As I sit here six hours into my fourteen hour flight from Manila back to London I finally have a chance to reflect on the ten days I spent diving in Puerto Galera and Dumagueta, Philippines with Dive Worldwide at Atlantis Dive Resorts.
As my parents can testify this trip began like every other, with a sudden realisation twenty four hours before the flight that I was going abroad and crap are my jabs still in date, did I need to get anti malaria's, were the hell is my diving equipment….and oh yeah hang on wasn’t I meant to get a new passport! Luckily to date I have always managed to avoid disaster even with my preference for last minute packing and I was met at Heathrow with a speedy check in and enough time for a pint of Guinness (my Irish mother was very good at ensuring I got my daily iron intake).
Fast forward a flight, a night in Manila and a beautiful boat journey accompanied by dolphins I touch down in Puerto Galera with my eight fellow diving companions. There is no faffing about in this place and gentle efficiency means we are diving just a few hours later and WOW… I have never seen so many colours and types of coral. We spent four days diving in Puerto Galera and for any nudi lover (no not the naked picture type), there is the best assortment of sea slugs I have ever witnessed. Our guides were incredible and could spot the tiniest and most camouflaged of marine animals. I personally managed to tick off two critters from my bucket list, the Pygmy Seahorse and the Orangutan Shrimp. Whilst there we did a day trip to Verde Island “the centre of the centre of marine biodiversity” and it certainly lived up to that title. I’m not used to being the customer and I kept thinking I should be loading the boats or changing the cylinders but the Atlantis dive crew made sure everything was done to such a high standard you literally just fell in and out of the water, no brain power needed.
The time came to leave Puerto Galera and we journeyed onto Dumagueta. Now if I thought the resort at Puerto Galera was great then Dumagueta was what dreams are made of…my bed was big enough to fit me in it ten times over, unfortunately I only had a half dozen pillows to join me in it but even they were incredible.
Critters galore is probably the best way to describe Dumagueta’s diving, a mixture of muck and reef diving and a haven for some of the most fascinating marine animals that inhabit our Oceans. Any underwater photographer or marine biologists would be in their element there and if you prefer the bigger marine animals then I can guarantee you will be bored of turtles by the end there are so many. Unfortunately for anyone reading this that is already envious it only got better when we arrived at Apo Island. Just to put into content how beautiful the diving at Apo Island was, in our group we had one of the most widely dived gentlemen I have ever met and it was the best dive of his life! For those of you who have dived with me you guessed right I cried in awe during our dive at Apo Island, whilst drifting I was encircled by a huge school of Jacks as a giant Trevally swam past and a Turtle drifted to the surface for air. Our wondrous Ocean was truly showing off all its finest wonders that day.
So whilst I reflect on this trip I realise how fortunate I am to have explored another tiny part of our incredible Ocean. The pockets of beauty I found in the Philippines have made me hopeful for the future of our Oceans. If you haven't made it to the Philippines already then you need to move it straight to the top of you bucket list and if you have already ticked it off then I'm almost certain you need to re add it and go back again. I certainly will be!
If you want to find out more about booking your own trip to the Philippines get in touch via email or call Diving Leisure London for exclusive deals.