My alarm went off promptly at 2:30 a.m. I awoke but very tempted to beg off with a “not feeling well” excuse. This is typical of a dive trip that requires me to wake up at a crazy hour. This so far is the craziest ever!
Just as the alarm stopped ringing, I heard my mobile received an SMS. Rochelle and Richard were waiting for me in Pasig. Dive over sleep as always, I threw my dive and hurriedly packed bags into Starex and head out. I don’t have to drive all the way anyway.
3:30 a.m. Rochelle, Richard, and I met up with Beth, Dino, and Denise in Alabang and head for Anilao, with Beth driving like usual.
International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is the world’s largest, one-day volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment. Every September, volunteers from over 100 countries descend on local beaches, rivers, lakes and canals to show their commitment to cleaner waterways.
Every year the scuba diving community in Manila-Batangas tandem to join this international event. Resorts in Anilao take turn in hosting clean-up dives, so expect clean up activities (and parties) every weekend of September. Needless to say, this is the most anticipated (dive) event of the year! And for me, this year is one of the most fun (and eventful) dive weekend ever!
We were crazy early (and carpooling) because the resort was expecting 120 divers and we wanted a parking space! Lol, and of course we got a good one. Pier Uno Resort was bustling with energy when we arrived. Volunteers and resort workers busy as bees making sure everything goes smoothly and have to commend the whole team for a job more than well done. Registration was quick, rooms were preassigned, and we did 2 dives before lunch!
First dive was at Twin Rocks which is kinda funny because we frequent Planet Dive and Twin Rocks is sort of their house reef. But it’s one of my favorite site because of its abundant marine life. You got everything there from beautiful corals to schools of jacks and barracudas, octopus, variety of critters and nudibranch. This turned out to be bit of a fun dive because there weren’t so much trash to pick up.
Our 2nd dive is at the shore of Pier Uno. The reef is in a sad state but has not been totally desserted by underwater critters. We were able to collect a lot of trash in here but there are more, unfortunately.
We were able to do a third dive in the afternoon at Dive and Trek. Dive and Trek will be the most familiar dive site if you get your certification in Anilao. The reason being it has a beautiful platform of corals teeming with marine life as shallow as 7m. I’ve not dive here for 2 years and was very surprised and saddened by the widespread coral bleaching of its reef.
The water got really choppy by the afternoon that we had to cancel our 4th dive. We went back to our nice rooms and rested for the much awaited party.
The party started at 7pm with a sumptuous buffet, lechon, and live band. There were free flowing Manila Beer and Antonov Vodka which are some of the night’s many sponsors. Plenty of raffle prizes and the party was still rolling when we hit the sack at 3 a.m. — were awake for over 24 hours by then.
The Highlights of the Night:
– Denise jammed with the 1st band.
– Rivermaya as surprise guest and performed over 10 songs.
– Halcyon gave away 2 BCs (Eclipse and Infinity) and their new regulator! They initially donated an Eclipse but the Halcyon executives were having so much fun (with the help of Manila Beer no doubt), they decided to throw in an Infinity when the crowd chanted more! more! Then before anyone could settle down, the guy said we’re giving away a regulator and I’m out of here. And people almost fell off their seats.
– Dino won the Halcyon Infinity! Lucky guy. I’m so happy for him but would be happier if I won. :)
ICC Day is organized by Ocean Conservancy as a global effort to remove trash and debris from beaches and waterways and aims to change human behaviors that allow them to reach the ocean in the first place.
Looking forward to next year!