Negros Oriental Philippines Travel Underwater Video

Tañon Strait | Mantalip Reef: From Starfishes to Starry Skies

It was hard to get used to the comforts of Hale Manna and explore more the beauty of the underwater world of Moalboal as in day 5 of our Oceana Philippines Photo Safari, we were on the move again. Off the coast the large white liveaboard outrigger vessel from Harold’s Dive Center in Dumaguete awaits to ferry us from Cebu, across Tañon Strait to Mantalip Reef in Bindoy, Negros Oriental. It was an impressive boat, spacious with lots of sitting and lounging areas, a well-kept mess area, restroom, and solar charging area. Ocean travel always had that soothing comfort, embraced by the breeze with boundless possibilities seen across the horizon.

Our liveaboard boat in frame
Our liveaboard boat in frame

Night at the Station

The Mantalip Reef Station doubles as a guard house and a guest house. There are two rooms there with beds that can be rented for Php 2,500 a night each and can accommodate up to four people. Water here has to be shipped from the mainland and power comes from a genset. I was half expecting something more spartan and native actually but the station was well built like a small lodge on stilts. Some of our companions opted to sleep at the boat while I and some decided to sleep at the reef station. All windows and doors were open to let the breeze in. It took some time for me to get sleep as I could hear the excited conversations from the reef guards well into the night.

We woke up early to try to catch some stars. There was an interstellar play for sure but drowned the by the light of the full moon. I just marvelled instead at the nocturnal landscape before me. Negros oriental with its urban lights, our boat gently rocking nearby and the sound waves crashing into the pillars. The reef station is now home to the shifting guards assigned here and there were little signs of their personal ornaments hanging on some clothesline. We caught them deep in slumber at the highest platform of the station sleeping outside, probably to get cool from the breeze. Slowly the first light glowed behind the reef and rendered warm light reflecting over the gentle heaves of the sea. A new day has began.

Dusk light
Dusk light

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Catching the sunrise at sea
Catching the sunrise at sea
Our boat awaits for a new day's journey
Our boat awaits for a new day’s journey

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