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Marine Conservation Philippine

Supporter for Marine Conservation

Zamboanguita, Philippines

Join us as a volunteer, learn scientific diving and study marine biology, help campaign and meet people from all over the world who may end up as your lifelong friends.

If you are not certified as a diver already, you will start your participation in our program by getting licensed through the PADI system of education. As the work we carry out on fragile reefs require divers with excellent skills, we add additional practice and excursion dives until you’re ready for the task. Typically volunteers do one or two courses, but some who volunteer for ten weeks or more, do multiple courses or even complete their dive master. However the project is not a dive shop and people come here to take part in conservation, so we ask everyone to be flexible with their course wishes, as the instructors can only do so much. The priority is turning non-diving volunteers into diving volunteers ASAP - then after that, it's adding to the skillset of experienced divers, who wish to do additional courses. Taking your open water course through a demanding environmental organization instead of a lax commercial dive shop, makes you one badass diver!

Duties performed by most volunteers are: 

  • Participating in two daily scientific scuba dives mon-fri. Saturdays we frequently go exploring new sites or fun diving instead of working dives. 
  • Kitchen duty (the duty rotates between groups, so you have one day a week just setting table, doing dishes - our cooks does the real magic) 
  • Taking care of our mangrove nursery and participating in replanting efforts
  • Doing afternoon seagrass surveys while snorkeling
  • Helping clean reefs and beaches of plastic garbage at least once weekly. (We do so in between scientific dives) 
  • Cleaning personal dive gear daily and diveshed once a week
  • Filling scuba tanks
  • Help prepare various outreach activities and community clubs (Earth Club, Lutoban Kids Club, etc) 
  • In school periods, you may help go and deliver lessons together with our staff (we'll teach you how!) in local schools. 
  • Cleaning the base and your own bungalow every Monday. 
Volunteering is for people who want to get involved and get their hands dirty. Don’t expect any luxury at camp (well, other than the food which is amazing!). Accommodation is charming, but primitive. There are shared bathrooms and almost everything runs off solar power, including the wifi. There’s an outdoor jungle gym, and the whole botanical garden is more than ten hectares - large enough to go adventuring.

Your underwater adventure starts here. Join us, get involved, and help kick ass for mother Earth!

Typical day

While you stay with Marine Conservation Philippines, there’s a great number of projects you can participate in. In fact there’s so much to do, that you can’t do it all. Some of our projects are continually ongoing – for example hands-on beach clean ups and the surveying of coral reefs. While surveying we document the spread of habitats, species abundance as well as damage to coral reefs. Our biologists constantly work on various projects; studies of particular fishes, reef restoration or rehabilitation of species that’s been harvested to topical extinction. If you are a non-diver you’ll spend quite a while becoming a safe proficient scuba diver through the PADI program of Education. Depending on the length of your stay you can choose to do multiple diving courses (our rule is that you can do one course for each four week segment you're with us.)  For people who are really ambitious and can spend more time, we even do dedicated divemaster training (if this is interesting to you, please get in touch with us to discuss possibilities) 

Besides volunteer activities in the water, a great deal goes on on land as well. Part of what we do is visit local schools and tell about our work and what goes on in the sea. By affecting future generations we believe we may help change the future. We try to create artificial divesites (such as deliberately scuttled wrecks or underwater sculpture parks) to create breeding grounds for fish in marine protected areas, as well as promote local and regional dive tourism. Local revenue and job generation from dive tourism can easily outweigh that brought about by destructive fishing practices. At MCP we also do various community outreach programs – we teach first aid and try to lend a hand with various community work when needed.

The daily rhythm

Life starts around 7:00 with breakfast. After breakfast the plan for the day is reviewed. Some volunteers will be doing scuba courses, others will be out doing marine research, underwater cleanups or community work. What you’ll be doing will largely be based on where you are in the volunteer program and also on personal preferences. We’ll usually have lunch around one or two o clock – if you’re doing work far from our base, you’ll eat your lunch at a local market there. After lunch we often continue with our various activities till sometime in the afternoon. Typically this consists of entering survey-data on computers or various base work.

