APO….(alay sa Mt. Apo) ni Oscar Mondia

APO….

(Alay sa Mt. Apo)

 

ni Jose Oscar S. Mondia

 

Mahal na Apo, muli ako’y narito upang masilayan

walang kupas mong kagandahan

Ano ba talaga ang meron sa iyo

at maraming nahuhumaling,

pati na mga dayo.

 

Aking sinuyod napakahabang ilog,

masukal na gubat akin ng sinugod,

walang humpay na akyatan

“kalbaryo” ang tawag ng ilan

Marating at makita ka lamang

t’yak pagod ay maiibsan.

 

Mahal na Apo wala kang kasingtulad

kayat pangalagaan natin at di itulad… sa iba,

gubat ay malinis na.

 

Mag-isip kapatid bago ang lahat ay huli na.

Paraiso kang tunay para sa akin,

angking kagandaha’y parang langit na rin.

Kulay luntian ang lahat ng kapaligiran,

iba’t- ibang uri ng halaman

mula kay inang kalikasan.

 

Malawak na damuhan sa gitna ay lawa,

paraisong hardin tanging si Bathala ang may gawa,

mala- yelong hangin iyong malalanghap,

purihin ang Panginoon walang kasing sarap.

 

Pinagmamasdan ka habang nakahiga sa “venado”,

tila natutulog na dyosang nasa harap ko,

mahal na Apo wala kang kasintulad,

napamahal ka na sa akin at mga lumad!

Si Duterte at ang Tatlo niyang “Masugid” na Kritiko Kuno

Si Duterte at ang Tatlo niyang “Masugid” na Kritiko Kuno

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Kailangan ng bawa’t bansa ang “fiscalizer” at ang lider naman ay “critic”, pero dapat pakaisipin ng bumabatikos kung gaano “kadami” ang makikinabang sa gagawin niya kung ihahambing sa ginagawa ng lider para sa buong bansa. Hindi lahat ng ginagawa ng isang lider ay sinasang-ayunan ng LAHAT kaya may kasabihang “you cannot please everybody”. Subalit kung seguridad at kapakanan ng NAKARARAMI ang nakasalalay, bakit kailangan pang MAMBULABOG ANG MGA DETRACTORS?…MAY SUGGESTION BA SILANG NASUBUKAN NANG EPEKTIBO?

 

May mga paraan upang ipakita ng “opposition” sa mga mamamayan na sila ay aktibo, hindi lang sa animo ay personal nang pagbatikos sa isang lider. Kung wala rin lang “laman” o kabuluhan ang binibitiwan nilang mga salita….TUMAHIMIK NA LANG SILA DAHIL LALO LANG SILANG LUMULUBOG SA KUMUNOY NG KAPALPAKAN.

 

ANG TINUTUKOY KO AY ANG GINAGAWA NINA TRILLANES, HONTIVEROS AT DRILON KAY DUTERTE…AT IBA PANG NAKALIMUTAN KO ANG MGA PANGALAN DAHIL MGA WALA NAMAN SILANG BINATBAT DAHIL SA KABOBOHAN NILA!

 

Kung tungkol sa droga ang pag-uusapan, walang binatbat sina Trillanes, Hontiveros at Drilon kay Duterte na sa pagiging mayor pa lang ng Davao ay marami nang karanasan tungkol sa bagay na nabanggit. Ang tatlo, kahit sa Maynila nakatira ay malamang nakatuntong lang sa Tondo kung panahon ng kampanyahan para sa eleksiyon at may kasama pang sangkaterbang mga alalay at bodyguards.

 

Kung tungkol sa Martial Law sa Mindanao ang pag-uusapan, walang karapatang magsalita ang tatlong nabanggit na nagpapakatalino kuno…. dahil hindi sila taga-Mindanao kaya hindi nila nadadanasan ang mga nangyayari lalo na ang banta ng kaguluhan sa Marawi na ginawa ng Maute group. Kung magkagulo sa Mindanao, ang tatlo ay walang pakialam dahil sa Maynila sila nakatira.

 

Ang dapat sagutin ng tatlong nabanggit ay kung mayroon bang maaaring pumalit kay Duterte. Isa ba sa kanilang tatlo?…si Pnoy Aquino uli”….si Gloria Arroyo uli”?….si Lacson?….si Cayetano?…si Poe?…si Robredo?

