Dive Sibultan: Manta Ray Spotting in the Philippines
No trip to the Philippines is complete without exploring underwater. With world-class diving, the Philippines have epic marine life, thriving coral reefs, and endless shipwrecks to discover. Many of the islands offer scuba-diving experiences, each with something different to see and do. In El Nido, Palawan, Dive Sibaltan are leading mantaray conservationists, with ongoing projects designed to monitor this incredible species and create an environment that encourages them to return to the area. We caught up with the team at Dive Sibaltan to learn more about their efforts and to explore the underwater world off the untouched North-East coast of Palawan.
Arriving at the dive shop we were welcomed by a team of enthusiastic divers who went above and beyond to make us comfortable. Hot drink in hand, we completed the paperwork, got kitted out with top of the range diving equipment, and were introduced to the dive sites for the day.
Dive Sibaltan was started by a group of keen divers, and their energy reflects their passion for the sport. We listened with excitement about the Manta cleaning stations and how the team have been working endlessly to help monitor these beautiful creatures by photographing them and sharing the data with conservationists. With equal importance, the team were eager to share the need to keep our distance and remain still if we were lucky enough to see any Manta, so as to protect them and not deter them from returning. After all, there’s no better way to experience these magnificent creatures than in their own habitat, allowing them to do what comes naturally. It’s all about having fun, exploring, and protecting the natural environment, which make for an epic experience both under and above the water.
The best thing about Dive Sibaltan is that everyone is welcome, whether you’re new to the sport or have been doing it for years. The group on our boat ranged from discovery divers to advanced divers, and the instructors were brilliant at meeting everyone’s needs. A relaxed yet excitable energy made for ideal pre and post diving conditions. The team helped everyone get kitted up before each dive, with buddy checks all around before we jumped in the water. Each time we surfaced, everyone was eager to share their experiences and hear all about other peoples as hot drinks and sweet treats were passed around the boat.
As we surfaced from the last dive of the day, the sun was starting to dip and the golden hour glow made for the most beautiful ride back to the beach – the perfect time to reflect on what an unforgettable experience the day had been. With huge smiles on our faces, we headed back to the dive centre to dry off and record our dives. The crew insisted on bringing the tanks and equipment back for us, allowing us to maintain the weightless feeling that diving brings. The team at the shop were really excited to hear about our day, which is always the best way to end a day of diving.
If you’re going to the Philippines, you should definitely go scuba diving. And if you’re in El Nido, Dive Sibaltan is the place to go. The enthusiasm of the team reflects just how passionate they are about diving, and about protecting and conserving the incredible sea life and the ocean in which they live. Dive Sibaltan is more than just a dive centre, it’s an inspiring experience that will leave you dreaming in blue.