5 September 2011
Fieldvisit to Dunoy Lake

Thirtythree students of DevCom went to find and observe the Philippine crocodile in the wild, in Dunoy, a small remote village on the edge of the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park and one of the last remaining breeding sites of this critically endangered species.

Every year, the students of Development Communication of the Isabela State University are involved in the creation of a poster about a spcific theme, such as Crocodile Ecology (2009), Save our Forests (2010) or Living together with Crocodiles (2011). In order to give the students a better idea of what this is all about, we take them on a short trip to visit Dunoy Lake.
Next year the poster will be about Climate change and biodiversity, and Dunoy Lake, situated just inside the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, is a very suitable place to see the environmental issues at hand.
So on September 1 a group of 33 students, two faculty and two staff members of Mabuwaya boarded a truck and travelled for a few hours over bumpy dirt roads to get to the small village of Dunoy. Here the tents were set and one group of students started cooking for dinner, because by the time we arrived is was past 3pm. The other group crossed the Catalangan River. This was no easy feat as the river was still high from the rains of the previous days, and so the current was strong. However everyone made it, and a bit later we were strolling through the forest, insects buzzing lazily around us and unseen birds in the forest adding their voices to the sounds of the Sierra Madre. In no time we arrived at the lake and were sitting in the observation tower, observing the lake. The pristine beauty of the place silenced everyone for a while, until a juvenile crocodile was spotted, crawling out of the water onto a floating log!
Two other juveniles were seen in the lake during the day. After the walk back everyone enjoyed the cool River to swim and take a bath.
After dinner we did a nightsurvey, and this time the juveniles were not seen in the lake, probably because two adults were swimming around. A subadult crocodile was in the river itself, near the place where only hours before, we ourselves were bathing. However we knew there was nothing to fear of these crocodiles as long as they are not provoked. 
The second group of students visited the lake on the next day, while the first group made breakfast, and after that it was already time to go back home. Another few hours of bumpy ride was ahead of us, however this time the students didn't complain too much because they now knew it had been worth the trouble to visit this beautiful place and see the crocodiles in the wild.

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The group before departure, all still fresh


Setting up camp with improvised hammer and tent pegs


Taking a dip in Catalangan River