LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 30 (PNA) -- Divers - both neophytes and experts, young and senior citizens - from China, Japan and Australia, are set to explore the various dive sites in Albay Gulf next month.
Jin Masuda, a Japanese dive master who has been into diving the 16 dive sites in this city and other flourishing reefs in Albay Gulf, confirmed the arrival next week of seven elderly divers from Japan who he will guide in underwater tour of the reefs.
It was learned that there are two types of underwater attractions for divers: fish species abounding in the sites and the corals and reefs which they regard as “the rainforests of the sea.”
Either or both, Masuda assured his visitors of satisfaction comparable to diving in the famous reefs in the country such as Tubbataha Reef in Palawan and those in Anilao in Batangas as far as the types of corals and species of fish are concerned.
His most encouraging promise to visiting fellow Japanese is that Albay Gulf is the calmest dive destination, the reason he has stayed in this city in the past three years--doing voluntary services to the local governments of Albay province and the city of Legazpi such as exploration, rehabilitation and promotion of the dive sites.
Now on his 11th consecutive year of stay in the country, Masuda has been inviting Japanese to come to this city.
Late last year, he provided guide services and itinerary of underwater tour in Albay Gulf to a group of elderly divers from Japan - the oldest of them, 75 years old.
Masuda will also provide the same to the group about to arrive next month, the youngest among them, he said, is 54 years old.
Matsuda is the vice president of the Pacific Blue Dive Center (PBDC) that has established an office in this city and has been providing free dive trainings to residents in Albay islands who are to be tapped in the ongoing coral farming and coastal resource management programs of the local governments.
Masuda’s group installed last December 31 the first ever coral garden in Albay Gulf at no cost on the part of the government and has vowed to put up more underwater nurseries, especially near the dive sites and on damaged reefs - all free of charge.
Another Japanese dive master, George Nakano, the head of PBDC, left for China after the installation of the first coral garden to provide dive training in Beijing.
At least 30 among Nakano’s trainees in Beijing are set to experience their first open-water diving in Albay Gulf, also next month.
“The training in Beijing was done in pools. They have not experienced the open seas and because Albay Gulf is a calm dive area, they were convinced to come here and experience open water diving for the first time,” Masuda said.
Also next month, 22 divers from Australia will be brought in by Lee Michael, a Sydney-based journalist who is into free promotion of tourism destinations in Asia.
Michael has featured in his own broadcast station the various tourism attractions of Albay province.
City Mayor Noel Rosal revealed that Michael had been in this city last September and indeed promised to bring divers from Australia for them to discover the natural underwater beauty of Albay Gulf.
It was learned that Michael had explored the various dive sites here and was all praises that he pledged continuing promotions through his radio station in Sydney and to invite fellow Australians to come to this city.
Nong Dawal, the action officer of the provincial government’s ongoing poverty alleviation program in the four islands within Albay Gulf which PBDC strongly supports through provision of free dive trainings, said that what makes local dive sites more attractive to tourists is their proximity to tourist destinations, particularly in the provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate.
“After each dive, they can go climbing to Mayon Volcano or hop to Donsol, Sorsogon for whale shark interaction tours, or to Masbate for other flourishing dive sites and various festivals such ‘Rodeo Masbateño’. We are at the center, and from here they have plenty of accessible tourism sites to visit,” Dawal said.
More foreign divers and nature lovers are expected to visit the area with the strengthened programs of the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon (Almasor) tourism alliance that started middle last year. (PNA) LAP/FGS/ALV/MMG/EBP