Turtle Bay Dive Resort Blog

8 Reasons to Dive The Philippines

Posted by Chris White on Tue, Jan 30, 2018 @ 10:12 AM

Diver and corals by Cool.jpg


1. Chosen as one of the Top Three Dive Sites in the World

It has been scientifically proven that we are the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the world.   488 of the 500 known coral species in the world are found here spread in over 13,000 square miles of coral reefs, many of which have been grown since the Ice Age.  Plus there are over a thousand different species of marine life. All of this can be enjoyed with water temperatures averaging 28C. I will post more blogs giving the details about the Coral Triangle.

 2. Delectable foods

Each region has also its own particular cuisine.  Filipino food is a diverse blend of Oriental, European and American culinary tastes.  Fresh seafood is abundant here.

 3. Full of exotic and pristine beaches.

Boracay Island is but one of the countless beaches that you can enjoy here.  With more than 7, 000 islands here, world- class beaches with crystal-blue waters of both the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean are abundant here. Explore the other top beaches here: Alona Beach of Panglao Island in Bohol, Coron and El Nido Islands of Palawan, Dumaguete, Camiguin Island and of course, White Beach and Lambok Beaches at Moalboal and Badian in Cebu

 4. We are a vibrant, fun- loving and eclectic group of people

The Philippines has 16 regions each with their own particular culture, personality and beliefs.  One thing that is similar in each and every Filipino is their hospitality and love of fun which is infectious.

  5. Value spending

Here in the Philippines, your money will go a long, long way.  We manufacture and export world- class products such as furniture, jewelry, accessories, food, guitars (made in Mactan) plus there are branches of globally- renowned brands here.

 6 Relax and rejuvenate

Treat yourself at our spas and health centers at a fraction of the price in your country. Of course, you can enjoy a full-body massage in the newly opened Bay Spa at Turtle Bay Dive Resort.

 7. We are an English- speaking country

Over 90% of the population speaks English in addition to  Filipino and their own local language.

 8. Philippine Fiestas

Filipinos never forget to be thankful for their own patron saints and bountiful harvest by celebrating their town’s festival.  With countless towns and cities, we are a veritable land of fiestas and festivals anytime of the year. The famous Sinulog fiesta in Cebu City culminates on the 3rd Sunday of January each. The Moalboal fiesta is celebrated on May 15 & 16.


Photo by Melody Cool

Tags: diving moalboal, Diving the Philippines, diving vacations Moalboal, diving vacations, dive resort cebu

5 Reasons why the Discover Scuba Diving Experience makes the Perfect Gift

Posted by Featured Author on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 @ 02:06 PM

First published in PADI; written by guest blogger, Danielle Schofield

The holiday season is on its way, so it’s time to dust off the decorations and hunt for the ultimate gift to impress fussy friends, restless kids and the person who already has everything.

Enter the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience. Covering basic scuba skills, dive gear, and offering a taste of what it’s like to breathe underwater, this introduction session is the perfect gift for budding adventurers. Not convinced? Here’s a few more reasons why:



19 November, 2017 at 12:43 am

5 Reasons why the Discover Scuba Diving Experience makes the Perfect Gift

Posted by Guest Blogger

Written by guest blogger, Danielle Schofield
The holiday season is on its way, so it’s time to dust off the decorations and hunt for the ultimate gift to impress fussy friends, restless kids and the person who already has everything.
Enter the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience. Covering basic scuba skills, dive gear, and offering a taste of what it’s like to breathe underwater, this introduction session is the perfect gift for budding adventurers. Not convinced? Here’s a few more reasons why:

Discover Scuba Diving Experience Kid

#1 – It’s the gift that keeps on giving
Although the Discover Scuba® Diving session must come to an end, for many, it’s the beginning of an eternal relationship with the ocean, and they’ll still be saying ‘thank you’ months, years or decades later. But, even if taking a scuba certification isn’t on the agenda, this taster experience will still create memories that last a lifetime — and that’s a gift that’s truly priceless.

#2 – It’s a family (and friends) affair
PADI Discover Scuba Diving is a great shared experience for pairs or small groups, and a unique way to bring family and friends together. Plus, kids will be so enthralled with bubble blowing and breathing underwater like a superhero, they’ll (maybe) stop squabbling over who got the best gift!



#3 – The price is right

As a taster session, the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience costs less in comparison to a full scuba course. This makes festive budgeting a little easier — whether you’re shopping for stocking fillers for one, or an affordable group gift. Of course, if the person you’re buying for is already dreaming about their first scuba certification, why not get them an eLearning gift pass instead?

#4 – It will help fuel future gift ideas

Having a scuba diver on the gift list makes shopping just that little bit easier. Once someone’s hooked on the underwater world, there’s a plethora of gift ideas out there to suit every budget, taste and experience level. Whether it’s bits of new dive gear, books, or even clothing, you’ll never run out of ideas again.

#5 – It’s an enriching alternative

If you’re looking for a gift that will get the kids and teens up and about, out of the house, and away from the television or tablet, then look no further. The Discover Scuba Diving experience is active, educational, but most importantly, fun. They’ll never even realise they were learning new skills!



And, here’s a bonus reason: because the PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience is, well, an experience — and not a tangible item — there’s no wrapping involved. Not only does that make life easier (who enjoys gift wrapping?), it’s much kinder to the planet, too!

So, if you’re ready to plan some super fun, sock-free festivities for your friends and family this year, get in touch with your local PADI Dive Shop to find out more about pricing and availability.

