largest livelihood (and the largest
source of cash income) is tourism. When men are working in tourism, they are mostly boat
operators, tourist guides, diving instructors or companions for recreational fishing enthusiasts.
Access and rights to resources
Fishing is prohibited in the MPA and is regulated outside of it. In terms of fishing, everyone in
the community has the same rights and access to resources. Some community members argue that
due to the MPA, their fishing ground has been reduced. Nevertheless, they recognize the spillover
effect of the MPA. Fishers from outside Apo need a permit to fish. So far, ten permits have been
The Barangay Captain also supported an ordinance that restricts fishers without permit to fish
within 15 kilometres of the Apo shore. Last year, they caught and fined two fishing boats who
fished within three kilometres of the shore. Local fishers also claim that tourist divers drive away
fish in their fishing grounds and have reported incidences of fish traps being destroyed by
Nature’s Investment Bank
tourists. To local people, trapping fish is a livelihood, but to some divers it is a form of cruelty
and thus trapped fish should be freed. There was one incident where a diver was fined 17,500
pesos (about US$380) for cutting a fish trap.
The community decided to mark off a prime fishing ground with buoys to prohibit divers from
the area. Although this was a positive move that has eased tensions between fishers and tourists,
the move has yet to be approved by the PAMB. So, enforcing the “no-dive” area will be difficult
until it has been approved. Currently, diving is only allowed 100 meters away from fishing boats.
A study conducted by Dr. Hilconida Calumpong (2004) of the Silliman University Marine Lab
regarding the impact of diving activities in Apo shows about 40 to 44m
of coral reef damage.
The finding was reported to the PAMB. The Board is allowing 15 divers per visit in a given area
in any given time. During discussions, the question arose of, “Shall we reduce the 15 divers
allowed in a given area in a given time or shall we increase the size of the marine sanctuary?
Initially the choice was to increase the size of the marine sanctuary, but there were complaints
from fishers that they have to fish further away and spend more time fishing. Instead PAMB
increased the price of the diving fee from 150 to 350 pesos (from US$3.25 to US$7.60). Though
divers complained that the fee was too much, it did not deter divers from visit the sites and
revenues increased to about 4 million pesos per year (approximately US$87,000).
2.4 Security
There is a general belief mentioned by all the key informant interviews that the health situation in
Apo has improved because of the MPA. The volume of fish caught has increased resulting to
improved nutrition. With the money generated from selling the surplus catch, families are able to
buy other provisions such as rice, vegetables and fruits.
The money generated from Apo tourism is partly invested by the Barangay Council into health
programs. Within the Barangay Council are committees on health and sanitation which address
the basic health issues confronting the island, and facilitate the sale of common medicines to local
inhabitants. A study conducted by Dr. Raymundo showed that out of the revenue generated by
tourism, the people of the island are now able to afford medicines due to increased income and
available subsidies both local and national. There are doctors from Negros visiting the island
twice a year as well as an on-island midwife and several healthcare workers, whose presence are
made possible through the funds generated from user fee and subsidies from the national
Another looming problem facing Apo Island today is population growth. In 2003, there were 29
births recorded out of the approximately 145 households on the island. Together with Dr. Alcala
and the visiting doctors from the mainland, Mr. Pascobello introduced in 2004 a family planning
programs. After the introduction of the program, the recorded birth dropped to 19 in 2004. And in
2005 and 2006, there were only a total of nine babies born.
This decline is partly attributed to the firm stance of the Barangay Council to curtail population
growth and prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases within the locality. One
program worth noting is the purchase of contraceptives for the purpose of resale at a reduced
price to encourage usage. Mr. Pascobello claims that 98% of the families now use contraceptives.
He adds that this high rate is a result of the male population’s positive response to the program,
Apo Island (Philippines)
having realized themselves that “the area of the fishing grounds remains constant while the
number of fishers is set to increase.”
Water shortages are also a prevailing issue on this small island. A time-tested solution is the
construction of rain collecting tanks. The brackish water from these tanks is mainly used for
laundry, bathing and keeping the toilets clean. The use of a reverse-osmosis machine, which can
purify the collected rainwater, is still in the works. For now, drinking water is transported from
the mainland and rationed on the island.
Social cohesion
There is greater social cohesion among community members due to the MPA. The formation of
several committees has helped in providing forums to resolve community conflicts. Committee
meetings give an opportunity for members to voice their opinions on issues concerning the
community. Countering this is that the management of the MPA is the most contested issue in the
The people of Apo Island know the importance of the MPA in providing food and livelihoods.
This makes them more united in protecting the MPA. Mr. Pascobello explained, “There are
community members who serve as sea wardens tasked to guard the MPA and women are also
involved in guarding the area during the day. So far there was no incidence of community
members being involved in illegal practices.” The communities on Apo self-police compliance
with the MPA rules and this has helped strengthen social cohesion.
Because many people have better income now compared to before the MPA, this helps fund a
tradition of a grand fiesta every fourth and fifth of April in honour of Apo’s patron San Vicente
Ferrer. The fiesta helps to strengthen community ties.
2.5 Qualitative summary
Overall, there is strong support for the MPA at Apo Island, and the community recognizes its
1. People perceive a positive relationship between conservation and assets acquisition.
The local fishers enjoy an increase in income from direct harvesting of resources. The abundance
in fish stocks enables them to catch more fish in less time than prior to the MPA. Despite this
general perception, some community members, especially the impoverished ones, believe that
marine resources are now in decline. It is apparent though that many houses are now made of
more expensive concrete, compared to the pre-MPA houses made of locally acquired wood,
bamboo and thatched leaves. The acquisition and use of modern appliances has also increased
despite the limited electrical provision. Most key informants believe that this could be attributed
to the MPA.
In terms of awareness and education, the inhabitants have witnessed the implementation of
various conservation programs, bringing about the influx of researchers and scientists to the
island. From their participation in these programs and their steady encounters with outsiders, they
have learned that there are other opportunities outside Apo and that living and working elsewhere
is not a remote possibility. The migration could eventually translate into reduced fishing pressure
on the island and increased catches for fishers who chose to stay.
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2. There are close link between conservation measures and the widening of opportunities.
Since the establishment of the MPA, livelihoods have diversified extensively within the tourism
sector. Before that the MPA, livelihoods were limited mostly to fishing and mat weaving. After
the MPA, many people are now engaged in various aspects of tourism, which has become the
largest cash income-generating activity. The management of the MPA itself also provides jobs for
the community, such as the sea wardens in charge of policing the MPA. There is still a part of the
population, however, who perceive limited or no benefit from the MPA. They stressed that resort
owners and dive and boat operators get most of the tourism income.
The dimension of capacity building and acquisition of skills and learning, which accompanied the
widening of opportunities in Apo Island, has definitely benefited from the conservation measures.
In addition to the continuous monitoring of fish species, Silliman University has also conducted
training on new fishing techniques. The people of Apo are generally very knowledgeable about
the MPA and the benefits it provides. There is a widespread learning and awareness of
environmental issues in the community, and even children are involved in conservation measures.
Closer association with research groups and continuous monitoring, by engaging community
members, has been very effective on this front.
Opportunity for education has also widened. More children are now attending both primary and
secondary school, and an additional high school is planned for construction during 2007. As a
result of the exposure of households to various community-based campaigns brought about by the
MPA, this has helped improve health. The additional income resulting from increased fish yields
enabled better access to health services and better daily nutritional subsistence.
3. The people are negative about the empowerment and governance dimensions.
Although some community members favour the continued management of the MPA by the
PAMB, there is stronger support that the community should be more involved in the decision-
making process of their own marine resources. There are advantages and disadvantages of both
approaches to the MPA’s management, and it is difficult to determine what might constitute
“successful management”.
In summary, the qualitative assessment of the MPA in Apo Island validates the positive
relationship between conservation measures and several dimensions of poverty reduction.
However, the distribution of power and wealth, and the struggle on who should control the
management of the MPA, still pose an interesting and highly contested issue within the
Nature’s Investment Bank
3. Quantitative assessment
3.1 Introduction
During April and May 2007, 120 interviews were conducted on Apo Island and at the nearby
control site District III.
