Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Scuba Diving at Balicasag Island

At a pier in the vicinity of Panglao before crossing to Balicasag Island
Our morning flight from Manila to Tagbilaran, Bohol was almost diverted to Mactan, Cebu

The calm before the storm . . .
Typhoon Zoraida just entered Surigao del Sur and forecasted to be over Balicasag the following morning.

Typhoon Zoraida weakened into a low pressure area (LPA), so all was well at Balicasag Island the following day.

I am relatively new at scuba diving and have dived a number of places in the Philippines, including Anilao (Batangas), Mansalay (Oriental Mindoro), Poctoy Beach (Marinduque), Gato Island (Cebu), Malapasqua (Cebu), Oslob (Cebu) and, most recently, Balicasag Island (Bohol). I must say, Balicasag tops them all in terms of overall condition of the coral reef and marine life.

I dove 6 times over a period of 3 days at various locations around Balicasag Island and I saw mature Pacific green turtles (an endangered species) at least once in 5 out of the 6 dives. I thought that was impressive. There are at least two schools of jackfish around Balicasag, which I saw at two distinct locations during a single dive. In addition, I was fortunate to also see the school of baracuda (each about a meter long), which I understand is not as generous in presenting itself to divers at the Island. Unlike most places that manifest severe devastation or partial recovery from severe devastation (due to unsustainable and irresponsible fishing practices like dynamite fishing, cyanide fishing, compressor fishing and the like), the coral reefs surrounding the Island are visibly in good condition (apparently not having been subjected to the usual human abuse typically experienced by most of the coral reefs throughout the Philippines), except for those at the Black Forest (Balicasag) that were reportedly devastated by Typhoon Pablo last year (November 2012).

Kudos to the Boholanos for preserving this priceless resource! If you want to see coral reefs and marine life in good condition (this is probably as good as it gets anywhere in the world!), visit Balicasag Island, Bohol.

Below are a couple of film clips of my dives and snorkeling at Balicasag:

Highlights of Balicasag Dives
Snorkeling at Balicasag

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