Oonasdivers Director Tom tells all about his tough job of embarking on a trip to an 'exotic' location in the Philippines where he hoped for a close encounter with the infamous Thresher Shark..
During my trip I visited Cebu city which is a bustling commercial town and the port hub of the island. The city offers a great insight into the local economy and what life is like away from Manila. As I travelled north from the city towards Maya, where I was to join a Bangka boat for the transfer to Malapascua Island, the towns became less built up and the landscape more tropical.
On arrival I boarded the Bangka boat for my 45-minute trip to the island. I bobbed along on the waves taking in the hot sun and the sand bar island gradually came into sight, it is then you know your paradise awaits!
After checking in at the Exotic Dive & Beach Resort and getting my dive gear ready for the morning I headed off to the other side of the island through some sand tracks to watch the sunset, which did not disappoint.
The resort is set right on the beach and the restaurant area has a coral sand floor really giving you the feel of being on a desert island. The staff are organised but relaxed, making you feel at home. Breakfast was buffet style with the egg station set up in the restaurant, food is then served throughout the day on a request basis from their menu of local and western food. I highly recommend the satay sticks from my stay! I was in a superior room which was spacious and tastefully decorated. The resort has a good range of rooms to suit different budgets and types of traveller.
Exotic runs many day trips to the different sites around the island. As it was my first day, I was heading off to some local sites to do my check dive and get comfortable in the water. The diving in the area offers many macro species, including several huge nudibranchs that were around the sites on the coral pinnacles.
During the afternoon my buddy and I went to explore the house reef. This is an artificial reef that Exotic has been developing over many years, they are essentially growing their own dive site! There are several metal structures and a huge concrete Thresher Shark. The site has a great number of species now resident and is a great place for some afternoon photography or video training. Me being a video guy meant I enjoyed spending time exploring and taking footage of some beautiful creatures such as frogfish, nudibranchs, an orangutan crab, bubble coral shrimps, skeleton shrimps to name but a few. The guides are very experienced and knew the best places to find the fish life for me to capture on video!