DIVING SITES PROMOTION. Representative Gerville Luistro of the 2nd District of Batangas is currently in Florida, USA to promote the diving sites of the province. She joined a delegation headed by representatives from the Philippine Department of Tourism-New York and Tourism Promotions Board in gracing the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show 2022 from Nov. 1-4. (Photo courtesy of the House of Representatives)

MANILA – A lawmaker has joined a delegation headed by representatives from the Philippine Department of Tourism-New York (PDOT-NY) and Tourism Promotions Board in gracing the Dive Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) Show 2022 in the USA to promote her province's diving sites

Representative Gerville Luistro of the 2nd District of Batangas said in a statement on Tuesday the convention is being held Nov. 1-4 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

The Annual DEMA is the largest event for companies doing business in scuba diving, ocean water sports and adventure/dive travel industries. It attracts hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of dive and travel industry professionals from around the world.

“Ang convention na ito ang pinakamalaking magnet ng mga turista na ang hilig ay diving. Magiging mabenta dito ang Pilipinas, lalo pa at kilala tayo sa ating world class beaches, marine sanctuaries at dive sites (This convention is the biggest of its kind to attract tourists whose passion is diving. This would be a great opportunity for the Philippines, considering that our country is well renowned for our world-class beaches, marine sanctuaries, and dive sites),” said Luistro, the Vice Chairperson of the House Committee on Tourism.

Luistro expects to actively participate in the convention and speak about the Verde Island Passage.

Also known as the VIP, this passage is a strait that separates Luzon Island from Mindoro and is often described by marine experts and conservationists as the “center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity”.

“Alam na alam ng mga dive enthusiasts ang Coral Triangle na kung saan may 500 na species ng reef-building corals at one-third ng lahat ng coral-reef fish species sa buong mundo. Ang Coral Triangle ay nasa paligid ng Pilipinas, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands at Timor-Leste. Sa pinakagitna ng Coral Triangle ay ang Verde Island Passage. Kaya ang VIP ang sentro ng sentro pinaka diverse na marine ecosystem sa buong mundo (It is well-known to dive enthusiasts that Coral Triangle has around 500 species of reef-building corals and ⅓ of all coral-reef fish species in the world. The Coral Triangle is located around the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. Located in the middle of this Coral Triangle is that VIP. That’s why VIP is the center of the center of the most diverse marine ecosystem in the whole world,” Luistro explained.

According to the lawmaker, divers in the VIP can find an “underwater wonderland” with giant clams and coral reefs, inhabited by a large variety of fishes, humphead wrasses, anthias, eels, nudibranchs, frogfishes, seahorses, hawksbills, olive ridley and green turtles – all flashing in different majestic colors.

“Most of these sea creatures can only be found in this place, the VIP,” continued Luistro, who represents the resort towns of Mabini (where Anilao is), Bauan, San Luis, Lobo and Tingloy, in Batangas, where some of the best dive sites in the country are located.

She also noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged the Philippine tourism industry by causing the closure or suspension of operations of hotels, resorts and tourist destinations which has resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and livelihoods.

“I commend the Department of Tourism, headed by Secretary Frasco, in being very aggressive in promoting the country and welcoming back tourists and visitors to the country. I believe that the sending of this Philippine delegation to the 2022 DEMA would achieve the objective not only of marketing the country’s dive sites. It would also create awareness of our government and local community’s serious and diligent efforts in preserving our wealth of marine resources, highly diverse coral reefs, pristine waters, mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and coastal environs,” Luistro said. (PNA)