The sample was subdivided on the basis of two criteria:
Whether the household was part of the MPA or not (i.e., MPA versus non-MPA);
Whether the prime source of income of the household was fisheries or the tourist industry
(i.e., fisheries versus tourism).
To determine a desirable sample size for the study, several assumptions were made. First, the
acceptable margin of error in estimating welfare characteristics was limited to around +/- 5% with
a confidence level
at 95%. The level of 95% is usually selected when one wants to be reasonably
confident of the outcome. Second, based on the estimate population of the Apo area of 1,000
inhabitants and an average household size of 4.8 persons, the total number of households was
estimated to be around 200. Finally, the confidence interval was calculated given the selected
confidence level and household population at +/-5.8%.
Although this slightly exceeds the
desirable acceptable margin of error of +/-5%, a sample of 120 households would generate high
enough confidence level to be considered representative for the population.
On Apo Island the interviews were held on the entire island, as the whole island was affected by
the MPA. Essentially, there are two villages on Apo: the main village termed “Main Apo” for this
report and the village of Cogon. The control site was selected by consulting a range of experts
with in-depth local knowledge. The barangay of District III in Dauin was selected because it is
the only barangay without an MPA in the municipality that includes Apo. District III has similar
characteristics to Apo Island in terms of population size, ethnicity, religious background and
economic activities.
After analysing the results of the household survey, it became clear that the control site chosen
proved not to be a good one. While it has no MPA, there are MPAs on either side of it, and
fishers benefit from the “spillover” of these MPAs. Many District III households also work in
tourism, which is booming partly due to the existence of Apo Island. District III households are in
effect “free riders” on the neighbouring MPAs and Apo Island. District III is also a short drive
away from major markets in Dumaguete City and has better access than Apo Island to education
and health services. This explains partly why the asset-related indicators of MPA do not exceed
the non-MPA scores by much. Thus, although the quantitative results give a real representation of
the current welfare conditions in the region, they have insufficiently been able to separate out the
impacts from the MPA from other conditional impacts. Thus, all differences between the MPA
and non-MPA control site should not be taken as robust findings. As one might imagine given
The average duration of an interview was 50 minutes.
The confidence level shows the likelihood that the selected sample is large enough so that the
statistical results concerning welfare characteristics fall within the specified margin of error, which is
5% in this case. Choosing the 95% confidence level, for example, means that if one were to select a
sample of a certain size, this sample will possess the desired attribute, within a specified margin of
error (the confidence interval), 95% of the time.
Confidence interval = 1.96((population size–sample size)/(4*population size*sample size))
Apo Island (Philippines) 20
their similarity, there are only a few statistically significant differences between Apo Island
and the District III control site. The comparisons of the situation 10 years ago within Apo are not
affected by the control site choice.
The distribution of the survey sample is shown in Table 1 and Table 2. The reason for specifically
addressing these sub-categories is that, on the one hand, possible differences may arise between
poverty levels within MPA and non-MPA areas, while on the other hand, the creation of an MPA
may create additional opportunities for the tourist industry and affect the welfare of fishing
livelihoods. Fishing is also the traditional source of cash income in the area and remains the
dominant livelihood strategy. Fishing can be considered the next-best option after working in the
tourism sector for most people in Apo and the control site and hence the comparison between the
two alternatives of fishing and tourism.
Table 1 Sample distribution categorised by MPA/non-MPA and by economic activity
Involved in
Involved in
Involved in other
activities Total
-MPA 8 (21%) 31 (85%) 19 (51%) 37 (31%)
MPA 42 (51%) 58 (70%) 28 (34%) 83 (70%)
Total 50 (42%) 89 (74%) 47 (39%) 120 (100%)
Table 2 Sample distribution across different locations
Location (MPA) Sample Location (non-MPA) Sample
Cogon village Apo 7 Dauin District III village 37
Main village Apo 76
Total 83 Total 37
The average household interviewed consisted of 4.8 members and included an average number of
1.9 children (with an equal division of boys and girls). The average age of the respondent was 43
years, with a range of 18 to 74 years. For education, 89% of the respondents had an education
level of primary school or higher compared to the national average of 97% (2000 data). The
gender split for respondents was 63% male and 47% female.
3.2 Assets and opportunities
Various indicators were included in the questionnaire to derive more information about the level
of wealth of the respective households. Besides income, specific information was retrieved on the
characteristics of housing and luxury items present in the household. The subjectivity and
uncertainty involved in combining income, housing and luxury items into one composite welfare
indicator led to analysing the three welfare variables separately.
The most common welfare indicator is income. The survey explicitly addressed income through
fisheries, tourism and other economic activities. The sum of these cash generating activities is
used in this sub-section. The first comparison is the monthly income of MPA (PHP 4,874 equals
US$105) and non-MPA households (PHP 5,296 equals US$114).
As shown in the box-plot
The official exchange rate in May 2007 of PHP46.27 is used for all conversions.
Nature’s Investment Bank
Figure 3.1, there are no statistical differences in the variance of income between MPA and non-
MPA areas. MPA households have slightly better income than non-MPA households.
Figure 3.1 Box-plot of monthly income categorised by MPA/non-MPA
The survey also analysed whether the MPA provided opportunities for alternative livelihood,
such as farming, timber or business. Table 3.3 shows the mean incomes per month for fishing
related activities; tourism related activities and other activities, as well as the share of the sample
in percentages. This is done for District III as well as Apo Island. Compared to Apo Island, a
larger percentage of the population of District III works as fishers. At the same time fisher
households in Apo earn 391 pesos more per month than non-MPA fisher households (about 12%
more)—though as an island in a productive sea, Apo is likely to have higher fish catches than
nearby coastal areas with or without MPAs. This probably has to do with the higher fish catch on
Apo Island because of the MPA. Also, there is more tourism on Apo Island than in District III, as
51% of the households in Apo work in tourism-related activities compared to 21% in District III.
But, the people working in tourism in District III earn almost twice as much as the people in Apo
working in tourism. Unlike Apo, District III has 24-hour electricity, and an ample supply of fresh
water. Accommodations in District III are more expensive, and this has also contributed to higher
income for employees. The main destination for District III visitors is the diving around Apo
Island a mere 45-minute boat ride from the mainland. The percentage of people on Apo that earn
money from activities other than fishing and tourism is 34% and is lower than that of District III
where it is 51%. This difference is probably because District III is on the main island and there is
more work in other businesses compared to Apo. In Apo, the majority of the work is in fishing
and tourism. Interestingly, “other activities” income on Apo is slightly higher than District III.
This is probably because of remittances of family members working in big cities and abroad is
included in the income data. The remittance level is a bit higher in Apo Island compared to
District III. However, this is not statistically significant.
Box-plots show the median, interquartile range, outliers, and extreme cases of individual variables.
Apo Island (Philippines) 22
Table 3.3 Income allocation across population (Pesos/month)
Non-MPA population MPA population
Income Share of sample* Income Share of sample*
Fishing activities 2,744 85% 3,135 70%
Tourism-related activities 6,038 21% 3,404 51%
Other activities 3,975 51% 4,164 34%
Total income 4,874 97%** 5,296 95%**
* Totals more than 100% because households often participate in several income-generating activities.
** Does not add up to 100% because some respondents did not report their income, and two outliers (one in the MPA,
and one in the non-MPA) were excluded from the sample.
The interviewers recorded the materials that were used for the wall (e.g., bamboo, wood,
corrugated iron, or brick/concrete) and the materials used for the roofing (e.g., thatch/leaves, tiles,
corrugated iron, or concrete) of the houses. Attaching weights to the above materials varying
from one to four created a housing indicator. The minimum score is two, representing a house
with bamboo walls and a thatch leaves roof. The maximum score is eight, representing a house
with brick or concrete walls with a concrete roof. By following the procedure of weighted
summation, three groups were created:
Group 1. Low-cost housing: encompasses the cases with values 2 and 3 (walls are from
bamboo or wood; roof is from thatch/leaves or tile);
Group 2. Medium-cost housing: housing which is neither relatively cheap nor expensive,
encompassing the cases with a value 4 to 6 (walls are from wood of corrugated iron; roof is
from tile or corrugated iron);
Group 3. High-cost housing: encompasses the cases with values 7 and 8 (walls are from
corrugated iron or brick/cement; roof is from corrugated iron or concrete).
