Trip to Philippines

5/11/2011 | Category: All | 5029 Views | 14 Comments

What a trip!  We just spent 17 days in paradise and came back with the memories of a lifetime.

We left from O'Hare on Thursday April 21st. Flew 13.5 hours to Seoul Korea and then another 4.5 to Cebu arriving around midnight local time. Spent the night in Cebu at the BE Resort and then the next morning took a 3 hour transfer to Kasai Village Beach Resort. Was met with a welcoming banner and a fruit drink. Did our first dive 2 hours later on their beautiful house reef. This was followed by an outstanding meal (the food there was great all week-every meal) and a night dive on the house reef. [Will be posting video clips and pictures as edited.]Over the next 6 days did another 20 dives off boats, from shore, day and night and saw a variety of unique creatures: sea moths, demon scorpionfish, blue ring octopus, mandarinfish, stonefish, many varieties of crinoids, anemonefish, nudibranch, flatworms, sea slugs and sea hares. The soft and hard coral were lush. The divemasters were unbelievable in their ability to spot even the smallest creatures that we would have otherwise missed! All 19 divers had an outstanding time!

On Saturday April 30th, two boats from Pura Vida Resort arrived and we were transported by sea to our next destination. We stopped to do a couple of dives along the way! We saw a huge bait ball (giant school of sardines that were larger than a house and looked and sounded like a tornado when they moved). We then got to do our first "muck" dives in the brown sand! Muck diving is basically diving in places that do not have a "pretty" reef. The creatures use camouflage or, if toxic, bright colors for protection. They blend into the scenery or stick out like a sore thumb! Wait until you see the video of the weird adaptations to this world. Ghost pipefish in a variety of shapes and colors, giant and pygmy frogfish (anglerfish) in all colors, reptilian snake eels, dragonettes, cuttlefish, and more. We did take some day trips to local islands with beautiful reefs (Apo and Siquijor) and saw ribbon eels, two-tone dartfish, turtles and lionfish. In all did another 20 dives here.
The food at Pura Vida was outstanding. The service and friendly staff matched that given us by Kasai Village. The Philippine people take customer service and friendliness to a level I have rarely seen. After 13 days of diving, we were forced to pack our bags and make the trip home. Same 2 flights after a bus ride and a ferry boat ride.

Thanks to Eileen Skiba for taking care of all the detail work, Haigh Enterprises for sponsoring the trip and Ultimate Dive Travel for making all the arrangements and taking care of the one traveler who thought our 12:30 PM meant 30 minutes after midnight!!! He arrived a day after the group and everything went smoothly as if it was planned that way!

Our next "trip of a lifetime" is the Maldives in September 2012. We plan to see schooling whalesharks and manta rays in their favorite feeding spot at the optimal time of the year! Between now and then we will be traveling to Curacao over Thanksgiving week and Bonaire next March. Visit the Instructor-Led Travel page for more info.


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