Coral Cay Conservation: Volunteer Tourism That Works

For my Southern Leyte trip, the first stop was Coral Cay Conservation‘s base camp. This was right next to Napantao, the province’s oldest MPA (marine protected area). It was an opportunity to check out the MPA and see volunteer tourism in action. Volunteer tourism refers to individuals who visit other countries as volunteers for international […]

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 […]

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 […]