 

ANG GUSTO KO AY SI SARAH DUTERTE!

duterte and sarah

Davao International Airport Needs Urgent Attention for the Necessary “Changes”

DAVAO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT NEEDS URGENT ATTENTION

FOR THE NECESSARY “CHANGES”

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

When Rodrigo Duterte was campaigning for the presidency, the popular caveat is: “change is coming”. Now, that he is in Malacaἧan Palace finally, it has become: “change for the better”. Indeed, there are so many things that need to be changed as part of his “house cleaning”. One of them is the Davao International Airport which is in a very sorry state. Many disappointed visitors to the Davao were heard to have commented on how in the world has such a “dilapidated” terminal become an international airport? For one thing, the decrepit signage announcing “Davao International Airport” has only with four or five lighted letters. The whole terminal building needs a repainting to put it bluntly. One lane that leads to the entrance of the pre-departure is closed forcing passengers alighting from taxis, thereby, forcing them to cross two lanes before finally making it to the unglamorous gate of the pre-dep. And, worst is the constant breakdown of the aircon system making many offices inside the terminal building akin to sauna cubicles!

 

Davao is supposed to be the premier international airport in Mindanao, but there is not even a 24-hour lounge for passengers who come from neighboring cities and towns, and who are then forced to stay in cheap downtown lodging facilities for a few hours in their desire to be on the first flight the following day. The average taxi fare from the downtown area is Php250, but for humanitarian’s sake, there should be a tip of at least Php20.00 The drivers of taxis queueing outside the airport “fence” are left on their own without, at least mobile toilets. And, to think that they an integral part of the tourism industry. I was told by many drivers that they would have to look for discreet corners every time they heed the call of nature. Aside from the mobile toilet, they should be provided with at least, a sheds of tarp with benches as they patiently wait for the visitors for 24 hours. And, there’s one signage announcing the presence of a government office in the area, but the name is shamefully printed in small letters under the name of the sponsor, a soft drink company which is printed in big letters…now, I think that is wrong because government agencies are not supposed to solicit funds for promo undertakings as they are supposedly budgeted!

 

The new secretary of the Department of Tourism, Wanda Tulfo Teo should do something about the aforementioned appalling situations. There is no problem with the peace and order of Davao, especially, with the transport service because taxi drivers are generally courteous and honest. But tourism is not all about peace and honest taxi drivers. The industry is more that those, as just like in visiting a house as guest, there is a question, such as, what can a palatable food on a grandly prepared table do if the yard is full of grass, the gate and the door are dilapidated, and the lighting fixtures are out of order?

 

The international focus has been veered towards Davao where the new president came from, and also due to its reputation as the comparably most peaceful city in the Philippines, thanks to him. It is home to the highest peak in the country, Mt. Apo, at 10,311 feet above sea level: the most exotic fruit, durian: Davao coffee made from coffee beans disposed awkwardly by civets from their innards: and, not to mention the reputation of the city as the biggest in area, in the whole world at 2,444 square kilometers. The new president who is known for his hard-hitting remarks and cuss has trebled the curiosity about this city. Davao is not only about Mindanao…she now stands for the Philippines as Duterte has become synonymous to her.

Ode to Mt. Apo

Written during my first climb and included in my first book, “Beyond the Horizon”….

 

ODE TO MT. APO

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

You could have just been a dream…

Yet, here I am, biding my time

from where I’ll start my trek

over hills, mountains

thick forests, hot springs and lakes.

 

Please consider me one of your people…

those who dwell at your foot –

Bagobos, Manobos, and others

whose smile, warm and sweet

vanishes the fear and fatigue

of intruders like me and the rest.

 

Uncertain of what to find….

I don’t mind at all

for I know, I’m among a good people.

 

I don’t mind the trek from Makalangit –

past the Fourteen Stations

to Mt. Zion

or the nerve-rending leaps

from boulder to boulder

sixteen times across

the gurgling Marble River

that girdles your waist.

 

Ah, beloved Apo…

your sonorous Twin and Malou Shih Falls

delightfully blend

with the songs of birds

and chirps of cicadas

music that no man can feign.

 

Lake Venado, unruffled…

serenely mirrors your soul

and the seemingly drop of tear, Lake Jordan

furtively glistens under the searing sun.

 

Even for a moment while up here…

on the summit

I become part of you

as my wary soul is soothed

by your enchanting Lake Agko.

 

But there’s more to these…

Things that I need to understand –

those behind the curtains of moss

and orchids that hang

from the limbs of century trees;

those beneath your soft carpet

of lichens and grass

that swallow our steps

as if to muffle whatever

sound they might make.

