February 26-27, 2005
Snorkling and Rock Climbing at San Juan, Batangas
Pong, a friend from the College of Fine Arts, told me their P.E. class, skin diving, is having its open-water dive in San Juan, Batangas the weekend of Feb. 26/27. Given my penchant for the outdoors, the only thing I could say was, "Can I come?". As fate would have it, I knew the class instructor, Louie Mencias, from our UP Skin Diver days, when I was still a student (back in the day). His love for the outdoors remains unchanged. He was assisted by 2 outdoor-loving guys, Caloy and David, whose fondness for diving is equaled by their love for climbing.
The 3 sections of the skin diving course was combined for the trip. It's a first to some of them. Everybody was excited and gung-ho to the fun that awaited. Each section had a cottage to themselves. It wasn't enough to house everybody, but that didn't matter. We all slept at the outdoor cabana.
La Luz Resort
The dive place was a good 3 hours away from Manila, to the La Luz Resort in San Juan, Batangas. Except for the last 3K, the roads were nicely paved...a vast improvement from what it used to be. It's a fancy place renting out rooms beginning from P1500 exclusive of an P800 buffet that includes 4 meals. The beach is fine white sand. The adjacent land is a rock-face suited for climbing and right in front of the resort is the dive place.
Given the dead coral reefs I've seen at Boracay, Puerto Galera and El Nido, I wasn't expecting much. I was relived however to find out the corals are still alive and kicking. It didn't have the screaming colors I used to see in Puerto Galera when I was still a regular student, but it wasn't bad. The drop-off offered a nice visual treat. Fishes were abundant. Among the highlights for me was seeing a giant clam, moray eels and a 2-foot long Grouper (Lapu-Lapu).
I wasn't expecting this. I wish I brought my gear with me as well. The rock-face isn't too stable but made up for good fun just the same. I suffered a few cuts when I caught David's fall while bouldering an unstable rock-face...it's all good. A good number of students took a stab at the climb as well. It was great seeing some of them braving the new adventure and getting a rush from it.
I really got a kick out of this one. It's not everyday a dive spot offers a cool climb as well. This reminds me of El Nido. I came there for a dive but equally enjoyed the climb on the limestone cliffs too. Top that with having the right people who do it for the love of it and it's a blast!
(Mar 2, 2005) Thanks, the pictures are great - ang kukulit! sa uulitin!
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