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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bohol: Introducing the Diving Resort Travel Post-Event Familiarization Tour

Wazzup Pilipinas!
Five days exploring the diving sites of Bohol seems like a long time already. But with a few unavoidable limitations for both body and equipment (plus the fact that there's a lot more equally popular places to see within Bohol), we can only go underwater at a particular length of time.

Both the local and foreign dive experts/photojournalists from different countries explained that the oxygen tank being used in our diving tour can last roughly an hour depending on the diver. They say men consume more air since they have bigger lungs than women. Also, professional divers who are already familiar in breathing properly underwater would be able to conserve their air to last them longer. Newbies usually breathe in air faster since they would sometimes panic.

The depth of the dive site and the movement of water current are also considerations since you will tend to consume more air if any of the situations are present. Basically, the more you move around underwater and the more effort you exert in swimming will determine how long your air last.

This is why you have to regularly check on your equipment to see if you still have enough air with you. The problem with underwater photography, we tend to be enthralled with the awesome beauty of the marine life that we would sometimes be tempted to go further down under or stay underwater longer.

Thus, dive buddies like divemasters are recommended to be there to keep you safe and reminded of the limitations. You will understand what I mean once you go down under and experience the beauty surrounding you. The marine life is so stunning that you'll be amazed of how diverse the creatures we can find under the depths of the sea.

Lorenzo, one of the divemasters who escorted the divers, said that photographers usually stay longer at many areas especially when they see a good subject. They would spend several minutes taking shots from different angles. Thus, they would need to be reminded every once in a while. On the other hand, the divemasters would also sometimes become the model of their photography - just like what one of the divers requested from another divemaster.

I am so grateful the Department of Tourism (DOT) has included me to be a part of the Diving Resort Travel (DRT) expo post-event familiarization tour. The DRT was held at the Megatrade Halls of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong on September 11 to 13 showcasing the different resorts that offer diving to tourists, as well as the many suppliers of diving equipment and accessories. This was the very first time I attended an event focused on diving as the tourism attraction. Why not? The Philippines is surrounded by waters and it is a surprise that not too many of the Filipinos have developed the interest to diving.

There was a press conference that was held a day before the event (September 10) and the DRT organizers, led by Jason Ching, and partnered by the Philippine Department of Tourism Dive Market group, introduced only one Filipino photographer as among their speakers. I know there's probably more that can be tapped but the organizers probably just wanted a representative from different countries. Most of the speakers are photographers who invested a lot to be able to capture in as much detail the beauty of marine life from different parts of the world. However, they are all mostly fascinated with what they found in the Philippines unanimously declaring our country as one of the best diving destinations.

There were actually six areas that were designated as diving destinations (Puerto Galera and Negros of Mindoro, Moalboal and Malapascua of Cebu, Dumaguete and Bohol),  for the familiarization tours but you only get to choose one since they'll happen all at the same time - from September 14 to 18. Of course, my preferred choice would be the destination I haven't been to. Actually, I would love to go to back again to the other places since I will never grow tired touring the Philippines, and there's always something new to see almost every year, but I have to be picky for now and choose Bohol that's famous for its Chocolate Hills and the tarsiers.

With the Bohol group are photographers and/or journalists

Mr. David Hinkel, LA, US
Mr. Hiroshi Takano, Osaka, Japan
Mr. Go Bong Woo, South Korea
Mr. Roderick Eime, Australia
Mr. Geoffrey Yue, Canada/China

Joining us also in Bohol are some of the DRT organizers namely

Mr. Jason Chong, Shanghai (DRT Show)
Ms. Paulina Ng, Hong Kong (DRT Show)
Ms. Gloria Li, Shanghai (DRT Show)
Ms. Luna Ning, Shanghai (DRT Show)
Ms. Joey Chen, Shanghai (DRT Show)
Ms. Sunny Gu, Shanghai (DRT Show)
Mr. Hank Lin, Shanghai (DRT Show)

We stayed at the fabulous Amorita Resort located at Panglao, Bohol. The resort is one of the best in Bohol with a location that is superb in many ways. It has luxurious accommodations of different types that are spacious and comfy enough even for longer stays. I was given my own room (Deluxe Garden view) with a queen size bed, and other fantastic amenities in a floor area that is as huge as an average Filipino house already (even bigger). The resort has two sets of pools, both of which were beside either their Saffron restaurant or their lounge, and nearby is an overlooking view of the beach from below. But we were mostly out exploring the diving sites and touring other places so we were less hanging out at the resort.

Since there's so many stories to share from the five day familiarization tour of Bohol, I'll just make this a series about Bohol. I will share with you bite-size features so as not to burden you with slow loading times (especially if you're in the Philippines where the Internet is so very slow)  and won't bore you with my lengthy gibberish - I would sometimes write like I have all the time in the world to stay online.

Honestly, this is the first time I've heard about Bohol being a diving attraction. Anilao of Batangas was always the first in mind for diving, and indeed the most highly recommended even by the divers themselves, but there would always be something interesting to find everywhere you dive. The country is indeed teeming with the many wonders of nature especially the marine life.

So let this piece be my introductory story and will soon discuss more about my Bohol experience in coming blog posts. I promise it would be as concise as possible but still filled with substantial information and most especially my thoughts and opinions about the adventure. Join me again soon!

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