Tags: Diving the Philippines, PADI dive courses, Discover Scuba Diving

Itinerary for Seeing the Best of Philippine Diving

Posted by Chris White on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 @ 11:45 PM

(First published in Scuba Review)

Three Great Dive Sites in the Visayas (group of islands in the middle of the Philippines)

Visayas Region of teh Philippines


There are two things you need to know about the Philippines: First, you’ll want to see it all; second, you won’t be able to. With 7,107 islands scattered across the western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines offers an ample buffet of undersea beauty that’s as lavish as a sumptuous wedding feast. So it’s best to graze, sampling as you go. On this, my first trip to this bustling country of around 100 million inhabitants, I’ve prepared three well-rounded courses in the Visayas, a group of islands south of Manila: First up are the thresher sharks of Malapascua Island, followed by the tiny (but no less impressive) sardines at Moalboal. Dessert is muck diving in Dauin — I’ve brought a list of the weird and wacky creatures I’m ready to cross off my must-see list. After a night spent in Manila at the luxurious Fairmont Makati, it’s back to the airport, en route to Cebu and Malapascua. I’m ready to dig in.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

thresher shark

Sitting about 4 miles off the northernmost tip of Cebu, tiny Malapascua Island, only about 2-miles-by-1-mile and with a population of around 8,000, seems almost entirely devoted to diving with them. My ferry from the mainland, a modified outrigger boat, deposits me on the white sand directly in front of Evolution Resort, where I’ll spend the next three days happily seeking the elusive sharks. For now, I’m seeking dinner and a cold drink, both readily available at the resort’s Irish bar, the Craic House — pronounced “crack” — where all the Filipina waitresses wear shirts that say “Craic Dealer.” Arriving one day after St. Patrick’s Day, I’m told that I missed quite the party: a reggae band, at an Irish bar, in the Philippines. That’s what I call fusion. Despite the strong lure of a good bar and the chatty company of a few locals and divemasters, I call it an early night — the wake-up call for thresher shark dives comes at 5 a.m.  

The next morning I awake before my alarm goes off, my anticipation is so great. Malapascua is one of the only (if not the only) places in the world to reliably encounter threshers, as they rise from the deep in the dawn hours to three cleaning stations on Monad Shoal, about a 30-minute boat ride offshore. During the briefing, divemaster Romel Mantos — Jo to us — helpfully suggests: “Don’t chase the sharks.” We depart just as the sun’s first light breaks the horizon, also on board a modified outrigger-boat. Divers on board hail from Sweden, Denmark, Colombia, Canada — such is the draw of the threshers. There are at least four other boats at the shoal when we arrive, but when we splash in near the first cleaning station and begin our descent to around 60 feet, we don’t see any other divers — we do, however, see a shark almost immediately. It’s as otherworldly as the images I’ve seen, with a gleaming silver body, luminous black eyes, a partially open mouth, and that famous tail that swooshes through the water like a scythe. Soon there are two, making a figure eight as they sinuously circle each other. They come within 10 feet, clearly keeping an eye on us as they receive their spa treatments. We see at least three more sharks on that first dive, and we do encounter the other divers, all kneeling behind a rope tied to two cement blocks at one of the stations. Although the gallery seating is meant to give the sharks some space, it doesn’t do the same for divers; Jo does a great job of bypassing the crowds and keeping our small group separate. When we surface, we can hardly contain our excitement. It’s not even 7 a.m. and it already feels like a stellar day underwater, even though we’ve got plenty more to come. After splashing in with the threshers, we visit Gato Island, just west of Malapascua, where there’s a gorgeous swim-through cavern, a healthy population of reef fish, seahorses, nudibranchs ranging from tiny to enormous (for nudibranchs, of course), and on our second dive, a school of squid. The next day we dive the Bugtong (Bogtong) Bato pinnacle near Malapascua, which is covered in waving tufts of soft corals in pink, yellow and orange, and I spot the biggest, blackest frogfish I’ve ever seen.      

On my final day here, I’m taking a few minutes to chat with one half of the duo that owns Evolution, British expat Matt Reed (business partner David Joyce is Irish, hence the Irish bar). The resort opened in 2010, and Reed says it’s the diversity of diving that drew them here. “It’s not just the sharks; diving-wise it has a bit of everything,” he says. “And we’ve also got a white-sand beach.” And he’s right — I’ve already seen everything from the tiniest nudibranch to the mysterious thresher shark. And this is only the appetizer in my Philippines buffet.

Moalboal, Cebu

Corals by Cool.jpg

About two-thirds of the way down the west coast of Cebu is Moalboal, known for something quite the opposite of Malapascua’s threshers: a gigantic, shimmering shoal of sardines that hugs the shore. I check into charming Turtle Bay Dive Resort, sitting at the elbow of the small peninsula, which juts out from the mainland like a bent forearm. I take in the view of Badian Bay and check in at the dive shop before meeting owners Chris White, a British expat, and his Filipina wife, Fe. Both divers, they’d visited the area with their children for almost 30 years before buying this waterfront parcel of land 10 years ago, home now to the resort. “We really didn’t have a plan,” says Chris. “Or maybe she had a plan that she didn’t tell me about. Later she persuaded me to turn it into a dive resort.”  