 

You are the ultimate answer desired

by those who long

for adventure and mystery;

and, it may take a long time

for you to be transformed

from a dream into reality…

 

The Senseless Conflagration of Mt. Apo

The Senseless Conflagration of Mt. Apo

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

 

With the almost two weeks and still ongoing conflagration of Mt. Apo, the most “sacred” mountain in the Philippines, standing majestically between North Cotabato (Kidapawan and Makilala) and Davao (Sta. Cruz and Digos), and the highest yet, at 10,311 feet above sea level, mountaineers like me could do nothing but literally cry our heart out, at the recklessness of the irresponsible hypocrite/s who claim to be nature lover/s, and who mindlessly caused the fire.

 

The Breeding Station of the Philippine Eagle is found at Baracatan at the foot of the Sta. Cruz side of the mountain; the Makalangit known for its community where Filipinos of various faith, and who live among the monkeys, is found on the slope of the Makilala side of the mountain; and llomavis-Lake Agko area which is thriving as a tourist destination due to its wellness resort, for those who just want to savor the air and healthy benefits of hot the hot spring of the sacred mountain sans the tedious trek, is found on the Kidapawan side….all of them are in danger of being turned to ashes because of the seemingly uncontrollable creeping down of the fire!

 

UNFORTUNATELY, IT MIGHT TAKE DECADES AGAIN, BEFORE THE SACRED MOUNTAIN CAN RECOVER FROM THE SENSELESS ABUSE OF THE MORONIC “TREKKER/S” WHO JUST REFUSE TO OBSERVE THE FOLLOWING CREED:

 

“Take nothing but pictures.

Leave nothing but footprints.

Kill nothing but time.”

 

Dapat Pederalismo na lang…

Dapat Pederalismo na lang…

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Dahil malaki pala ang inilalaang badyet para sa Bangsamoro kung sakaling ito ay matuloy, ngayon pa lang ay marami na ang sumisilip at nakikiramdam – ang mga taga ibang rehiyon ng bansa. Ang norte ay mayroong Cordillera Autonomonous Region. Sa Mindanao ay mayroong ARMM na mapapalitan ng Bangsamoro, kung makakapasa ito sa mga mambabatas. Paano na ang mga Ilocano, Bicolano, Tagalog, at Bisaya?

Si mayor Durterte ay nagpahayag ng kanyang damdaming umaayon sa Pederalismo. Sa isang banda, tila Pederalismo nga yata ang sagot sa problema ng Pilipinas bago tuluyang magkawatak-watak ito dahil sa mga isyung pulitikal, ekonomiya at relihiyon. Napatunayan rin lang na hindi epektibo ang centralized na uri ng gobyernong repulika, bakit hindi gumawa ng seryosong pag-aaral upang mapalitan ang uri ng gobyerno at mapalitan ang Saligang Batas?

Sa bandang Central Mindanao ay may nakikitang nakasulat na “motto” ng isang bangko na “pera ng Mindanao para sa Mindanao”. Paano na kung gumaya ang ibang probinsiya at sabihin halimbawa ng mga Cebuano na “pera ng mga Cebuano para sa Cebu”, o di kaya mga taga Legaspi na “pera ng mga Bikolano, para sa Bicol”? Kung mamuo ang ganitong klaseng “kanya-kanyang” damdamin, siguradong malaki ang magiging problema ng gobyerno.

Tulad ng mga bayan sa kabundukan ng Cordillera, bakit hindi na lang din pag-isahin ang mga probinsiya ng mga Bicolano sa isang rehiyon, ganoon din ang mga Tagalog? Ang mga Bisaya ay bakit hindi rin ganoon ang gawin? At, ang Mindanao, maliban sa Bangsamoro ay bakit hindi gawan ng isa pang rehiyon? Mahirap gumalaw sa Pilipinas dahil nahahati ang bansa sa mga isla, na ang iba ay malaki at ang iba ay maliliit at liblib kaya hindi abot ng tulong mula sa gobyerno. At ang pinakamasaklap ay nasa Luzon ang Malakanyang!

