MANILA - Diving sites in Anilao in Batangas province south of the capital Manila have reopened after being shut for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a local tourism officer said Sunday.
Florian Bueno, municipal tourism officer of Batangas’ Mabini town, told ABS-CBN TeleRadyo, that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which classified diving as a non-contact sport, approved the resumption of its operation.
So far, at least 140 guests have arrived during the past weekends. “Inaasahan po namin na patuloy pa po yung pagtaas nito,” Bueno said.
(We expect more to come.)
The official said stringent measures were put in place in allowing entry of visitors, including the need to make advance booking in resorts, medical clearance proving their fitness, and most importantly, a negative swab test result for COVID-19.
“Sa ngayon po, ang advice sa amin ng Department of Tourism ay malapit na po tayong mag-announce ng full capacity. Pero, for the meantime, we are operating at 50 percent capacity. Ito ay total of around 500 guests,” Bueno said.
(For now, the advice of the Department of Tourism is that a full capacity operation may soon be announced... This is equivalent to a capacity of around 500 guests.)
“Sa ngayon, since meron łamang po kaming 50 out of 86 establishments na DOT-accredited resorts na sila lang yung allowed tumanggap ng bisita sa ngayon, halos ito lahat naman ay compliant,” he added.
(For now, only 50 out of the 86 DOT-accredited resorts are allowed to accept guests and almost all of them are compliant.)
Aside from the individual websites and social media accounts of the resorts, Bueno said the list of these establishments authorized to accept guests can also be checked on the Mabini Tourism Facebook page.
He disclosed that for the convenience of tourists, the local government has set up a rapid antigen testing booth in its tourism checkpoint.
“Meron din kaming isa pang tourist destination. Ito ang Mt. Gulugod Baboy, na tinatawag naming Little Batanes ng South dahil ito ay merong 360 degrees view ng buong Batangas,” he said.
(We also have another tourist destination here. It is the Mt. Gulugod Baboy, which we also call the Little Batanes of the South because has 360 degrees view of the entire Batangas.)
Anilao is in the middle of the Coral Triangle and is dubbed the “birthplace of scuba diving in the Philippines”. It is home to more than half of the country’s documented shore fish species and over 300 species of coral.