Figure 3.2 shows the three categories distributed between MPA and non-MPA sub-samples. The
figure clearly shows that the MPA site has, on average, better houses than the non-MPA site. The
non-MPA has a high percentage of low-cost houses namely 73% compared to 44% for the MPA
site. In terms of medium-cost houses and high-cost houses, the MPA site scores better. Most key
informants believe that Apo’s greater level of remittances play a large role in why houses are
better in Apo Island than in District III The chi-square test indicates that there are statistical
differences (p<0.01) in housing between the MPA and non-MPA areas.
27% 29%
Low-cost housing Medium-cost housing High-cost housing
Figure 3.2 Distribution of housing classes categorised by MPA and non-MPA
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An additional housing indicator that can potentially be used as a proxy for wealth is whether
the household is connected to the electricity grid. Table 3.4 presents the allocation of electricity
availability between MPA and non-MPA households. The majority of the respondents have
electricity available in their houses. However, in the MPA site this percentage is a lot higher. 96%
of the households in the MPA site have electricity compared to 54% of the non-MPA site.
Table 3.4 Availability of electricity
No electricity 46% 4%
Electricity 54% 96%
At the same time none of the households in the MPA site have running water, but in the non-
MPA site 30% of households do. The fact that none of the households of the MPA site have
running water is because Apo Island is a small island where it is difficult to find potable water.
The island has a limited quantity of groundwater with a shallow lens and most of it is brackish.
The absence of running water on Apo Island is therefore not a good indicator of wealth. The chi-
square test indicates that there are highly significant differences in the availability of running
water in the households between the non-MPA and MPA areas (p<0.000). The Chi-square test
also shows that there are highly significant differences between MPA and non-MPA areas in
availability of running water inside fisher's houses (p=0.001) and for people involved in tourism
activities (p<0.000). However, as said before, this difference may be explained by locale (i.e.,
mainland or island villages) rather than by the level of welfare.
Table 3.5 Availability of running water inside the house
No running water 70% 100%
Running water inside the house
30% 0%
Luxury goods
Another alternative welfare indicator is the type and number of “luxury” items available in the
household. The interviewers registered the presence of nine items. Next, the items were
aggregated by weighted summation. Three weight categories are used (see Table 3.6): a weight of
one for radio, watch/clock, canoe, and bicycle; a weight of two for television and a motorised
boat; and a weight of three for satellite dish, motorcycle, and car/truck. The weighted summation
was normalised to a scale of one to ten, where ten represents the maximum score.
Table 3.6 Weights applied for aggregation in a item indicator
Weights: Weight: 1 Weight: 2 Weight: 3
Radio TV Satellite dish
Watch/clock Motorised boat Motorcycle
Canoe or Banca Car/truck
Figure 3.3 shows the presence of the nine items in the household. What we see immediately is
that the non-MPA site scores better in all the categories except for “TV” and “motorized boat”
than the MPA site. However, applying the weights in aggregating these items, only those
Apo Island (Philippines) 24
categorized as “Weight 1” scored best for the non-MPA site. The MPA site scored better in
those items categorized as “Weight 2” which is more luxurious items. Satellite dishes, trucks and
cars are luxury items owned only by a very small number of the interviewed households. One
family in Apo Island own a car and motorcycle which are lent to a relative living in mainland
District III for a transportation business. The non-MPA site despite having scored better in
“Weight 3” does not explain that they are better off than Apo Island residents. Possession of a
motorcycle or car in Apo Island is not possible given the size and terrain of the island.
Watch or Clock
Motorised boat
Boat without motor
Car or Truck
Satellite Dish
Figure 3.3 Share of respondents owning luxury items categorised by MPA/non-MPA
Figure 3.4 shows box-plots for the presence of luxury goods categorised by MPA/non-MPA (on a
scale from 0 to 10). For reasons of clarity, the outliers have been removed from the graph. The
mean and median score, on a scale of zero to ten, for MPA households is 2.31 and 2.35,
respectively. For non-MPA households, the mean and median scores are 2.01 and 1.76,
respectively. The Anova-Test confirms that these differences between non-MPA and MPA are
statistically significant (p<0.05). However, if we conduct a comparison of the mean values (i.e.,
T-test for independent samples) using Levene's Test, the results indicate that in the mean values
of luxury goods between MPA and non-MPA areas are not significantly different.
Nature’s Investment Bank
Figure 3.4 Box-plot of presence of luxury goods categorised by MPA/non-MPA (on a scale from
0 to 10)
Fishing activities
The main criticism about MPAs is the potential negative impact of MPAs on fishing activities.
Fishers are generally no longer allowed in certain areas, which implies that they lose part of their
fishing grounds. As a result, their catch may be reduced and travel cost increased. It remains
uncertain whether the potential increase in catch levels due to spillover effects compensate for
these potential welfare losses, at least in the short to medium term. To verify the impact of MPAs
on fishers, fishers were interviewed about their fishing activities.
Figure 3.5 and Figure 3.6 show the importance of certain type of fish catch and fisheries
techniques for MPA and non-MPA fishers, respectively. Due to limited time and resources, the
level of importance is not measured through absolute measurement of fish caught. Instead, the
respondent was asked to indicate the first most and second most important technique used and
fish type. This can show if MPA fishers have switched to different techniques or are catching
different kinds of fish than those outside the MPA. Differences in fishing techniques have time
and catch implications for fishers, and a difference in fish types caught has income implications
for fishers.
By attaching weights to the first and second most important options selected, a weighted score
was created which reflects the relative importance of each technique and fish type. Note that the
first most important technique and fish type weighs twice as much as the second most important
technique or fish type.
Figure 3.5 shows the composition of fish catch by MPA and non-MPA fishers. In both the MPA
and the non-MPA site areas, the most common fish type caught is pelagic fish. The difference is
minimal with 55% in Apo Island and 58% in District III. In both sites, reef fish come second,
although in Apo Island this is 43% and in District III only 25%. With 98% of the fish catch in
Apo being small-pelagic fish or reef fish, only 2% of the catch are reef invertebrates such as crab.
In District III there is no catch of reef invertebrates, but 16% of the catch comes from bottom
fish. The fishers were also asked whether the composition of their fish catch has changed
compared to ten years ago. The statistical analysis could not detect notable differences over time.
Apo Island (Philippines) 26
In sum, the fish catch type is roughly the same between MPA and non-MPA areas with the
exception of more bottom fish in the non-MPA areas, and catch type has not changed much in the
last ten years in either area. (Other fisheries studies found fish catch types changed a bit between
15 and 20 years ago. See Raymundo and White 2005 for more.)
Non-MPA catch (n = 33) MPA catch (n = 58)
Other types of
Bottom fish
Reef fish
Pelagic fish
Pelagic fish
Reef fish
Bottom fish
Figure 3.5 Composition of fish catch by MPA and non-MPA fishers
Figure 3.6 shows the range of fishing techniques used by MPA and non-MPA fishers,
respectively. The composition of techniques used is significantly different between the two sub-
samples. Hook and line techniques are the most common used fish techniques in both areas. In
Apo this is 83% and in District III this is 68%. In District III, 26% of fishers use gill nets
compared to only 4% in Apo. Gill nets are more destructive than hook and line as it catches a lot
of fish at once but also a lot of by-catch including dolphins and sea turtles. The fishers were also
asked whether the techniques used have changed over time. Similar to the fish types, no notable
differences have been found compared the composition of techniques ten years ago.
In sum, the fishing techniques on Apo are generally less destructive than in the non-MPA areas,
and there has been little change in techniques in either area over the last ten years.
Non-MPA techniques (n = 28) MPA techniques (n = 88)
Cast net
Drag and
surround net
Gill net
Bottom: hook &
line (more than
30 meters)
Bottom: hook &
line (less than
30 meters)
Bottom: hook &
line (less than
30 meters)
Bottom: hook &
line (more than
30 meters)
Gill net
Drag and
surround net
Cast net
Figure 3.6 Fishing techniques applied by MPA and non-MPA fishers
Figure 3.7 shows the response of the fishers when asked about their perception on the changes in
the fishery industry in the last ten years. A slight majority (around 53%) of the fishers
experienced more difficult conditions. The fishers in the MPA appeared to be somewhat less
pessimistic, but the difference between MPA and non-MPA areas is not statistically significant.
