NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Jagna town has the potential dive sites, said Ivy Kung, president of the Panglao Association of Dive Operators (PADO) that wanted to protect the Bohol undersea world and promote it to the world and tourists.
This she told media interview on the sidelines of the first Bohol Loop Dive Expo launched at the new Capitol on Friday with the presence of dive enthusiasts and operators and stakeholders. The affair was graced by senior provincial Board Member Tita Baja on behalf of the provincial government.
She said that her group of divers had been into scuba diving to discover Jagna’s undersea assets, like hard corals.
Earlier, Jagna Mayor Joseph A. Ranola showed to this writer the photos, like the shots of black corals taken underwater off this town
Kung said that PADO tried to discover other dive sites as an alternative aside from Panglao or Balicasag island which is already marketed and Cabilao island, off Loon town.
Aside from dive sites to be established, the wreck dive may be established as there may be wreckage lying undersea waiting to be discovered in the eastern seaboard of the province, she said.
Her group of divers is contemplating conducting at least two dives for each town, like Mabini, Candijay, Anda, Duero, Garcia-Hernandez, Valencia, Dimiao and others like Calape, and Tubigon up the north side of Bohol, Kung said.
But the most important is that when these dive sites are established it will be the turn of the local government unit concerned to regulate diving in their areas of responsibility. It is imperative that this measure, like enacting an ordinance, be put in place to regulate, Kung stressed.
When these are established, then Bohol is ready for the influx of tourists expected to swell in the next years following the hiatus during the two-year pandemic, she said.
Meanwhile, PADO launched the first Bohol Loop Dive Expo on Friday afternoon at the Ceremonial Hall of the Provincial Capitol.
PADO president Ivy Kung thanked the Provincial Government led by Gov. Aris Aumentado for supporting the diving industry and opening areas of opportunity for environmental protection.
Jojo Arcay, adviser of PADO shared the willingness of PADO to share its best practices in implementing environmental users’ fee through the diving experience in conjunction with carrying capacity regulations through an advance reservation system.
PADO has so far held assessments in dive sites in the 11 municipalities of Mabini, Dimiao, Garcia Hernandez, Valencia, Jagna, Talibon, Lila, Duero, Guindulman, Anda, and Ubay.
Aumentado thanked PADO for its initiative to partner with the Provincial and Municipal Governments to develop a niche in Bohol Tourism that is complemented by efforts to safeguard the environment.
Tourism chair Board Member Tita Baja and Natural Resources and Environmental Protection chair Board Member Jamie Aumentado-Villar both commended PADO and reiterated the support of the Provincial Government especially in ensuring sustainable tourism and environmental protection.
Vice Gov. Victor Balite delivered the welcome message.
The dive expo themed “Be Part of My World: Defying Limits, Underwater Discoveries” will be held in April next year with a series of diving activities in sites across the province and is expected to be participated in by 100 underwater photographers, professional divers and dive enthusiasts. (rvo/lm)