Puerto Princesa, Palawan - The 3,468-hectare Bulalacao marine protected area (MPA) in Coron that Malampaya Foundation Inc. (MFI) helped establish in 2014 was awarded on December 10, 2020 Best Community-Managed MPA at the first Palawan MPAs Empowered through Awards and Recognition to Enrich Marine Life (PEARL) awards of the Palawan provincial government.

Since its establishment, the Bulalacao MPA has demonstrated impressive fish abundance recovery, most remarkable of which is the return of long-absent endangered species such as the Napoleon wrasse and blacktip sharks that locals narrate have been absent for about 5-6 years.

The Bulalacao MPA has been previously awarded at USAID’s Recognition Awards for Calamianes’ Ecosystem (RACE) awards as Best IP-Managed MPA in 2017 and Best Initiative MPA and Best MPA Law Enforcement team in 2019.

MFI started implementation of its marine biodiversity conservation program in Bulalacao in late 2012 which include widespread social interventions, socio-economic improvement support, ecological rehabilitation and habitat monitoring in partnership with the fisherfolks, IP’s of Brgy. Bulalacao, Coron local govt and other govt agencies (NCIP, BFAR, DENR, PCSD, PNP-Maritime, PCG).

In mid-2020, MFI and its partners commenced efforts to expand the MPA by another 5,000+ hectares.