Divers explore Vallehermoso coral reef as new tour destination

Scuba enthusiasts from various factions in Negros Oriental embarked on a three-day exploration in Vallehermoso town to scrutinize and chronicle coral reefs and marine ecosystems, marking the province’s latest addition to the dive tourism map.

Woodrow Maquiling Jr., the Executive Director of the Provincial Tourism Board and concurrent Chair of the Provincial Tourism Council, informed the Philippine News Agency that this initiative is a key component of the province’s recently introduced ridge-to-reef tourism circuit.

“The diving survey is an integral part of the Viaje de Amor or Northern Negros Tourism Circuit, concentrating our efforts in Canlaon City, Vallehermoso, and adjacent regions overlooked in the tourism industry in the past,” explained Maquiling.

Surprisingly, Vallehermoso, located at the northern extremity of Negros Oriental, boasts “exquisite and unexplored coral reefs thriving with marine biodiversity.” This hidden gem could soon become a sought-after destination for divers and snorkelers alike, he added.

Participating in the exploratory tour and diving survey at the Vallehermoso seascape are the Negros Oriental Dive Association, Dauin Resort Diving Association, and the Zamboanguita Dive Association.

Mayor Ann Serion-Gustilo of Vallehermoso joined the divers for a photo session at the conclusion of the inaugural day of the diving tour.

As existing dive sites in the province, including the renowned Apo Island in Dauin and other areas in the 3rd district, are becoming “overcrowded,” Maquiling emphasized the need to redirect attention to the 1st District.

Governor Manuel “Chaco” Sagarbarria and Negros Oriental 1st District Representative Jocelyn Limkaichong have expressed their backing for “Viaje de Amor,” anticipated to bring advantages not only to Negros Oriental but also to Negros Occidental and the northern towns of Cebu across the Tañon Strait.

Key attractions already identified in the new tourism circuit include the rice terraces in Canlaon City, which partially encompasses the renowned Canlaon Volcano, the historical museum, and ancestral home of Negros Oriental’s hero, Don Diego de la Viña, in Vallehermoso, and the Hinakpan “chocolate hills” in Guihulngan City.

Maquiling affirmed that the new tourism circuit aims to address the “carrying capacity” concerns of Apo Island and other destinations by presenting travelers with alternative options.

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