The Philippines was awarded the Best Overseas Diving Area in the Marine Diving Awards 2020 held in Tokyo recently.
It is the first time the Philippines landed the number one spot in the Overseas Diving Category of the diving awards, which has been selecting the best dive spots in the world annually since 2000.
The Philippines has bagged the best international diving spot for 2020 after landing top 3 spots for the past years since 2000.
The Marine Diving Magazine cited the Philippines as “a first pick for many diving lovers”—as it garnered 814 out of the 3,572 total votes cast by subscribers of the magazine.
The award was given in ceremonies at the recent Marine Diving Fair 2020 in the district of Ikebukuro in Tokyo.
“This award is a testimony that diving is more fun in the Philippines, with each underwater paradise offering a unique adventure and experience to behold, and return to. Our underwater landscape is a colorful kaleidoscope of nature’s living jewels, one that divers cannot find anywhere else,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo- Puyat said.
Among the best diving sites cited by Marine Diving Magazine include Cebu, Bohol, Moalboal, and Busuanga which are teeming with whale sharks, snappers, dugong, other big fishes, large schools of sardines and long mackerels, and other rare and endemic species.
According to the magazine, these diving sites have “captured the hearts of many divers and make them want to revisit the Philippines again and again. And with its easy access from Japan and reasonable tour prices, the Philippines is no doubt a first pick for many diving lovers.”
Other popular diving sites in the country are Malapascua off the northern tip of Cebu Island, Anilao in Batangas, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, Donsol in Sorsogon, and Dauin in Negros Oriental.
The magazine also cited the Apo Reef Natural Park on the western waters of Occidental Mindoro, the world’s second largest contiguous coral reef system, and the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park which is a UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site.
The Philippines has bagged similar awards. It received the World’s Leading Diving Destination Awards in the Prestigious World Travel Awards in 2019.
“Diving in the Philippines is like a dream come true, where you wake up and dive at the center of the center of global marine biodiversity, and keep wanting to dive again to come back for more,” Puyat said.
The organizer of the awards is the same organizer of the Marine Diving Fair, Japan’s largest consumer event for diving enthusiasts and beach lovers. The DOT was a participant in the diving fair where it set up a booth that showcased underwater videos of various Philippines diving spots.
Diving is one of the top tourism products under the National Tourism Development Plan 2016-2022. The DOT is set to issue guidelines for the operations of diving establishments to ensure the health and safety of divers under the new normal.
“When the situation is better and with the easing of travel restrictions around the world, we hope to again showcase to divers not only our underwater jewels and biodiversity, but also our brand of culture and hospitality,” Puyat said.