The Little Mermaid in 2010

the Depths - my second home!

Prologue: An excerpt  from my journal The Year that Was…

It was amazing that even with chaotic work schedule, I had lot of personal trips labeled as my de-stressing strategy.  I had almost 30 dives, of which 25 sites entirely new; explored 8 new places including the famous El Nido; and have finally experienced coral transplantation at NRM site in Linamon.

Though our ultimate dive trip for 2010 was indefinitely postponed, I was thrilled with new discoveries not only with underwater world but also in the highlands.  I was able to scale two mountain peaks in two successive months – Mt. Pulag in the Cordilleras and Mt. Kitanglad in our very own Bukidnon – third and fourth highest peak in the country.  And finally, I set foot In Sagada after 8 long years of waiting.

Arranging trips and itineraries have become an art.  One time, I changed return flight last minute and become absent on a Monday, I have to call and delegate for an opening message on a morning convocation! It was a feat to arrange for leaves carefully considering work trip, meetings and deadlines.  I have exhausted my special leaves, force leave and took vacation leave which I don’t normally do in previous years.

Year 2010 has been a blissful year for my diving pursuit and indeed I was immensely enriched as I go through my journey. Looking back I can always recount the events with much delight and gratefulness for all the blessings poured down for me to grasp.  So here’s my ten for 2010:

  • My greatest lesson – ascending alone after I was lost from my DM in the murky waters.  The principle I use was stop, relax, think & act which I think very basic for every diver.
  • My 29 dives of which 25 are totally new sites having an accumulated underwater time of 56:53 as of 30 December  were more than decent enough considering schedules and monetary issues.
  • My greatest disaster – my cam which was barely 10 months old went flooded!  My heart sank…
  • My greatest disappointment – Missing the Coron monsters, I want to visit this fave site once a year.
  • Now sporting my dive computer – an important gear I can’t imagine diving now without it!
  • My advocacy for marine protection & preservation being reinforced by joining the coral transplantation in a marine protected area in one of the coastal town in the region.
  • My personal goal to dive at least once a month was almost prefect except in May and October when I was in mourning and on a retreat respectively.  I had seven in September.
  • My new learning – diving with enriched air and I love it.  Now, I wanted my EANx certification soon!
  • After more than three years I was able to revisit the spot where I had my first rigors in open water diving, coming back to the resort felt nostalgic…
  • My passion for marine quests is now on the next level, working for the underwater world has been an enriching experience for me.  A call to make a difference in the marine world!

And I am blessed I have friends to support me,  they have great influence as I went through in my journey:

  • Mario – I was diving with him when I was lost in the murky waters, being my OWC and AOWC professor, it   was the perfect workshop! He was deathly worried and when I surfaced, he was still on the waters obviously waiting for me to show up. I can not forget the look in his eyes.  He invited me and I was part again of his International Cleanup Dive activities in a marine sanctuary in one coastal town in the region.
  • Lemuel & Mar Brandy – marine biologists, their work in marine preservation & coral transplantation has inspired and enriched me.  They facilitated and work out things so I could join them for the underwater work.
  • Angel – my good friend and favorite dive buddy, an important person in my dive trips.  Without him, probably I wont be able to visit all those sites.  Seventy percent of my last year’s dives were with him – perhaps our diver’s itch is on the same degree and our passion for marine life has gotten to the same level.  We shared many lessons, memories and graces in our travels, and what a joy! He was so encouraging and resourceful in planning our trips.  Our visits to El Nido, Malapascua, Kalanggaman, Apo Island were few of the trips tinted with extravagance and I was feeling spoiled again!

Indeed, it was a plethora of wonderful and inspiring experience, the mermaid in me has always been on its fins wanting to immerse deeply in the wonderful water world.  This is my journey, this is my life….

CY 2011: Quo vadis, Mermaid?

There's life beyond the depths!

Our Tubbataha 2010 is indefinitely postponed so my soul will wait silently for the right time, I know it will be worth the wait. Despite shelving my coveted dive trip for this year, I’m on again for more adventures for 2011 planning equally amazing and off beaten dive sites… I promised myself before venturing sites outside my dear country, I need to explore more and exhaust all the rich marine biodiversity in our waters.

Together with my favorite dive buddy Angel, we are more than bullish to explore these exciting sites:

  • Apo Reef – one of the most diverse marine life comparable to the Great Barrier Reef.  My tickets for San Jose – Manila – San Jose is ready. Angel encouraged me to buy this as early as May , it was on sale!
  • Coron (again!) – for the mysterious wreck diving. I’ll never get enough of all the challenging WWII wrecks in its waters.  Admittedly, I am smitten by the rich marine life and laid back environment in Calamianes.
  • Batanes – I never knew that there is diving in this northern most islands, so when Angel told me, I was thrilled! I slapped my forehead why I haven’t thought to search diving in the islands.  I have been wanting to visit this town, but keep postponing. Now, it’s like hitting two birds with one stone – stunning landscape and mysterious unspoiled depths!  Got our tickets already, it was on seat sale!
  • Manta Bowl – A new discovery, incidentally a dive master mentioned this site to us. Our diver’s itch is pestering us again!
  • Tawi-Tawi waters – one of the red flag areas in Mindanao, this is challenging!  We planned to conquer the place this year, but failed.  So, we will finally explore it next year as my birthday trip.  We got tickets already!
  • Malapascua (again!) – we missed the treshers last summer, so we need to go there again!  Hopefully, the sharks would cooperate this time. I love the laid back life of this northernmost Cebu island. 🙂
  • Others – there are other sites to explore more, those that are less expensive and accessible to get away with leaves at work.  Like Panglao Island, Camiguin Island, Moalboal, Siquijor or even Mis Or waters.

There will be more discoveries  next year aside from our surface adventures.  And always, yes always, I’m grateful with my favorite dive buddy who’s ever resourceful and very encouraging in planning our trips.  I’m  looking  forward for all these, but  shhhhhhh – these are still secret.  Ahhh, the mermaid in me is rejoicing!