Anna Oposa: An Inspiring Mermaid And Modern-Day Superhero
Treat the world as if it is your playground, we have been told. But how many of us really set our feet out into the world and expand ourselves as if the world is ours for the taking? Not all, that’s for sure. But there are those who actually do. And some of them, they expand themselves towards the vastness of the world so much that they extend their arms so wide with what they do that they inspire. There’s no official name for them, really. But for us at Philihappy, we call them Modern-Day Superheroes.
These modern-day superheroes are Filipinos who have found their passions in life and are living them to the fullest. The great thing about what they do is that they work towards what they love while functioning as parts of a whole by inspiring other people and empowering them with the stories, lessons, and work they share.
Meet Anna Oposa
Anna Oposa, raised in Cebu, grew up exposed to two beautiful things which she both loved—the arts and the Philippine waters. Growing up armed with the talents for musical theater and writing, Anna could have found herself stages from all over the world to perform in. Instead, she chose to become a mermaid and the Philippine waters became her stage.
The country is gifted with rich marine biodiversity, and that is something Anna Oposa got to explore at a young age. Living in Cebu before she moved to Manila, Anna grew up spending much of her time at the beach. She fell in love with the water so quickly, and it has been her playground since.
She became a scuba diver at 15 years old, gaining wider perspective of the ocean from a view not everyone gets to see. However, it was not only the beauty of it all that she witnessed. She also gained firsthand knowledge of how waste and human activities are affecting the waters of our land. This became the starting force of her fight in saving the Philippine seas.
In 2011, news about massive illegal wildlife trade that involved marine resources came out and this pushed Anna Oposa to create a bigger leap for the environment. Hence, Save Philippine Seas was born.
Awareness and advocacy
What started as an online advocacy spearheaded by Anna and colleagues, Save Philippine Seas eventually became a non-profit organization that aims to protect marine and coastal resources of the country. They utilize social media to spread knowledge about their advocacy and current events about the Philippine seas.
Save the Philippine Seas’ biggest, most inspiring project to date is the Shark Shelter Project, a community-based project in Malapascua, Cebu that aims to protect the thresher sharks and other marine and coastal resources in the area. This project envisions for Malapascua to garner the protection, recognition, and sustainability that it deserves.
Moreover, SPS, along with the US Embassy, also holds the Sea and Earth Advocates Camp which is a leadership and environmental education program that provides a platform for young leaders to harness their knowledge and skills in saving the environment.
Anna Oposa found herself in love with the water, and she used this love to fuel the fire within her while inspiring others through example. She could have led a life more still if she only chose to look at what’s beautiful. Instead, she looked deep into the waters that she loved, regardless if it’s painful, dirty or troubling, and dove deep inside of her to find something that can change what has to be changed.
Anna understood that being in a country of more than 7,000 islands meant having marine treasures that we can nurture and in turn nurture us. And this, she values greatly—as we all should.