You wouldn’t think that something so small could be so magnificent, but it is, this enormous cloud of tiny fish that covers the shoreline like a shroud. Divemaster Robinson Pardo (Robin) and I back-roll into the water — but before we even do, I can see them gleaming 20 feet or so below the surface. The school stretches in both directions as far as I can see. We drift lazily left, following a gentle but insistent current, gliding along through school after school, each one parting before us like the curtain at a Broadway show. The tiny fish are mesmerizing — and so thick that I don’t see divers coming toward us until they’re almost upon us, and the curtain parts to allow their passage. Our dive lasts nearly an hour before we run out of sardines, but not before we also spot a few big sea snakes and a juvenile harlequin sweetlips, wriggling its way under some coral as we pass by. “They’re always dancing,” says Robin.                                                

Just offshore from Moalboal is Pescador Island, site of our dives the next day. Fe tells me that, although Pescador had been protected for many years, a few years ago there were illegal fishing nets at the island ensnaring the sardines that have since migrated to the shore. Local dive-shop owners banded together to collect video and photos of the damage that was being done to the island’s fields of hard coral and involved local government to ensure the safety of both the coral and the sardines. Pescador now plays host only to dive boats and the small outriggers of local fishermen who line-fish.              

We motor out early the next morning for two dives here, where the coral garden starts shallow and slopes down to a wall that drops into the blue. We descend in to crystalline waters and a gentle drift around the southwest side of the island, where the hard coral looks healthy, teeming with anthias and other small reef fish. Damselfish flit in and out of a staghorn forest, and a territorial clownfish gives me a stern look when I come too near his anemone. I spot a white frogfish — or rather, Robin spots a white frogfish and points it out to me — as well as lionfish, gigantic triggerfish, midnight snapper and schools of Moorish idols. Our next drift takes us along the other side of the island, where we see two turtles, gigantic barrel sponges, and sea fans dotted with a rainbow of crinoids. On my last dive at Moalboal, we visit the Saavedra Fish Sanctuary near the peninsula’s northern tip. The coral here also looks spectacular, and we drift over it for more than an hour in only around 25 feet of water. There are diagonal-banded sweetlips, lots of ill-tempered clownfish, and a cadre of jawfish digging an immense hole together — for what, I’m not sure. They seem nonplussed by my presence and continue methodically spitting mouthfuls of sand at me while I goggle at their efforts.                                                         

The only drawback of my “sampler platter” approach to the Philippines is that my stay at each place comes to a close far too soon. After only three nights at Turtle Bay, it’s time to move on. Next up: muck-diving madness.

Dauin, Negros

I'm island-hopping from Cebu over to Negros for my final stop at Atmosphere Resort & Spa in Dauin. The bright-white thatched-roof cabanas and two infinity pools overlooking the sea are lovely. At the dive shop there’s a chalkboard-size dry-erase board on the wall, and it’s like a daily menu for all the resort’s boats, which ones are going where and when: a buffet within the grander feast I’ve been sampling. One must only write her name on the lines below whatever dives appeal: a visit to the house reef’s resident pygmy seahorse or a dusk mandarinfish dive? Yes, please. A day trip to nearby marine sanctuary Apo Island? Yes, please.    

I’ve arrived early enough to squeeze in two dives. They say you never forget your first muck dive — well, maybe they don’t, but they should. Mine is at a site called the Cars, about 10 minutes north of the resort by boat. Divemaster Je-An Binarao is my personal tour guide as we drop in along a nondescript (or so I think) brown, sandy slope, interrupted only by small stands of coral or rocks. Almost immediately Je-An begins to dazzle me, first by pointing out an ornate ghost pipefish. Before I know it, we’re hugging the bottom at around 85 feet, me trying desperately not to stir anything up as we creep ever so slowly along the sand. I check one must-see and then another off my hit list as Je-An waves his magical muck stick: painted frogfish, Randall’s frogfish, baby frogfish, harlequin shrimp, flamboyant cuttlefish, stargazer snake eels, juvenile ornate ghost pipefish, an estuary seahorse, rough-snouted ghost pipefish. I’m giddy with glee before the dive is even half through.                                              

Our second dive of the day is on Atmosphere’s house reef, the same brown sand dappled with little patches of coral outcroppings. We’re doing a reverse mandarinfish dive, wherein our dive climaxes (ahem) by spying on the lovers at dusk as they mate, after we’ve already cruised the reef for around 45 minutes. We spend almost 90 minutes in the water, the last 45 hovering near a pair of likely candidates. At first I’m charmed by their coy courtship, but as my fingers prune and my lips begin to chatter, I wonder if perhaps Mr. Mandarinfish should have asked his lady friend to dinner first. Finally their love is requited, as the male sidles up gently to the female and they touch sides, rising slowly together out of the coral until — poof! — it’s done.

The next morning my guide, Noel Teves, and I visit the house reef’s resident pygmy seahorse, which lives on a sea fan at around 100 feet. Noel spots the little guy immediately. He hears me proclaim “So cute!” into my regulator, and as we gaze upon the tiny creature, no larger than one-third-of-an-inch tall, the shy animal turns and faces the other way. I follow him to the other side of the fan, wherein he promptly turns back around. I decide to give him a little space and content myself with gazing at him from the side of the fan as a school of barracuda cruises by to say hi.  

I spend my final day in the water at Apo Island, a community-run marine sanctuary just offshore from Atmosphere. The draw here is an amazing hard-coral garden — brain coral, table coral, branching coral — stretching out beneath us, all of it teeming with busy reef fish. We spend the day on the boat, diving three sites: Chapel Point, where we fin out over the garden and drop down over the wall; Katipanan, another sloping, vibrant hard-coral garden; and Largahan, a sandy slope where jets of bubbles rise like those in a glass of champagne out of the volcanic soil below.                                  