Nature’s Investment Bank
Fishing has become more
diff icult
No change
Fishing has become easier
Figure 3.7 Perceived changes in the last ten years according to interviewed fishers
Other studies of Apo fishing note that the perceived changes in fishing were more significant in
the mid 1980s when the MPA was younger. In contrast, there has been less improvement in
recent years because the reef production is already quite high and stable after more than 20 years
of protection.
When asked about the reason for the perceived decline in catch per unit effort, the two main
reasons for the decline in both Apo Island and District III are the changes in fishing areas and the
changes in fish abundance (Figure 3.8). It is remarkable that 27% of the fishers in District III see
changes in fishing areas as one of the main reasons. While District III has no MPA, and they do
have access to all municipal waters, but the establishment of MPAs have reduced municipal
fishing areas. On Apo Island, fishers suspect divers scare the fish away. (Though this has been
disproved in several studies.) It is noticeable that none of the fishers in District III indicate this as
a reason, but then there is much less dive tourism in District III.
Fishing areas
Fish abundance
Divers ward fish off
Fish species
Figure 3.8 Reasons for change in fish catch compared to ten years ago
To learn more about the possible impact of the MPA on the fishing efficiency of the fishers, two
tests were conducted. First, the respondent was asked about the duration and frequency of their
fishing trips. By combining the fishing frequency and the fishing time, the total fishing time per
year was calculated for both MPA fishers and non-MPA fishers. The comparison of the mean
values indicates that there are no significant differences between MPA and non-MPA fishing
time. As shown in Figure 3.12, the calculation reveals that MPA and non-MPA fishers spend
1,392 and 1,477 hours per year, respectively. However, due to the large variation, the means
cannot be considered to be statistically different.
Apo Island (Philippines) 28
Figure 3.9 Box-plot for total fishing time per year for MPA and non-MPA fishers
Second, the respondents who indicated they go fishing at least once a month were requested to
report their travel time to their prime fishing grounds now compared to ten years ago (Table 3.7
and Figure 3.10). The T-tests for both variables (travel time now and travel time ten years ago)
indicate that there are differences in mean values between MPA and non-MPA fishers. Fishers
from the MPA area need on average less time to travel to their primary fishing ground compared
with fishers from the non-MPA area. The difference between non-MPA and MPA areas in mean
value of travel time is now about 14 minutes. The difference between non-MPA and MPA areas
in mean value of travel time ten years ago was about 11 minutes. In Figure 3.10 the travel time
for the fishers in District III can vary from 5 minutes to more than an hour, but the travel time for
the fishers in Apo have a travel time of maximum half an hour. It is not that the fishing grounds
for District III are very far. It is more that fishers from Apo fish very close to the shore and this
makes the average travel time a lot less. About 43% of the fishers of Apo target reef fish (Figure
3.5). As the reefs are near the shore, the travel time is sometimes only 5 minutes for some fishers.
Table 3.7 Travel time to primary fishing grounds (in minutes)
Travel time to fishing grounds Non-MPA MPA
Ten years ago 32 21
At present 34 20
Nature’s Investment Bank
MPA and non-MPA areas
Travel time
to the
ground 10
years ago
Travel time
to the
ground now
Figure 3.10 Box-plot for travel time
In summary, the fishing data suggest that fish catch type, fishing techniques (expect for gill nets
in the non-MPA area), total fishing time, and the perception that fishing has become more
difficult compared with ten years ago are roughly similar between the MPA and non-MPA areas.
The main difference is MPA fishers spend less travel time (14 minutes or 41% less on average)
than non-MPA fishers.
Alternative livelihood
The survey also analysed whether the MPA provided opportunities for alternative livelihood
through increased tourism. Figure 3.11 provides an insight into the previous occupation of the
tourism-dependent respondent as well as the main reason for the respondent to change jobs.
Figure 3.11a shows that 52% of the respondents who moved into tourism used to work as fishers.
11% used to be unemployed and another 11% worked in services. The remaining 26% used to
work in construction, farming, business or other activities. The two most important reasons why
people changed jobs were that their original income was not enough and that they needed a
constant source of income. These answers were given by respectively 43% and 42% of the people
who indicated that they changed jobs.
a. Previous occupation b. Main reason for entering tourism industry
Other activities
Other reason
No prospect in
previous job
Learn something
Constant source
of income
Original income
was insufficient
Figure 3.11 Previous occupation before working in the tourist industry, and main reason for
changing jobs
Apo Island (Philippines) 30
The tourism-related households were also explicitly asked about whether their family’s
welfare has changed since the household members moved into the tourism industry. As shown in
Figure 3.12. None of the respondents experienced a decrease in income. 75% of the respondents
said they experience an increase in their income and the remaining 25% said their income stayed
the same. Overall it seems that working in tourism pays better than people’s previous jobs.
the same
Decreased subst antially (0%)
Decreased somewhat (0%)
Remained the same (25%)
Increased somewhat (42%)
Increased substantially (33%)
Figure 3.12 Change in family’s welfare of tourism-based households compared to previous
occupation (n=58)
Education is an important indicator representing the opportunities of the local communities. As
shown in Table 3.8, around 94% of the children in the non-MPA between 6 and 15 years of age
attend school. For the MPA children this is only 87%. This is due to the fact that Apo Island does
not offer a complete high school curriculum and children have to travel to District III to complete
high school while for the non-MPA this is readily available. However, opportunity for education
has increased in comparison with prior to the establishment of the MPA. When asked about the
highest level of education within the household, a similar pattern emerges. As shown in Table
3.9, no schooling is higher for the MPA, this is because many respondents for the MPA are
already adults (average age was 43), and prior to the establishment of the MPA, the opportunity
for education was limited. However, the percentage of those who finished a tertiary education in
the MPA is higher at 13% compared to 8% for the non-MPA. This could be attributed due to
scholarships received from donors abroad.
Table 3.8 School attendance of children between 6 and 15 years of age categorised by
MPA/non-MPA and economic activity
Attend school 94% 87%
Do not attend school 6% 13%
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Table 3.9 Highest level of education recorded within the interviewed household categorised
by MPA/non-MPA and economic activity
No schooling
5% 10%
Primary 32% 32%
Secondary 54% 44%
Tertiary 8% 13%
Other 0% 1%
Respondents were also requested to respond to various statements about education. The responses
were ranked on a scale from –1 (fully disagree) to +1 (fully agree). On two statements, the
respondents were almost unanimously in agreement: “It is important that my children attend
school” and “It has become easier for my children to attend school”. The only significant
difference between perceived changed by MPA and non-MPA households was the ease with
which the school fees can be paid. On this aspect, the MPA households are in agreement while
the non-MPA households are not. Overall, MPA households have a more positive answer on
these statements.
Schooling is crucial for my children
Schooling is the same for boys and girls
Children's awareness about culture increased
We learned new skills to earn income
Paying school fees is easier
It is easier to go to school
Level of (dis)agreement
(on scale between 1 and -1 )
Figure 3.13 Changes in education compared to ten years ago categorised by activity
Apo Island (Philippines) 32
3.3 Empowerment and governance
The level of community engagement was tested in two ways. First, the respondent was asked
whether anyone in his or her household was a member of some sort of committee. Being part of a
committee implies that the respondents have a stronger voice in policies and management issue in
the region, thereby representing a higher degree of empowerment. Table 3.10 shows a very high
presence of committee members in MPA households (41%) compared with non-MPA households
Table 3.10 Participation rate of households categorised by MPA/non-MPA and by economic
No committee members
100% 59%
Committee members 0% 41%
Next, various statements were presented to the respondent about how community engagement has
changed since the implementation of the MPA or ten years ago (for non-MPA households)
(Figure 3.14). Similar to the previous statements, responses are ranked on a scale from –1 (fully
disagree) to +1 (fully agree). It is clear that the MPA has created more participation in community
meetings, a stronger voice for women in meetings and more support for NGOs. The MPA
community is also viewed as more united by most but with more conflict than the non-MPA area.
