After we moved from Malapascua to Moalboal, where we ended up in Kasai village, a nice, well-maintained and small resort, which is on tricycle distance from Panagsama and white beach, I started diving again.
It was immediately clear that the corals are better conserved in this area than in Malapascua where the typhoons of the last ten years have destroyed a lot of the corals. Don’t get me wrong diving Malapascua was very nice, but the coral in Moalboal is much more colourful and healthy.
Most dives here are so called wall dives where the boat mores to a buoy and the divers jump and drift along with the current and stay close to the wall. The guides here know where and how to find the critters most divers want to see in this area. There aren’t so many big fish in this area, except for the frogfish maybe, which are numerous, in all possible colours, and sometimes gigantic.
I quickly learned macro comes in different gradations here, when I first saw some of the nudibranches, I thought fuck they are small, especially when trying to take decent pictures of them. A little while later when my guide Alex showed me a small porcelain crab in an anemone, I thought, damn these are even smaller than the nudis and are the next level of macro photography for me. And then minutes later you realise that these where even the easy ones, because they don’t move too much J. The little glass shrimps and whip coral shrimps, these are the real hard ones, couple of mm only, often transparent, or very well camouflaged and they move around, a lot! It needs a combination of some decent diving skills as well as photography skills. Especially because often there is some current and the last thing I want to do is touch or damage other aquatic life. But hey I like a challenge!
Besides that Moalboal is known for another famous under water attraction. Sardines! Thousands of them, millions of them gather in from of Panagsama beach. The guides couldn’t really explain to me why they are exactly at that spot, the only thing they know is that until a couple of years ago they were at Pescador island for a week or so every year. Five years ago they moved a few kilometres further to Panagsama beach and they are there pretty much all year round. Watching them, and diving amongst them is epic. Sometimes they are spinning around giving you the idea you’re in the middle of a fish tornado and then suddenly they move the other way. Predators are however never far away. Schools of yellow fin trevallies and jackfish are hunting and for them the sardines are just a walking buffet.
Talking about buffets, we are not really eat-as-much-as-you-can buffet people. Instead, we prefer to look for local restaurants, with genuine local dishes. At Kasai village, the resort we are staying, we loved the ginataang kalabasa na may hipon, an island soup filled with local veggies, coconut milk and shrimps. The Visayan slow-cooked humba, this slow-cooked pork dish is traditional for this region. Both were very yummy! Also in the local restaurants, we have enjoyed dishes like sizzling plates, grilled squid, garlic rice & spare ribs in honey sauce. In the two weeks we’ve spend here, we’ve eaten more rice than normally in a year at home 😉