On my final night at Atmosphere, I chat with owners Matthew and Gabrielle Holder. Matthew, an architect, designed the resort, and Gaby, a longtime PADI course director, runs the resort’s IDCs. When asked what drew them to Dauin, Matthew echoes Matt Reed from Evolution. “The extent of the macro is exceptional,” he says," but the variety of diving here is outstanding.”  

Holder’s comments only confirm what I’ve found to be true at this buffet: From the tiniest pygmy seahorse to the commanding thresher shark, your plate will always be full in the Philippines.

Tags: philippine dive sites, moalboal diving, malapascua diving, negros diving

5 Common Mistakes That Scuba Divers Make And How To Avoid Them

Posted by Ericka Villa on Tue, Dec 05, 2017 @ 04:30 PM

As humans, we try to be the best we can be and Scuba Divers are no exception. However, sometimes we forget things or let emotions get the better of us, which can lead to mistakes under the water. It’s normal, we have all done it at least once in our diving careers, humans are not perfect however, knowing how to prevent these issues from happening is a good start. Remember that practice makes perfect, here are 5 common mistakes that divers and new divers make and how to avoid them…

No Buoyancy Checks

If you haven’t dived for a while, it is so common to jump into the water and get swept up by your feelings of excitement and thoughts of what you might see on your dive, that you forget to conduct a buoyancy check. There are so many factors, which can affect your buoyancy. Such as putting on weight, losing weight, what kind of wet suit you are wearing, what water are you diving in fresh water or salt water, are you using the same BCD you always use or are you renting one? If any one of these points mentioned above has changed, then you may be over-weighted or under-weighted throughout your dive, which in itself can ruin your diving experience. If you are weighted incorrectly, then this can cause you to exert excess energy throughout your dive, increase your air consumption and in the worst-case scenario, cause you to have an uncontrolled ascent. The majority of marine life injuries usually occur when a diver accidentally comes into contact with them, due to lack of buoyancy control. Remember that correct buoyancy control starts with the correct weighting and that is essential if we are to ensure our safety and the safety of the marine life surrounding us.

Do Not Maintain Gear Properly

When scuba diving, a diver is entering an environment that naturally, they should not be in. Your dive gear is your lifeline throughout a dive, so it should be treated like one. The way you can ensure that your dive gear remains at its optimum efficiency is by:

  • Rinsing your gear properly after your dives and cleaning it properly before storing it away.
  • Make sure that your kit has fully air dried in a shaded area before storing it away.
  • Ensure that your gear is stored in a dust free environment, which is dust and dirt free.
  • Check your equipment regularly for any holes, breakages or cracks.

Do Not Create a Proper Dive Plan

If you are diving with a DM (Dive Master) or a guide it is a common mistake to place all of your trust in that one person. Some divers, who are diving with a guide, don’t listen to the pre-dive briefing, as they believe that no matter what happens, the guide will take care of them. In my opinion, this is dangerous and bad diving practice as divers should be responsible for themselves. Dive plans are there for a reason, they are to prepare you, prevent and manage any dive accidents that can occur. If you are diving with a guide, make sure that you listen to them throughout their briefing. Be aware of various landmarks and currents, this will not only help you to remain safe throughout your dive, but it will also help you to become a better diver.

If you are not diving with a guide, you must NEVER ‘dive in and figure it out later’. Before you even get on a dive boat you should know the following:

  • What location are you going to?
  • What are the currents like at the dive site?
  • Do the currents change?
  • What kind of marine life is found at this dive site?
  • Depths of the site
  • Exit and entry points
  • Is there boat traffic?
  • Are there any environmental concerns?
  • Surfacing Technique

Before leaving for your dive, make sure to tell someone on-land where you are going and when you expect to be back. That way, someone knows that you are out there. Finally, make sure that you and your buddy are on the same wavelength. Make sure that you have discussed back-up plans if your situation changes. Always establish your maximum depth, maximum bottom time as well as minimum air supply to finish your dive.

Diving Beyond Your Limits

Once you are a diver, you will want to develop your skills and progress. When diving you will never be short of things to learn. No diving experience is alike. However, when you are fledgling diver on a dive boat, with a lot of experienced divers, it is pretty hard to say no. However, by saying yes, this can lead you into uncharted territory, which you are not prepared for and can be extremely dangerous. It is important to remember that you are only qualified to dive in the conditions in which you have a certification. If at any point before or during your dive, you begin to feel uncomfortable in any way, you have the ability to end it there and then. Remember that YOU are in control of your own safety. Starting to explore new places is a good way to gain experience before undertaking your next diving qualification. If you are particularly interested in wreck diving or cave diving, make sure to take proper training before entering a wreck or a cave as these new environments present new dangers. In addition, first aid training or emergency first response training is always a good idea when diving, as you never know when it might save you or your buddies life.

Over Loading Yourself

With all the amazing sites and magnificent marine life to take in, many scuba divers feel the need to over load themselves with expensive cameras, lighting equipment and filters, however scuba divers already have a lot to concentrate on and by adding more, this can be dangerous for a new diver. Try to avoid doing too much when you first start out as a diver. Gain as much experiences in as many diving environments as you can before taking your photography gear with you. Practice makes perfect and once you have practiced and feel comfortable in the water and remembering everything becomes second nature to you, then you are ready to take photos. Whilst your buoyancy control is off and you are racing through your air, whipping out the camera equipment will be not only detrimental to you and your group, but also to your surrounding environment.

Do you have any tips or stories about common mistakes when scuba diving?  Please share in the comments below.


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Tags: diving tips, diving

Go and Swim with the Whale Sharks of Oslob!

Posted by Chris White on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 @ 04:20 PM

Go and Swim with the Whale Sharks of Oslob!