The evenings are different – At times you will be at work analyzing data collected on the dives or studying for your next scuba course, but often you’ll just want to relax and unwind with fellow volunteers. What you do after dinner in the evenings is very much up to yourself. You may want to organize a game or movie night, share a drink and a laugh, get people around a camp fire or something completely different. Other options would be to go on a night dive, go for a run, catch up with friends and family at home using our free wifi, work out in our gym or just quietly read a book. It really is up to you.

When you wish to have days off, you can let us know. This may be to experience other islands elsewhere in the Philippines, to go for a visa-and-shopping run to Dumaguete, to explore the area on a motorbike or just to have a day to yourself and laze in a hammock with a book. While we feel the work we do is important, we don’t expect you to take part in everything all the time if you stay for months. (But you’re most welcome to do so!)  If you want to go exploring other islands, we really appreciate if you try and do it over the weekend, so it impacts our work as little as possible.  

Sunday is always a day off. No volunteers are allowed to do any diving, except during unusual circumstances. The reason for this is twofold – firstly it’s important to off-gas from time to time so you don’t get the “friday bends” (a slang term in the dive industry, where divemasters and instructors can load their bodies with gas day after day, until they eventually experience symptoms of decompression illness) Secondly we wish to give our staff a day off as well. On Sundays the kitchen is open, so you can cook your own food - but you can also go to on of the resorts in the area and order a pizza or whatever you've developed a craving for. Other than that nothing happens on sundays, unless you organize it yourself. (When’s the last time you went swimming in a mountain lake,  or sung karaoke anyway?)

Details on Arrival

Marine Conservation Philippines accepts new volunteers every second Monday in even weeks. If you have a calendar, you can easily work the dates out yourself.  Some sample arrival days would be  September 18th, 2017, fourteen days later, October 2nd 2017 and so on. 


Kindly note: We do not accept volunteers on Monday, December 25th. 

We offer free pickup from Dumaguete (DGT) airport on arrival Mondays. Volunteers who need to arrive a few days prior will have to find accommodation in Dumaguete (which is a really nice town!) until the actual arrival day. 



Free-time activities

When you volunteer, you will be busy. There is not a lot of free time - the day starts early at seven, and often you're not done with the work for the day until the late afternoon. You will generally dive twice a day, six days a week. You're tired when you're done!  In the weekends however, there is many opportunities to go exploring. You can rent a motorbike and drive around - there's caves, waterfalls, naturally hot geothermal streams, mountain lakes, resorts and lots to see.  There's nearby islands where you can visit black magicians (yes, really!) or cliff dive into amazing azure blue lagoons. 

Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/Music
Diving/Snorkling
Hiking
Sports
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
required
Required Documents
Liability releases and diving health questionnaire
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups

Any questions? Just ask. We at Marine Conservation Philippine are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
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Included Services

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We refund your fees if Marine Conservation Philippine cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Marine Conservation Philippine.
Services by Marine Conservation Philippine

The volunteer fee covers:  


  • Accommodation 
  • Three daily meals + many snacks and fruits as you want
  • Free tea, coffee and water
  • All scuba diving costs
  • Marine park fees
  • Complete scuba gear rental of your own personal kit, including a personal dive computer for the whole duration. 
  • Wifi (shared broadband... 3rd world internet. We cannot promise it'll always work.)
  • A complimentary MCP T-shirt
  • Supervision in all activities
  • Transportation from/to the airport
  • All scuba training required (PADI manuals have to be either brought or purchased, plus certification fees) 
Kindly note that volunteer who wish to do any PADI course with us, will have to either bring their own manuals or purchase them from us. They will also need to pay the certification fee to PADI. 

