Nearly seven months ago, I made a promise to my friend that I will move mountains to make sure that I watch Tool in concert. The most feasible locations for making the pilgrimage were quite obvious – Australia and Japan. These are the only two Australasian countries where Tool has ever played and it doesn’t seem like it will be changing anytime soon. Without any word of a new album being minted, I knew it was a long shot that Tool will go touring. Fortunately, my friend Totomai alerted me about Ozzfest 2013 where Tool along with Slipknot and Deftones among a host of other awesome bands were to be showcased over two solid days of music in Chiba, Tokyo. Continue reading
I book most of my hostels and hotels via Agoda so it was great to know that Citibank was holding a promo that allows you to get a discount when you book using your Citibank credit card. The promo runs until July 31, 2013 and you can get a discount of up to 7%. Continue reading
Japan is one of the countries with the most number of overseas Filipinos. It has long been a favored destination for Filipinos who are in the technology, entertainment and service industries. The relationship of the two countries may have been trying less than a century ago but nowadays, both Japan and the Philippines a friendly relationship. This is reflected in the cost of applying for a Japanese visa – as as the embassy is concerned, the cost of application is gratis (FREE!).
Here’s what you need to do to get a Japanese visa: Continue reading
It’s been almost a month but my memories of Tubbataha are still quite fresh. The totality of the experience is very hard to put into words and I believe that the individual elements that have made the trip truly special are much easier to share to others. Allow me to list down ten of the unforgettable things about our live aboard adventure.
#10. Awesome sunsets (all throughout the trip!)
This particular sunset was nothing short of magical. It was our first day at Tubbataha and we had just finished our last dive for the day. The water almost looked like glass because of how still it was and the sun had just hid itself as wispy streaks of oranges, pinks, reds and purples bled trough the sky. There were other great-looking sunsets during the trip – the sunsets that we saw while we were in Apo Reef in Mindoro and Busuanga/Coron in Palawan were also quite breath-taking but nothing could come close to how amazing the sunset was that day at Tubbataha. Everyone was just gobsmacked that they just saw the most beautiful sunset in their lifetimes. Continue reading
I will be watching Deftones in May for Ozzfest 2013 but I will not let an opportunity to watch them live with other Filipinos pass by. It was an amazing experience to witness them play two years ago at the World Trade Center and I wouldn’t dare even pass up on the chance to see them again. On May 26, 2013, Deftones will once again take the stage to promote a new album (Koi No Yokan). This will be two weeks after the Ozzfest shows. Deftones will actually be doing a good number of shows in Australia and Asia.
A few weeks ago, a few friends and I had the great opportunity to live aboard the M/Y Oceana Maria and be out at sea for almost week. The Oceana Maria is one of the few vessels that go to Tubbataha and true to its promise on the website, the boat truly offers comfort that is not commonly found on a dive boat. I haven’t been to other dive boats before but I was happy to note that Oceana Maria has decently-sized rooms, a state room and spacious indoor and outdoor areas for eating, drinking and lounging. Continue reading
I took this shot with my Samsung Note 2′s camera when we were about a kilometer or so away from the site of the salvage operations. We were diving off the M/Y Oceana Maria at the Black Rock dive site during out last day at Tubbataha. The left-most structure right next to the crane is the USS Guardian. It is being taken off the reef piece by piece after being declared a “total loss” by the US Navy. Recent reports have suggested that the USS Guardian will be completely removed from the reef in the next few days.
I was furious when it was reported in the news that the USS Guardian (a vessel that was a naval minesweeper) ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the destination of just about every Filipino diver. Faulty maps were said to be the cause of the accident but the location of the reefs are no secret to anyone. The Sulu Sea is plied by many commercial vessels and the Tubbataha Reefs are specks of shoals in the vast deep sea. Any modern ship should’ve had the technology to detect the depth of the waters they were in and certainly, the ship of the self-proclaimed “greatest nation in the world” should have been immune to a stupid mistake like this.
As a Filipino, I was very upset that an American military ship can easily pass through our waters, destroy our natural resources and not immediate face sanctions. It was upsetting to see how the Philippines pulled back and just played this cool instead of really highlighting the graveness of the event. This accident compromised one of the most important breeding grounds of many local species of fish and marine animals and could have very long-lasting environmental repercussions.
Edit: As of March 30, 2013, the US Navy declared the salvage operations to have been finished.
TweetIf this video by Jun Lao (Paparazsea) doesn’t make you want to get you into diving, nothing will. I just came back from a really awesome trip about the Oceana Maria and it was a very good first liveaboard experience for me.
As far as local diving is concerned, exploring the waters of the Tubbataha National Park is the goal of every Filipino diver. Its location deep in the heart of the Sulu Sea makes going to this natural wonder quite a challenge – all dives in Tubbataha are to be done via live-aboards since the nearest major port of Puerto Princesa City (Palawan) is more than half a day away by boat.
We took a week long expedition that had stops in Apo Reef (Occidental Mindoro), Busanga Island (Palawan), Quiminatin (Cuyo Islands, Palawan), Tubbataha Reef and Puerto Princesa. I will be posting more about this trip in the coming days. Enjoy the video!
I have been a certified Open Water Diver since May of 2000. In the last two years, I’ve embraced diving as an actual traveling consideration and at times, it has even motivated me to travel with it as the only motivation. To oversimplify things, if one finds the dry part of a new place exciting, just imagine what the vastness of the space right past the shore can offer. If one feels alien to be in a foreign land, imagine how it is like to be underwater for the first time – it’s a man-out-of-land experience!
The photo above summarizes my dive philosophy. Despite being a diver for a very long time, I am still a diver who does NOT own a wet suit. I usually dive in a rash guard and board shorts. I don’t wear a hood and what I wear on a dive can easily be worn by a surfer. I’m not exactly a no-frills diver but I’m probably just a step above that.
I came across this very interesting quiz that profiles divers according to their interests and dive temperament. After answering around a dozen questions, I was tagged to be a THRILL SEEKER.
I’m not the coolest cat underwater. I do not really get scared, but I do like to think that I’m quite alert. I love spotting things – I like the idea of being the first to see fish and corals and that usually puts me in front of the dive group. I’ve been separated from my group several times already; and while I do get freaked out, I always manage to calm down and just take things easy. I guess that’s what makes me a “thrill seeker” of sorts – I know my limitations and my frailties and I like flirting with them.
Take the What Type of Diver Are You Test and share your results with your other diver friends!