This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Dive Seafari 2011

Dive Seafari Logo 2011

I am stoked!

“Marine marvels at the 1st Philippine Dive Seafari” article spread all over the internet last month and got all of us mad divers excited and curious. And I’m so ecstatic to be part of this grand underwater extravaganza.

There are exactly 3 things that I’m passionate about: traveling, photography, and scuba diving.  So when avid diver, environmentalist, philanthropist  Mr. Joel Uichico asked if I would be interested to blog for Dive Seafari, faster than you can say “clear”, I mentally pushed back all that I may have in my schedule and committed myself.

 

What is Philippine Dive Seafari?

The Philippine sits on top of the Coral Triangle, the global epicenter of marine biodiversity and a global priority for conservation. The waters of the Coral Triangle, comprising 6 countries, hold the highest diversity of iridescent corals, fish, crustaceans, mollusks and marine plant species in the world.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) recognizing scuba diving as a potential tourist magnet, puts our marine marvels on exhibit as it hosts the first Philippine Dive Seafari from April 25 to May 4, 2011.

The Dive Seafari is basically an underwater familiarization tours of our top dive destinations. We have so many, but initially we’re going to showcase 4: Anilao, Bohol, Coron, and Davao.

DOT have invited international celebrity underwater photographers to dive and document their stay in the Philippines. Aside from scuba diving, they will also be treated to other tourism highlights of the region they’re assigned to. There will also be other international guests who are travel writers, tour operators, videographers, and photographers. These VIPs will be hosted and accompanied by our top underwater photographers. Find the matrix of assignment below in case you’re curious or want to catch your hero.

Dive Destination Int’l UW Photographer Local UW Photographer
Anilao Dave Allen Bunnee & Mike Santos
Bohol Robert Yin Gutsy Tuazon
Coron Bob Whorton Adrien Uichico
Davao Alex Wu Marissa Floirendo & Tet Lara

 

A Vision Realized

Blue Spotted Stingray Photo

Blue Spotted Stingray

When Mr. Joel Uichico said at the end of his talk during the last NUDI night, “that the formation of a photo diving group like NUDI was a dream come true“, I almost had to choke back tears. I was very moved because I feel insignificant and here they are bettering the lives of our dive guides.

The small group who instituted MAD about US, comprising of legendary divers and photographers: Marissa Floirendo, Gutsy Tuason, Nonoy Tan, Bunnee and Mike Santos, Tet Lara, Joel and son, Adrien Uichico have been contributing their time, money, and effort to train guides all over the Philippines since 2004.

It is their ultimate goal to educate and train them to be world class dive guides. To empower them so they will never again be relegated as just a “baby-sitter”. They are now to be regarded as Philippines’ front liners, ambassadors, and professionals of diving tourism.

DOT’s First Philippine Dive Seafari program is a hopeful beginning of the realization of this vision.

 

Photo Exhibition

A special presentation by the celebrity divers (guests and hosts) at the Ayala Museum on May 4, 2011. Photos taken during the Dive Seafari will be showcased including those of the MAD about US winners competing for the National title. This affair will be attended by embassy and consulate representatives, tour operators, tourism officials, and other special invitees.

 

How do Divers take part in this?

This is where MAD about US photo competition comes in. The special edition MAD about US is an offshoot of the Dive Seafari so other avid diver-photographers can take part. One winner per category, per region will be awarded. They will then be eligible to compete for the nationals where only one will be chosen during the closing program of the Dive Seafari.

 

Wanderlass in Bohol

Bohol has one of the most prolific coral reef we have in the Philippines. I was traveling with my family when I visited Bohol for the first time in 2009, so was only able to sneaked in a couple of dives with friends. I vowed to go back and dive Bohol properly. But wow, who would have thought that I’ll be doing it in this fashion? Diving with world class photographers and dive guides–fabulous!

Maybe one day I’ll be invited to attend such event for my underwater photos but in the meantime, I’ll be your eyes in this grandiose affair. I’ll be blogging daily about the happening and will tweet with #diveseafari & #helpDOT tags. Follow me @wanderlass

With this event, we hope not only to establish the Philippines as a world-class marine photography destination, but to build appreciation for the beauty and fragility of marine life as well,” said DOT Secretary Alberto A. Lim.

Let’s do it!

Dive Pilipinas

Dive Pilipinas

 

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