Overall, the MPA area scored better than non-MPA area on statements about community
More participation in community meetings
Women stronger voice in meetings
More support from NGOs
Community is more united
Youth more voice and opportunities in community
Less conflict between neighbouring communities
More support from government
Less conflicts amongst community members
Level of (dis)agreement
(on scale between 1 and -1 )
Figure 3.14 Statements about community engagement categorised by activity
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3.4 Security
As a health proxy, an effort was made to find out more about the impact of the MPA on the fish
diet. First, information was collected about the frequency in which fish was consumed in the
household currently. On average, households consume fish 306 days per year, with a lower limit
of 294 days per year (some MPA residents) and an upper limit of 332 days per year (some non-
MPA residents).
As shown in Table 3.11, the households also indicated whether their fish consumption has
changed compared to ten years ago. In this regard, the results are somewhat similar. The majority
of respondents for both MPA and non-MPA communities do not know if there were any changes
in fish diet compared to ten years ago.12% of the non-MPA respondents indicated they consume
less fish than ten years ago. This decline in fish consumption was slightly higher among MPA
respondents (16%).
Table 3.11 Changes in fish diet compared to ten years ago
Eat less fish 12% 16%
No change
19% 19%
Eat more fish 6% 7%
Don’t know 37% 42%
When asked about the reason for change in diet, each community answered differently. For the
MPA community, the most important reason indicated was a change in catch levels while for the
non-MPA community, the reason indicated was they now fish less/more (see Figure 3.15). It
could be argued, however, that such reasons are applicable to only “eat less fish” or “eat more
fish” respondents rather than the majority of respondents who “don’t know” if there was a
change. It is interesting to note that “preference for fish has changed” was indicated as a reason
for the MPA community while this was not a reason for the non-MPA community.
0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%
Fishing time is same but
catch changed
The price of fish has
Availability of c ertain
local species changed
We fish less or more
Sharing of fish has
Change to other food
Preference for fish has
Market access changed
Figure 3.15 Reasons for changes in fish consumption
Apo Island (Philippines) 34
Next, various statements were presented to the respondent about how health-related issues
changed compared to ten years ago. Similar to the previous statements about education, responses
are ranked on a scale from –1 (fully disagree) to +1 (fully agree). As shown in Figure 3.16, MPA
and non-MPA households respond differently on these statements. For MPA households, the
most important health related change is that access to market has improved, while for non-MPA
households this is improvement in sanitation. Both MPA and non MPA households rated the
availability of medical facilities in their communities the same. The improvement in the variety of
daily meals and availability of food/fish were rated positively by MPA households and negatively
by non-MPA households. Overall, there is a more optimistic response from MPA households than
non-MPA households on these statements. The MPA may have played a role in this regard.
Market access improved
Health of my family improved
Better access to medical services
Sanitation is cleaner/better
The variety of daily meals improved
Easier to find traditional medicine
Water supply is cleaner/better
Availability of food/fish improved
Level of (dis)agreement
(on scale between 1 and -1 )
Figure 3.16 Health related changes compared to ten years ago categorised by activity
Social cohesion
MPAs generally require a social system in which decisions concerning the management of the
MPA are made. As a result, a common interest is created which generally has a positive impact
on the social cohesion in the region. The social cohesion was tested by asking the respondent how
often they encountered people using illegal fishing practices (for example, dynamite, cyanide,
acid, or fishing in MPAs) or found evidence that people have recently used illegal practices in
their area.
The results are summarised in Table 3.12. Illegal practices are more often observed more by non-
MPA household (3%) than by MPA households (1%) because of the laxity in implementing
regulations in the non-MPA, while for the MPA area there are sea wardens in-charge of policing
the marine sanctuary. However, the difference is too small to draw any definite conclusions about
the true level of violations in both communities. When asked about the type of violators, MPA
respondents indicated that the majority of the violators came from outside their communities
(67%) while non-MPA respondents indicated that they do not know (100%) who the violators
Nature’s Investment Bank
Table 3.12 Witnessed illegal practices in the last year categorised by MPA/non-MPA and by
economic activity
Non-MPA area MPA area
Regularly 3% 1%
Occasionally 0% 0%
Rarely 3% 6%
95% 93%
3.5 General perceptions of the MPA
Environmental awareness
The perceived change in the state of the general marine environment was tested by asking the
respondents about their opinion on the quality of a range of environmental indicators (i.e., coral
and abundance, fish size and diversity, and water quality). The responses are normalised to a
scale between –1 (lowest quality) and +1 (highest quality). As shown in Figure 3.17, the
perception between MPA and non-MPA respondents is quite different. In all environmental
indicators, MPA respondents scored positively while this was the reverse for non-MPA
respondents. Clearly, the MPA respondents have a more positive view of the marine environment
in general.
Coral abundance
Fish diversity
Water quality
Fish abundance
Fish size
Compared to ten years ago, the environment changed ...
Perceived change
(on a scale between -1 and +1 )
Figure 3.17 Perceived changes in the environment categorised by MPA and non-MPA
households (on a scale between –1 and +1)
Relationship with the MPA
Finally, MPA households were interviewed about their perceptions of the MPA. Two sets of
statements were presented to the respondent about the MPA and its effect on the community.
Similar to the previous statements, responses are ranked on a scale from –1 (fully disagree) to +1
(fully agree).
The first set concentrated more on the perceived impact of the MPA on the income of the
community in general. As shown in Figure 3.18, all statements scored positively. This shows a
strong support for the MPA and the perceived positive impact on their income.
Apo Island (Philippines)
Improved market access to sell goods
Is good for my families' future
Helped to increase family's income
Made us less dependent on fishing on ly
Helped to improve infrastructure & se...
Made us feel safer in difficult times
Helped to increase fish catch
Level of (dis)agreement
(on scale between 1 and -1)
Figure 3.18 Perceptions on the MPA and its impact on the income of community
A number of intangible services are represented in the second set of statements, which
concentrate more on the public support of the MPA and the perceived quality management of the
MPA. Figure 3.19 shows that respondents agree in all statements about MPA management and
the community except for the statement “MPA improved access to natural resources”. This could
explain why most respondents perceived the MPA reduced their fishing grounds. However, they
recognized the benefits the MPA generates. A large majority of the respondents agree that the
community is responsible for protecting the MPA and that destroying the MPA now will cause
significant problems in the future. Moreover, respondents also feel that the MPA has improved
the position of women in the community and are very positive about the contribution of the MPA
in terms of maintenance and revival of local culture and traditions.
Villagers are responsible to protect MPA
Destroying the MPA causes future problems
MPA improved the position of women
MPA helped mai ntaining culture & traditions
My family can influence decisions about MPA
MPA management communicates well
MPA improved access to natural resources
Level of (dis)agreement
(on scale between 1 and -1)
Figure 3.19 Statements about MPA management and community
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4. Conclusions and synthesis
Overall, there is a positive association between the conservation initiatives of Apo Island and
poverty reduction. “People in the community are now better off and this is because of the MPA.”
4.1 Assets and opportunity
The qualitative assessment shows that the Apo Island MPA has increased local fish catches, and
more than 90 percent of the 700 people on the island depend upon fishing for their primary
livelihood. The spillover effect of the MPA is widely perceived as the cause of the increased
catches. “Fishers have to spend less hours fishing now and this is because of the sanctuary. I
have observed this myself being a fish trader in this community.” The former MPA
superintendent notes, “Before, the average catch was 5 kg a day. Around 2005, there were times
that the catch could reach 20 kg in just a few hours.”
The MPA has created new livelihoods mostly related to tourism. There are now two resorts on the
island, bed-and-breakfasts, t-shirt vendors, fishing boat charters, dive masters, and guards for the
MPA. Tourism generates more income than fishing for the island, and about half the island
households have some work in the island’s tourist trade.
