The Philippines is no stranger to tourism awards. Our beaches are world renowned for its white sand, five-star resorts, and pristine waters. This time though, it's not the beaches getting the recognition but the ocean beyond as the Philippines has been named the best diving destination in the world.
According to the Department of Tourism, this is the first time the Philippines has been recognized as the Best Overseas Diving Area by the Marine Diving Awards 2020, the awarding event of the Japanese publication Marine Diving Magazine.
The magazine described the Philippines as capturing "the hearts of many divers and make them want to revisit the Philippines again and again. And with its easy access from Japan and reasonable tour prices, the Philippines is no doubt a first pick for many diving lovers."
Cebu, Bohol, and Negros Oriental got a special shoutout for their stunning diving locations, particularly the stunning waters of Moalboal and Malapascua.
Diving spots in the Philippines are known to be teeming with rare and endemic marine life, from giant whale sharks and shy dugong to huge schools of fish. The Philippines is also home to natural parks, like the Apo Reef Natural Park in Occidental Mindoro which is home to the second largest coral reef in the world.
"This award is a testimony that diving is more fun in the Philippines, with each underwater paradise offering a unique adventure and experience to behold, and return to. Our underwater landscape is a colorful kaleidoscope of nature's living jewels, one that divers cannot find anywhere else," said Department of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat.
Half the planet might still be under strict lockdowns because of the pandemic, but that isn't stopping people from making their 2021 travel plans. When the pandemic is over, we no longer need to fly abroad to find the best diving location because it's right here where we are.