The premier science museum in the Philippines brought an extraordinary underwater experience to Davaoenos!
The Mind Museum, the 1st world-class science museum in the country mounted a weeklong traveling exhibit dubbed as “A Glass of the Sea (AGoS)” last April 30 to May 4 at the Abreeza Activity Center. The exhibit specifically featured Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor, a part of the Coral Triangle that extends between the provinces of Batangas, Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon in the Philippines.
The Verde Island Passage (VIP) is considered by the scientists as the “center of the center of marine biodiversity” for its extremely abundant marine biodiversity. This means that no other area in the world has more species of marine life than the Philippines. A group of explorers from the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) has an estimate of at least 30,000 to 40,000 marine species, not limited to fishes but also to corals, nudibranchs (sea slugs), sea turtles, and many others. And they have not ceased to study the marine area up to the present.
The name “A Glass of the Sea” is derived from the idea that the richness of marine species in an area can be determined by just sampling a glass of sea water. It is done by scientists through DNA analysis. The exhibit served a glass of sea water, giving the public a glimpse of the bounty of the VIP.
Curious mall goers were allured to discover the depths of the VIP guided by three main stops around the exhibit. The first stop or the “Story of the Sea” showcased the actual footage of the underwater expedition of the members of CAS and a sneak peek of some of the species they unearthed.
However, a closer look of these fascinating sea creatures can be viewed in the interactive creature library which was presented in the next stop or the “Story of the Science of the Sea”. By just placing a wooden plank on top of a wooden lectern-like structure, a creature, most of them were freshly discovered animals, flashes on the plasma television. Some of these creatures can be described as both awesome and odd like a Comatulid which looked like an alive rooster feathers assembled in a fixed center, a cuttlefish with a dazzling body because of its dynamic spectral-colored skin, a coral which seems to be a centipede in upright position or an adorable sea slug, all of them lived in VIP harmoniously despite their differences.
Finally, amused guests were then ushered to “The Story of Your Role in the Sea”, an area in the exhibit where an installation art made out of trash creating a silhouette of towering skyscrapers, a dead sea turtle or pawikan and a hand holding a globe. This area is intended to tug a string of the guests’ consciousness on our responsibilities in protecting and preserving our marine biodiversity as our relationship with the sea and its dwellers is interconnected. The Philippines ranked third among the countries that produce waste, especially plastics that end up in the ocean. A student visitor quipped, “We are not the only one breathing in this planet.”
As visitors who swarmed the exhibit are a mixture of kids and kids-at-heart adults, an interactive computer games which allow you to pledge at the end of the game, a fun trivia quiz show to test one’s knowledge about the sea and a haven for children to create their own fish and nudibranch, color it, give it a name and special abilities, are at bay.
“The objective of the traveling exhibition is to draw the people and make them appreciate the astounding beauty of marine life and realize the importance of conserving the biodiversity in the Coral Triangle where the Philippines is a part of,” said Asia Urquico Aportadera, AGoS Education Officer.
Aportadera said it also intends to arouse the curiosity and interest of the people especially the kids to study more about the science of the sea.
“We also wanted public and the children to be inspired in learning more about the marine ecosystem and for the youth to be concerned about keeping the beauty of our marine biodiversity,” she said.
She added that we still have a lot to discover in our seas as researchers have revealed that we have explored about 0.05% of the totality of our ocean, just a size of a dot.
The exhibit has gone from Cebu City, recently in Davao City and now heading to Cagayan De Oro City on May 11 to 15.
The exhibit is conceived by The Mind Museum, a project of the Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization whose thrust is to provide an extraordinary educational experience that inspires the public understanding of science.
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Bobbi Petalurca | May 5, 2016