Scuba Divers and Underwater Heritage Sites

The island of Negros and the neighboring islands of Cebu, Malapascua, Siquijor, Apo and Panay in Central Philippines are endowed with beautiful dive spots that attracted local as well as international dive enthusiasts. The islands are surrounded by deep blue waters with rich aquatic life, coral reefs and sunken ships that made it as one of the favorite scuba dive sites in the Philippines.


The Island of Negros where I was born and raised is divided into two provinces, the Oriental Negros in the east and the Occidental Negros in the west. I live in Negros Occidental. In the southern tip of our province, is where you can find several (44) dive sites. One of the town that embraced the scuba diving tourism in our province is Sipalay. There you can find Dive Spot Resorts and PADI Centers.

Historical accounts have revealed that a few boats during the war and after the second world war were sunk around the areas in the Visayas. One of these was the ship SS Panay. Its remains can be found in Campomanes Bay or Maricalum Bay, (Province of Negros Occidental website). Another examples are: Abukama Ship, a Nagara Class Cruiser bombed by the US Aircraft off Negros Island on October 26, 1944 (Wikipedia) and Fujinami, a Yugomo Class Destroyer that was sunk by US Aircraft 80 miles north of Iloilo on October 27, 1944 (Wikipedia). There were many others that can be found around the waters of Cebu and other islands in the Visayas.

SS Panay on her resting place, Campomanes Bay or Maricalum Bay, Island of Negros.

It was believed that the ship was loaded with cargoes and ammunition to aid the resistance movement against the Japanese during the second world war. That sunken ship, therefore, is a rich piece of history of the second world war.

SS Panay

Source: Youtube, uploaded by Martin Yee. Earthniversity does not own this video but thanks to Martin Yee and Youtube.

With the popularity of scuba diving activities in the Southern part of Negros, these underwater heritage sites are now a concern not only for the local government units but also to the proponents of sustainable environment and development.

A few years ago, the United Nations call the attention of countries around the world to protect its underwater heritage sites because it is the common heritage of all people of all states and the world. The underwater heritage sites is not only for those people who have access to it like the divers but it is also for people who has no access to it, at the moment. While majority of the divers are educated in the proper care of the underwater heritage sites, there are unscrupulous divers who cannot resist the temptations of pillage and destruction on these sites. Therefore, changing the face of the Underwater Heritage Sites.

Heritage refers to inheritance or patrimony. The coral reefs can be considered as our natural heritage or inheritance from Mother Earth. Tubbataha Reef and Australia’s the Great Barrier Reef are examples of natural heritage sites.

Tubbataha Reefs is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located at Cagyancillo Town, Palawan.
Source is stated hereunder.

The Great Barrier Reefs, Australia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

It is therefore the responsibility of the Local Government Units to take the lead in the protection and conservation of these Underwater Heritage Sites so that the present and the future generations can learn from them.

Here are the suggested steps to follow in formulating a Heritage Sites Protection and Conservation Program.

1. Create a Technical Working Group or TWG, to conduct a research to identify the Underwater Heritage Sites and gather facts and figures about them. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to conduct a Strategic Planning Workshop on the Protection and Conservation of Underwater Heritage Sites. The workshop should answer the following questions: 1) Who Are We?; 2) Where Are We Now?; 3) Where Are We Going?; 4) How Are We Going To Get There?

The final output of this workshop is the formulation of an Action Plan aimed at the protection and conservation of the LGU’s Underwater Heritage Sites. For a thorough discussion on the Strategic Planning activity, please refer to my previous post found here on this website. The title is: Strategic Planning Workshop on the Formulation of the Local Heritage Plan (Lecture Series 1-A)

2. Present the Plan to the Local Development Council so that the LDC can pass a Resolution approving it and submit the same to the Local Chief Executive. This LDC resolution should contain the proposed Action Plan.

3. Have this Plan on the Protection and Conservation of the Underwater Heritage Sites be approved by the Local Chief Executive who will then submit this to the City or Municipal Council for their review and approval. The Council’s approval shall be in the form of a Resolution or if the Plan submitted was exhaustive, the approval could be in the form of an Ordinance. This Ordinance will state the manner as well as penalties in the implementation of the Ordinance. An LGU department or office shall be identified by this Ordinance as the implementing agency or office, defining its roles and obligations to implement this Ordinance.

