May 20, 2010 Featured Article Read More →

Surviving Fiesta and Manta Ray Overload!

 

LOL – Lauren on Location – Eye to eye with a Manta ray

image Fiesta’s in the Philippines are usually held to celebrate a patron saint or to mark the passing of a season, different city’s/islands in the Philippines hold fiestas at different times of the year depending on the decisions made by the local Barangay (Christmas being the exception where everyone celebrates together).

One of the boats decorated for the fiesta’s boat parade

image The 12th of May marked the only local fiesta of the year on Malapascua Island; I believe this was held in honor of the “Virgin de los Desamparados” the “miracle” of the island and the patron saint of the local people. She appeared as a piece of driftwood that wouldn’t burn, after some time people decided that it was an appearance of the virgin Mary and it was painted and dressed as such, and now resides in the village church. However I must admit that for me the true “miracle” of the Malapascua Island festival was my survival!!! Never have I experienced such displays of local hospitality (otherwise known as outrageous amounts of food and drink), given the expense involved of holding the fiesta for the local people their generosity is unparalleled.

“Lechon” spit roasted pig is the most popular fiesta meal

image The fiesta for me began at around 11am when I was presented with a shot of Tanduay Rhum; thankfully we had then been invited to lunch, followed by a sort of late lunch and 2 dinners! Of course each engagement meant more beer than food, the afternoon descended into somewhat of a haze for me I had even stopped noticing the heat (40 degree plus), however I am (somewhat) reliably informed that after taking a bottle of beer (large beasts called Gold Eagle) to our cooks house to thank her for a bottle she had shared with us, we (myself and the rest of the TSRCP crew) left after 15 bottles had been consumed! I was then pretty much finished off with a final shot of Tanduay!

image Thankfully in the days following the fiesta I was rewarded with yet more unbelievable dives with the Manta Rays. On one dive I was conducting a fish census, over a cleaning station I was so absorbed in what I was doing that I had not noticed the approaching manta ray, when I looked up I was literally reg to gills with the manta, it was so close that I could see it’s eye watching me! Incredible! The following day we also watched a manta cruising along the edge of the shoal while on a 12m safety stop, a fantastic view which showed how graceful these giants are.

The manta and me, the person who took this shot was at least 8m behind me, hence the quality is not that great but if you look carefully you will see that in line with my left fin tip is the manta’s eye, see my previous blog on the 8th may for a clearer picture of a manta ray.

I am currently in Cebu City awaiting the arrival of Gordon my fiancée (- crazy guy!), I cannot wait for him to get out to the Island and begin to experience what I have had the pleasure of so far on this adventure!

Posted in: Shark Bites
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