Tourist numbers are limited to 15 divers a day “per area”, and each tourist pays the equivalent of
US$7.60 a day. The national government keeps 25% of the entrance fees and returns 75% to the
community but often more than a year after the revenue was collected. When the entrance fee
increased from 150 pesos to 350 pesos (US$3.25 to US$7.60), there was no change in diver
Education on the island has improved because kids have more time and funds for school. Prior to
the MPA, fish catches were declining and families needed the children to help in order to put
food on the table. Few kids attended school. As fish catches improved and tourism revenues
started to flow, investments were made in new schools and teachers, and education for kids
became compulsory. There is now a high school on the island.
The purchase and use of modern appliances has increased considerably despite the limited
electrical supply. Most key informants believe that this could be attributed indirectly to the MPA.
The quantitative assessment measured many of the above effects, yet not to the satisfaction of the
research team. The control site chosen proved not to be a good one. While District III has no
MPA and is similar to Apo in population size, ethnicity, religious background and economic
activities, District III has MPAs on either side of it, and fishers benefit from the “spillover” of
these MPAs. Many District III households also work in tourism which is booming partly due to
the existence of Apo Island. District III households are in effect “free riders” on the neighbouring
MPAs and Apo Island. District III is also a short drive away from major markets in Dumaguete
City and has better access than Apo Island to education and health services. Thus, all differences
between the MPA and non-MPA control site should not be taken as robust findings. As one might
imagine given their similarity, there are only a few statistically significant differences between
Apo Island and the District III control site. The comparisons of the situation 10 years ago within
Apo are not affected by the control site choice. In hind sight, another small island would have
been a better choice as a control.
Apo Island (Philippines) 38
Income is of course one of many welfare indicators. Other relevant proxy’s for welfare are the
quality of housing and the number of luxury items available in the household. Alternatively, the
changes of welfare of fishers can be measured directly by observing perceived changes in the fish
catch. A summary of these combined indicators is provided in the radar chart presented in Figure
4.1, which is categorised by location (i.e., MPA/non-MPA households). The radar chart shows
graphically how four key welfare variables compare between the MPA and the non-MPA areas.
The four welfare indicators are normalised on a scale from 0 to 1. The highest score for each
welfare indicator is automatically presented as the maximum score, being “1” in this graph. The
radar chart confirms the assets and opportunity findings of the qualitative assessment: MPA
households are a bit better off than the non-MPA households taking part in the survey.
4.9 6.2
Luxury itemsFish catch
Income growth
4.9 6.2
Luxury itemsFish catch
Income growth
Figure 4.1 Summary of welfare indicators of MPA and non-MPA communities
Note: The axis “Fish Catch” shows the share of respondents that experienced an improvement in fishery
Apo Island is one of the best studied marine protected areas in the Philippines, and one study by
White and Vogt summarized the costs and benefits of the MPA in 2000. Total costs for the MPA
were approximately US$150,000
per year in 2000. The annual benefits from fish catches,
tourism resorts, boat transfers for tourists, tourism sales, and tourism jobs were estimated at
US$240,000. Thus, the net financial benefit from the MPA in 2000 was US$90,000 or about
US$720 for each of Apo’s 125 households (US$150 per person). The national poverty line in
2000 was the equivalent of US$314 per capita per year. The Apo MPA provided an incremental
benefit to Apo residents that was almost half the amount of the poverty line. With the
conservative assumption that the average resident on Apo was earning at least half the poverty
line amount before the MPA, it is reasonable to conclude that the MPA lifted the average Apo
resident out of income poverty.
4.2 Empowerment and governance
The qualitative assessment shows that Apo Island MPA has had a mixed impact on local
empowerment. Co-management of the MPA started with the community and local government
and in 1994 switched to the national government and the community. The mayor of the local
All US$ figures were converted using the yearly average exchange rate of PHP 22.38.
Nature’s Investment Bank
municipality noted, “co-management should be between the local government unit and the
community and not with the national government. The national government is very
bureaucratic.” On the positive side, Apo Island has been well studied by researchers for more
than 20 years due to its close relationship with Silliman University in nearby Dumaguete City. A
lot of people and organizations have visited the island and helped raise awareness particularly
among women about their rights and privileges. As Dr. Oracion, Associate Professor of
Anthropology at the Silliman University, said: “Even though they are not well educated, by
listening to other people, this inspires [women] to assert their rights.” There are now women
dive guides and MPA guards. The islanders’ contacts with people from other parts of the
Philippines and other countries have encouraged local people to look for opportunities outside
Apo as well, and a number of women in particular have found work off the island.
The quantitative assessment shows a similar pattern. On top of the statements about community
engagement are family and women’s involvement in community meetings. At the same time,
youth involvement and opportunities scored positively. However, conflicts among community
members still seem to be perceived by the community. This is due to the contested issue of who
has more to say in decision-making about the management of the MPA. Such localized conflicts
are not new to Apo. In the early 1980s, there were many conflicts over control of island resources
that revolved around access of illegal fishers and who benefited from this access.
4.3 Security
The qualitative assessment shows that Apo Island MPA has improved security and decrease
vulnerability. The community’s health has improved largely because fish catches have resulted to
better nutrition. Protein intake has increased, and selling the surplus fish allows families to buy
provisions such as rice, vegetables and fruits. The local island leader observed: “before the
sanctuary there were times when fishers had to work twice as hard and they still could not catch
enough fish to provide at least one proper meal per day for their families.” Tourism revenues
have improved local healthcare on the island by helping fund doctor visits and an island midwife.
The MPA’s stock of medicines has become the de facto local pharmacy. As the MPA
superintendent explains, “we buy medicines (first aid) for the employees, but somehow the whole
community has access to it.”
The quantitative assessment validates this claim. Health-related changes categorized by an
activity were compared to ten years ago. The MPA community was in agreement that health
services have improved. The community believes that access to market has improved and there is
now better access to medical services compared to ten years ago.
Population growth on the small island is an issue. “The area of the fishing grounds remains
constant while the number of fishers is set to increase,” notes the local island leader.
Contraception measures have been successfully introduced on this almost entirely Catholic
“Marine species need a place to regenerate without disturbance from fishing and in time will
sustain our needs and the needs of our children and grandchildren. People in the community are
now better off and this is because of the MPA."
Nature’s Investment Bank
Bolido, L. (2004) Living Proof: Apo Island’s journey from ruin to modest riches. ECOS, 2004(121), 8-9.
Oracion, E. G. (2005). Beyond Physical Space: The Human and Cultural Complexities in Marine Protected
Oracion E.G., Miller ML, Christie P. (2005) Marine protected areas for whom? Fisheries, tourism, and
solidarity in a Philippine community. Ocean and Coastal Management.
Oracion, E.G. (2001). The trade-off of marine protected areas and tourism: The case of Apo Island,
Philippines. Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Philippines.
Raymundo, L.J. (2005) Community-Based Coastal Resources Management of Apo Island, Negros
Oriental, Philippines: History and Lessons Learned, Silliman University Marine Laboratory,
Dumaguete City, Philippines UNEP/EAS/ICRAN/WS 2/5, Annex 2.
Raymundo, L. J., and A. T. White. (2005). 50 years of scientific contributions of the Apo Island
experience: a review. Silliman Journal (50th Anniversary Issue), Silliman University, Dumaguete,
Vera, A., J. Cleofe, and B. Balderrama (2003) Accounting a Decade or So of CBCRM: Impacts, Trends
and Challenges. CBCRM Resource Centre. 15.p.
Vogt, H.P. (1997). The economic benefits of tourism in the marine reserve of Apo island, Philippines.
Year unknown. Probably 1997.
White, A.T., R. Rosales and A. Meneses. (2002). Incentives for Marine protected area management in the
Philippines: Rating, information and user fees.
Apo Island (Philippines) 42
Appendix I. Protocol for qualitative assessment
As a methodological component of this general study, the objective of the Focus Group
Discussions (FGD) and Key Informant Interviews (FII) were to provide a qualitative base of
information to complement quantitative information provided by socio-economic analysis
through household surveys. The idea was to understand the perceptions of community members
with respect to the impact of a marine protected area on the many dimensions of their daily lives
and on the management of the natural resources. The focus of the discussions were on the
linkages between a given conservation initiative and poverty eradication at a particular
community level in the three countries. This methodology aimed to address, predominantly,
social, cultural and governance dimensions of community life whilst also attempting to canvass
information related to livelihoods that would complement the Household Survey. It also helped,
in some instances, to understand the dynamics of community life and how to best implement the
Household Survey in each community. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews
were conducted only at the communities affected by a conservation regime.
