The Sulu sea experience

Boogs Rosales

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“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau

UNDER THE SEA. The underwater world is a paradise that must be protected, respected, and honored. Photo courtesy of Boogs Rosales.

PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN – I woke up to an unfamiliar sound. The wall I was leaning against was vibrating violently, and bells were ringing from outside the cabin. As the mechanical noise subsided, I caught up with my senses and stood up eagerly. I was on a Liveaboard, and we had reached our destination. The 200-ton Dive Cruiser was going to be my home for the next 5 days.

Photo by Boogs Rosales

Right next to my bed was my underwater camera rig, which I had readily assembled the night before. Less than 24 hours earlier, I had spent the day envisioning how the week-long adventure would unfold. I had booked the trip a few months prior, along with 5 other friends and 2 of my closest Dive Instructor buddies. To add to the excitement, I was told that the most recent trips yielded some interesting sightings. As our ship lowered its anchor, we were closely circled by several large seabirds—a refreshing sight after spending 10 hours out in the open sea.

Photo by Boogs Rosales

Finally, I found myself in a chase boat—all geared up and armed with an empty SD card. “I must take good pictures,” I kept telling myself. Our first dive site was Delsan Wreck, located at the South Atoll of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Our dive guide had just finished our pre-dive briefing when he quickly directed our attention to the water a few meters away. Looming just below the surface was our welcoming committee—a large Manta Ray, almost urging us to jump in. For a while it distracted us from the vibrant underwater scenery, gliding playfully above us as we descended along the drop-off.

Photo by Boogs Rosales

What followed was a series of memorable dives—16 to be precise—in a span of 4 days. From the action packed Wall Street (where I witnessed about 10 or so Whitetip Reef Sharks in a feeding frenzy) to the vast picturesque slopes of Staghorn Point, I was constantly reminded of nature’s infinite grandeur. On one dive, our group spotted an adult Tiger Shark lurking a few meters below us; perhaps to remind us that we are only visitors in this world.

Photo by Boogs Rosales

Of course, an adventure is not complete without a happy ending. During our last safety stop, as I was watching a school of large Humphead Parrotfish circling overhead, I heard what sounded like my strobes recharging. A few high pitched whines and clicks later, I realized it wasn’t electronic. There were dolphins nearby. On our way back to the ship, our chase boat was escorted by a huge pod of Spinner Dolphins—treating us to a show that cannot be rivaled by any underwater theme park. –

Photo by Boogs Rosales 

(Shared by the Network of Underwater Digital Imagers. Read more of their underwater adventures at RAPPLER wants to hear about your summer adventures. Email us your story with photos with subject heading SUMMER ADVENTURE at

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