The total fees for any courses (manuals + certification) are: 

Open Water Diver 85 USD
Advanced Open Water Diver 85 USD
Rescue Diver 85 USD
Nitrox Diver 65 USD
Deep Diver 65 USD
Divemaster 325 USD

Airport Pickup at Dumaguete Airport

Let us know when your flight comes in, and we'll pick you up in the airport.  You'll likely ride together with other volunteer, as we only take in new participants twice a month, every second Monday. 

Accommodation

Please find pictures of the dorms in the gallery. We have both single sex dorms, and shared dorms. If you're a couple, you will of course be in a shared dorm. 


The dorms are built in the style of Balinese Lumbungs, mostly using material found in the botanical garden the research camp is based in (Yes, it's an actual botanical garden!)  The dorms are airy are pretty nice.  Every volunteer has a private locker, big enough for a backpack and some stuff. Additionally, everyone has a private locker with a power socket inside, so you can charge your gadgets while you're out diving.  The mattresses are really good, theres fans in the dorms, and everyone has a mosquito net. (There's hardly any mosquitoes or other bugs in the dry season from January to June) 

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
When you’ve been out scuba diving all day, you’ll have a healthy appetite. Our cooks prepare three meals a day. We can cater to any allergies, and there's always vegetarian and vegan options. 

Generally we try to eat local foods, and try to source all our supplies from the local market. This is because we put an emphasis on reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible, and because we wish to support local commerce and farmers. The climate allows fruit and vegetables to grow all year round, but many things are seasonal. 

We buy our meat from the local market. The local farmers typically have a fairly small number of chicken and pigs. These are free-range animals, that walk around freely and are really healthy animals, compared to the medicated and poorly treated animals known from industrial farming in the West.

Breakfast

If you’re going scuba diving, you’ll need some solid fuel to keep you going all day. Every day – except Sunday, we begin our day with a continental breakfast consisting of cereal and milk, bread, cheese, butter, jam, fresh fruits and of course tea and coffee. Since Sunday is a day off for all staff members, we open the kitchen for you to prepare your own breakfast.

Lunch

Since many different activities are going on during the day, lunch is generally served from 12 to 2 pm. Lunch is almost always a hot meal, but volunteers who participate in activities far away from base may prepare a lunchbox or eat at a local market.

Dinner

At MCP we see the evening meal as a time to talk about highlights of the day, discuss current events, and just as a good time to get to know each other better. Dinner is served around 7pm and everyone eats together. Participation isn´t mandatory, and if you wish to go out and try something else for a change you’re welcome to do so – but please let us know in advance, so we don’t waste food cooking for you. 

Our cook prepares and serves a variety of local specialties. A typical evening meal will consist of vegetarian dishes, possibly cooked or barbecued meat, vegetables and rice. Occasionally, when supplies allow we serve western meals such as burgers or tortillas or a nice roast. Saturday night we always have a barbecue, which is the highlight of the week for many - as the food is great! 

Should you suffer from any kind of food allergy, we’ll cook suitable replacement meals for you. Please give us notice about any (serious) allergies prior to arrival. Wecook vegetarian meals/sides for vegetarians, and our cook is happy to cook vegan meals too. (Do note though, that a lot of the “replacement” food items, like vegan butter, etc. that you may be able to find in stores abroad is unavailable here. Soy milk and tofu is always available though.). 

While not fanatical, we try to avoid food additives as much as possible.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Dumaguete Airport (DGT) in Dumaguete. We assist you to find cheap flights to Philippines.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Philippines provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Philippines you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Philippines.
Costs (Prices in USD)
6 weeks (min. stay)
$2,700.00
8 weeks
$3,600.00
10 weeks
$4,500.00
12 weeks
$5,400.00
14 weeks
$6,300.00
16 weeks
$7,200.00
18 weeks
$8,100.00
50 weeks (max. stay)
$18,000.00
Average fees
$405.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Zamboanguita/Philippines between 6 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Marine Conservation Philippine will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Philippines.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Marine Conservation Philippine during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
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