Arnel Navales-Aba, shown here approaching the finish line, was motivated by the thought of helping protect the Verde Island PassageA swimming coach and national athlete emerged as one of the fastest swimmers during the recent Verde Island Passage (VIP) Swim Junkie Challenge in Punta Malabrigo, Lobo, Batangas.
Arnel Navales-Aba won third place in the 2.5-kilometer men’s category. He outswam other participants while enjoying the beauty of Verde Island Passage—the “center of the center of the world’s marine biodiversity.”
“Nung nalaman ko na may mining operation na sumubok pumasok dito, at ang VIP swim challenge ay isa sa mga daan para maprotektahan ang dagat, mas lalo akong na-challenge.
Naisip ko na sa ganitong paraan matutulungan ko ang pagpoprotect sa kalikasan,” Aba said.
This is the second year of the VIP Swim Junkie Challenge, which aims to spotlight the need to protect the Verde Island Passage.
ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc.’s Bantay Kalikasan took the initiative of protecting the Verde Island Passage when it was announced that a mining operation and coal plant might enter the area.
Together with First Gen Corporation, ecotourism and livelihood opportunities were developed for the community.
"We support VIP with ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya. We want to create awareness to everyone that we should protect our environment,” First Gen vice president for External Affairs Mon Araneta said.
A tiangge was set up during the event where local produce from the community was sold.
“Naging isang pagkakataon din ito para ma-showcase natin ang mga produkto sa Lobo,” Bantay Kalikasan program director Jen Santos said.
Aside from First Gen, Bantay Kalikasan also works with other organizations to ensure the preservation and protection of the Verde Island Passage. (Story/Photos by: Hyle Loneza)