On 6 November 2023, the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP), in partnership with CEED – Center for Energy, Ecology and Development and Protect the Verde Island Passage, launched the special photo exhibition “Our VIP: Protecting a Paradise in Peril” to raise awareness about the threats faced by the Verde Island Passage (VIP).

The Verde Island Passage, which separates the islands of Luzon and Mindoro, is often described as one of the most biodiverse aquatic biomes in the world, earning it the nickname “the Amazon of the Oceans”. However, its abundant waters, which provide sustenance to over 2 million people, are being threatened by anthropogenic factors such as maritime traffic, pollution, and overfishing, among others.

“We hope that this exhibition not only increases public consciousness on its role in sustaining our country’s food security and in abating climate change, but we also look forward to heighten the call to protect the VIP,” NMP Deputy Director-General Jorell M. Legaspi stated in his opening remarks.

“I hope this exhibition sparks the creation of a new history that protects the Verde Island Passage for the benefit of our children and the next generations,” CEED Executive Director Gerry Arances adds.

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda extended her message of support through a presentation. “We seek to pass a law… to protect the VIP. A law establishing the VIP as an Expanded National Integrated Protected Area System (ENIPAS) site will give us the tools and resources to do what we must,” Legarda remarked.

In addition, Dr. Miguel Azcuna of the VIP Center for Oceanographic Research and Aquatic Life Sciences – Batangas State University, Ambassador Peter Kell of the New Zealand Embassy in the Philippines, Rod de Jesus representing the Batangas Fisherfolk, Roy Ortega of the Fisheries Resources Management Division of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Alita Sangalang of the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Vice Mayor Marvin Rivera of Pola, Oriental Mindoro also gave brief remarks establishing their support for the protection of the VIP.

The three-month special photo exhibition, featuring stunning photographs of the VIP and its biodiversity, is now available for public viewing at the National Museum of Natural History.

The National Museum of Natural History is OPEN Tuesdays to Sundays, from 9 AM to 6 PM. Admission is FREE!