The Infamous PAMB Meeting
It sounds more interesting than it actually is. PAMB stands for Protected Area Management Board. To access any protected national parks here in the Philippines, you first have to get the approval of the PAMB board. Unfortunately, these boards meet irregularly and only 2–3 times each year, and so you have to be in the right place at the right time. I planned our Visayas trip around the goal of attending PAMB meetings for two national parks on Negros Island: the North Negros Natural Park and the Mt. Canlaon Natural Park.
However, once the trip commenced, the meeting dates were changed on a daily basis. By the time mid-March rolled around, the Mt. Canlaon PAMB meeting was postponed until the year 2020. Fortunately, I was still able to attend the North Negros Natural Park’s PAMB meeting on March 16th. The PAMB board is made up of members of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, barangay (small community) captains, mayors, NGO representatives, and other officials. During the meetings the committee will discuss current projects concerning the protected area. Visitors who attend the meeting can present their research and request the support of the council. This particular meeting went smoothly, and I was able to secure permits for our program to conduct biodiversity and conservation surveys in the protected area. I don’t want to mislead you. When I say smoothly, I don’t mean to give you the impression that visitors can pop in, present, and get out. Most meetings last for hours, and this specific meeting lasted for five hours. It all boils down to a game of endurance, and at times, even the well-trained member needs a moment of reflection.