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Diving with… Dave E. Santos, Buceo Anilao Beach and Dive Resort, Anilao, Philippines

Asia DTA Team

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Dave E. Santos

What is the name of your business?

Buceo Anilao Beach and Dive Resort

What is your role within the business?

I am part owner and the General Manager of Buceo Anilao.

How long has the business operated for?

We started the business March 15, 2014 so we are running 7 years.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I have been diving for 34 years. I am a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and EFR Instructor.

What is your favorite type of diving?

I love diving on colourful reefs, but Muck dives are very exciting to me because of all the strange critters that can be seen.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

If you guys love Nudibranchs and different critters, this is the place to go. We are known as the Nudibranch capital of the world for a reason! But that’s not the only thing we have here. With over 50 dive sites in our area you’re bound to see what you’re looking for! If you have a list of rare critter you want to check off your bucket list Anilao is the place to go!

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

For corals I love Beatrice rock because of the colours and abundance of Marine life teaming over the reefs. Then for muck dives a site called Siem Siem is fantastic for so many kinds of critters. Depending on the season, things that can be seen are Ambon scorpion fish, weird Nudis, mimic octopus, wonderpus, blue ring octopus (we’ve seen up to 3 per dive!) and lots more!

What types of diving are available in your location?

We are becoming very popular for excellent muck dives and colourful reefs. If you want to Big fish this is really not the place to be but… we have seen the occasional whale shark…hehehe

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Besides being able to dive anytime I like, I would say the greatest reward in my current role is promoting our country to our local and international tourists so they can experience the beauty of the Philippines, specifically Anilao.

What is your favourite underwater creature?

I would say what really amazes me and gives me goose bumps is when I see a blue ringed octopus and special nudibranchs!

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

Regarding the resort, we have added new rooms which will be ready to open soon. No need to turn down guests anymore due to lack of space! From only 17 room now we can fill 23 rooms with happy divers! New species of nudibranchs are also occasionally popping up needing to be named, maybe the next Nudi can be named after you!!

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Besides this Pandemic, the biggest problems we are facing now are actually the laws implemented by the LGU’s regarding when we can go out to dive because of weather, new rules regarding having to submit a manifest with the coast guard station every time we go out for our dives and the plan to phase out wooden hulled boats which have been used for so many years. The Philippines is known for these wooden boats with outriggers and are called “Bangkas”.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

We do our part with environmental work. Even though the setting up of buoys should be done by our local government, since we pay Diver taxes and they have the funds, we set up some buoys ourselves to try to minimize anchoring on the dive sites. We also work with the LGUs to educate the locals on the proper way of disposing their trash, daily cleaning of our shorefront and we participate in clean ups organized by different NGU’s (Non-Government Units).

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

Over-all this industry is growing and like anything that grows we need to be cautious and try to avoid a negative impact on our environment. So we should do more projects to sustain the environment.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

Macro, muck, and beautiful coral reefs! If any of these appeal to you then come on over and enjoy yourselves! You will not be disappointed with the biodiversity of our waters. From the most colourful marine life, coral reefs, and the resort itself! Buceo Anilao is the destination for a colourful vacation. Oh! Before I forget, we also offer blackwater dives! If you want to experience diving in the outer space then this is the new adventure for you!

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

Buceo Anilao Beach and Dive Resort

Sitio Balanoy, San Teodoro, Mabini Batangas, Philippines, 4202

Email: contact@buceoanilao.com

Website: www.buceoanilao.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/buceoanilao

Instagram: www.instagram.com/buceoanilao

@buceoanilao #buceoanilao #nudibranchcapital #yellowresort

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Komodo National Park found to be Manta Hotspot

Asia DTA Team

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Through a collaborative effort between citizen divers, scientists from the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), and Murdoch University, a new study reports a large number of manta rays in the waters of Komodo National Park, Indonesian, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, suggesting the area may hold the key to regional recovery of the threatened species.

Reef mantas (Mobula alfredi), which grow up to 5m, tend to reside and feed in shallow, coastal habitats. They also visit ‘cleaning stations’ on coral reefs to have parasites, or dead skin picked off by small fish. Courtship ‘trains’ are also observed adjacent to cleaning stations. In Komodo National Park, manta rays are present year-round, challenging the famous Komodo dragon as the most sought-after megafauna for visitors.

Scientists teamed up with the dive operator community to source identification photographs of manta rays visiting the parks’ waters and submit them to MantaMatcher.org – a crowdsourced online database for mantas and other rays. Most of the photographs came from just four locations from over 20 commonly visited by tourism boats.

