Night shot of Club Paradise restaurant. Right in front of this is the house reef where the dugong was waiting for us in the seagrass bed!
Some thirteen year ago, Yogi already had a very special relationship with people working in Club Paradise resort, Busuanga, Northern Palawan, Philippines. Interestingly, the same friends he made back then are still there in an industry that is constantly changing and constantly facing unforeseen challenges. Dugong Dive Center’s owner Dirk Fahrenbach, GM Rolf Winkelhausen and Menchie Almirol came out to greet us when we arrived at noon of April 18. It was a special day as a dugong in the house reef also greeted us on that day! Even long time dive guides Marvin Alvarez and Jun Jun Verano were still there. These guys have been with the dive center since the beginning! Now after more than 10 years, the prodigal friend that is Yogi has returned.
A panoramic of how a room by the sea looks like in Club Paradise
Dirk Fahrenbach, owner of Dugong Dive Center, is the tall “younger brother” of Yogi’s. That was always how Yogi greeted Dirk whenever they met
Some of the staff of Club Paradise and most of the dive crew of Dugong Dive Center came out for our required panda portrait
This place is where Yogi took a lot of pictures for many international magazine articles in the past. This is also the place where he took his award winning image of zillions of cuttlefish mating and laying eggs into the coral crevices. And of course, the dugong pictures that WWF has been using for their marine mammal conservation work were also taken here. It was my first time to CP but as I’ve heard so much about this magical resort, I too felt it was a home coming.
Dugong Dive Center’s quaint liveaboard and dive boat the Black Pearl takes dive guests on two to three night safaris to Apo Reef
Apo Reef which is in between Busuanga and Mindoro is a mere three hour boat ride from Club Paradise. The dive center does dive safaris to Apo Reef, and they also go dugong watching to nearby foraging grounds should there be no dugongs in the house reef. There is a WWII ship wreck and many coral reef and muck diving sites too around their area but we had such limited time here that we decided to concentrate our attention on a special habitat that we still needed to photograph – the seagrass beds. We didn’t have the time to investigate the many interesting dive sites of the neighboring islands. More reason to come back again someday.
One for the road. Dirk with a hungry sea cow
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Stella was born in Manila, Philippines in 1965. She studied anthropology but ended up in advertising, producing radio and TV commercials for 7 years. After quitting advertising, she ventured into the freelance world in Manila producing video documentaries for a publishing house, government agencies, non govenmental organisations, and the academe. She moved on to producing books and had a stint at working with foreign production companies visiting Manila. Stella, now based in Cairns, produces photo stories with her husband Jürgen Freund.