Pinoy Phototrekker

Diver’s Sanctuary

Written By: Kaloy - Mar• 20•10

Heading _MG_0224_eoff to Diver’s Sanctuary is a 3 hour ride by private car or van via the South Luzon Express Way (SLEX). Exiting out to the Santa Rosa Exit and turning RIGHT to the highway going up to Tagaytay, Turn RIGHT at the end of the road when you see the majestic Taal Volcano. Make a LEFT at the Tagaytay Rotunda and move along the highway. Your next LEFT will be about 20km along the way just right after the San Miguel rest house on your left, but before the Petron Gas station which is also on your left. This is the mountain road going to the town of Lemery. Drive on it till you reach the very end and turn LEFT on the main intersection to the Batangas provincial road. You will hit Lemery in a few minutes. Traffic permitting, take the RIGHTMOST ROAD to enter the town, upon entering you would have to drive to the very edge of the main road to another intersection this is where you will turn right, just after the bridge. Take the LEFTMOST ROAD by the church in the middle if the street this will lead you to a small guard house at the middle of the road at the very end of the road with rice fields along each side of the street. This is your marker to turn RIGHT. It’s also advisable to go down here and buy lots of bread from the local bakery; you will use this as fish food for the fishes later in your trip so buy lots of it J. The end of the road will be marked by a gym on your right and a church on your left. Turn LEFT here. You will notice that the roads will be getting smaller; you are on the right track! Driving along this service road you will be greeted by local fishermen and children all playing in the roads or in the sea. Here to your RIGHT you will find the entrance to the parking area of Diver’s Sanctuary. Your cars are safe here with 24 hour surveillance. Just park them properly so that you don’t block anyone suddenly leaving or arriving from the resort.

Click here for the map to the area

Getting all your gear from your car and locking it just right after, make sure that your lights are off you won’t be near your car if ever you need anything from it. Since at the very edge of the parking the open ocean, pier and a boat patiently waiting for you to climb aboard to complete the final leg of your journey from your house to your room in Diver’s Sanctuary.

_MG_0239The rooms are cozy and are air-conditioned for your comfort. They are even building an additional 6 rooms that will be opened before the start of this year’s Holy week. For those that do not have the licenses to go diving the kayak station is open to you as well as a little library for the guest to take up a book and read a while. The dining hall is at the disposal of the guest that stays on the resort. The food is great and it’s usually an eat all you can buffet.

Even if the grounds are a bit small there is still a lot of spots and opportunities for location shots especially during sunset, as the front of the resort is fronting west, giving you the best possible view of the setting sun. The waters are full of life and the fish are friendly, there is no fishing here since the place has been declared a sanctuary for marine species. That means there is no fishing of any kind in the local vicinity.


The northern side of the resort houses a swimming pool used by many dive masters to review and sharpen the different skills of the dive class, not to be limited by the hot summer sun non diving guest also finds this part of the resort as a welcome relief from the sizzling sun. The pool is filled with saltwater instead of fresh water. This makes the divers feel so much more at home practicing their skills before checkout.

To the west you will see Ligpo Island which is a resort unto itself, and in between the island and the resort are pristine Coral reefs waiting to be explored. There is a wide array of dive sites here that you can reach from the shore without the use of the resort’s boat.

  • The Cave – Is around 40ft from the surface and beside the wall.
  • Cross – A buried cross just off the coast to the west of the main lobby of from the resort this is around 40 ft of water
  • The wreck – a motorized banka was sunk just a few feet from the Cross 40 ft of water
  • The wall – a 100+ ft drop to the ocean floor that’s just a shore dive away from the main resort.
  • Pinnacle – 120ft of blue water just at the west of Ligpo Island

Dive plans can be made on the fly, but here’s a simple plan for the day w/c is based on a NAUI dive table and not computed by a personal computer. The dive sites are “The Wall”, Eastern Trench, and the “wreck”

The Wall:

Start off with a deep dive along the cave at 80 ft / 24 m for 30 min this is your maximum depth and dive time. Located at the northern part of the resort just beyond the swimming pool you will find the rocky out cropping jutting out the other side of the shore just 80 ft / 24 m from the entry point. That is the beginning of the wall. Travers along this area and you will hit the cave eventually to your left. This area is a gathering ground for schools of Anthias and surgeon fish. The rocks also form a natural place for plankton upwelling providing a great hang out spots for giant trevally if you’re lucky ;)

Ascend to 40 ft / 12 m at the end of the wall you should have at least 1700 PSI / 117 BAR and head back southeast and you will eventually hit the resort coast along your way back to the exit point. Dive time is around 30 minutes for a 3000 PSI / 206 BAR, 80 cubic ft. alum tank. Check your safety first you should be going up at around 1000 PSI / 68 BAR. Your dive group should be “I” at this point based on the NAUI dive tables.

Spend around 60 minutes on the surface, this is just enough time for you to rehydrate, replace your tanks, log your dives and plan your next dive on the eastern side of diver’s sanctuary.

Eastern Trench:

After a 60 minute surface interval time you are set to go for the eastern trench, your dive group letter should be “G” by this time. The water and the currents along this rout are calmer and shallower than the wall. The rout can be accessed by the eastern dock of Diver’s Sanctuary; this will be your entry and exit points. As soon as you go down head due east and dive at 40 ft / 12 m. The rout is quite easy as you will only need to follow the slope on your right side, once your down to your maximum depth you will be greeted by a shoal of sea urchins and soft corals that glow under ultraviolet light. (this site is very a very good dive spot for night diving with a UV light). Head along this rout for 30 minutes and turn back when you hit the time allotted this time heading due west. With the slope now on your left side, rise to around 30 ft / 10 m along the way, you will be able to view some hard corals and some more local reef fishes. The dive ends the same way you entered.
Once you are on the surface you can come up and do your post dive rituals, this would be also the best time to have lunch and a siesta just right after. Take around 3 hours or 180 minutes before the final dive of the day so your dive group letter will jump from an “L” to an “E”.

The Wreck and the cross:

After a well deserved lunch and short nap to revitalize yourself, it’s now back to gearing up for one last dive of the day. This will be to the western port of Diver’s Sanctuary about midway from the wall to Diver’s Sanctuary’s shore. This is marked by a blue buoy. The depth is shallow at 50 ft / 15 m. Here your maximum dive time will be about 42 minutes. On your way there you will be greeted with a mixture of hard and soft corals covering most of the rocks that line the coast. You, may of course just swim in the surface of the water towards the buoy and submerge from there, but for those advance diver’s the swim to the buoy is just part of the fun. Upon reaching the buoy you should be about right in front of the dining hall, w/c means that the wreck is just a few short kick cycles away from your current position. With a Heading of northwest from the buoy you should be able to see the wreck of one of Diver’s Sanctuary’s motorized banka. This vessel used to ferry guest from the parking lot from the east to the resort situated 2 km to the west. The boat feel into disrepair, gladly the management saw it fit to decorate the reefs for that side of the sanctuary. Now 2 months since it’s sinking the wreck is now home to scorpion fish and damsels. Once you have your fill of the area and had your pictures taken, the next point of interest is the cross, made up of concrete and placed at around 50 ft / 15 m of water on a clear and sandy portion of the sanctuary, this remains one remainder for all the divers out there to respect the sea and put safety above all else. Moving along this “sea marker” you will reach the drop off. It’s actually the top part of “the wall” following this trail and keeping the wall to your right hand side you will eventually end up in the northern port of Diver’s Sanctuary were you will exit from the water to a cup of hot coffee or tea.

For contact details and reservations you may visit their web site here.

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