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Marine biologist opens aquatic museum in Lapu

Sun.Star Cebu <>

BY NANCY R. CUDIS, Sun.Star Staff Reporter

RESIDENTS and tourists can now view features of the underwater world without spending too much time and money.

This, after a British marine biologist put up the first aquarium attraction in Cebu, part of central Philippines that scientists consider to be the global center of marine biodiversity.

Aided by his Filipino wife, Dylan Taylor opened to the public the Mactan Island Aquarium Museum in Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City in October last year.

He said he invested “a few million pesos” in the 400-square-meter facility that features various sea animals, like seahorses, deadly octopus, eels, angelfishes, cowfish with horns and sharks, among others.


Most of them, he said, are found in central Philippines and are exported to public aquariums in other countries.


Taylor’s love for fish and the lack of aquarium attractions in the country prompted him to put up the new facility.

“We selected Mactan as there is a lot of interest in the sea here. There are many marine activities like scuba diving tourism, small-scale food fishing, aquarium fish collecting and exporting, marine sanctuaries and the controversy over destructive illegal fishing activities,” he said.

At first, the Mactan Island Aquarium focused on tourists. Taylor and his wife, Lucille, were surprised to discover that 90 percent of their customers are students and locals.

Taylor observed that there were only few tourists visiting the facility since they are only taken to places selected by their tour operators.


However, Lucille noted a growing number of foreign visitors—American, Norwegians and Russians, among others—who are coming on their own after learning about the aquarium through the Internet.

The facility’s admission fee is P250 for an adult foreigner, P200 for a child foreigner, P100 for an adult local resident, and P75 for a child local resident.

dylan taylor (Foto by Nancy R. Cudis/nrcportfolio)

lucille taylor (Foto by Nancy Cudis/nrcportfolio)

Dylan, who has more than 20 years of experience with aquariums, was involved in large aquarium projects across the world, including the National Aquarium in England, the aquariums at the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, as well as those in Saudi Arabia.

He said he intends on using the business to educate the public about the importance of marine life.

He added that he can also provide specialist knowledge of marine life to anybody who needs technical support with conservation initiatives.

fishes at the Mactan Island Aquarium (Foto by Nancy Cudis/nrcportfolio) fish at the Mactan Island Aquarium (Foto by Nancy Cudis/nrcportfolio)

Dylan said that he is currently in discussions with other parties for the possible expansion of the aquarium and the creation of a marine research station that he hopes will attract international researchers who are interested to study marine life in the region.

“The aquarium can be a showcase for the ongoing research projects so that the public would know more about developments that scientists don’t always make public,” he said.

author at the entrance of the aquarium (Foto by Allan Defensor/nrcportfolio)


Filed under: Business, Education, Environment, , , , ,

German group, priests establish Lapu low-cost housing project

Sun.Star Cebu <> Saturday, July 12, 2008

BY NANCY R. CUDIS, Sun.Star Staff Reporter

MORE scavenger families in Metro Cebu are targeted to benefit from the low-cost housing project of the fathers of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), especially when its mission unit is already on the look-out for new lots to expand its existing projects and start new ones.

The Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation-Integrated Development Center (JPIC-IDC) launched last year a two-hectare low-cost housing project in Barangay Bangkal, Lapu-Lapu City for 256 urban poor families.

The project’s private donor, German-based foundation Karl Kuebel Stiftung, provided an initial funding of P16 million for the purchase of the lot alone.

The target beneficiaries are scavengers and identifying them is based on “very specific” criteria, said Fr. Anthony Salas, SVD, of JPIC-IDC in a phone interview.

The project is named St. Arnold Janssen Village or Janssenville after the founder of SVD. It is located a “few hundred meters” outside the dump site in Barangay Bangkal.

Executive architect Ellis Puerto said the first 100 houses are now nearing completion with labor contribution from the beneficiaries.

“The main anchor of the community, which is the worship center, is already being started and may be finished by the end of this year,” he said in an e-mail to Sun.Star Cebu.

Fr. Salas explained that apart from the very low amortization rate (around P700 per month for 25 years with an interest of only one percent per year) that beneficiaries have to pay, they are also expected to give 300 hours of free service to help build the units. Each unit, with a total floor area of around 30 square meters, sits on a land area of 20 square meters.