Environmental conservation through Marine Protected Areas, in general, aims at the provision of
better environmental services, species protection, maintenance of cultural and spiritual sites and
values and better infrastructure and mechanisms for management of the natural resources.
Poverty is a multi-faceted condition including several usually interconnected economic, social
and cultural dimensions (lack of assets and income; lack of opportunities; lack of voice and
empowerment; vulnerability and lack of capacity).
The focus of these discussions was to understand some of these linkages between what a marine
protected area means to the local people as it affects livelihoods and poverty reduction in their
communities. The intention of the Focus Group Discussions and Key Informant Interviews were
to address the following specific areas:
4. General perceptions of what people feel about the marine protected area
5. General perceptions of the effect of the marine protected area on the livelihoods of
households in the community
6. Some aspects of education
7. Some aspects of health
8. The role of women and men and opportunities for the youth
9. Governance and Social Cohesion
10. Access and use of resources and rights
11. Vulnerability (including maintenance of cultural and spiritual values)
12. Some aspects of livelihoods and opportunities
Information on areas 3-9 above was sought by aiming, primarily, at understanding whether there
has been any noticeable impact that can be attributed to the marine protected areas on these
Mechanism for Conducting Focus Group Discussions
These were conducted in small groups of people (between 6-12 individuals), with national team
counterparts and/or national institutional partners notifying the communities and organizing the
Nature’s Investment Bank
meetings in advance. Each meeting took on average between 2 - 2 ½ hours. The composition of
the groups (and whether they were homogeneous or heterogonous) depended on what was most
appropriate for each community and for each locality of a MPA. This was discussed and agreed
in advance with national team counterparts and/or national institutional partners. There were two
facilitators for each meeting (the social scientist and a national counterpart/translator). There was
also one bi-lingual recorder of information at each group discussion.
The steps and questions for reference that were used during the group discussions are presented in
Appendix D. The philosophy of the Focus Group Discussions was to commence more in-depth
discussion on issues that participants mentioned at the start and then move on to other issues that
may not be as salient to that particular group, but also relevant to the study. The idea was to
maintain as much as possible a natural flow of discussion, where talking about one particular
content area led to another. Thus, reference questions (in Appendix D) did not assume a logical
order for guiding the discussion. Some areas were more appropriate for particular group
discussions than for others (i.e., not all the questions were addressed at every group discussion).
Particular attention was given to ensure a full spectrum of participation by all group members. All
meetings were conducted in the local language with translation for the social scientist and the
information was recorded in English (by the bi-lingual recorder). Data recorded was entered into
the computer soon after the conclusion of the meetings (and also of the key informant interviews
Key informant interviews
The objective of the key informant interviews was to provide more in-depth specific qualitative
information on targeted areas described in points 1-9 above. Thus, for instance, at each
community individual interviews were held with staff from the health clinic, from the school and
from a youth group to ascertain more detailed information on whether the MPAs has had any
impact on health, education and the lives of young people.
Appendix E contains the list of Focus Group Discussions and Key Informant Interviews
conducted at each site.
Steps for FGD and KII
1. Explain the purpose of the study and of the Focus Group discussion
2. Individual Introduction of participants
3. Ask participants a general question of what the marine protected area has done for themselves
for their lives and for the community live – can be either positive or negative (ask each
participant to write 3-4 major things that are most important to him/her in a card with a
mixture of things related to the lives of their own household but also the community live)
4. Give people time to think and write in the cards
5. People individually present their points and place them in a board/wall
6. Two participants and the facilitator then make logical grouping of those
7. If there is any omission of general areas important for discussion than the facilitators may
also include some cards
8. Start addressing some of those groupings of things mentioned by the community baring in
mind the questions below as references for stimulating discussions on a number of different
9. Start discussing the groupings that are more relevant for the areas 1-8 mentioned above
Apo Island (Philippines) 44
Reference Questions for FGD and KII
Education/new skills
Has the marine protected area had any effect in the availability of education for children at
this community?
Has the marine protected area had any effect on people being able to afford to pay school
Has the marine protected area contributed to members of this community being able to learn
new skills?
Has the marine protected area contributed to teach children in this community about any
cultural or traditional values?
Has the marine protected area helped or hindered access to the practice of traditional health?
In what ways?
Has the marine protected area contributed or not to having more health care available in this
community? In what ways?
Has the marine protected area contributed or not to health in general in this community? In
what ways?
Does you think everyone has sufficient to eat everyday and a mixture or a limited amount of
Does the marine protected area contributed or not to the food supply in your household?
Have there been any improvements to sanitation in this community since the declaration of
the marine protected area?
Governance and social cohesion
Have there been other committees or community groups established since the declaration of
the marine protected area?
Is anyone in this group a member of any committee related to the management of the marine
protected area? Which one?
Is anyone in this group involved in any other activity related to the management of the marine
protected area? In what ways?
Do members of this group feel that in general they can influence decisions related to the
management of the marine protected area? Are there mechanisms for more general
participation in decisions?
Do members of this group feel that in general there is transparency in the way decisions are
made related to the management of the marine protected area?
Do members of this group feel that in general they are properly informed about decisions
related to the management of the marine protected area?
How often are there meetings related to the management of the protected area? What are the
things addressed in those meetings?
Has the formation of committees and groups related to the management of the marine
protected area helped this community in any ways?
From your perception has the marine protected area helped the community to be more united?
From your perception has the marine protected area created more conflict amongst
community members?
From your perception has the marine protected area created more conflict between
neighbouring communities?
Nature’s Investment Bank
Role of Woman and Man and the lives of children
Has the marine protected are changed what a woman does in her daily activities in this
Has the marine protected area changed what a man does in his daily activities in this
Has the marine protected area changed anything about how children can grow up in this
Access and use of resources, rights and ownership
Has the marine protected area had an effect on access to natural resources by members of this
community (e.g., fisheries, water, and timber?)
Has the marine protected area had an effect on the ownership of, and rights to, natural
resources by members of this community?
Do you feel that the marine protected area helped this community to have a better natural
environment with more plants, animals and environmental resources like cleaner water?
Does the marine protected area help your family to feel a sense of more or less security when
you go through difficult times or when there is an environmental disaster?
Has this community received more or less support from the government or from other
organizations because you live in or near a marine protected area?
Has the marine protected area helped or not this community to maintain traditional and
spiritual customs?
Livelihoods and opportunities
A range of specific questions tailored to the economic and subsistence activities and opportunities
of the community that will be mentioned during the cards exercise (see above). In particular
understanding will be sought on the social-cultural impacts of alternative or new activities
attributed to the conservation initiative.
Apo Island (Philippines)
Appendix II. Questionnaire for household survey
Nature’s Investment Bank
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Apo Island (Philippines) 50
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Nature’s Investment Bank
Apo Island (Philippines)
Appendix III. Statistical tests
The following statistical tests have been applied in the quantitative analysis.
Nonparametric test: Chi-square analysis of two samples of nominal data
For the computation of chi-square one utilizes observed and expected frequencies (and never
proportions or percentages). The test is used to find out whether there is a relationship between
the two variables, which we test.
If chi-square is significant we reject H
assumes that there is no relationship between the
tested variables) and conclude that the proportions in the population we sampled are not the same
with both variables.
Parametric test: The two sample t-test
The two sample t-test assumes that both samples come at random from normal populations with
equal variances. Numerous studies have shown that the t-test is robust enough to stand
considerable departures from its theoretical assumptions, especially if the sample sizes are equal
or nearly equal, and especially when two-tailed hypotheses are considered. However, if the
underlying populations are markedly skewed, then one should be wary of one-tailed testing, and
if there is considerable non-normality in the populations, then very small significance levels (say,
p<0.01) should not be depended on.
If H
is not rejected, then both samples are concluded to have come from populations having
identical means.
