SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAlliyah Claravall (Poster Presenter- Distribution of the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) in a Semi-Urban Landscape: A Mark-Recapture Study)

“Eye-opening and at the same time exciting is how I would describe my trip to Samar.  Not only did the sights amaze me but the Symposium itself increased my awareness about the current state of our environment.  It opened my eyes about how many endangered endemic species we have and the continuous degradation and destruction or their homes.  This made me a more vigilant protector of our Mother Earth.  Also, speaking and presenting our study in front of hundreds of veteran scientists is truly life-changing.  From my experience, I would proudly say that protecting our home is now my advocacy.  I do wish that more and more high school students get involved in the Biodiversity Conservation Society of the Philippines.  It is never too early to start change.”

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Gail Hernandez (Poster Presenter- Safe Guarding a Precious Heritage: Searching for Effective Water Quality Indicators for Small Freshwater Mountain Streams)

“When Sir Henry first asked us our class about the possibility of students attending the annual biodiversity conservation symposium to be held in Catarman, Samar, I immediately raised my hand to volunteer.  Although, honestly, I didn’t exactly know what I would be doing there.  Thus, on April 13, 2015, Monday, six students from our batch set out for our destination.  We had a long, drawn-out, 14-hour ride in a bus (from Cubao to Matnog, Sorsogon), a 3-hour ride in a Roll-On-Roll-Off (RORO) ferry boat (from Matnog, Sorsogon in Luzon to Allen, Samar in the Visayas) and a 1-hour ride in a bus once more from Allen to Catarman, Samar.  Though the ride was tiring, the hospitality of the place more than just made up for our travel.  The Symposium itself was truly welcoming when it came to the program and food.  And the University of Eastern Samar had a lot of sights to showcase the participants.  All throughout our stay, I truly had the best time of my life- chatting with fellow students and prestigious researchers and conservationists.  During my poster presentation, I felt truly honored to be able to present and participate in the Symposium.  And when it has finally come to an end, we were sad to go but happy to have been part of a wonderful gathering of people who- in every sense of the word- are guardians of the Earth.

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Ackie Adeva (Oral Presenter- Factors Affecting Frog and Toad Diversity in Two Mountain Streams in the Antipolo/Taytay Area: Habitat Degradation, Invasive Species, and Climate Change)

“In Samar, the battle between heat and learning new things was so close that everyone wanted to jump in the ocean.  The feeling that you’re going to a Symposium and knowing that you’re going to present in front of scientists and professionals was very nerve-racking.  People there were so ready to learn new things and try to make a change for all of our biodiversity in the Philippines.  All of the key presenters know what to do, they just need people with the same passion to protect and save the environment.  I, for one, want to help them even if it’s just me sending a message to people of just something that I can do to contribute to the Biodiversity Conservation Society of the Philippines or the BCSP.”

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Mico Protacio and Abigail Resuma (Oral Presenters- Recreation Vs. Conservation: Resolving the Conflict Between Profit and Nature in Hotel and Resort Development Projects)

From Mico: “During my trip to Samar, I had mixed feelings of sheer nervousness and pure happiness because of the event we went to.  However, the starting day was pretty tiring because of the bus ride and RORO due to the sleepless times.  Thanks to the company that I had, the trip was kept very interesting and at times weird.  During my presentation, I was not nervous because I was really quiet during breakfast to keep my focus up and build my confidence.  Up until now, I still miss Samar but I wouldn’t want to go there anytime soon because of the very tiring adventure.  Next time, I would want to swim in the beach though and maybe go there for vacation.”

From Abigail: “The long hours of tiring bus rides and intense heat were all worth it because when we got to Samar, specifically in the University of Eastern Philippines, we were accommodated very well.  One of the things I really loved there was their food.  Their dishes were all so delicious that I ended up eating more than I usually do.  I am glad that I attended the BCSP Symposium because through the keynote speakers, Mr. Acosta and presenters, I was more enlightened about the urgent need to nurture our environment and conserve our own home’s (the Philippines’) biodiversity.  I value the chance given to me to be able to meet in person the famous authors my classmates and I have read about.  Going back home, I was excited to share my experiences and insights to inspire others and to bring awareness to them.  I brought home with me the thought that “I can someday be a tool for positive change.”

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Kaji Salvador (Oral Presenter – Lost and Found: Strengthening Ethnobotanical Knowledge in Antipolo/Taytay)

“At first I thought of not going to Samar anymore just because of the pressure of being a presenter but I knew it would be a fun experience and that I would regret it if I did not go.  Going to Samar was a life changing experience.  While in Samar, we felt nervous knowing we would present in front of 300 people but we also felt excited knowing we would go somewhere new.  When we arrived in Samar, we forgot about presenting for a while because of the wonderful scenery and the people that made us feel welcomed.  When it was my turn to present, I was nervous but also excited to get it over with.  There were interesting presentations that I was grateful to watch.”

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