By Rey Anthony Chiu | 09:38 AM June 05, 2022
News and entertainment hosts and production staff, social media influencers, vloggers and content editors and travel operators from Manila and Central Visayas strapped on their dives suits, dive masks to get a first-hand experience of the beauty and wonder of Panglao’s hidden underwater paradise.
Here for the DIVE7 Travel Trade and Media Familiarization from June 3 to 6, the team led by the Department of Tourism Region 7 DIVE7 Project officer Glenice Do, Judy Quiachon and DOT Bohol Jaypee Orcullo, immersed themselves in the Discovery SCUBA dive (DSD) world, in their introductory dip into the mesmerizing world of underwater wonders.
This is the DOT’s way of promoting the dive tourism of Central Visayas, where the tropical water nourishes a biodiversity that is an envy to many tourist destinations in the world.
Bohol, an island laying right in the middle of a marine superhighway where the currents from the Pacific Ocean and the West Philippine Sea, pass through its southern waters and even filters through the sprinkling of islands up north where the Danajon Double Barrier Reef again breathes life to the seascape on that side of Bohol.
Elsewhere, the seas teem with corals, seagrass beds, underwater caverns which shelters sea turtles, crustaceans, and a plethora of marine wonders.
More popular dive spots in Bohol include the island of Cabilao where hammerhead sharks and pygmy seahorses have attracted world divers.
Black corals of Jagna are unique is as much as these are most popular attractions in the Mediterranean, and can be found not as deep as in the Mediterranean.
Fresh from an easing of the travel protocols due to the waning threat of the pandemic, tourism here hast started to pick up where it left off, nearly three years ago.
And in time for a resurgence of the international visitors with Panglao receiving anew its international flights, the DOT wants to let the world travellers that the Visayas, especially Bohol, has so much beyond the Chocolate Hills, tarsiers, Loboc Rivers Cruise and Panglao beaches.
According to the DOT, they are also giving time and attention to Cebu’s Malapascua, Moalboal and Mactan, Negros Oriental’s Apo Island in Dauin and Siquijor’s dive destinations.
Apart from helping the traditional and new media get into the surreal world of the explosion of colors and wildlife under the sea by snorkelling and introductory dives, the DOT also would want to engage the kids as well as the adults to see how wonderful and safe is diving, the dive festival this year also pits kids in introductory activities like bubblemakers.
In Panglao, the group went to the South Palms, event sponsor, for the DSD experience and introductory dive at the plane wreck of the Bohol Beach Clun front reefs and the house reefs of South Palms.
Another group of licensed divers went to Balicasag for their underwater adventure.
Balicasag, an island off the coast of Panglao, has been an acclaimed world-class dive site with over five dive points for the professional diver.
Balicasag has Rudy’s Rock, Marin Sanctuary, Cathedral, Diver’s Haven and Black Forest.
These dive spots are at a few meters to nearly a hundred meters down a sheer steep wall where soft and hard corals are home to large fish, occasional sea turtle, few straying dolphins and a parade of reef fish in dazzling colors. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)