Marine Protected Area establishment and assessment

Project name:

Coral Cay Conservation

Project purpose:

Since 2008 CCC has worked at the invitation of the Southern Leyte Government, Philippines, to assist local communities in the sustainable management of their marine resources. This is achieved through three components; data collection, capacity building and education.

Project activities:

  • community awareness

  • data collection/analysis

  • habitat restoration/management

  • scuba diving

  • teaching



South-East Asia

Weekly cost (approx USD):



Direct benefits you gain:

  • cultural integration

  • data/statistical skills

  • field research skills

  • gain a qualification and/or credits

  • remote scenic location

  • undertake your own research

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • contributes to environmental policy

  • development goals (supporting local community)

  • helped to establish the first large scale Marine Protected Area in Cambodia

  • established 11 Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Leyte region.
  • publishes work


Shared, single-sex, dormitories


  • Must be 18 + (unless joining as part of a school group)

  • Must be medical cleared to dive.


accommodation included, food included, toilet (bucket flush), outdoor shower (cold), wifi is available from a dongle to purchase but sim cards are recommended, nearby medical facilities, local shops

Details of the day-to-day life on the project:

Volunteers do not need to have any prior academic or diving experience as all training is given on site. Volunteers are taken through a training programme including dive training (if needed), species ID, surveying methodologies and First Aid. The expedition base is meters from Napantao marine reserve, one of the best reefs for diving in Southern Leyte.


The focus of the survey teams (composed of staff, volunteers and local scholars) is analysing whether the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that CCC have assisted in establishing in past years are working. This is a vital step in ensuring that the MPAs are working as they should. If they are, great, if not CCC work with the community to remedy this. Your time is split in a few ways:

Data Collection - CCC survey teams, composed of international volunteers, staff and Filipino scholars, have to date (2019) helped to establish 11 Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Leyte region. Now, in phase 3, teams are assessing whether the MPAs are working as they should, a critical stage in ensuring the success of an MPA.

Capacity Building - Filipinos are incredibly passionate about MPAs, the local communities that CCC works with are only lacking the expertise to make their dreams a reality. As such, CCC's hope is to train enough local Filipinos to essentially make themselves redundant. CCC achieves this through their Scholarship Programme, offering free 4 week placements to local Filipinos to allow them to gain the skills needed to manage their own resources.

Education - CCC staff and volunteers provide education opportunities to school pupils and local community members through education schemes and community days to bring awareness and instill an interest for the environment.

The minimum volunteering duration is 2 weeks. The weekly expenditure for this project is calculated with a 4 week volunteering placement. The cost goes up in increments until week 5 and is then a set £200 (approx. US$250) per week.

Expedition fees are charged in GBP so please use the below as a guide only, costs are subject to exchange fluctuations.

2 weeks - US$1,210
4 weeks - US$2,220
6 weeks - US$2,830
12 weeks - US$4,325

The expedition fee includes:#

  • Field accommodation
  • Food
  • BCDs & regulator hire
  • Tanks
  • Weights & weight belts
  • Reef Check training and certification
  • First Aid training and certification
  • Expedition & research training & surveying
  • Community work
  • Contribution to the scholarship programme
  • Field staff supervision 
  • Administration costs

CCC runs on a weekly 6 day working schedule, with Sundays as the rest day (this does depend on how far along volunteers are with ID and training).

How long can I stay?

Minimum 2 weeks to 1 year

When does the project run?

All year, although the project does close for 2-3 weeks over Christmas.

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