Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (File photo)

MANILA – Thanks to being the mouthpiece of President Rodrigo Duterte, many people feel like they've known Harry Roque forever. Nevertheless, there’s a lot that the public don’t know about him—such as his passion for scuba diving.

In his latest YouTube vlog entry on Saturday, Roque revealed that he has completed more than 1,000 open water diving excursions.

“I'm into diving, I'm an avid scuba diver. Mahigit 1,000 dives na ako (I have completed more than 1,000 dives) and I guess I love diving because there's absolute peace and quiet under the ocean,” he said.

On Oct. 19, the Philippines bagged two titles at the World Travel Awards 2021 namely Asia's Leading Beach Destination for the fifth time and Asia's Leading Dive Destination for a third consecutive time.

Some of the country’s top beach destinations, such as Boracay in Aklan, Siargao in Surigao del Norte, and El Nido and Amanpulo in Palawan, have already opened to domestic tourists and are ready to welcome foreign tourists once international borders reopen, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

The DOT said only destinations under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status are allowed to accommodate recreational divers, except for Anilao, which is under general community quarantine (GCQ).

"Based on Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving health and safety protocols only MGCQ destinations allowed to accommodate recreational divers. GCQ only Anilao is allowed. All are still subject to local government unit restrictions/issuances," the agency said.

The Philippines is currently in the running for the following global titles for 2021: World’s Leading Beach Destination; World’s Leading Dive Destination; World’s Leading Island Destination with Siargao as the contender; World’s Leading Tourist Attraction with Intramuros; and World’s Leading Tourist Board with DOT.

Other hobbies

Aside from scuba diving, Roque said he also enjoys reading, gardening, and exercising in the gym.

“Ngayon nagbabasa nalang, nag-ga-garden. Mahilig ako magpunta sa gym. Actually, nung bukas ang gym, five times a week ang aking punta (Nowadays, I am just into read and gardening. I like going to the gym. Actually, when gyms were open, I would go there five times a week),” he said.

Roque, who previously bared that he is diabetic and has a heart condition, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of keeping gyms open amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Diabetic ako, pag hindi ako pumunta sa gym mamamatay ako ng maaga. Gusto ko pang mabuhay kaya nag-e-exercise (I’m diabetic and if I don’t go to the gym, I could die early. I want to live longer that’s why I exercise),” he added.

He also revealed gardening and playing with pets in his residential home in Baguio are the best ways to relieve stress.

Tumitingin ako sa mga halaman. Talagang nakatira ako sa Baguio. Kaya lang ngayon ay napapadalas sa Maynila dahil nga sa trabaho. Pero kaligayahan ko umuwi sa Baguio kasi pag ako nai-stress tumitingin lang ako sa bundok, tumitingin ako sa mga berdeng tanawin, tinitignan ko ang aking mga baka, tinitignan ko ang aking mga aso (I look at plants. I live in Baguio but I have now to in Manila more frequently because of work. But I am happy when I return home to Baguio because when I’m stressed, I just look at mountains, green sceneries, my cows, and my dogs)," he said.

Roque's YouTube vlog was created on Dec 10, 2020.

To date, he has uploaded about 31 videos on online video sharing and social media platforms. (PNA)