                                       By pacificklaus.com


Last week I and my friends Bo and Chang-Le went to see the whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu. This is a unique dive: You suit up on the shore of a little seaside village in the south of Cebu, walk into the water, swim out for about 50 meters and there they are: several individuals of the largest fishes in the world, Rhincodon typus, the whale shark. Whale sharks are pacifistic filter feeders, and that’s why they are there: They are being fed small shrimp by local whale shark feeders, guys in small outrigger row boats who toss shrimp into the water. Originally, the locals started doing that to keep the whale sharks away from other guys who were fishing and who were bothered by the whale sharks. A few years ago they switched to feeding the sharks so that tourists on scuba and snorkel could observe them.
As far as I could judge, the whale sharks seemed to be mostly healthy. One had a slightly bent – broken and healed – tail fin, which did not seem to keep it from swimming properly. Another one had a small piece of lip missing. Did that happen during the feeding in Oslob? I don’t know, possibly. The animals seemed to be energetic and in a good nutritional state.
We got a briefing before heading to the sharks which instructed us not to touch the sharks and to not wear sunscreen. With us three were about 5 other divers and maybe 25 snorkelers in the water, with the divers (presumably more competent ocean citizens) very well behaved, and the snorkelers at least not doing anything crass.
The criticism of the situation is that it modifies the behavior of the sharks. Yes, it does, but guess what: we as Homo sapiens have been modifying animal behavior on this planet since we came into existence as a species about 100 000 years ago. Our domesticated animals are prime examples, but a lot of wildlife is equally acting very human-influenced all over the planet. In the national parks around Sydney, crows, sulfur crested cockatoos (large white parrots) and kookaburras (Australian terrestrial kingfishers) are begging for barbecue leftovers. Not natural, but fun to watch.
There are also multiple other sites where shark feeding takes place, but in these cases it’s the feeding of piscivore reef sharks. It’s done in Fiji, Micronesia, the Great Barrier Reef and other locations by respectable diving operators. A tuna head is lowered into the water, and grey reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks and sometimes bull sharks come by to take a bite. It’s a great photo opportunity and a chance to observe these fast swimming animals up-close.
In Kona, Hawaii divers have the chance to do a night dive with giant manta rays. It’s a cool dive, and I have done it a few times. Strong dive lights attract plankton in a bay just north of Kona, and the mantas, connoisseurs of a tasty plankton dinner, visit almost every evening to filter the small organisms out of the water above the lights. These mantas seem outright playful and are very comfortable with divers at this point. A few have cuts and bruises, presumably from collisions during these night encounters with humans, but a population of mantas has been coming back to this event for many years.
Do all of these man-wildlife interactions change animal behavior? Certainly. Do they harm the animals? Possibly, but not necessarily. It’s an empirical question. Providing a supplementary food source is not necessarily a bad thing. The manta ray population in Hawaii has not collapsed as a consequence of the plankton attracted by human dive on so many nights. The whale sharks in Oslob are not dying off, and recently even a 2 meter whale shark baby has appeared on the scene. Don’t get me wrong: I am certainly in favor of a very careful management of the whale shark feeding in Oslob, but I don’t condemn it a priori because it’s “not natural”. Given the horrible things humanity does to the planet’s ocean these days (overfishing, pollution, ocean acidification, …), I can’t get too worked up about the intrusion into shark and ray behavior happening during this and the other aforementioned dives.
And even whale sharks are being fed in other places. In Okinawa, Japan, my former place of residence, juvenile whale sharks are kept in a netted enclosure (unlike in Oslob where the sharks are free to come and go) for divers to swim with. The Japanese are rightfully known as supreme animal abusers, and they don’t disappoint in this case either: the whale sharks are poorly fed and usually don’t make it very long before they “go away” (as it’s dishonestly put over there). This “attraction” used to be advertised in many cabs in Okinawa when I was living there (until 2011 – I suspect it’s still going on?). If you want to do something for the whale sharks, I suggest you protest that cruel situation.
In a recent rather shallow analysis of the Oslob whale shark watching published in the Huffington Post, the author claims that tourists ride on the whale sharks. As noted in the article, that did not happen in Oslob but in a nearby town. Nothing like that happened when I was in Oslob, in fact the Filipino guides were very good at pulling the snorkeling tourist away from the sharks when they got too close. The author also claims that the sharks are “virtually kept captive” by the feeding and are entrapped and encircled by the feeder’s boats. It’s beyond me how a skinny dude in a small row boat on the surface could keep a super massive fish very well capable of diving below the boat “entrapped”. And since the whale sharks usually dive to depths of about 200 meters every afternoon after the feeding sessions (as tagging studies have shown), it’s a bit of a stretch to say that they are “captive”.
Let me put it this way: I don’t write anything about medieval harp music, since I don’t know anything about the topic. Ms. Sowter, the author of the Huffington Post article, should use the same reasoning when it comes to marine biology. The experience at Oslob might have violated her expectation of a serene nature encounter, but that does not mean it’s detrimental for the whale sharks. I enjoyed the experience, and the chance to spend so much time with these largest living fish. It was more of an experience akin to interacting with a habituated parrot in an Aussie national park than akin to seeing a Jaguar after a two day hike into the jungle, but an enjoyable experience nevertheless.
Given the usual realities of man-ocean interaction in the Philippines I enjoyed seeing country Filipinos take care of a marine animal. The local seafood markets in the Philippines have surprisingly small fish for offer, a sign that the oceans here are drastically overfished in many places. The nice large groupers and parrotfish are typically reserved for tourists with thick wallets these days. In that context, seeing the locals make a living by not killing marine life is positive. For marine live aficionados like me and my two friends last week in Oslob, the place provides a unique chance to observe these imposing fish. For many visitors the sharks might only be a curiosity, but for some it might spark a deeper interest in the ocean. I say, go and see the whale sharks of Oslob!

