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The mutual role of the river's nearby residents creates balance and benefit in the coexistence of humans and their immediate environment. The study focused on the experiences of residents near the San Juan River in Aborlan, Palawan, employing a descriptive phenomenological approach and the seven steps of Colaizzi's (1978) method. The following themes were identified: river benefits, threats encountered, and initiatives, participation, and advocacy. All of the participants have prior swimming experience, with the majority of them learning in the river itself. Aquatic products such as milk fish, shellfish, and fresh water prawns have been observed in the river, but not in sufficient quantities to sustain a livelihood due to a handful catch at a time. Quarrying is the river's most serious threat, and it has been forced to halt due to a petition. Residents demonstrated care and concern for the river by collecting garbage, educating visitors, involving their families in tree planting activities in the area, and suggesting to community leaders or the LGU to develop policies and plans for the river's utilization, conservation, and protection, such as livelihood and ecotourism projects. With of the participants' proximity to the river, they pledge their full support for river protection if the community is led by someone. A conservation model was developed in collaboration with the local government, academia, and the community.
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