It was 4am, and the anxiety-induced insomnia was all too familiar, yet the concept of being at the airport in just a few hours before the grouping up of the unforgettable journey that would lay ahead of us were hard to grasp and seemed all too surreal.
This unshakeable feeling lurked within all of us until we'd finally touched down at our destination. The destination? The mesmerizing archipelagic state known as the Republic of Philippines.
The Philippines, which is part of the coral triangle, is one of the most bio-diverse areas of marine life on the planet. And Dumaguete, the capital city of Negros Oriental in the Southern part of the Philippines holds sanctuary to over 3000 species of fish and 500 coral species, as well as some of the main attractions of 27 species of whales and dolphins!
The diving and the people we met in the area truly make it a phenomenal relaxing vacation where you can forget all about any stress and just absorb the environment. From experience, Dumaguete is surprisingly easy to get to. The easiest way to travel is to fly to Manila (the capital of the Philippines) and once you’re there, you can catch a short and inexpensive flight from Manila directly to Dumaguete.
On our recent trip to Dumaguete, we witnessed and admired the view of a tropical island with its long stretches of beach and jungle-like mountains in the distance. For a diver, the marine life combines a bit of the Northern area as well as life that is encountered in Indonesia, including muck diving.
A few biological landmarks that you will want to consider visiting while you're there is to explore the absolutely remarkable dive sites of Apo Island where the crystal clear waters runs from turquoise to blue-diamond, and world-class muck diving and marine sanctuaries that exists on the Dauin coastlines. We certainly can't forget about the almost guaranteed chance to see whale sharks at Oslob and Sumilon Island on Cebu if you’ve never seen one, a short ferry ride from Dumaguete.
However, one misfortune that we encountered during our stay in Oslob was the cruel ensnarement of a whale shark by a private group of locals that were profiting off tourist to "sightsee" the incredible yet hapless creature. We would like to make it clear that we did not participate in this fraudulent activity, and we'd like to bring awareness to the sort of similar activities that happens to these magnificent animals all over the world.
Oslab & Sumilon Island
Oh, how we've missed the feeling of traveling again after such a prolonged duration of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The ten of us were all extremely excited to explore the islands of the Philippines, although we were also hit with the reality of traveling for the first time since the global pandemic, and trust us when we say it was troublesome...
Travel risk and management concerning the risk to make travel decisions in destinations were noticeably stricter (as we'd imagine and appreciate). Such complexities and obstacles included the triple checkings of personal details and proof of vaccinations, the not-so-userfriendly application of the Philippines One Health Pass, and the unforgettable absurd amounts of fellow tourists supplemented by the opening periods of international travels.
However, regardless of the many hardships we encountered whilst traveling for the first time since Covid - this never once kept us from displaying the beaming smiles on our faces throughout the entirety of this magical experience!