What’s Up, What’s Next, and Weathering the Weather

Manila Bay
Passing time in Manila

July’s really for catching up. I went on three successive trips and, with the money-earning projects I also need to do, I am delinquent with TDC posts. Sorry. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do ūüėČ

I have Calatagan underwater pyramids videos and a blog post, which should be up soon. This is a followup dive to what I did with a few friends about 5 years ago for a Yapak magazine feature.

For this trip, I went with my good friend and dive instructor, Wilson. And I am very thankful he found the time to do that dive. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done the trip. There are no dive centers in Calatagan so we had to bring our own tanks, plus the usual gear. (And me, without a car and with zero driving skills.) I felt off about dealing with red tape, initially. Wilson encouraged me to go ahead with it. He thought it was an interesting dive for TDC.

Then, I’ll talk about my Occidental Mindoro trip with Bluewater Consultancy, which somehow changed my mind about dealing with government people. Yes, sakto sya….

I may be reaching here but it feels like there’s a flow to all this, to what I’m doing for Travel Dive Connect. It’s nice to just be able to go along with it and see where it goes.

Lubang Island Tourism Director
Lubang’s Tourism Director, Ms. Gina Julaton

I met Lubang Island’s tourism director on that trip so I’m heading there next. Barring bad weather, I will be on Lubang Island the second week of August.

What’s so interesting¬†about Lubang Island?

  • It is one of Bluewater’s model provinces, where they’ve been able to help implement a true-blue ecotourism program that benefits everyone.
  • They don’t like resorts and big-time hotels. They encourage you to find a homestay provider, who will feed you and provide shelter for only Php 600-Php800 a day.
  • Zero crime rate. People actually leave their doors open.
  • Zero gambling. No lotto outlets on the island. And a few school officials were once scolded and fined for playing a card game with bets in public.
  • They’re organic and they recycle.
  • Their public schoolkids (I forget which level) get netbooks, which they can take home to¬†use with homework. After graduating, they are supposed to pass on the netbooks to the lower levels. The municipal government just found a sponsor for a new batch of netbooks.
  • They’re on the edge of the Philippines. Their fishermen actually encounter Chinese naval guards. But, instead of getting shooed away with water cannons, the Chinese throw instant ramen at¬†the fishermen. It’s not poisoned raw. ūüôā
  • The island was once the home of Japanese straggler Hiroo Onoda.
  • Pristine snorkeling spots. No dive centers, unfortunately.

Of course, all this depends on the weather. There’s a 3-hour ocean crossing to get to Lubang. I want to be able to keep doing this so I won’t risk it.

I suppose it’s going to be that way, at least during typhoon season. The weather’s harsh this early into it. We were without power for about 5 days. I am thankful to friends and friendly establishments (o2 Space and Figaro) that I¬†actually got some work done last week. So, I will check with the weather and hope for the best.




Post Author: Roda Novenario