Tags: Gentle Giants, Oslob Whale Shark, whale shark cebu

Top Reasons To Be A Scuba Diver

Posted by Chris White on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 @ 03:45 PM

Top Reasons To Be A Scuba Diver

scuba diver ascending
Why learn to scuba dive? Good question.
There are many reasons to learn to scuba dive. It may be something to mark off your bucket list, a reason to travel or even a way to escape the effects of gravity.
If you’ve been thinking about it and haven’t taken the plunge, here is a top 10 list of reasons to learn to dive.
Explore parts of the world that many don’t get to see
The ocean covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface. If your goal is to “see the world” then you’ll need to learn to scuba dive.
You have a place to escape everyday technology and Zen out
There are no phone calls to answer or emails to respond to underwater. Your attention is focused on breathing and what you see through your mask (which most of the time is pretty awesome!).
Experience weightlessness
Is gravity always bringing you down? Learn to dive and feel the sweet spot of neither sinking nor floating.
Improve your equalisation skills for flights and mountain drives
Once you master equalising your ears on a dive, you can do it anywhere.
Relive the vast amount of history that lies beneath the sea
You can explore wrecks that sit at the bottom of the ocean, including World War ships and planes.
Tank carrying muscles help you be better at bowling
Master of non-verbal communications
Scuba divers learn to communicate underwater without speaking. The “this way to the exit” hand signal is very handy when you want to signal your date that it’s time to leave the party!
Impress others with your newly acquired knowledge
You’ll learn about PSI and compressed air in your scuba cylinder. Since you know an empty tank weighs less than full tank, you’ll know that a deflated football weighs less than one fully inflated.
You can one-up your friends on social media
This is especially useful if you have a lot of friends who run marathons…
You know that “Keep Calm and Carry On” is a real thing
After you get certified you’ll understand the importance of making your air supply last. The trick is to breathe slowly and move deliberately. Good advice for the surface too.
You really should learn to dive, don’t you think? Send us an email at info@turtlebaydiveresort.com
Article by: Julie Clarke-Bush

Tags: diving moalboal, diving tips, scuba diving Cebu, Diving the Philippines, diving with sardines, best diving destination, PADI dive courses, buoyancy, Coral, diving with sharks, frogfish


Posted by Featured Author on Mon, Oct 23, 2017 @ 02:32 PM

written by Journey Freaks

After a roller coaster-like ride on a habal-habal we stopped at the side of the highway where we alighted earlier. We waited for a Ceres bus to pass by. Minutes of waiting with all our bulky baggages we hopped on to a crowded non-aircon Ceres bus bound to Bato via Oslob. We were all a bit drained but that didn’t stop us to visit Oslob Cebu.




Oslob Cebu is one of the top traveller destination on a Southern Cebu itinerary. Oslob Cebu boasts so many scenic spots and activities. One can never go wrong with Oslob Cebu when it comes to being one with the nature. This blog is dedicated mainly for its whale shark activity.

An hour journey from Badian to Bato terminal felt a bit lengthy because out of exhaustion. I saw some signage of other falls (like Dao Falls, Aguinid Falls) of each town we passed by. Then I took a quick nap and it felt like I slept the whole day. We then alighted at Ceres’ Bato terminal to transfer to another bus bound Bato-Oslob.

Journey Freaks’ tip: If you’re looking for a quick grab of food and drinks there’s a stall right across the Bato terminal.

Another countless seaside road journey and after roughly 1 and a half hour of travel we were able to get to Brgy. Looc in Oslob Cebu. Whale shark interaction is actually located in Brgy. Tan-awan. We wanted to be away to a touristy place for a quieter place.  We made a reservation to a one of a kind accommodation via AirBnB . (Read our Tum’s Resort review here)

It was a long day for all of us and badly needed some rest for the next day’s adventure. We woke up around 5:30 in the morning to get to the area early. Since Oslob Cebu is located near the sea, we were greeted by a beautiful song of the waves. It was one perfect morning in Oslob Cebu. I was in awe of the view, the smell of fresh air, everything was beautifully made. We then changed into our swimming gears and grabbed some carbs for the whale shark interaction. Since we stayed at a different barangay (Brgy. Looc) we had to flag down a tricycle going to the whale shark briefing area in Brgy. Tan-awan. It was a quick ride going to the whale shark area. The moment we walked down into the briefing area we saw a long queue of people waiting for their turn. It was pretty chaotic scene.




Whale shark interaction in Brgy. Tan-awan is a must-try in a Southern Cebu itinerary. A 30-minutes interaction with the gentle giants will surely be the longest 30-minutes of your life. Before the actual interaction, a seminar is indeed required for the safety of the travellers and the whale sharks as well.  The seminar only lasted around 5 minutes.

If you’re up for a closer interaction, I suggest you to go for snorkelling with a staggering amount of PHP500/30 minutes. The fee already includes a snorkeling gear (but I suggest you bring your own for hygienic purposes) and a life vest. If you’re kind of scared to have a closer interaction and just want to see the gentle giants from the boat, a fee of PHP300 should still be paid. Some say that the price was a bit expensive considering it only lasts for half an hour. But hey, it’s a rare thing activity so who am I to complain?

