We were ready to leave. While the agency staff who accompanied me for a time during the field visits waited for our bill, I wandered about the inn. At a corner, I came to a notice on a tarpaulin.
Cetaceans in Pintuyan, it began. I almost squealed with delight – dolphins right in the vicinity! – but remembered in time that consultants don’t squeal at least not in front of their clients. Ever so casually then I called her attention. Perhaps the creatures didn’t interest her because she only briefly acknowledged the information. Or, perhaps she was bored and can’t wait to go back to the buzz of the Metro (she was leaving ahead for Manila the next day). I didn’t blame her. My room, for one, was visited in the night by a tarantula-like spider. Shall I scream? I thought. But field workers even former ones don’t scream, ever (besides, there’s one who had it worse – a python dropping on him from a tree – and he didn’t swoon or scream.).
Despite the presence of a port the area is a sleepy town. We found just one place opened for breakfast. (The inn was just for lodging.) We went around the place quickly, shocked there wasn’t a decent public market but for a few concrete tables by the wharf which we assumed are for dumping fresh catch on. Farther up, as is the usual sighting, a huge covered basketball court stands beside the town hall. So where do people buy their stuff? we wondered. Residents we learned especially make the 3-hour travel to Liloan, the capital town, to do their shopping. In a way, the absence of a public market and shops gave the townsfolk reason to dress up and travel. The task somehow brings color and adventure to their otherwise monotonous daily life.
But back to the dolphins. I was keen to know about whether the ongoing research of Haifa University in Israel included a study at what drove the mammals to “take refuge” in the waters of Pintuyan Sea, What was happening in their place(s) of origin? Were the researchers also studying the route made by the dolphins? I guess my concern was more geared toward climate adaptation, because the dolphins by their “visits” might be trying to tell us about what’s out there or perhaps even what’s right here.
Alternatively, a briefing on similar sightings made by the Coral Cay Conservation is available here.