Solar-powered cross joins Albay Gulf’s coral garden

Rhadyz B. Barcia
Solar-powered cross joins Albay Gulf’s coral garden
The artificial reef is part of the Coral Genesis project which seeks to promote healthy coral growth in Albay Gulf through faith and technology

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Against the backdrop of Mount Mayon, divers set a solar-powered artificial coral reef in the form of a luminous cross in Albay Gulf.

The artificial reef forms part of the coral garden under the Coral Genesis project of Junior Chamber International (JCI) in this city and the local government.

Martin Reynoso, JCI-Legazpi past president, said that the coral cross weighs more than a ton and can withstand tidal surges, and is powered by micro solar panels. It was placed at a depth of 15 to 20 feet. 

“The coral cross was put up in around 15 to 20 feet deep so there is still a good amount of solar energy to the solar panels which have been waterproofed,” he explained.

Reynoso also shared why the particular site was chosen for the coral cross: “The site is about 50 meters from the tip of the Sleeping Lion, so tourists can visit it, even just snorkelling. The site was selected because it can be accessed via shore entry.”

FAITH AND THE ENVIRONMENT. Healing priest Fr Efren Borromeo, Fr Joseph Salando and Fr Emman Avila lead the blessing of the coral cross. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

The “Sleeping Lion” is Kapuntukan Hill, whose peak resembles a lion’s hunched shoulders. The hill stands like a sentinel guarding the city’s harbor.

Divers from the Bicol Scuba Divers Foundation, Pacific Blue, Coast Guard Legazpi, and the Integrated Coastal Resource Management (IRCM) Unit of Legazpi City government worked together in laying the cross on the seabed. 

Faith, technology, environmental protection

Before the artificial reef was brought out to sea, a Mass was held, officiated by healing priest Father Efren “Momoy” Borromeo of the Trinitas Integrative Healing Ministry, along with Father  Joseph Salando and Father  Emman Avila.

“We’re integrating faith, technology, and environmental protection to heal the environment in line with Pope Francis Encyclical Laudato Si and in time with the 22nd Maritime Procession of the Sto Cristo Festival,” said  Barangay Dap-Dap Chairman Glenn Barcelon.

The laying of the artificial reef coincided with the 22nd maritime procession of the Sto Cristo Festival celebrated annually in Barangay Dap-Dap in this city.

Barcelon that Dap-Dap village is the only area in Legazpi that holds a maritime procession participated in by 12 coastal communities.

“All patron saints in respective villages bring with them the images in our annual maritime procession as our way of paying homage and gratitude for saving us from the impact of harsh climate,” he said.

“To heal and lessen the impact of climate change we’re putting this Coral Genesis cross to integrate our faith with environmental protection and promote tourism as well,” he added.

JCI Legazpi and local officials will monitor the progress of the cross under the sea, part of an effort to propagate healthy corals in Albay Gulf. –

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