4. The Local Council’s approval will give teeth, so to speak, to the implementation of various Programs and Projects enumerated in this Plan.

5. Implementation of the Plan will follow. The Environment Office of the LGU will be the implementing agency in cooperation with multi-sectoral groups in the town or city.

6. Monitoring and Evaluation comes after the Plan, its programs and projects have been implemented.

7. Regular performance review of the implementation of the Plan maybe conducted.

8. From these activities additional inputs can be made by the LGU or Local Government Unit.

9. The Technical Working Group or TWG which was earlier organized shall be headed by the Environment Chief of the LGU with the Municipal or City Development Office as the Secretariat. This can be revised by the LGU to suit their needs.


The southern part of the island of Negros including the towns of Hinoba-an, Sipalay and Cauayan and the islands of Apo and Siquijor as well as the areas of Dauin and many others are rich in aquatic life, marine resources and underwater heritage sites. If the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is a Heritage and Protected Site, why not create these identified areas of the island of Negros as Underwater Heritage Sites Protected Areas?

Various stakeholders are involved in this effort of protection and conservation of our underwater heritage sites. Through Eco-Tourism, several stakeholders are economically benefited here. The scuba dive shops and beach resort operators are our partners in the protection and conservation of underwater heritage sites. They worked hard to construct beautiful resorts, put up facilities, conduct scuba diving activities and other related water sports and they deserve our attention as equal partners in ecological and sustainable development of the area.

They can be our partners in achieving the Sustainable Environment and Development of Southern Negros and the rest of the Visayas.

If you are a development planner, a member of the Local Development Council, a city or municipal official in the area, an officer of the environment and planning offices, or a concerned citizen as they say, these suggestions are for you. Please feel free to add, revise or improve the suggested activities to suit your local needs.

If you wish to comment on this post, please feel free to write it at the bottom of this page.

Finally, Earthniversity is re-posting the video uploaded by UNESCO on youtube. The title is: UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.


Earthniversity expresses its thanks and appreciation to our sources of information and youtube.

Should We Worry About Black Ice and Dark Snow?

What is the mystery behind this black ice and dark snow phenomenon? If Black Ice and Dark Snow were caused by natural disaster such as forest fires or factory smokes and others, what should the governments do to mitigate this Black Ice and Dark Snow Phenomenon? Does that affect the global warming and greenhouse gases? Jason Box’s story will probably shock you as it did to me. Earthniversity shares this article written by Eric Holthaus. Earthniversity says “Thank you Mr. Holthaus”. To know more, please check this link:

Should We Worry About Black Ice and Dark Snow?

Black Ice……. Source: Jason Box Report and Writer Eric Holthaus

Dark Snow……. Source: Jason Box Report and Writer Eric Holthaus

Revisiting the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

On September 25, 2014, the United Nations  celebrate the World Maritime Day. It is a celebration that every country with territorial waters being on the limelight this 2014 should try to re-visit. One of the global instruments that governs the sea and the sea lanes is the Law of the Sea Treaty signed by majority member-states of the United Nations.

According to the Wikipedia and I quote, “The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982. The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. The Convention, concluded in 1982, replaced four 1958 treaties. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to sign the treaty.[1] As of August 2013, 165 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention. However, it is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.”

Furthermore, the Wikipedia stated that: “While the Secretary General of the United Nations receives instruments of ratification and accession and the UN provides support for meetings of states party to the Convention, the UN has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention. There is, however, a role played by organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, the International Whaling Commission, and the International Seabed Authority (ISB). (The ISB was established by the UN Convention).”

On December 10, 1982, 157 member nations of the UN signed this international agreement which is popularly known as the Law of the Sea Treaty. This Law of the Sea Convention defines the “rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.” (Source:

The Wikipedia further stated the following information:

1. The issue of varying claims of territorial waters was raised in the UN in 1967 by Arvid Pardo, of Malta, and in 1973 the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea was convened in New York. In an attempt to reduce the possibility of groups of nation-states dominating the negotiations, the conference used a consensus process rather than majority vote. With more than 160 nations participating, the conference lasted until 1982. The resulting convention came into force on 16 November 1994, one year after the sixtieth state, Guyana, ratified the treaty.

