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MANILA, Philippines - This story isn't about how young our protagonist is, it's about the plight of dolphins.
Christel Erin Lejano, a second-year high school student of St. Scholastica's College, is gaining the attention of social media users after her sister Camille "Bebs" Lejano praised her via a Facebook status update for having "the balls" to fight for her beliefs.
An advocate against water parks that hold dolphins captive, 13-year-old Christel on Friday, November 9, sent a letter of appeal to her school's 2nd Year facililators to reconsider the school's planned field trip to an open-water marine park in Subic.
Last September, dolphin activist Ric O'Barry, notable for his appearance in the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove", visited the Philippines calling for a ban on the importation of dolphins. O'Barry also discouraged the public from buying tickets to see dolphin shows at theme parks which he believes is the key to suppressing the demand for captive dolphins.
Christel first learned about the film and its cause when her sister Camille organized a film viewing of "The Cove" during O'Barry's visit to the De La Salle University last Sept 14, 2012.
Moved by the documentary that exposed the mass slaughtering of dolphins in Japan, Christel said she no longers sees herself as a little girl but as a young lady who wants to spread the truth.
"I was motivated to make a change. No matter what happens, I will be against dolphin captivity. I support The Dolphin Project established by O'Barry. Nothing can ever change that. We will set them free." she said.
Christel turned to social networking sites Twitter and Facebook to share the trailer of "The Cove" with her classmates, and that's when her Science teacher Marie Angela Lomontad got the idea to include the documentary in her lesson plan.
"Some people might think teenagers nowadays just go on Twitter and Facebook for fun, but the truth is, a lot of us want to participate and make a change," she added.
"I'm not saying I want the trip to be cancelled, nor am I saying I won't attend the Pasyal Aral (field trip). I know I can learn from the other planned destinations in the trip too. I just want to spread awareness." Christel told Rappler.
"I just want to tell my fellow teenagers, if you want to make a change, you can do it -- as long as you have courage, perseverance, determination and commitment," she said. - Rappler.com