Sea turtles in the Philippines

Sea turtles or marine turtles commonly known as pawikan in the Philippines, are sea creatures that spend most of their lives under the sea. With the presence of pawikan in the Philippines it is a fact that the diversity of marine life is astounding.

Sea turtles come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors. The Olive Ridley is usually less than 50 kilograms, while the Leatherback typically ranges from 294 to 589 kilograms. The upper shell, or carapace, of each sea turtle species ranges in length, color, shape and arrangement of scales.

San Narciso,

5 out of 7 species of sea turtles are found in the Philippines these are the green turtles, hawksbill turtles, olive ridley turtles, loggerhead turtles and leatherback turtles.
In San Narciso, Olive Ridley often lay eggs on the shore.

The mature female pawikan comes to lay eggs on the coastal area of Barangay La Paz of San Narciso, Zambales from October to March. This is the period when temperatures are lower, the waves are stronger and nights are longer.


(Lepidochelys Olivacea)

Each pawikan has both a scientific name and a common name. The scientific name identifies the genus and species, and the common name typically describes some characteristics of the turtle’s body. Olive Ridley are named after the colors on their body, which is olive green.

5 out of 7 species of sea turtles are found in the Philippines these are the Green turtles, Hawksbill turtles, Olive Ridley turtles, Loggerhead turtles and Leatherback turtles. In San Narciso, Olive Ridley often lay eggs on the shore.

The number of Olive Ridley in the Philippines is thought to have declined dramatically in recent decades. They are considered endangered. An endangered species is a species which has been categorized as very likely to become extinct.


Olive Ridleys are quite small sea turtles. An adult Olive Ridley turtle measures around 60 cm in carapace length and weigh between 35 – 50 kilograms.


Olive Ridleys typically forage offshore in surface waters or dive to depths of 150 meters deep to feed on bottom dwelling crustaceans.

Favorite Food

Different species of pawikan like to eat different kinds of food. Sea turtles have mouths and jaws that are specially formed to help them eat the food.

Olive Ridleys are also carnivous like Loggerheads, the ridleys have powerful jaws that help them crush and grind crabs, clams, mussels, and shrimp. They also like to eat fish, sea urchins, squid and most especially jellyfish.

Daily Activities

Pawikan are known to feed and rest off and on during a typical day. Pawikan can sleep at the surface while in deep water or on the bottom wedged under rocks in nearshore waters.


  • Pawikan lives in water though it can live on land.
  • Sea Turtles are known as pawikan in Tagalog.
  • They have 4 flippers used for swimming.
  • They can’t put their flippers or head inside their carapace.
  • Pagong dwells above water.
  • Tortoises are known as pagong in Tagalog.
  • Pagong has 4 feet used for walking on land.
  • They can pull in their legs and head inside their carapace.


Let us start today. Every change begins small, be part of the change.
Here are some things to do and avoid to save our pawikan.

Donating and being a Volunteer is the main advocacy of Yaman Pawikan.
So come and let’s help each other in sustaining our seas and protect our pawikan.

Keep shores clean.

Never buy pawikan products.

Don’t pollute bodies of water.

Spread awareness.

Don’t patronize pawikan meat.

Avoid using lights near the beach.

If you suspect, or become aware of any illegal activities regarding the safety of pawikan contact
DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau.

This is a matter of public interest and you have a responsibility to report it.