Scuba divers from different groups in Negros Oriental on Wednesday embarked on a three-day survey in Vallehermoso town to inspect and document coral reefs and marine life in what would be the newest dive tour destination in the province.
Woodrow Maquiling Jr., executive director of the Provincial Tourism Board and concurrent chair of the Provincial Tourism Council, told the Philippine News Agency that this is part of the province’s latest ridge-to-reef tourism circuit.
“The dive survey is part of the Viaje de Amor or Northern Negros Tourism Circuit which aims to focus our efforts in Canlaon City, Vallehermoso, and nearby areas that have been left out in the past in the tourism industry,” Maquiling said.
Vallehermoso, situated at the northernmost part of Negros Oriental, surprisingly has “beautiful and uncharted coral reefs that are teeming with marine life” and this could be the next destination for divers and even snorkelers, he said.
The Negros Oriental Dive Association, Dauin Resort Diving Association, and the Zamboanguita Dive Association are participating in the Vallehermoso exploratory tour and diving survey at the Vallehermoso seascape.
Vallehermoso Mayor Ann Serion-Gustilo joined the divers for a photo opportunity with the scuba divers at the end of the first day of the dive tour.
The existing dive spots in the province, such as the world-famous Apo Island in Dauin and other areas in the 3rd district, are already “saturated”, and Maquiling said it is about time to give attention to the 1st District.
Governor Manuel “Chaco” Sagarbarria and Negros Oriental 1st District Representative Jocelyn Limkaichong have expressed support for the “Viaje de Amor” which Maquiling said would also benefit Negros Occidental and northern Cebu towns across the Tañon Strait.
Some of the sites that have been already identified in the new tourism circuit are the rice terraces in Canlaon City, which also hosts in part the famous Canlaon Volcano, the historic museum and ancestral home of Negros Oriental’s hero, Don Diego de la Viña, in Vallehermoso; and the Hinakpan “chocolate hills” in Guihulngan City.
Maquiling said the new tourism circuit will support the “carrying capacity” woes of Apo Island and other destinations by providing travelers with other options. (PNA)