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Diving with…Jamie Gladwin, Magic Island Dive Resort, Moalboal, Philippines

Asia DTA Team



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?


What is the name of your business?

Magic Island Dive Resort

What is your role within the business?

Dive center manager

How long has the business operated for?

Magic Island opened its doors in January 2005.

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

I started diving in 2002 and I am a PADI Course Director.

What is your favorite type of diving?

Drift diving along beautiful coral walls.

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

The staff are the best thing about Magic Island, always ready to take care of you with a big smile on their faces. Of course, we happen to be very well located next to some of the best diving in the world, especially if you like critters, turtles and coral walls.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

I have two favourite dives; Pescador Island and the Sardine bait ball. Pescador is an islet just a 10-minute boat ride, straight out from the resort. It’s surrounded with coral walls reaching down to 200ft/60m, which in turn are surrounded by all kinds of reef fish. On its west side it has a huge cavern making for some awesome wide-angle shots with great lighting in the afternoon dives.

The Sardine ball is just memorizing and unique. Unlike the famous sardine runs off the coast of the Africa, the Sardines of Moalboal are here year-round and always in the same spot. You don’t get all the big action stuff but, to watch them make their swirls of different patterns as Jacks and Tunas dart in for a tasty mouthful, really is quite a spectacle.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Lots of healthy reef walls filled with critters, colourful fish and a very healthy population of turtles. Sandy bottom muck diving in Moalboal bay.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I love to teach, that’s why I became a dive instructor. Unfortunately, being a diving instructor doesn’t guarantee you will be teaching all the time, there are many other aspects to the job. However, being a manager is very much, being a teacher, guiding the team to make sure we are all successful. Listening to the comments of our guest or reading the reviews online, gives the feeling of success and that reward is well worth the hard work we all put in. On top of this I still get to teach many of the dive students which pass through Magic Island.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Frog Fish! All of them!

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

We are planning to start a coral reef watch program that will allow our guests to get involved in monitoring the coral reefs, giving them a better understanding of how it all works, while at the same time helping collect data that will help better protection measures in the future. We also plan to make our own Frog Fish Specialty program. Both of these can earn you a PADI specialty and count towards your Master Diver Certification.

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

Governmental issues.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Yes, we do regular Dive Against Debris, which is also a PADI specialty you can take at Magic Island. As stated above we will start a coral watch program and we also do regular mooring placements and upgrades. Our next project is to get all the moorings to be a double buoyed mooring; this helps keep the lose line off the reef when its low tide further reducing any negative impact.

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

Overall, I think the industry is filled with people who are both passionate about their sport and the environment it is involved in. I would like to see the passion adopted by the newcomers to the industry from other regions of the world that seem to have a lesser education on the environmental problems our world faces.

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

World class diving with the world renowned Filipino hospitality.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

Magic Island Dive Resort
Basdiot, Moalboal
6032, Cebu, Philippines

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Komodo National Park found to be Manta Hotspot

Asia DTA Team



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 – 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



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 for details!

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