"It used to be like New Year's Eve every day with the amount of blasts heard," says conservation advocate Ruperto Apilado, known locally as Ka Raffy.
Although not a fisherman by profession, Ka Raffy
has a background in fishponds (he has one in his
backyard), and has concern for the welfare of his
community and its resources.
An engineer by training and former communications technician for Voice of America, Ka Raffy also served on the parent-teacher's association for the local school and is very active in community affairs.
He is Chairman of the Candelaria Bantay Dagat (Fish Wardens) and President of the Sinabacan Fishermen's Association.
In addition to his municipal leadership roles, Ka Raffy is also heavily involved at the provincial level, as Chairman of Pampangisdaang Reforma Samahan ng Mangingisda ng Zambales (PRSMZ, the provincial level federation of fisherfolks for Zambales) and Chairman of Pamprobinsyang Alyansa ng Lokal na Organisadong Samahan (PALOS, which is under the provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council).
commitment, tenacity and success in influencing local and provincial laws encourages other community members to participate in management of Candelaria's natural resources.
Salvacion "Sally" Ruiz is from Yamot village in Candelaria.
As a deputized member of the Bantay Dagat, she monitors to see who is actively fishing in the municipal waters and assists with registering all fishing boats as required by law.
also helps explore alternative livelihoods for fishers.
The group was reorganized in 2003 and headed by Ka Raffy
, who although not a fisherman himself, is skilled in community organizing, negotiating and lobbying.
was able to bring together some 100 fisherfolk to act cooperatively as fish wardens.
and other dedicated community members have worked hard to lobby for regulations protecting their resources.
knows all too well that the pressure must be kept up; as election time approaches, a different-minded mayor could easily discard the resolutions that are now in place.
"Having to cope with reality," says Ka Raffy
What is the one piece of advice Ka Raffy
would give to others who are working to manage their marine resources?
"The community needs to bind themselves.
Take for instance, a broom - one palm frond won't clean the floor; you must bind them together."
bids the Bantay Dagat
a farewell as they leave shore to patrol.