Albay Gulf is a promising dive destination and I was fortunate to learn that there is an ongoing restoration works on damages due to dynamite fishing. My brief encounter with Mr. Jin Masuda, the Japanese director of Pacific Blue have raised hopes, that the surrounding waters in the region would flourish and its resources more productive, in due time the most could be five years. The diveshop in coordination with BFAR, BU, MCCF and other groups collaborated on coral transplantation and restoration, it is a formidable task but he was optimistic that the works would largely improve the marine environment in the gulf. The documentation showed the growing transplanted branching corals and juvenile tropical fishes that started to multiply in the area. For sure, the cooperation of fisherfolks in the coastal communities would be necessary for its success.
In recognition to the growing importance of responsible and sustainable tourism, Misibis Bay too has pledged its commitment to protect the environment and to improve the livelihood of the local community through its Misibis Bay Coastal Care Foundation (MCCF), a non-profit organization launched in 2009 dedicated to the implementation of various conservation projects like coastal and underwater clean-ups, giant clam planting to promote coral reef growth, solid waste management, and monitoring and prevention of illegal fishing.
Unknowingly our side trip to Misibis Bay the next day gave me the chance to dip in the waters, but not diving – it was too expensive I cringed as I inquired for the rates! Snorkeling was allowed for free, three other workmates signed up to join me. The resort has established a marine sanctuary as an added attraction of its properties. The skies were downcast but we were in high spirits for a swim, we were in good mode as we rolled off for the diveshop. The facility was off the coast near a patch of beach at the far end of the cove. We descend as it started to drizzle, our guide was insistent that life vest is a requirement as we snorkel. We were not disappointed – giant groupers, snappers, parrotfishes, sweetlips, rabbitfishes and more tropical species swarmed near the shelter. The guide pointed few of the giant clams gone a stray, he said more of its population were seeded in the deeper part. So diving in the area will include the viewing of the giant clams, unfortunately the rain started to pour we were not able to swim further. My companions suggested to end our swim as the rains continued pouring and the waters getting colder.
With this development no doubt the region is a potential as a new diving destination in the future, its attractions more than just on the surface but beyond, in its mysterious depths!
NB. Photo credits to http://www.gophilippinestravel.com