Mr. Bobbit Suntay: On Appreciation for Marine Life and Ecology

By Ryan Shao (11B)
Photos by Eaton Sia

Last July 20, Vines, a talk arranged by the members of the Green Team committee and Next Lab, took place at the Zuloaga Hall B from 4:00-5:30PM. The aim of this was to embody in students a sense of awareness and appreciation for marine life and ecology as a whole, as well as to introduce several new technologies and innovations used in this field of study. With an attendance of 80 students and teachers, Vines was a success.

The guest speaker, Mr. Robert “Bobbit” Suntay, formerly the high school principal of Xavier School, is currently the president of the SEA-VIP institute, an organization which aims to preserve marine life in the Verde Island Passage (VIP). Advocating for green innovation, Mr. Suntay talks about his passion for saving the environment.

The talk kicked off with Mr. Suntay introducing his organization and then explaining man’s dependence on the underwater corals, saying that a good majority of the air we breathe is thanks to them. However, he says that due to deforestation, these corals have become stuck under mounds of dirt, and they die shortly after. Mr. Suntay claims that if these practices continue, in 30 years, the air we breathe would no longer be sufficient for sustenance. An interesting statistic on the difference between sharks killed by humans versus humans killed by sharks annually–100 million and 8, respectively–was then presented, in hopes that people would be more aware of how much they are truly damaging the ecosystem by excessively killing sharks for their prized fins. This, however, was only the first few of several more tragedies he presented, and every justification thereafter only further concretized the sheer cruelty man inflicts on wildlife.

On a lighter note, Mr. Suntay proceeded to show a video that he himself has filmed of the exhilarating views underwater, which featured the migration of large schools of sardines and baby turtles finding their way back to the ocean among others. This section instilled in the audience a certain hope and admiration for marine life should people learn to conserve it, which Mr. Suntay is greatly looking forward to.

A Q&A session shortly followed, and the pressing issue of the Underwater Nickelodeon Park was brought up by Mr. Martin Gomez, moderator of Next Lab, to which Mr. Suntay says is the result of human greed.

As the talk came to an end, the students and teachers were greeted by an exciting surprise. A raffle was held for copies of the book The Coral Triangle, which included countless pictures, diagrams, and stories that would hopefully further entice students to appreciate marine life. 50 copies of the book were made available through the generous donation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). As a token of both their and Mr. Suntay’s generosity, the gifts only reinforced how important events that target the youth were to these environmental advocates.

Despite the talk not being able to fully expound on the innovation aspect due to time constraints, the event was still a resounding success, as it instilled in everyone an appreciation for the valiant efforts being done constantly in order to counteract the negative effects brought on by others to marine life. Hopefully, everyone who attended the talk may continue to spread and embody Mr. Suntay’s vision for a better, more pristine Earth.

Luceat Lux!

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