Mostly Everything

Gorgeous Guimaras: An underwater exploration

Gorgeous Guimaras from Robert Suntay on Vimeo.

NUDI was invited by the Department of Tourism and the governor of Guimaras to do an exploratory dive and see what the islands have to offer. This is an enthralling video by Robert Suntay showcasing the relaxing waters of Guimaras.

Mostly Everything

A Primer on Biodiversity — Please Come!

On Wednesdays, we dive with Manta Rays (Taken in Tubbataha, 2011)

“I was born a century too early. I’ll never travel to outer space.”

My greatest regret was something I had no control over. And that’s why I decided to take up SCUBA. In essence, it’s pretty much follows the same principle: you float around space and discover strange, new things that man wasn’t meant to see. Being underwater is the ultimate rebellion. Man isn’t supposed to be there. But we’re there. Swimming around. Nonchalantly.

With over 120 logged dives over the past two years I slowly got sucked into that deep underwater goldmine that most of us Filipinos have ignored for decades. If any hope for the country exists, it’s down there. It’s too rich to ignore and the sad part is, our by-products from the faraway cities are destroying it.

For those interested, there will be a huge symposium this August on the Philippines and biodiversity. Dr. Kent Carpenter director of the Marine Biodiversity Unit of the International Union for Conservation of Nature will be talking about the Philippines as the epicenter of biodiversity, and thus follows our country being potentially one of the biggest hotspots for adventure tourism in the world.

The title of the talk is rather long, but not long enough to beat a Carlos J. Caparas film title. “Scientific Discovery and the Urgent Need for Conservation at the Philippine Epicenter of Marine Biodiversity” will be held on Wednesday August 24 2011 at 6:00PM at the Intercontinental Hotel Grand Ballroom, Makati. Everyone is invited!

August 24 2011
6:00 PM
Intercontinental Hotel Grand Ballroom
RSVP Penelope Uy 0918.915.5045 / events (at) jewelmer (dot) com

Our NUDI group will be there as well as we’re installing an underwater photo exhibit to complement the theme of the symposium. If you want to learn more about biodiversity and economics, this is the rare chance to see it!

This event is sponsored by Jewelmer.

Mostly Everything

The Biggest Underwater Photo Exhibit in the Philippines

I’ve been up since last night helping install the biggest underwater photo exhibit in the country thus far. Tomorrow, we’re flying in some of the best underwater photographers in the world — the likes of Michael Aw and Lynn Funkhouser who have both shot for the BBC and National Geographic — to judge the first country-wide underwater photo contest. Hundreds of photos from amateurs and enthusiasts are tremendously mind blowing!

In the morning, there will be seminars on underwater photography by Michael Aw, Steve de Neef, Lynn Funkhouser, and Hideki Iwama. Full schedule here. The awarding will commence at night and the exhibit will be open to all for the entire weekend.

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A Hunt for the Rhinopias

Over the weekend I took part in an event loosely coined as the ‘Hunt for the Rhinopias.’ As a diver and a photographer, it’s the latter that urges me on to keep diving because of the sheer challenge of underwater photography as a hobby. Before taking photos underwater, I’d scoot through a dive site in 45 minutes. When I started photography, our dives turned to a slow crawl as we explored every square inch of the reef to find shrimps, crabs, slugs and other critters.

Our gear on display for the Rhinopias photo hunt.

There was word circulating among the divers that a yellow Rhinopias frondosa, more commonly known as the Weedy Scorpionfish or the Popeye Scorpion has been spotted in a dive site called Red Rocks in Anilao, Batangas. The Rhinopias is extremely rare and there happened to be one in Anilao sitting on the reef at 30 ft deep. At that depth, we spent two dives of 80 minutes each, taking turns to photograph this rare scorpionfish that is camouflaged to look like a yellow patch of sea kelp.

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Aqua Obscura II: Our second underwater exhibit at Gallery 7 (Eastwood Mall, Libis)

“Underwater photography is considered a difficult practice. Because it is a specialized art, very few photographers attempt it. Down there they can capture rare and vivid images we cannot simply find up here. Underwater photography is truly “A Whole New World.”

Gallery 7 and NUDI present over 30 beautiful examples of underwater photos, created by talented NUDI photographers. All works are printed on canvas and mounted on wooden stretcher bar frames.”