Working with CCEF, either as a volunteer or as foundation staff, is often a rewarding experience filled with travel, adventure and learning. The bloggers whose articles you see on this page, would like to share their personal views on what is it like to be working for the advancement of sustainable coasts and involved communities, often in far-flung islands where the daily rhythm of the lives of its inhabitants are closely linked to the rise and fall of the tides.

Over the last week I have taken some time to reflect on my first impressions of some of the methods used to set up Marine Protected Areas in the Philippines under the guidance of CCEF. One thing has stood out in stark contrast. In my previous experience and thoughout the majority of my studies on MPAs, the action to form them along with their regulation and policing were all carried out by either state or federal government agencies. This is thought to lead to strong MPA design and implementation through scientific, financial and legal backing and support.

Less than 24 hours after I had landed in Cebu I was heading to one of the CCEF’s monitoring and rehabilitation sites. A taxi, a bus ride, a ferry, a jeepney, another ferry and a tricycle ride later I arrived in the municipality of Lorena on the southern island of Siquijor.

My name is Alex Johnson and I’m an Australian Volunteer for International Development (AVID) based in the Philippines for eight months of 2014. I have been granted an opportunity to work with the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF) as a Research and Monitoring Team (REMOTE) research assistant and marine protected area (MPA) monitoring officer.