Hundreds flocked to Glorietta's Dolphin Park in Makati last Saturday, February 18, to paint dolphins.
The dolphin painting marathon was spearheaded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in collaboration with artist and dolphin crusader AG Saño.
WWF Ambassadors Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez were present to support the one-day event, a fundraiser that aimed to raise enough money for marine conservation in the Philippines.
The highlighted artwork was a mural featuring 500 sketched dolphins.
Mallgoers and visitors were encouraged to adopt these dolphins by painting them, encouraging creativity and environmental awareness at the same time.
Marc and Rovilson had fun painting their own dolphins.
In an interview, the former told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) that he's grateful to AG for sketching the dolphins.
"The artist, AG Saño, has been trying to protect or promote the protection of dolphins. I have painted a mural with him before. It's so nice to see him tied up with WWF. Because this brings the project of dolphins to a much wider audience," Marc said.
AG used to be a wildlife photographer before he took up the cause of dolphin rescue.
The artist told PEP that he was inspired to mount this event after watching this documentary that detailed the number of dolphins killed in Japan every year.
AG related, "When I got back to Manila, I thought that maybe I should paint one dolphin for every dolphin they kill in Japan. So it turns out, 23,000 a year pala ang quota nila. So I found myself... paano ko gagawin yun? I was at a loss."
When he posted this idea on his Facebook wall two years ago, AG got a lot of encouragement from his friends and from the WWF. This inspired him to do the project. From then on, it has become his mission to paint dolphins all over the Philippines.
"As of now, probably more than 20,000 people have painted with us...
"To date, we have painted more than 35,000 dolphins already all over the Philippines," he beamed.
Several celebrities, including Marc, have joined AG in painting dolphins on murals.
Marc continued, "In Palawan, they found the irrawaddy dolphin. It's unusual. It's usually found on the mainland of Southeast Asia. It's quite rare to find them here. We need to protect their species."
He is also happy that AG is now working closely with WWF, an organization that he describes as "amazing."
"It does wonderful work. I've seen the work on the ground that they do. I go to Donsol, and see the whale sharks there every year. And it's amazing what they've done not only for the environment but also for the community," Marc exclaimed.
What will the WWF do with the funds collected from the dolphin painting marathon?
AG replied: "We decided to raise funds kasi we really need stuff for the advocacy.
"I have been training people in the provinces for marine mammal rescue but I have no funds naman to get rescue kits, the equipments that we use. So that is one of the things that we will purchase."