MANILA, Philippines?Two local dive spots have made it to a British divers magazine?s list of top sites ?every diver must try,? buoying the Department of Tourism?s projections of visitor arrivals from the United Kingdom.
Sport Diver magazine?s special publication, The Ultimate Dive Destinations, listed Malapascua in Cebu and Apo Island off Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental province among the ?100 dives to do before you die.?
The magazine, official publication of the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Diving Society, came up with the list of popular and little-known dive spots based on unique finds such as wrecks, reefs and marine life.
The list comprises 10 dive sites in 10 regions, including North America, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa, Indian Ocean, Australasia and Southeast Asia.
Malapascua and Apo Island shared the Southeast Asia list with five Indonesian, two Malaysian and one Thai dive sites.
Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said the inclusion of two Philippine sites in the list, ?by no less than an insider?s guide to the world?s best diving destinations? proves that the country is a must-see.
Durano said Malapascua was picked for its consistent sightings of thresher sharks?6-meter pelagic fish with long, whip-like tails, large eyes, silver sheen on the side and smooth movements, which got its name for its ability to feed on schools of fish by thrashing its tail toward them.
On the other hand, Apo Island was described as replete with a continuous chain of underwater life?with hard and soft corals attracting reef fish like snappers, surgeonfish, damselfish, parrotfish, anemone fish and wrasse, which in turn invite large species like barracuda, tuna, white tip and blacktip, turtles and manta rays.
Durano, who is a diver himself, said the list was based on the opinion of experts looking for sites with rare characteristics that stand out from the usual dive haunts.
Tourism Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque Jr. said the listing would boost the country?s tourism campaign.
?We are confident that arrivals from the UK may breach the 90,000 mark by year end,? Jarque said.
He said the UK market had been a consistently strong source of tourist arrivals, posting an 18-percent growth rate during the first half of the year.