MV dive resort had the pleasure of hosting some famous faces from the world of underwater photography this July. Jerome Kim organized the underwater dream tour in which photographers from all around the world came to help raise the profile of diving in the Philippines. After trips to Romblon and Anilao we welcomed the guys on the third leg of their trip.
Jerome Kim is very well respected super macro photographer with an eye for marine life that is sometimes smaller than a grain of rice. Jerome is a guest speaker at many of the biggest dive shows around the world. He was joined by Nu Parnupong from Thailand, David Salvatori from Italy, Iyad Suleyman who is based in Dubai and Nicholas Samaras from Greece. These photographers have many thousands of fans so we were ready to show them what Puerto Galera has to offer.
MV dive resort has a new dive safari to add to its growing profile of amazing dive destinations in the Philippines. Our latest trip took us on a 300 mile adventure of a lifetime. Our Itinerary included stops at Maestra De Campo, Coron Bay and Apo Reef.
Our shipmates for the week were Ilan, Ben, Sam, Mike, Raffi and also Chris and Mike from Eco Explores. We had an early breakfast at the resort before heading by van to Pinamaylan which is a small town on the east coast of Mindoro. Big Beth was waiting for us loaded with provisions and a crew that were excited for a fresh challenge.
As I come into my fourth year living in the Philippines the chance arose to finally check off Apo Reef from my Philippine diving bucket list. I have heard a lot about Apo Reef over the past few years. I read that it was like a mini version of Tubbataha in some articles. I have spoken to divers who have said it’s the best diving they have done in the Philippines, so the reputation is there. I have been lucky enough to visit Tubbataha twice in the last 3 years and will go again in April 2016. I was really keen to find out for myself if it would even be possible to topple Tubbataha from its perch as being the best ‘big stuff’ diving location in the Philippines.
I had a very tough first assignment for my new job at Marco Vincent dive resort. I had to spend an entire 9 days with the Scuba Sports club exploring Manila and scuba diving on the beautiful reefs around Puerto Galera. It’s a hard life but I took the challenge with both hands.
Part of the Marco Vincent experience is the VIP transfer service from Manila airport. After a long flight all the way from New York it is very reassuring to see someone with a big smile holding a sign board with your name on. We then had a quick drive to the hotel in our luxury department of tourism accredited bus. Everybody was checked in quickly, it was part one of the Manila city tour in the morning.
If there is one thing you should not miss during you stay with Marco Vincent dive resort is the spectacular day trip to Verde Island. The Island is the center piece of an area known as the Verde Passage. The diving here will stick in your mind forever, in some people’s eyes this is some of the best scuba diving in Asia if not the world.
Some well-known marine scientific gurus such as Dr. Terry Gosliner and Kent Carpenter have been pioneers of the area for many years. In fact the term ‘the center of the center of marine biodiversity came about from an expedition in 2005 led my Kent. This has been backed up with a 7 week expedition in 2015 lead by Dr. Gosliner. From early reports there has been another 100 or so new species added to the already spectacular list of marine life which can be observed in the Verde passage.
From February to June each year guests of Marco Vincent dive resort can now visit the biggest continuous reef system in the Philippines. Apo Reef Natural Park is based on the West coast of Mindoro and is not to be confused by Apo Island which is near Dumaguete in Negros. Apo Reef is known to be like a little sister to the UNESCO world heritage site of Tubbataha Reef. If you would like to see big stuff then this is the place to go.