So after some queuing, paying and some little talking, it was about time for whale shark interaction!

The boatman brought us as to where the whale sharks are usually swarming. A few moments of waiting then the boatman gave us the go signal. We were instructed to give a 4m distance away from the whale sharks. Locals of Oslob Cebu calls the whale shark, tuki. Moments later, one whale shark came to our side and I was astounded as to how big it is. A really beautiful gentle creature. The whale shark was following a small boat that throws them their food (planktons). I thought there was only one whale shark in the area but to my surprise I saw another gentle giant below me. I think there were 6 whale sharks the time we were there. I saw a particular whale shark which is really massive compared to others. I was speechless. I was amazed.

I’ve never thought in my life that I would swim with the whale sharks that closer. I believe that it is a blessing for everyone in Oslob Cebu (Brgy. Tan-awan) because to be honest they totally deserve it. I remembered when our tricycle driver shared that the boatmen in Tan-awan were former fishermen. He said that their incomes were doubled because of the booming tourism. I personally felt their genuine hospitality they gave to every visitor. I just hope that they remain responsible and caring with the gentle giants.



Overall, our Oslob CebuWhale shark interaction experience was great. Although there were some downers, I believe there’s always a room for improvement. To be honest, I’m thankful to experience this one of a kind activity. It made me one with nature. I’m looking forward to go back anexplore more of Oslob Cebu. Till next time, Southern Cebu!


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Tags: whale shark, whale sharks at Oslob, diving with whale sharks, Oslob, whale shark watching, Cebu, Cebu Oslob, Gentle Giants, Oslob Whale Shark

6 Easy Exercises to Keep Fit for Diving

Posted by Featured Author on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 @ 02:53 PM

Posted by Sarah Wormald

keep fit for diving

How fit divers have to be is often a topic of debate. One thing that experts do agree on is that a “reasonable” level of fitness is required. All divers should maintain general fitness but these exercises specifically relate to diving because divers use different muscle groups to those used in other sports.
Here are 6 exercises you can easily incorporate into your regular exercise routines and that you can do at home or even at your desk. Remember to always stretch before and after any exercise and while you want to push yourself, don’t overdo it!

  1. Unless you’re a ballet dancer it is unlikely that your weekly workout includes an hour or so on your toes. When you are finning this is basically what you are doing – pointing your toes and extending the muscles in your feet. That’s why so many divers get foot cramps no matter how fit they are. To keep these muscles fit for diving try laying on your back and pointing your toes, stretching your calf and foot muscles as taut as possible. Hold for one minute and release. Repeat three times with a 60 second break in between. You can incorporate this into your regular exercise warm up or adapt it by stretching out your legs and pointing your toes in your office chair. It’s also a great exercise to do on flights.

2. Another way to work out your foot muscles is the “monkey grab”. Place a pen on the floor and position your foot above it. Try to pick up the pen in your toes and hold it for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other foot (if you cannot curl your toes around a pen try a soft fabric item like a balled up handkerchief).

3. Posture and back strength play an important role for divers. If you have weak core muscles the easiest way to walk with a tank on your back is hunched over (like a turtle) which will cause back, neck and shoulder pain. Strengthen your core muscles by employing some simple back extension exercises – which can even be done in bed! Lay face down with your arms bent and your hands / fingers interlocked underneath your forehead. Lift your head, shoulders and torso off the floor (or bed) as much as you can whilst keeping your hands on the floor, aim to feel a stretching sensation and hold it for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat.

4. Wall squats to strengthen your thighs –standwith your back against flat against a wall and lower yourself down by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knee is bent 90 degrees – hold for as long as is comfortable. Strong thighs make climbing boat ladders easier!

5. Calf raises to strengthen your calves. Standing with your legs shoulder-width apart, lift your heels slowly off the ground so you are on the balls of your feet and then slowly lower your heels back down so they just make contact with the floor. Repeat the exercise until your calves feel tired. If you do this 2 or 3 times a week you’ll start to be able to do it for longer. Strengthening your calves means more effective finning and you won’t tire so quickly. It will also help to reduce the likelihood of cramp in your calves.




6. Improve general core strength and prevent back problems by always engaging your core muscles every time you pick up any object of weight, bend with your knees and not with your back. This also extends to the way you sit at your desk. Sitting up straight will improve your core muscles instead of scrunching them up.

Source: http://www2.padi.com/blog/2016/11/01/6-things-you-dont-know-about-dry-suit-diving/ 

Tags: Moalboal, exercise, fitness, lifestyle, cebu diving

6 Things You Don’t Know About Dry Suit Diving

Posted by Featured Author on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 @ 08:18 PM
 by Brooke Morton


Rich Morin knows a lot about dry suits. Not only does he perform search-and-recovery operations under the ice for local police teams, he also teaches loads of Ice Diver certification courses through his PADI Five Star Dive Center, Rich Morin’s Pro Scuba Center in New York.

According to Morin, dry suits are a necessity for divers in his area who want to get as much time in the water as possible. “Because, we have nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding,” he says.

If you’re not already Dry Suit certified, here’s what you need to know to get started:

6. “The skills are nothing you can’t do,” says Morin.

One of the skills students must complete is to remove and replace the scuba unit and weight system.

“It’s something we’ve all done a million times, only now it’s a bit more challenging because of the bulk—and because you’ll need to disconnect and reconnect the inflator hose to the dry suit, which attaches on the bicep of the left arm, typically.

Dry Suit Specialty

 5. Yes, you will be upside-down in the suit at times, but that is part of the training.

Just as you did when you first got certified, you’ll learn to maneuver in a way that works with the equipment you’re wearing.

