Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Travel Philippines: scuba diving spots

Scuba diving is one thing local and foreign tourists, especially nature lovers, do like best on a summer season. Philippines is a country blessed with different spots perfect to deal with your scuba diving pleasure.

Anilao (Batangas)

Anilao is not only ideal for poking around and observing marine life but also outstanding for macro photography. Multi-hued crinoids are prolific. The variety of nudibranchs is unmatched. Night dives are especially nice and often reveal unusual creatures like sea hares, sea goblins, catfish eels, ghost pipe fishes, blue-ringed octopuses, mandarin fishes, and snake eels.

The area’s best known dive site, Cathedral, is two large mounds with a cross in between at 50’. It is a well established fish feeding station. Covered with corals, the site is spectacular at night. Sombrero has a shallow wall of about 60’ with some good coral growth; offshore but nearby are Beatrice Rock and Bajura. Schools of triggerfishes and sometimes jacks and surgeons swim by, and they appear to have the market on anthias.

One of the prettiest dives in the area, Sepok has nice coral gardens and a vertical wall. Devil’s Point Twin Rocks, Coral Gardens, and Mainit are shallow dives with a wide array of invertebrates, especially nudibranchs. Bonete, Arthur’s, and Koala offer good dives for novices, with most to see above 50’. There is a good selection of hard and soft corals, anemones, and clownfishes, and goblinfishes at Arthur’s.

Puerto Galera (Oriental Mindoro)

The foremost asset of Oriental Mindoro, Puerto Galera is blessed with one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbors. Known as the Pearl of Mindoro, it is world-famous for splendid beaches, coral reefs, and exquisite dive sites for new and experienced divers alike. There are shallow coral gardens, interesting rock formations, and colorful species to watch, like crabs, shrimps, sea anemones, moray, and trumpet fishes.

Tubbataha Reef National Park (Puerto Princesa)

It is a marine sanctuary located in the Middle Central Sulu Sea, 98 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City. Declared a World Natural Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on December 1993, it is under protective management by the Department of National Defense (DND). It is under technical supervision by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) & the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR).

It is located in Cagayancillo town, Palawan. Trips to Tubbattaha from mid-March to mid-June are all vessel-based and require planning for a minimum of six weeks prior to departure. To reach the place, take a 70-minute flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa City. From the airport, a shuttle bus takes you to the dive boat. Boat ride from Puerto Princesa City takes approximately 12 hours.

Apo Island (Negros Oriental)

The island offers the best diving around. On the southeast, the sanctuary is a gradual slope with a shallow wall. Thousands of tiny fish cluster around the bushes of black corals in crevices, and there are lapu-lapus, surgeons, some beautiful stony corals, and a collection of various species of clownfishes and anemones. Apo island is accessible by a 35-minute boat ride from Zamboanguita.

Apo Island Beach Resort, formerly Kan-Upe Cove Resort, is an internationally acclaimed dive site. The 12-hectare island has eight regular and honeymoon cottages. Located in Dauin, it has a hilly terrain and white-pebbled lagoon. Nestled within, the Balwarte Rocks and Negros Oriental Marine Conservation Park, with its spectacular coral gardens and marvelous marine life, are consistent crowd drawers.


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