Maraming pwedeng pagbatayang saligang batas ng mga bansang may ganitong sistemang Pederalismo na nagtagumpay. Sa ganitong paraan ay baka mawawala na nang tuluyan ang agam-agam na hihiwalay ang mga probinsiyang Muslim sa Pilipinas kung matutuloy ang Bangsamoro, kahit na kung tutuusin ay mga Pilipino din sila, iba lang ang relihiyon. Kawawa naman ang nagpapanukala ng Bangsamoro kung patuloy silang pag-iisipan ng hindi mabuti. Maganda ang samahan ng mga Muslim at Kristiyano sa Mindanao at sayang naman kung masira dahil sa mga korap sa gobyerno na ang palaging iniisip ay pansariling kapakanan.

Two Thoughts on Fake Rice and Noodles, and Poisoned Durian candies

TWO THOUGHTS ON FAKE RICE AND NOODLES,

AND POISONED DURIAN CANDIES…

By Apolinario Villalobos

  1. THE LAWMAKERS SHOULD INVESTIGATE THEM, “IN AID OF LEGISTATION” – IMMEDIATELY, WHILE THEY ARE STILL VERY HOT ISSUES, ESPECIALLY, AS THEY SEEM TO HAVE A “PURPOSE”, IN VIEW OF THE COMING ELECTION. ALSO, MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE BETTER FOR THEM TO GET BEST EXPOSURE THAT THEY ALWAYS DESIRE.
  1. THE LAWMAKERS MUST EAT THE FAKE RICE AND NOODLES, AND THE POISONED DURIAN CANDIES TO MAKE THE RESULT OF THEIR INVESTIGATION “FACTUAL”, TO AID THEM IN COMING UP WITH “FACTUAL”, HENCE, REALISTIC LAW.
  1. THEY SHOULD EAT THE FAKE RICE FOR ONE MONTH AND THREE DAYS SO THAT THEY WILL KNOW THAT IT IS INDEED POISONOUS, AS SOME IRRESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSONS ALLEGE THAT THE POISON TAKES EFFECT AFTER ONE MONTH OF CONSUMPTION – ONLY. THE THREE DAYS ARE FOR THEIR STAY IN THE HOSPITAL.

IT IS ONLY BY DOING THE ABOVE THAT THE “INTELLIGENT” AND “HARDWORKING” LAWMAKERS CAN SHOW THEIR “SINCERITY” IN PASSING LAWS THAT ARE NOT INTENTIONALLY- MADE DEFECTIVE SO THAT THEY BE EASILY “BROKEN”…IN AID OF CORRUPTION.

THE LAWMAKERS SHOULD TAKE SPECIAL NOTE ON WHY ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE ONLY CENTERED ON DAVAO, THE DOMAIN OF DUTERTE. THEY SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES WHY….WITH ONE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION…IS IT A DEMOLITION “JOB”?

THE POISONED DURIANS, ALTHOUGH, DISTRIBUTED IN SURIGAO CITY, ARE WITHOUT QUESTION SYNONYMOUS TO DAVAO OR DAVAO CITY…AND, THE PERPETRATORS SEEM WANT TO SHOW THAT DUTERTE IS INUTILE IN CHECKING THEM.

Rediscover the Philippines Through Scuba Diving

Rediscover the Philippines

Through Scuba Diving

By Apolinario Villalobos

The Philippine archipelago that comprises more than seven thousand islands and islets, is something to behold from air – islands fringed with white beaches, rolling hills, mountains capped with green, with some hills and valleys showing patches of green and brown , strewn between the Pacific Ocean and China Sea. During the 80’s, the joint effort of the national government and the private sector comprised of Philippine Airlines, scuba diving outfits and travel agencies, resulted to the creation of the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving, with the Special Committee for the Development and Promotion of Underwater Diving Tourism as its action arm. From the end of Philippine Airlines, the representative was its Tours and Promotions Division, with its personnel, Edgar Buensuceso, Julio Luz and Thelma Villaseῆor. That was the outlook of dive tourism when the industry was yet, kicking high.

Today, with or without joint effort between the government and private sector, the country deserves to be re-discovered because of the vast paradise that covers its ocean floor. With some 34,000 square kilometers of coral reef, the Philippines could well be dubbed as the scuba diver’s haven. From the northern islands down to the atolls of the south, what the country brags virtually make it the ultimate destination for this aquatic sport. The geography of the country may make one’s movement seemed hampered. But who cares if at the end of a grueling cruise or a combined air and land travel a submarine paradise beckons?

If one may start with the northern islands, there’s Fuga to try. It is a part of the northernmost province – Batanes. Then going down to Pangasinan, there’s Santiago Island off Bolinao. On the eastern cost of northern Luzon are Polilio Islands of Quezon Province. All these are accessible via land transport, except for Fuga, going to which would need a chartered plane.