I was amazed by how receptive the local dive community was in helping collect much-needed data on these threatened animals,” said lead author Dr. Elitza Germanov. “With their support, we were able to identify over 1,000 individual manta rays from over 4,000 photographs.

People love manta rays—they are one of the most iconic animals in our oceans. The rise of the number of people engaging in SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and the advent of affordable underwater cameras meant that photos and videos taken by the public during their holidays could be used to quickly and affordably scale data collection,” said MMF co-founder and study co-author Dr. Andrea Marshall.

The photographs’ accompanying time and location data is used to construct sighting histories of individual manta rays, which can then be analyzed with statistical movement models. These models predict the likelihood that manta rays are inhabiting or traveling in between specific sites. The study’s results showed that some manta rays moved around the park and others as far as the Nusa Penida MPA (>450 km to the west), but overall, manta rays showed individual preferences for specific sites within the Park.

I found it very interesting how some manta rays appear to prefer spending their time in some sites more than others, even when sites are 5 km apart, which are short distances for manta rays,” said Dr. Elitza Germanov. “This means that manta rays which prefer sites where fishing activities continue to occur or that are more popular with tourism will endure greater impacts.”

Fishing activities have been prohibited in many coastal areas within Komodo NP since 1984, offering some protection to manta rays prior to the 2014 nationwide protection. However, due to illegal fishing activity and manta ray movements into heavily fished waters, manta rays continue to face a number of threats from fisheries. About 5% of Komodo’s manta rays have permanent injuries that are likely the result of encounters with fishing gear.

The popularity of tourism to these sites grew by 34% during the course of the study. An increase in human activity can negatively impact manta rays and their habitats. In 2019, the Komodo National Park Authority introduced limits on the number of boats and people that visit one of the most famous manta sites.

This study shows that the places where tourists commonly observe manta rays are important for the animals to feed, clean, and mate. This means that the Komodo National Park should create measures to limit the disturbance at these sites,” said Mr. Ande Kefi, an employee of the Komodo National Park involved with this study. “I hope that this study will encourage tourism operators to understand the need for the regulations already imposed and increase compliance.”

Despite Indonesia’s history with intensive manta ray fisheries, Komodo National Park still retains large manta ray aggregations that with careful ongoing management and threat reduction will benefit regional manta ray populations. The study highlights that marine protected areas that are large enough to host important manta ray habitats are a beneficial tool for manta ray conservation.

For more information about MMF visit their website here.

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Magic Resorts: ready to welcome you back to the Philippines

Asia DTA Team

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Magic Resorts are finally able to welcome you back to their two renowned dive resorts in the Visayas (Central Philippines), after the Philippines reopened its borders last February after 2 years of pandemic.

Both resorts, Magic Island Dive Resort in Moalboal, Cebu and Magic Oceans Dive Resort in Anda, Bohol, are fully operational and were able to survive the lockdown that lasted for 2 years in the Philippines. When the reopening of the Philippines was announced, both resorts underwent a big renovation and restoration to be able to offer the same quality of service as guests could previously expect.

With the same staff members still in their positions, offering the world-famous Filipino hospitality with their welcoming smiles, Magic Island and Magic Oceans are ready again to offer an unforgettable diving holiday. Dive master Manuel (also known as Mani) and Jason, didn’t lose their eye for detail and can still find the smallest critters around Moalboal and the notorious mating Mandarin Fish on Magic Island’s house reef. Of course, the tasty mocktails after your dives in Magic Oceans will be served by the lovely bar lady Esther, whilst the popular singing chef, is preparing the most delicious food to finish off a perfect holiday. Great diving, great service – that’s the ultimate Magic experience!

Magical diving

All the dive enthusiasts from America and Europe who already took advantage of the reopening of the Philippines and spent their diving holiday at one of the Magic Resorts, have been warmly welcomed, not only by the staff, but also by the marine life around Moalboal and Anda. The first passing Whale Sharks, jumping Thresher Sharks, mating Mandarin Fish and even mating Flamboyant Cuttlefish have been spotted! Everybody is excited to see happy divers again after such a long time.

Entering the Philippines

On February 11, the first day of the reopening, the first hundreds of foreign tourists entered the Philippines. Since then, 100,000 tourists have entered the country to enjoy a tropical holiday, for most of them a long-awaited trip. If you bring your valid passport, return ticket, proof of covid-vaccination, a negative test (PCR/antigen) and an insurance coverage for costs for covid-treatment, you may enter the country. A continuous smooth course of the tourist flow may lead to the lifting of some of the requirements really soon!

Get ready for your unforgettable diving holiday at Magic Resorts and book your holiday with some great opening discounts: email reservations@magicresorts.online for details!

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