Home to the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle, the Dugong (Sea Cow) and numerous other rare and endangered species, Banwa’s marine environment is thriving.
Located in the heart of a Marine Protected Area encompassing 1,896 hectares, Banwa has seen a huge rise in populations of once threatened species. Black Tip Reef Sharks are an especially welcome returning inhabitant of the island’s shallows, and the annual numbers of successful nest sites shows an extremely positive upward trend for the Hawksbill Turtle.
Fundamental to our purpose, and something every guest’s visit contributes to, is our mission to support, nurture and protect the island’s delicate ecosystems – a mission that led to us to setting up the Aquos Foundation.
Our original inspiration was to help protect the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle, as Banwa is one of its favoured nesting habitats in the region.
Aligned to this, our Reef Balls programme is helping to stimulate reef regeneration off the south-westerly shores of Banwa. To date, our investment has funded the deployment of over 200 structures, which are already promoting significant growth of coral in the area.
As part of the Foundation’s further conservation initiatives, we are also pursuing important and nationally-recognised research programmes, guided by world-leading experts. Projects include studies into the native Tabon Bird and Mantanani Scops Owl, as well as the preservation of the indigenous beach forests where they nest.
Banwa’s lush, tropical island landscape provides exceptional habitat for numerous species of birds – some of them extremely rare and seldom-seen.
A gentle stroll around the island will be punctuated by the distinctive calls of the resident White Collared Kingfishers, whilst the grace of the Reef Egrets in flight never fails to stop you in your tracks. And as night falls, don’t be surprised if you spy an inquisitive Mantanani Scops Owl observing you from a nearby Tamarind tree.
The fascinating burrowing of the native Megapode has been rarely filmed or documented, but thanks to the Tabon Bird sanctuary at the Eastern reaches of the island our research programme is now helping to provide invaluable insight into their nesting habits to ensure we will soon understand more about this unique and threatened species.
Banwa is located in Northeast Palawan, a still relatively undiscovered archipelago, but one of the most biodiverse in existence. Hundreds of avian and mammal residents and thousands more plant groups are native, and the waters here form a key part of the Coral Triangle, which is home to six of the world’s seven sea turtlespecies and more than 2,000 different reef fish species.
Yet more of the island’s thriving flora and fauna originates from beyond the Philippines, the result of an ice age around 10,000 years ago. With Southeast Asia’s oceans locked in glaciers, the Sunda shelf was exposed, including a small shallow land bridge that brought many rich and varied species from Borneo and western Indonesia to Palawan – the result of which can be seen all around you as you meander along Banwa’s winding pathways and pristine beaches.