South of Manila are dive sites which are accessible via Batangas City. The veritable subaquatic gardens of Nasugbu, Balayan Bay, Verde Island, Anilao coast, and Sigayan Bay, practically fringe the coast of Batangas province.

Mindoro, an island of two provinces south of Batangas, also has colorfully-alive marine parks to offer. These areas are those around Lubang Islands, Apo Reef and Semirara, all on the western side of Mindoro. On the eastern side are the equally colorful coral beds of Puerto Galera and Buyallo.

Marinduque, the “Moriones Island”, has Tres Reyes and Mompog to offer. The island province is accessible by air and combined land and water transport, either through Lucena City or Gasan.

The surrounding waters of Visayas region are replete with motley colonies of corals inhabited by pelagic fishes. Romblon, for instance, has Dos Hermanas and Cresta de Gallo; Antique and Aklan with their Batbatan and Boracay. Cresta de Gallo and Sicogon Islands of Iloilo, also have memorable dive experience to offer, and there’s yet, Nagas Island to complete this old province’s list of dive spots.

A marine sanctuary, Sumilon Island, is easily reached from Dumaguete City, although, it is geographically part of Cebu. The sanctuary is being maintained by the Silliman University. Another island which is frequented by divers in this part of the country is Apo which is also just a short distance from Dumaguete.

Cebu, the country’s seat of Christianity prides in its dive sites that attract hordes of divers throughout the year, except for Capitancillo, an islet which is at its best from April to October. From Mactan Island in the north to Pescador Island in the southwest and the Danajon Banks, there seemed to be not just enough time for exploration. A popular snorkeling and diving destination among shoestring-budget tourists in this island is Moalboal which is noted for its laid back atmosphere.

From Cebu, Bohol is just a few hours on a ferry. This Chocolate Hills-famed island-province has added two of its islets, Cabilao and Panglao to the already long list of destinations which divers have been frequenting. Both are resplendent with colorful marine life throughout the year. Aside from the ferries from Cebu, the island-province is also accessible from Manila on regular daily flights.

The diagonally-lying island of Palawan is gifted by Nature with atolls and islets, some of which are not yet thoroughly explored. These are the Calamianes Island, Cuyo Islands, Cagayan Islands, Green Island Bay, Bacuit Bay, Ulugan Bay, Honda Bay, Balabac Island, Taytay Bay, and Tubbataha Reef. Down south in Mindanao, divers will delight in Davao’s Talikud Island, Zamboanga’s Sta. Cruz Island and the island sanctuary of Camiguin.

Most of the dive sites in the Philippines are yet in their unspoiled stage, thanks to their almost impossible accessibility. The rest, however, are frequently visited, so that concerned local governments have already started to impose strict regulations.

Interested parties are advised to make advance arrangement with dive shops if they intend to visit islands and reefs so that necessary coordination and clearances can be made with concerned government agencies. Dive packages are also offered by some tour agencies. Some resorts, however, such as those in Anilao (Batangas), Boracay, and Puerto Galera, offer on- the- spot arrangements. Seaside hotels Cebu can assist visitors with their dive requirements.

With tourism as among the last resort revenue earning industries of the Philippines, much effort is exerted by both the national government through the Department of Tourism and the different concerned private sectors in regulating it along the line of ecology.

Rediscover the Philippines Through Scuba Diving

Rediscover the Philippines

Through Scuba Diving

By Apolinario Villalobos

The Philippine archipelago that comprises more than seven thousand islands and islets, is something to behold from air – islands fringed with white beaches, rolling hills, mountains capped with green, with some hills and valleys showing patches of green and brown , strewn between the Pacific Ocean and China Sea. During the 80’s, the joint effort of the national government and the private sector comprised of Philippine Airlines, scuba diving outfits and travel agencies, resulted to the creation of the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving, with the Special Committee for the Development and Promotion of Underwater Diving Tourism as its action arm. From the end of Philippine Airlines, the representative was its Tours and Promotions Division, with its personnel, Edgar Buensuceso, Julio Luz and Thelma Villaseῆor. That was the outlook of dive tourism when the industry was yet, kicking high.

