CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Philippines was named as the Best Overseas Diving Area in the Marine Diving Awards 2020, tourism officials announced.
And diving spots found in Cebu were cited as among the top picks by foreign travellers.
The Department of Tourism (DOT), in a press release dated September 4, 2020, said that the country won the Best Overseas Diving Area award in the Marine Diving Awards 2020, for the first time. The ceremony, hosted by the Japan-based Marine Diving Magazine, was held in Ikebukuro district in Tokyo.
“Garnering 814 out of the 3,572 total votes cast by subscribers of the Marine Diving Magazine, the Philippines was number one for the first time in the Overseas Diving Category,” the DOT said.
The tourism department said that the magazine cited diving sites in Moalboal and Malapascua Island in Cebu province and Busuanga in Palawan as popular picks for divers.
“Marine Diving Magazine cited the diving sites in Cebu, Bohol, Moalboal, and Busuanga which are teeming with whale sharks, snappers, dugong, other big fishes, large schools of sardines and long mackerels, and other rare and endemic species,” DOT said.
“These diving sites, the magazine said, have ‘captured the hearts of many divers and make them want to revisit the Philippines again and again. And with its easy access from Japan and reasonable tour prices, the Philippines is no doubt a first pick for many diving lovers’,” the tourism department added.
Moalboal is a fourth-class municipality located approximately 85 kilometers southwest of Cebu City and is host to several diving sites off its coasts.
The town is popular for its sardine run and scuba diving activities around Pescador Island.
Malapascua Island, on the other hand, belongs to the town of Daanbantayan that is located on the northernmost tip of Cebu island. The island gained popularity among diving enthusiasts due to the presence of thresher sharks around it.
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Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat was also quoted as saying that the recent recognition for the Philippines was a “testimony that diving is more fun in the Philippines, with each underwater paradise offering a unique adventure and experience to behold and return to.”
“Our underwater landscape is a colorful kaleidoscope of nature’s living jewels, one that divers cannot find anywhere else,” Romulo-Puyat said.
DOT also said in the same press statement that their agency will soon be releasing the guidelines for operation of diving establishments in the country under the new normal.
“When the situation is better and with the easing of travel restrictions around the world, we hope to again showcase to divers not only our underwater jewels and biodiversity, but also our brand of culture and hospitality,” said Romulo-Puyat. / dcb