When you find your feet pointed skyward, you have a couple options. If you’re closer to the surface, ball up. Teaches Morin, “Tuck into a ball, then do a sit-up to be upright and vertical.” If there’s enough depth below you, kick down. “Swim down and then get horizontal—you’ll end up either on your belly or back, and if you’re on your back, just roll over,” says Morin.

4. Alpaca socks keep your feet the warmest.

“We’ve tried it all, and found that alpaca wool socks underneath the booties the manufacturer supplies do extremely well at keeping feet toasty warm.”

In addition to the socks, you’ll typically be wearing polypropylene t-shirt and pants. Then a fleece layer— shirt and pants. Then the undergarment/s supplied by the dry suit manufacturer.


3. Everything happens in slower motion when it comes to buoyancy in a dry suit.

Air doesn’t escape the suit as quickly as it does a BC. A BC has no resistance thanks to the urethane coating. But, when you’re bundled up in layers of clothing under the dry suit, says Morin, “It takes time for the air to travel through the undergarments.” And so, he reminds divers to “really take your time adding and subtracting air—do it in small amounts but frequently.”

2. You have to move periodically to stay warm.

Your body heat will warm the air in the suit, but you’ll need to help it circulate. “If you’re always in a face-down position while diving, your back stays toasty but your belly gets cold, so every once in a while you have to roll to move that air around,” says Morin.

Dry Suit

1. It’s easier than you think.

“Unfortunately, a lot of dry suit divers like to dwell on the complexity of the dry suit,” says Morin. But there’s really no merit to this initiation-like speech. The whole course is typically taught in one day, with one confined-water session and two open-water dives. But that length of time should speak to how easily the skills are for most divers. Says Morin, “In fact, the number one thing that surprises people about dry suit diving is how easy it is.”

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Source: http://www2.padi.com/blog/2016/11/01/6-things-you-dont-know-about-dry-suit-diving/ 


Tags: diving tips, scuba diving, Moalboal, cebu dive resort, scuba

Marine Conservation for Kids

Posted by Featured Author on Sun, Oct 02, 2016 @ 01:47 PM

The future of our oceans lies with our children. As scuba-diving parents, we have a unique opportunity to share a love for marine conservation with our kids.

Divers generally have a great appreciation for the marine world and its inhabitants, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that those who enter that environment do so with appropriate respect, just as we respect each other’s homes when we visit. After all, we are guests in the marine environment — and uninvited guests, at that. As diving parents, we know that marine conservation for kids becomes even more important. We can teach our children about the marine environment and how to protect it long before they’re old enough to dive.

Marine conservation for kids

Unfortunately, one of the first, and most important lessons, that children learn is that people are the biggest problem when it comes to protecting our marine world. From litter and pesticides washing into the seas, to drilling for oil that leaks into the oceans, to introduction of non-native species, we have been abysmal stewards of our oceans. While all of these seem like huge problems, which a child will likely feel helpless to affect, it’s appropriate to start small and teach them what they can do. Make sure they dispose of trash properly. Model good behavior by drinking from reusable water bottles, and limit your family’s fish consumption, if you eat seafood at all. Little things can make a big difference over time. As children become old enough to dive, there are many more ways for them to support marine conservation.

We are in someone else’s home

I have always taken the approach to the marine environment that I am in those creatures’ living rooms. And I have arrived uninvited. So, when we teach our children about marine conservation, we relate it to going to a friend’s house. Kids are expected to be on their best behavior on a visit, to use their manners and clean up after themselves. The same holds true underwater.

When diving or snorkeling, children should be polite to the sea creatures, use their best manners, and look for opportunities to leave the environment in as good or better shape than they found it. This means that we observe the animals and the coral, but we keep our hands to ourselves. We should not disturb the animals or try to get them to move so we can get a better view or picture. Finally, when we see trash, we pick it up, unless trying to collect it could damage coral or animal life even more.

Be aware of our surroundings

I remember watching a woman on a dive trip who wanted to get a picture of anything the divemaster showed us. She focused only on where her camera was and where the object of her photo was. At one point she lunged in to get the picture, spread her entire body over a fan coral, and then laid down on it. It was horrifying to watch. Some of the divers in the group began to physically move this woman off of and away from things — my husband picked up her fin tips at one point because she was kicking some of the coral formations as she adjusted to get the photo she wanted.

We have told our children this story to help them understand the need to be aware of their surroundings, their bodies and their equipment. We wouldn’t necessarily want children to physically confront another diver who may be harming marine life, so it’s wise to help your children think through how to manage the situation if they see divers behaving badly. Children can take a proactive role by letting you or the divemaster know, in private, that one of the divers needs some coaching on reef etiquette. Children will feel more invested in marine health themselves if they’re encouraged to take control of a bad situation and affect change.

Food webs and food chains

Children study food webs and food chains in school right around the same time they can start diving. Use this newfound knowledge as a teaching tool on how these systems work in the marine environment. From hearing parrotfish munching on coral to seeing big fish feeding on krill, learning about the marine food chain is a great way to demonstrate the importance of even the smallest organism.

As we rely on our children to become the new guardians of our planet, we must educate them early and often about how they can help us reverse course on the damage that we’ve already done, particularly to the marine environment. The earlier they learn, the more ingrained good habits will become, and the higher the likelihood that they can help educate their peers. Marine conservation for kids means not only educating children today, but ensuring the survival of our oceans tomorrow.


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Source: http://scubadiverlife.com/marine-conservation-kids/

Tags: scuba diving, marine conservation, marine life