Dahican Beach, Mati City: Paradise on the Brink

I know of places like Boracay and Puerto Galera before their massive commercialization through older friends. They talked about doing road trips in pick-up trucks filled with tanks, dive gear, and eager diving friends to get to a mostly empty Sabang, Puerto Galera. Dives were exploratory. Food and accommodations were simple and cheap. Life was […]

Roots, Traditions and Remembering: On Meeting Apo Whang Od and Experiencing Buscalan

The trip to Buscalan, Kalinga Apayao meant two things for me. It was a return to the mountains – my rambling roots, having started out as a mountaineer before I took to the ocean. It was also my chance to get tattooed by Apo Whang Od, the last mambabatok (traditional tattoo artist). And while the […]

Apo Reef, Occidental Mindoro

Apo Reef: Awaking Occidental Mindoro’s Marine Gem

Apo (pronounced with a long ‘a’ and a long ‘o’) is a word of respect. It is bequeathed only onto the best in historical Philippines, and even today within communities that retain some of its local traditions. It is an ancient word; as old as mountains and as sacred as oceans. Apo Reef is the […]

The Journey to Apo Reef: Tale of the Traveling Schlummi

This trip went so far from the plan. It’s not just about staying in Occidental Mindoro longer and postponing the Coron leg as consequence. It’s also about a solo trip that wasn’t. As soon as I stepped into Michael’s 4-wheel drive early Friday morning, it became a social adventure. For the first time in a […]

Beneath Your Beautiful: Diving Into Bicol’s Marine Ills

It is easy to fall in love with the region of Bicol. Blessed with picturesque islands, the bluest waters, and fiery volcanoes that attract more than repel, you get smitten. Its sordid past does not seep into the haze of perfect beaches, great food, warm and friendly people, and the juvenile mantas you just saw […]