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Date Posted: 11/27/09

Quick stop at Balicasag Island on our way to Tagbilaran (November 10, 2009)

By: Arturo Valdez

Again early morning at 6am we departed from Larena Port sent off by well-wishers led by Ivy Gomez. By 9:30am we reached the island of Balicasag that my cousin Yepo brought me for my first dive in 1987. That was my first exposure to the wonders of the underwater world. It was a Balicasag before typhoon “Ruping” damaged its rich and colorful coral reefs.

We tied Diwata to one of the mooring floaters and went snorkeling. There are still remnants of the corals but a substantial part is really damaged and has not recovered. The never ending presence of motorized banca full of tourists may have added to the damaged of the corals. Balicasag has always been famous but unless the LGU’s and the people in the island will safeguard the site similar to the zealousness of Sagay City to protect their marine sanctuaries, what will be left behind are powdered corals now turned into sands without the teeming marine life that once inhabited the place.

By 12noon we were on our way to Tagbilaran. Dark rain clouds loomed at the horizon and an hour later we were drenched wet.  It took us another 2 hours of sailing before we dropped anchor at the Port of Tagbilaran. Leo Oracion tried to connect with the LGU and local agencies but never succeeded. I myself called the office of the Mayor whom I knew and left a number but did not get a return call.

We don’t really mind that schedules were not set up because we need some rest after a very hectic stop-over in Siquijor. Now we have more time to answer emails, do our laundry and gave me time to visit friends like Myrna Trabajo-Pagsuberon and her family.

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