Today, with or without joint effort between the government and private sector, the country deserves to be re-discovered because of the vast paradise that covers its ocean floor. With some 34,000 square kilometers of coral reef, the Philippines could well be dubbed as the scuba diver’s haven. From the northern islands down to the atolls of the south, what the country brags virtually make it the ultimate destination for this aquatic sport. The geography of the country may make one’s movement seemed hampered. But who cares if at the end of a grueling cruise or a combined air and land travel a submarine paradise beckons?

If one may start with the northern islands, there’s Fuga to try. It is a part of the northernmost province – Batanes. Then going down to Pangasinan, there’s Santiago Island off Bolinao. On the eastern cost of northern Luzon are Polilio Islands of Quezon Province. All these are accessible via land transport, except for Fuga, going to which would need a chartered plane.

South of Manila are dive sites which are accessible via Batangas City. The veritable subaquatic gardens of Nasugbu, Balayan Bay, Verde Island, Anilao coast, and Sigayan Bay, practically fringe the coast of Batangas province.

Mindoro, an island of two provinces south of Batangas, also has colorfully-alive marine parks to offer. These areas are those around Lubang Islands, Apo Reef and Semirara, all on the western side of Mindoro. On the eastern side are the equally colorful coral beds of Puerto Galera and Buyallo.

Marinduque, the “Moriones Island”, has Tres Reyes and Mompog to offer. The island province is accessible by air and combined land and water transport, either through Lucena City or Gasan.

The surrounding waters of Visayas region are replete with motley colonies of corals inhabited by pelagic fishes. Romblon, for instance, has Dos Hermanas and Cresta de Gallo; Antique and Aklan with their Batbatan and Boracay. Cresta de Gallo and Sicogon Islands of Iloilo, also have memorable dive experience to offer, and there’s yet, Nagas Island to complete this old province’s list of dive spots.

A marine sanctuary, Sumilon Island, is easily reached from Dumaguete City, although, it is geographically part of Cebu. The sanctuary is being maintained by the Silliman University. Another island which is frequented by divers in this part of the country is Apo which is also just a short distance from Dumaguete.

Cebu, the country’s seat of Christianity prides in its dive sites that attract hordes of divers throughout the year, except for Capitancillo, an islet which is at its best from April to October. From Mactan Island in the north to Pescador Island in the southwest and the Danajon Banks, there seemed to be not just enough time for exploration. A popular snorkeling and diving destination among shoestring-budget tourists in this island is Moalboal which is noted for its laid back atmosphere.

From Cebu, Bohol is just a few hours on a ferry. This Chocolate Hills-famed island-province has added two of its islets, Cabilao and Panglao to the already long list of destinations which divers have been frequenting. Both are resplendent with colorful marine life throughout the year. Aside from the ferries from Cebu, the island-province is also accessible from Manila on regular daily flights.

The diagonally-lying island of Palawan is gifted by Nature with atolls and islets, some of which are not yet thoroughly explored. These are the Calamianes Island, Cuyo Islands, Cagayan Islands, Green Island Bay, Bacuit Bay, Ulugan Bay, Honda Bay, Balabac Island, Taytay Bay, and Tubbataha Reef. Down south in Mindanao, divers will delight in Davao’s Talikud Island, Zamboanga’s Sta. Cruz Island and the island sanctuary of Camiguin.

Most of the dive sites in the Philippines are yet in their unspoiled stage, thanks to their almost impossible accessibility. The rest, however, are frequently visited, so that concerned local governments have already started to impose strict regulations.

Interested parties are advised to make advance arrangement with dive shops if they intend to visit islands and reefs so that necessary coordination and clearances can be made with concerned government agencies. Dive packages are also offered by some tour agencies. Some resorts, however, such as those in Anilao (Batangas), Boracay, and Puerto Galera, offer on- the- spot arrangements. Seaside hotels Cebu can assist visitors with their dive requirements.

With tourism as among the last resort revenue earning industries of the Philippines, much effort is exerted by both the national government through the Department of Tourism and the different concerned private sectors in regulating it along the line of ecology.

Rediscover the Philippines through Scuba Diving

Rediscover the Philippines

Through Scuba Diving

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The Philippine archipelago that comprises more than seven thousand islands and islets, is something to behold from air – islands fringed with white beaches, rolling hills, mountains capped with green, with some hills and valleys showing patches of green and brown , strewn between the Pacific Ocean and China Sea. During the 80’s, the joint effort of the national government and the private sector comprised of Philippine Airlines, scuba diving outfits and travel agencies, resulted to the creation of the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving, with the Special Committee for the Development and Promotion of Underwater Diving Tourism as its action arm. From the end of Philippine Airlines, the representative was its Tours and Promotions Division, with its personnel, Edgar Buensuceso, Julio Luz and Thelma Villaseῆor. That was the outlook of dive tourism when the industry was yet, kicking high.

