by Alice K. Paglinawan
The Pinto Underwater Sculpture Museum for Marine Ecosystem Regeneration located in Poblacion Bay received the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ Regional Gawad Pagkilala award.
According to BFAR officials, the award was given to recognize Pinto’s and Dr. Joven Cuanang’s efforts to save marine life. It also serves as a token for their contribution to the fishing community.
Awarded on 29 September 2023, the Gawad Pagkilala plaque was received by one of the underwater museums’ liaison officers – Kathrine Dacanay Lagustan. While Lagustan was alone during the awarding ceremony, she said that the project “would not have been possible without the help of many agencies and the support of the Representative of Ilocos Norte’s Second Congressional District Hon. Angelo Marcos Barba”. Lagustan also extended her gratitude to all the sculptors who dedicated their time and talent to the project.
In May this year, environmental policy analyst Sigrid Salucop and journalist Cristina Manalad wrote about the corals of Currimao. It was featured on the front page of the Business Mirror.
In the article, Salucop and Manalad wrote that “the marine ecosystem regeneration project involved a lot of planning since the sculptures weighed between 400 kilograms and 2.5 tons each.”
The sculptures were submerged in Poblacion Bay on 1 May 2023. They were hauled from Sitio Remedios Heritage Village to the Currimao Port. Salucop said during a short interview on 29 September that they were brought to Poblacion Bay in Currimao by the Philippine Navy’s Landing Craft BRP Waray.
“We appreciate all the help that was extended to Pinto,” Ralph Mckenzie, the special operations specialist who helped with the submersion ops quipped. Salucop, on the other hand, enumerated all of Pinto’s agency partners on social networking site Facebook.
Salucop wrote that the Office of Congressman Angelo Marcos Barba, the Philippine Navy, the 4th Marine Brigade, the Philippine Air Force TOG 1, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine Ports Authority, the BFAR, PENRO, DENR, the Mariano Marcos State University, the Philippine Army, the Local Government of Currimao, the City Government of Batac, and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte are “the newest heroes of the deep blue sea”.
Note from the Editor: Sitio Remedios is one of the biggest supporters of the Pinto Underwater Sculpture Museum. The museum itself is located near the boutique hotel.