Just keep swimming and you’ll find these adorable gentle giants!

Photo from Canva

Moalboal, Cebu is known for its stunning island and seascapes with colorful coral reefs and a diverse array of marine life, including the majestic sea turtles. These turtles are a highlight for many visitors, who come to witness their graceful and playful presence in the Moalboal’s clear blue waters.

Photo from LAMAVE Research

But, despite their beauty and ecological importance, some species of sea turtles are currently facing the threat of extinction. This alarming trend is primarily due to two main factors: illegal slaughter and consumption, and habitat destruction. The World Wildlife Foundation and other organizations have raised awareness and efforts to protect them through establishing marine sanctuaries, protected areas, and habitat restoration; similar to what NGO’s in Moalboal are doing to support conservation efforts for our turtles.

Getting to Know the Turtles of Moalboal

Did you know that there are two kinds of turtles in Moalboal, Cebu? Well, let’s get to know them and why they are found in Moalboal’s tropical paradise:

Hawksbill Turtle

Photo from Canva
  • Genus: Eretmochelys
  • Species: Imbricata
  • Max Length: 3 Feet
  • Max Weight: 80 Kg
  • Colors: Amber shell background with black streaks and mottled-brown colors on the side
  • Tracks: Asymmetrical

One of the most fascinating yet critically endangered sea turtles is the Hawksbill, a true gem of the ocean. But why are they in danger? Well, human fishing practices are a major culprit.

Photo from Canva

The Hawksbill sea turtle got its name from its unique beak, which is sharp and curved just like a hawk’s. This distinctive feature isn’t just for show—it helps them feast on sponges and other marine goodies in their coral reef homes; which makes them the keeper or cleaner of sponges in the ocean. While you can definitely spot them at sea, Hawksbill turtles also love to hang out in lagoons and coral reefs as it’s where they can rest and eat. And because of their diet, Hawksbill sea turtles are biofluorescent; a glow-in-the-dark reptile at sea!

Green Sea Turtle

Photo from Canva
  • Genus: Chelonia
  • Species: Mydas
  • Max Length: 5 Feet
  • Max Weight: 300 Kg
  • Colors: Shades of brown and olive colors on the shell
  • Tracks: Symmetrical

Hailed as the world’s largest species of sea turtles, Green Sea Turtles are the true gentle giants of the turtle family. They can rest underwater for up to 5 hours before needing to surface for air, showing off their impressive breath-holding skills. But they don’t just hang out underwater—they also love to sunbathe on seashores, soaking up the sun and living that laid-back, beach life.

Photo from Canva

Unlike most sea turtles, Green Sea Turtles are primarily herbivores. They munch on sea grasses and algae, which give their fat a unique green pigment—hence their name! And, they can live for several decades, sometimes over 80 years!

Photo from Pexels

Sugboanons, when you spot these turtles at sea or during your freediving sessions, remember to leave them be and avoid touching them. These gentle giants need their space to thrive and continue being a part of our beautiful marine ecosystem. By appreciating and protecting our turtles, we ensure these gentle giants continue to grace our oceans for generations to come. So, be a responsible laagan!

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