Some authors have recommended that the two variances should be compared and concluded to be
similar, prior to employing the t-test. However, considering that the t-test is so robust, and that
the variance-comparison test performs so poorly when the distributions are non-normal, the
routine test of variance is not recommended.
Statistical errors in hypothesis testing
One needs an objective criterion for rejecting or not rejecting the null hypothesis (H
) for a
statistical test. The probability used as the criterion for rejection is called the significance level. A
probability of p<0.05 (p<0.01; p<0.001) means that the probability of error by rejecting H
lower than 5% (1%; 0.1%).
... Future research on conservation tourism governance in Raja Ampat can learn from challenges experienced in other countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, and The Philippines, such as ambiguous and overlapping regulations, inconsistencies with local settings (Hussin, Kunjuraman, & Weirowski, 2015;Oracion, Miller, & Christie, 2005;Thuy, 2016), transparency and accountability (Mohammed, 2010), exclusion of locals from decision-making in planning (Johari, Ramachandran, Shuib, & Herman, 2015), and poor coordination in multi-actor and multilevel governance (Gan, Nair, & Hamzah, 2019;Marzuki, Rofe, & Mohd Hashim, 2014). Others point to rising equity challenges resulting from marine conservation tourism issues, including power dissymmetry among local actors in decision-making (Gier, Christie, & Amolo, 2017), equitable cost and benefit-sharing at different governance levels (Othman & Zin, 2013), differences in benefits between conservation tourism actors (Ariffin & Yen, 2017;Pusiran & Xiao, 2013) and between localities in conservation tourism destinations (van Beukering, Cacatian, Stellinga, Sultanian, & Leisher, 2007). A future research agenda is needed to study as to whether the shifts in governance improve the effectiveness in achieving multiple objectives of conservation tourism, i.e. to conserve nature and at the same time to improve local livelihood through tourism development in protected areas. ...
Full-text available
This paper examines how governance arrangements for marine conservation tourism in the new regency of Raja Ampat, Indonesia, have evolved as a result of Indonesia's decentralization policy and what role NGOs have played in this process. The analysis shows that over a period of two decades NGOs have played a major co-governance role by informing and mobilizing local communities, by establishing and managing marine protected areas, as well as by supporting the technical and financial capacity of the newly established regional government of Raja Ampat. Over time a patchwork of non-state governance and open co-governance arrangements in marine conservation tourism transformed into more integrated closed co-governance arrangements, in which state authority became more important. NGOs, however, continue to play a pivotal role in marine conservation tourism governance arrangements, even now that a recentralization in Indonesia's marine conservation governance is likely to take place.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
What has been the impact of Community-Based Coastal Resource Management (CBCRM) for the past decade or so? With the Philippines serving as a world leader in terms of CBCRM implementation, has there been a significant change the status of fisheries and fisherfolk? How can we disaggregate the contribution of CBCRM with other coastal resource management (CRM) interventions? These are daunting questions that are difficult to answer. To synthesize the impact of CBCRM across projects is difficult because various practitioners use varying criteria for success (Pomeroy and Carlos, 1996). Determining which programs are CBCRM and which are not further complicates the task. Several definitions have been posed by several authors. Although the nuances between community-base, co-management, coastal zone management, etc. are recognized by several evaluators, the limited literature available used often mix the different approaches. Thus, determining the distinct contribution and impact remains evasive. The result of this study is meant to facilitate discussion during this CBCRM Festival. It does not by any means attempt to be definitive of its conclusions. Information used in this study were based on a secondary literature review, a perception survey, raw input from the ongoing evaluation of Oxfam-Great Britain CBCRM programme evaluation and the sharing of experiences of some CBCRM practitioners. It cannot be denied that CBCRM has gained wide popularity as a development strategy in coastal communities in the Philippines. Even the government, as stated in the current Medium Term Development Plan, espouses a CBCRM approach. However, the actual application of CBCRM is limited and remains an exception instead of the rule.
Full-text available
Brief History of the Site and its Management Objectives: Apo Island (9 o 4'N, 123 o 16'E; Fig. 1) is a 74-ha steep volcanic island, rising 200 m above sea level. It is located in the Mindanao Sea, 25 km south of Dumaguete City, the capital of Negros Oriental. It is surrounded by a fringing reef covering 1.06 km 2 to the 60-m isobath. There are 2 small villages/settlements located along the periphery of the island, home to approximately 700 inhabitants (Maypa unpubl. 2001 census). The island falls under the political jurisdiction of the municipality of Dauin, the nearest town on the island of Negros (approximately 30 minutes by motorized pumpboat from Apo). The no-take Marine Reserve is on the southeast side, covering a 0.45 km stretch of reef, slightly less than 10% of the total reef area (Russ and Alcala 1999). In the 1970s, small-scale dynamite and muro-ami fishing (smashing coral heads with rocks to scare fish into a net) were practiced on Apo Island (Savina and White 1986). Silliman University Biology faculty facilitated the Marine Conservation Education Program initiated in 1976, using a non-formal approach to gain the support and interest of the community in conservation (Cabanban and White 1981). The program consisted of slide presentations showing the benefits of conservation vs. destructive fishing, and the ecology of coral reefs and reef fish (Alcala 2001). The concept of the community as principal stakeholder of its own resources was introduced during this early stage. As a result of this program, the community began discussing prohibition of destructive fishing practices, and eliminating fishing totally within a "no-take" area. A 0.45-km stretch of reef was formally set aside by the community as a sanctuary in 1982. This was supported by a written agreement between the municipality of Dauin and Silliman University. The Marine Conservation and Development Program (MCDP; White and Vogt 2000) began in 1984, and included Apo as a target site. A comprehensive management plan for the island developed out of this, initiated in 1985. This plan formalized the "no-take" sanctuary and declared the entire reef to 500 m offshore a marine reserve, allowing only traditional non-destructive fishing methods (Russ and Alcala 1999). Emphasis was on encouraging tourism as a supplemental source of income for local residents, protecting fish habitats, and banning non-residents from fishing within Apo. This plan was approved by Municipal Ordinance in Dauin on November 3, 1986. At this point, a Marine Management Committee (MMC) composed of local residents was set up to maintain and enforce the regulations of the sanctuary and reserve. During this period, two community organizers from Silliman University were assigned to the island to work with the community. The MMC managed the reserve and sanctuary until 1994, with enforcement assistance provided by the Philippine National Police (formerly the Philippine Constabulary) and technical advice from Silliman University (Alcala 2001). Apo was also a Coastal Environment Program site, under the DENR, in 1993. Under this program, the island was reforested, and mangroves were planted in the lagoon.
Full-text available
The coastal economy of the municipality of Mabini located on the Calumpan Peninsula of Luzon has roots on one coast in the harvest of fish and on the opposite coast in the attraction of dive tourists and other recreationalists from metropolitan Manila. Marine protected areas at the base of the municipality promoted by foreign and local conservationists provide de facto illustrations of integrated coastal management. Social survey results show that MPA management and enforcement policies have both benefited and disappointed fishery and tourism constituencies. To a degree, the inherent economic advantages enjoyed by the tourism sector have marginalized the fishery sector in terms of access and control of the MPAs both sectors helped to establish in the municipality. The viability of MPAs in Mabini will depend on the abilities of leaders and managers to reconcile top-level policies of conservation and economic development with local community aspirations.
50 years of scientific contributions of the Apo Island experience: a review
  • L J Raymundo
  • A T White
Raymundo, L. J., and A. T. White. (2005). 50 years of scientific contributions of the Apo Island experience: a review. Silliman Journal (50th Anniversary Issue), Silliman University, Dumaguete, Philippines.
Beyond Physical Space: The Human and Cultural Complexities in Marine Protected
  • E G Oracion
Oracion, E. G. (2005). Beyond Physical Space: The Human and Cultural Complexities in Marine Protected
The trade-off of marine protected areas and tourism: The case of Apo Island
  • E G Oracion
Oracion, E.G. (2001). The trade-off of marine protected areas and tourism: The case of Apo Island, Philippines. Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Philippines.
Living Proof: Apo Island's journey from ruin to modest riches
  • L Bolido
Bolido, L. (2004) Living Proof: Apo Island's journey from ruin to modest riches. ECOS, 2004(121), 8-9.