The Philippine has plenty of diving places scattered all over the archipelago that have remained undiscovered by locals but have truly impressed foreigners who have had the chance to explore the country’s unique natural resources and environment at par with the world’s best.
Recently, the British publication, Sport Diver, produced the Ultimate Dive Destination’s special anthology, 100 Dives to Do before You Die took deep interest on Malapascua and Apo Island.
Editor Bruce Martin described Malapascua and Apo Island as “a definitive list of underwater sites that divers shouldn’t miss. It’s truly an adventurer’s must-dive of century-old wrecks, teeming reefs, and rare marine life.”
Malapascua was picked for its consistent sightings of thresher shark, a six-meter pelagic fish with long, whip-like tail, large eyes, silver sheen on the side and smooth movements.
The thresher shark got its name for its ability to feed on schools of fish by thrashing its tail towards them.
Sport Diver said the thresher shark can be seen at Monad Shoal, a seamount, where they arrive at dawn to get their cleaning from a group of cleaner wrasse.
Apo Island, on the other hand, was described as a site which boasts of an abundance of excellent spots frequented by underwater photographers.
The Apo Island Marine Sanctuary is replete with a continuous chain of underwater life, with hard and soft corals attracting reef fish like snappers, surgeon fish, damsel fish, parrot fish, anemone fish and wrasse, which in turn, invite large species like barracuda, tuna, white tip and black tip, turtles and manta ray.
Filled with spectacular images and insightful commentaries, the magazine included detailed experiences of contributing writers like Monty Halls, and photographer Martin Edge.
Halls, host of Great Ocean Adventures and Edge, author of one of the most comprehensive dive photography books, “The Underwater Photographer”, have both played significant roles in placing the Philippines’ dive sites on the global pedestal.
Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano, acknowledged the UK publication’s selection and inclusion of the country’s dive sites, saying, “The Philippines is a must-see, proven by no less than an insider’s guide to the world’s best diving destinations.”
Durano, a diver himself, said: “The list is based on the opinion of experts who were looking for sites that have rare characteristics which stand out from the usual dive haunts.”
Tourism Undersecretary for Planning and Promotions, Eduardo Jarque, Jr., cited the good news as “a great supplement to our country’s very active tourism campaign. Our long-haul strategy continues to pay off, with international markets pronouncing our sites as “dive to die for.”
Jarque added that the country is set to register a 2009 banner year with the quality and quantity of sales and promotions programs implemented by the agency. “We are confident that arrivals from the United Kingdom (UK) will breach the 90,000 mark by yearend,” he said.
Philippine tourism attaché to London, Domingo Ramon Enerio, mentioned, “In our participation in various travel trade fairs, we seldom encounter questions on the country’s security. Instead, we get rave comments about our sites.”
The UK market has consistently been a strong source of tourist arrivals, posting an 18 percent growth rate during the early half of 2008.