2. The convention introduced a number of provisions. The most significant issues covered were setting limits, navigation, archipelagic status and transit regimes, exclusive economic zones (EEZs), continental shelf jurisdiction, deep seabed mining, the exploitation regime, protection of the marine environment, scientific research, and settlement of disputes.

3. The convention set the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline. (Normally, a sea baseline follows the low-water line, but when the coastline is deeply indented, has fringing islands or is highly unstable, straight baselines may be used.) The areas are as follows:

3.1. Internal waters.  Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline. The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters.

3.2. Territorial waters.  Out to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres; 14 miles) from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource. Vessels were given the right of innocent passage through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as transit passage, in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters. “Innocent passage” is defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not “prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal state. Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, and spying are not “innocent”, and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag. Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of its security.

3.3. Archipelagic waters.  The convention set the definition of Archipelagic States in Part IV, which also defines how the state can draw its territorial borders. A baseline is drawn between the outermost points of the outermost islands, subject to these points being sufficiently close to one another. All waters inside this baseline are designated Archipelagic Waters. The state has full sovereignty over these waters (like internal waters), but foreign vessels have right of innocent passage through archipelagic waters (like territorial waters).

3.4. Contiguous zone.  Beyond the 12-nautical-mile (22 km) limit, there is a further 12 nautical miles (22 km) from the territorial sea baseline limit, the contiguous zone, in which a state can continue to enforce laws in four specific areas: customs, taxation, immigration and pollution, if the infringement started within the state’s territory or territorial waters, or if this infringement is about to occur within the state’s territory or territorial waters.[6] This makes the contiguous zone a hot pursuit area.

3.5. Exclusive economic zones (EEZs).  These extend from the edge of the territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres; 230 miles) from the baseline. Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources. In casual use, the term may include the territorial sea and even the continental shelf. The EEZs were introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important. The success of an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 1947 was soon repeated elsewhere in the world, and by 1970 it was technically feasible to operate in waters 4000 metres deep. Foreign nations have the freedom of navigation and overflight, subject to the regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes and cables.

3.6. Continental shelf.  The continental shelf is defined as the natural prolongation of the land territory to the continental margin’s outer edge, or 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastal state’s baseline, whichever is greater. A state’s continental shelf may exceed 200 nautical miles (370 km) until the natural prolongation ends. However, it may never exceed 350 nautical miles (650 kilometres; 400 miles) from the baseline; or it may never exceed 100 nautical miles (190 kilometres; 120 miles) beyond the 2,500 meter isobath (the line connecting the depth of 2,500 meters). Coastal states have the right to harvest mineral and non-living material in the subsoil of its continental shelf, to the exclusion of others. Coastal states also have exclusive control over living resources “attached” to the continental shelf, but not to creatures living in the water column beyond the exclusive economic zone.

4. Aside from its provisions defining ocean boundaries, the convention establishes general obligations for safeguarding the marine environment and protecting freedom of scientific research on the high seas, and also creates an innovative legal regime for controlling mineral resource exploitation in deep seabed areas beyond national jurisdiction, through an International Seabed Authority and the Common heritage of mankind principle.[7]

Landlocked states are given a right of access to and from the sea, without taxation of traffic through transit states.[8

This writer is a native of the Philippine Islands and had been knowledgeable about the on-going conflict between China and the Philippines as both countries claim certain islets, shoal, reefs and other areas located in the West Philippines Sea. Other claimants of certain piece or pieces of islets, shoals, reefs and other areas there include Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, among others.

It is my prayer that these countries can resolve this conflict in a peaceful means by resorting to this international agreement which, I think, all of them were signatories.

Erratum: World Maritime Day is September 25, 2014 not August 25, 2014 as previously written.  Thank you.

Current Issues on Urban Metabolism & Harvard University Graduate School of Design Lectures, Part 2 of 3.

