Noe Looking Back: tourism expert on why Puerto Galera is the Diving Capital of the Philippines
On the eve of Puerto Galera being officially named the Diving Capital of the Philippines, we sat down with an expert to ask: why is this happening and why does Puerto Galera deserve it?
It comes amid a week of Oktoberfest celebrations in PUerto Galera, right along the boardwalk in Sabang where there are dozens of food and drink stalls, vendors, musical acts and carnival rides.
And when the festival closes on Sunday, don’t miss the official after-party at none other than Lalaguna Villas: we’ll be throwing open our doors, and our pool (the largest in the area) for a late night extravaganza of live music and DJs, food, drinks, pool partying and fireworks – come down and join the party.
LLV Blog met with Noe Lineses, who is the president of the Puerto Galera tour operators association and advises the mayor on tourism matters.
In response to our question, with barely a pause he rattled off a list of reasons Puerto Galera is the diving capital of the Philippines.
“To start with, we’re in the backyard of the Verde Island Passage,” he said.
“That puts us in the centre of the centre of the best area of marine biodiversity in the world. That is the primary reason Puerto Galera is the diving capital of the Philippines.
“Second – variety. We have 42 world-class dive sites but it’s not all the same thing, we have muck dives, drift dives, wreck dives, reef dives. We have great night diving.
“There is great shallow diving here if you are not so experienced, there are incredible deep sites too. Puerto Galera has it all.
“Thirdly, we have the most licensed dive shops in the Philippines.
“We have 62, all accredited with different and respected international organisations – we have PADI, SSI, NAUI, SDI, we have everyone represented.
“The second-most is perhaps Anilao which has about 35, so there is just no comparison in terms of choice for the consumer and the tourist.”
Beyond those big top three reasons, there are others, he explained.
“You can also look at the international accolades that we have won here in Puerto Galera, and also that our dives shops have won. So many awards, for so many years now.
“And finally, our proximity to Metro Manila. Not just for locals, but also for tourists, that makes us a very appealing and exciting destination, because you do not have to take internal flights to get here to enjoy your diving. Location is important in a capital.
“And also, our dive sites are very close to shore. To visit great dive locations in some famous diving towns you must travel maybe an hour by boat to get to the dive site – here, it is three minutes, five minutes, in a speedboat.
“So that is why I say Puerto Galera is absolutely rightly being officially called the Diving capital of the Philippines!”
It’s hard to disagree with the man.
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