I had a chance to dive in Apo Reef when we returned there last February. It was a memorable one not because it is one of my favorite places to dive but because it marked another milestone in my scuba diving career – my 100th dive! Being a scuba diver for two-and-a-half years opened a door for me to a new dimension. It made me appreciate, understand and love the underwater world more than ever. It changed my life to become more responsible individual, protective…Continue Reading “Journey to the Depths of Philippine Underwater World: 100 Dives Milestone”

Agutayan Island Marine Sanctuary

I went to Cagayan de Oro the day after Tropical Storm Sendong lashed the city. From the airport, the situation seemed normal and calm but as I came close to the city proper, the disaster brought by the storm became perceptible. As the jeepney passed the bridge crossing the brown and murky Cagayan River in Carmen District, I saw communities along the river totally washed out. People covered with mud, barefooted and wearing the saddest faces I’ve ever seen, were everywhere. I heard someone say…Continue Reading “My Year End Dive at Agutayan Island Marine Sanctuary”

The Philippines, being the center of the coral triangle is known to have a very diverse and dense marine life, but save for Samal and Davao, the dive sites of Mindanao are rarely mentioned in the dive books or online sites.

One of the underwater jewels of Mindanao is the diving spots in Northern Mindanao, specifically the waters surrounding the Agutayan Island known as Agutayan Marine Sanctuary, off the coast of Jasaan, Misamis Oriental. The island, virtually a sandbar, is surrounded by green waters that is rich with marine life and houses the endangered giant clams.

Agutayan Island and Marine Sanctuary

The Agutayan Island and Marine Sanctuary in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental

The Agutayan Island is crescent moon in shape, an ideal camping and swimming site. It is no more than 500 square meters in area and can be seen from end to end. The marine sanctuary surrounding the island is where I had my first ever night dive as an open water diver. Lionfish of all sizes are everywhere. Nudibranch, anemones, angel fish, trigger fish, groupers, hammerheads, gorgonians, pufferfish, porcupines and various colorful fishes roam underwater.

Continue Reading "Diving in Northern Mindanao"