“This is a (four-year funding) project with an integrated approach, participated by different stakeholders, including JPIC-IDC, University of San Carlos’ College of Architecture and Fine Arts, and other colleges of the university,” he said.

The houses will be complemented with various facilities, such as chapel, pre-school center, livelihood center and grocery shop that will be run by the beneficiaries’ cooperative. Recreational facilities will also be constructed in the area.

Apart from the project, the SVD fathers also have four other low-cost housing projects in Inayawan (Cebu City), Talisay City, Tingub (Mandaue City) and Cordova. These low-cost housing projects are partly funded by private donors.

Fr. Salas said the projects were inspired by Fr. Heinz Kulueke, SVD, provincial superior of SVD Southern Province, who made frequent visits to scavengers in dump sites.

“We are missionaries. We want to help scavengers who live in inhuman conditions,” he said.

While completing the housing project in Lapu-Lapu City, JPIC-IDC is already looking for available lots in Barangay Umapad, Mandaue City for the scavenger families there. The Mandaue City Government supports the undertaking.

The group is also planning to add 28 units to the existing 50 homes in a housing project in Cordova.

Filed under: Business, , , ,

‘Thanking investors does not mean anything’- businessman

Sun.Star Cebu <> Wednesday, July 02, 2008

BY NANCY R. CUDIS, Sun.Star Staff Reporter

EVEN though Lapu-Lapu City was recently rated second among cities where starting a business is easy, a businessman continues to question the way some businesses in the city are sustained.

Efrain Pelaez Jr., president of the Mactan Island Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI), said many businesses in Lapu-Lapu City have been in existence for many years but some of them have to “toe the line with City Hall in some way since they don’t want to be bothered (and) harassed, or to fight officials (in the same way as MICCI).”

“Thanking (investors) is showing gratitude (but) that doesn’t mean anything,” Pelaez said, referring to an event hosted by the Lapu-Lapu City Government last week to recognize some investors.

He said property owners in Lapu-Lapu “are simply trying to convert (their property into ventures where they get good) return of investments.”

During the 888 News Forum at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino yesterday, Pelaez criticized Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Arturo Radaza and certain investors who denied his allegations that City Hall is implementing a “corrupt system.”

“No amount of stage managing or events like that and no amount of testimonials from certain friends or associates will change the fact that there are many graft and corruption cases filed against the mayor,” Pelaez said.


Pelaez alleged that most of those present at the Lapu-Lapu City-initiated Investors’ Night last Friday were Radaza’s friends and associates “or are dependent on permits from the City to open and maintain their businesses.”

“By contrast, our forum was sponsored by the Office of the President and attended by representatives from the Department of Tourism, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources,” he said.

He said Mayor Radaza and Assistant City Attorney Michael Dignos did not stay long in the forum, an indication that “they are not interested to listen to the investors of Mactan.”

Pelaez also expressed reservations about the proposed P10-billion Lapu-Lapu City reclamation project, which has been approved by President Arroyo.

“A project like this is another opportunity for graft and many things could happen within the next two years while Mactan is experiencing so many problems. What is the point of investing P10 billion when they cannot solve basic problems such as bad roads, massive garbage and proliferation of squatters?” he asked.

“Mactan is becoming a squatters’ colony, causing problems to our environment. What (kind of) dignity (is) given to the people when the government promotes Lapu-Lapu as a paradise in the Pacific or an urbanized city but could not even provide relocation sites for squatters?” he added.

Pelaez pointed out that there are many ways that the City can achieve a “proper tourism infrastructure” for the island. He suggested the installation of streetlights, repair of roads and construction of adequate sidewalks.

Filed under: Business, , , ,


This is a personal site that contains my news articles on Cebu, local tourism, investments, real estate, small and medium enterprises, and many more! Some entries tackle personal thoughts and experiences as a business writer covering the Cebu business community. Enjoy your time here. And I hope to hear from you! -NANCY R. CUDIS

NRC: a Cebuano scribe

NANCY R. CUDIS writes for herself (a pastime), for her family (a source of income), and for the Cebu community (a sense of duty). For inquiries or invitations to cover events related to Cebu, you may contact her through her e-mail:

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