Urban Metabolism has always fascinated me. I came to know about this in 2000 when I was attending a short course on Designing Sustainable Development under the Master in Urban Management Program at the University of Canberra in Australia. Since then, I got hooked by it because of its relevance to urban planning and design. Its idea of treating urban area or as I would like to use it – human settlement – like a human body that metabolizes, is really relevant in the development, planning, and designing of cities and urban areas. But what is Urban Metabolism?

The word urban refers to or pertains to a city, or belonging to a city. (Wikipedia)


“Metabolism (from Greek: μεταβολή metabolē, “change”) is the set of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. These enzyme-catalyzed reactions allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. The word metabolism can also refer to all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, including digestion and the transport of substances into and between different cells, in which case the set of reactions within the cells is called intermediary metabolism or intermediate metabolism.” (Wikipedia)

WHAT IS URBAN METABOLISM? Wikipedia has a nice explanation on this:

“Urban metabolism is a model to facilitate the description and analysis of the flows of the materials and energy within cities, such as undertaken in a Material flow analysis of a city. It provides researchers with a metaphorical framework to study the interactions of natural and human systems in specific regions.[1] From the beginning, researchers have tweaked and altered the parameters of the urban metabolism model. C. Kennedy and fellow researchers have produced a clear definition in the 2007 paper ‘’The Changing Metabolism of Cities’’ claiming that urban metabolism is “the sum total of the technical and socio-economic process that occur in cities, resulting in growth, production of energy and elimination of waste.” [2] With the growing concern of climate change and atmospheric degradation, the use of the urban metabolism model has become a key element in determining and maintaining levels of sustainability and health in cities around the world. Urban metabolism provides a unified or holistic viewpoint to encompass all of the activities of a city in a single model.”


In my research about Urban Metabolism, I encountered this video on youtube about “Projective Views on Urban Metabolism” presented by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. It caught my attention very greatly that I wish to share this to our readers. I do not claim to be an expert on this topic because I am also a “student”, a searcher just like the rest of us.

Earthniversity does not own this video but is thankful to Harvard University Graduate School of Design for uploading and sharing this on youtube, so that interested people around the planet could learn from this topic – Urban Metabolism. This video was published on youtube on February 14, 2014.

This is the description of the video according to HUGSD.
Published on Feb 14, 2014

“DDes Conference: Projective Views on Urban Metabolism (Part 2)In the last two decades, the concept of urban metabolism, aiming to grasp the continuous processes of energy, material and population exchange within and between cities and their extensive hinterlands, has been the subject of both extensive empirical research and, increasingly, critical discussion within the social and natural sciences. However, these interdisciplinary challenges have not yet been met with a synthetic response from the design disciplines. The goals of this one-day conference are, through the lens of urban metabolism, to generally, reassess the planetary rescaling of contemporary urbanization processes; unpack the transformation of spatial forms and structures and subsequently, the emergence of new operative territories for design; explore the agency of design in confronting these challenges.”

This is Part 2 of the lecture series and the following are the speakers for this session – Territorial Transformation:

1. Lola Sheppard – Topic: Territorial Metabolisms: Far Flung Metabolisms. Lola is Partner Lateral Office and Associate Professor, University of Waterloo
2. Salvador Rueda – Topic: Urban Metabolism. Salvador is Urban Ecologist. He is Founder and Director of Urban and Ecology Agency of Barcelona. He specializes in Planning and Analysis of Complex Systems.
3. Jane Hutton and Kiel Moe – “Material and Energy Ecologies”. Jane and Kiel are Asst. Professors of Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. Jane is with Landscape Architecture Department while Kiel is with the Architecture Department. Both co-Direct, Energy Environment and Design Research Lab.
4. Moderator – Pierre Belanger

Toastmasters: Daniel, Nickus, and Pablo

1. Harvard University Graduate School of Design for uploading this video on youtube for all the people of the world to watch.


This post comes in 3 parts. This is Part 2, so the next part will be part 3 of 3. Please watch for it here at Earthniversity under the label “Classroom”. These are also available on youtube.

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Revisited on June 16, 2019.