 

Today, with or without joint effort between the government and private sector, the country deserves to be re-discovered because of the vast paradise that covers its ocean floor. With some 34,000 square kilometers of coral reef, the Philippines could well be dubbed as the scuba diver’s haven. From the northern islands down to the atolls of the south, what the country brags virtually make it the ultimate destination for this aquatic sport. The geography of the country may make one’s movement seemed hampered. But who cares if at the end of a grueling cruise or a combined air and land travel a submarine paradise beckons?

 

If one may start with the northern islands, there’s Fuga to try. It is a part of the northernmost province – Batanes. Then going down to Pangasinan, there’s Santiago Island off Bolinao. On the eastern cost of northern Luzon are Polilio Islands of Quezon Province. All these are accessible via land transport, except for Fuga, going to which would need a chartered plane.

 

South of Manila are dive sites which are accessible via Batangas City. The veritable subaquatic gardens of Nasugbu, Balayan Bay, Verde Island, Anilao coast, and Sigayan Bay, practically fringe the coast of Batangas province.

 

Mindoro, an island of two provinces south of Batangas, also has colorfully-alive marine parks to offer. These areas are those around Lubang Islands, Apo Reef and Semirara, all on the western side of Mindoro. On the eastern side are the equally colorful coral beds of Puerto Galera and Buyallo.

 

Marinduque, the “Moriones Island”, has Tres Reyes and Mompog to offer. The island province is accessible by air and combined land and water transport, either through Lucena City or Gasan.

 

The surrounding waters of Visayas region are replete with motley colonies of corals inhabited by pelagic fishes. Romblon, for instance, has Dos Hermanas and Cresta de Gallo; Antique and Aklan with their Batbatan and Boracay. Cresta de Gallo and Sicogon Islands of Iloilo, also have memorable dive experience to offer, and there’s yet, Nagas Island to complete this old province’s list of dive spots.

 

A marine sanctuary, Sumilon Island, is easily reached from Dumaguete City, although, it is geographically part of Cebu. The sanctuary is being maintained by the Silliman University. Another island which is frequented by divers in this part of the country is Apo which is also just a short distance from Dumaguete.

 

Cebu, the country’s seat of Christianity prides in its dive sites that attract hordes of divers throughout the year, except for Capitancillo, an islet which is at its best from April to October. From Mactan Island in the north to Pescador Island in the southwest and the Danajon Banks, there seemed to be not just enough time for exploration. A popular snorkeling and diving destination among shoestring-budget tourists in this island is Moalboal which is noted for its laid back atmosphere.

 

From Cebu, Bohol is just a few hours on a ferry. This Chocolate Hills-famed island-province has added two of its islets, Cabilao and Panglao to the already long list of destinations which divers have been frequenting. Both are resplendent with colorful marine life throughout the year. Aside from the ferries from Cebu, the island-province is also accessible from Manila on regular daily flights.

 

The diagonally-lying island of Palawan is gifted by Nature with atolls and islets, some of which are not yet thoroughly explored. These are the Calamianes Island, Cuyo Islands, Cagayan Islands, Green Island Bay, Bacuit Bay, Ulugan Bay, Honda Bay, Balabac Island, Taytay Bay, and Tubbataha Reef. Down south in Mindanao, divers will delight in Davao’s Talikud Island, Zamboanga’s Sta. Cruz Island and the island sanctuary of Camiguin.

 

Most of the dive sites in the Philippines are yet in their unspoiled stage, thanks to their almost impossible accessibility. The rest, however, are frequently visited, so that concerned local governments have already started to impose strict regulations.

 

Interested parties are advised to make advance arrangement with dive shops if they intend to visit islands and reefs so that necessary coordination and clearances can be made with concerned government agencies. Dive packages are also offered by some tour agencies. Some resorts, however, such as those in Anilao (Batangas), Boracay, and Puerto Galera, offer on- the- spot arrangements. Seaside hotels Cebu can assist visitors with their dive requirements.

 

With tourism as among the last resort revenue earning industries of the Philippines, much effort is exerted by both the national government through the Department of Tourism and the different concerned private sectors in regulating it along the line of ecology.