Marine conservation advocate ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ hailed WWF environmental hero
SURIGAO CITY – For raising environmental awareness by swimming great, record-breaking distances, the Surigaonon lawyer known as Pinoy Aquaman was feted by international conservation group, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), as among its Filipino environmental heroes.
WWF, the world’s largest conservation organization, named Ingemar Macarine one of its three environmental “heroes” this year for “pioneering solo channel swimming in the Philippines to promote marine conservation.”
The other WWF Philippine awardees were the Tau Buid Mangyan Tribe from Mindoro, for their role in protecting the critically-endangered tamaraw; and Gerlie Alpajora, who was gunned down in Camarines Sur in August because of her advocacy against illegal fishing practices.
Macarine’s 15 open-water swims consist of daring feats in some of the dangerous channels around the country and in the United States.
In April last year, he swam from Alcatraz Island Penitentiary to San Francisco City in California–the first Filipino to do so–and became the second man in history to swim from Bay Bridge Marina to Sandy Point Park Beach in Annapolis, Maryland two months later.
Macarine has always been an advocate of marine conservation. He started his solo swims to raise awareness on the need to conserve marine life in 2013, when he swam from Basul Island to mainland Surigao City.
Despite the strong currents and occasional sighting of sharks, he finished the 4.2-kilometer swim in two hours.
This would be followed by record-breaking swims in Cebu, Bohol and in the Babuyan Channel in Luzon.
His last Philippine swim was on May 10 this year, when he became the first person to conquer Sarangani Bay by swimming over 12 kilometers from the town of Maasim to the municipality of Glan.
He is set to attempt another record by crossing the 15-kilometer stretch between Pamilacan Island to Baclayon, Bohol. He said he intends to do this in December.
“My gratitude to all those who helped me in all my 15 open water swims here and in the US. Rest assured I will continue this advocacy to push for cleaner seas and beaches, and promote open water sports,” he told the Inquirer. CDG