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Scuba Diving Maestre De Campo

 

Class 1 Philippine Scuba Diving Destination

Maestre De Campo (often referred to as Sibale and sometimes, incorrectly, referred to as Maestro De Campo) is a unique scuba diving destination for many reasons. The island offers 19 named dive sites that span depths from 5 meters to 55 meters, including two genuine wreck dives. The waters offer superb visibility throughout the year, yet there is no dive shop (as at March 2014).

There was once a dive shop located at a beach resort near the principal town of Poblacion but this was vacated in 2011 because the road infrastructure and the ferry service to the island was problematic, and not enough divers came to stay to make the dive shop profitable. However, since 2012, the road network around Mindoro (where the ferry departs for Maestre De Campo / Sibale) and the ferry service have both been upgraded and now the island is very accessible.

Scuba divers who do visit Maestre De Campo typically do so on dive safaris from Puerto Galera (Or. Mindoro), Anilao (Batangas) and from Romblon town. Such dive safaris usually also take in Banton Island, located some twenty miles to the East of Maestre De Campo.

Opportunities For Scuba Diving in Maestre De Campo

Scuba diving around Maestre De Campo offers a feast for the eyes in terms of vibrant corals and exotic marine life. Encounters with turtles are common throughout the months of March through August, when these ocean wanderers visit the island to nest on at least one of Sibale's beaches. With 19 dive sites to choose from, you could spend two weeks scuba diving here and still crave for more bottom time.

Whilst all the waters around Maestre De Campo offer superb visibility at all depths, diving the ship wrecks is one of the highlights of a visit here.

Mactan Ferry Wreck

This beautiful wreck is a Philippine scuba diving favorite. The Mactan Ferry dive site was created on 16th July, 1973, when the MV Mactan, on her way from Mindanao to Manila, started to take in water during a storm and sank while the captain attempted to beach her on Sibale Island. She rests on her starboard side off the northeast corner of the islandd, on a reef slope with her bow at twenty-two metres depth and her stern at fifty metres depth. The clear water, intact structure, festooned with black corals and inquisitive fish, offer scuba divers a unique experience, even if penetration is not their thing. Penetrating her is possible, into open cargo holds right down to the engine engine and machine rooms. Dive the Mactan ferry and enjoy 30-40 metre visibility through the year.


Japanese Gunboat Wreck

The World War II Japanese wreck is located within the sheltered bay that fronts the town of Poblacion, at 25 to 30 metres depth. It is the only dive site where visibility may be an issue, especially during the rainy season between June to October. There is evidence of warplanes from World War II in the vicinity of the Japanese wreck but, because of their poor condition, their identity is a matter of some debate.


Treasure Cave

The Treasure Cave dive site is found on the southeast corner of the island at a depth of 14 metres. The cave penetrates the island to a distance of some 48 metres but some say it is possible that the cave system actually goes much farther under the island. The maximum depth inside the explored cave is around 18 metres. Stunning visibility both outside and inside the cave, combined with its relatively shallow depth, make Treasure Cave a very popular dive site for scuba divers of all skill levels.


Other popular dive sites include: the Turtle Wall (at 20 to 25 metres), just North of Concepcion; and in the next bay, the Lobster Wall (at 12 to 18 metres), about a mile West of Concepcion. Shark Cave at the extreme West of the island is at 25 to 45 metres and demands a good camera.

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Scuba Diving Equipment Rental In Maestre De Campo

Renting Scuba Diving gear and equipment is not possible at this time (2014) in Maestre De Campo but the municipality is proposing to create a community livelihood project based on diving that will include installation of a scuba tank refilling station plus scuba tanks for rent, so you will only have to bring the minimum amount of equipment with you

Because Maestre De Campo / Sibale had a dive shop until recently, many of the dive guides can still be recruited for diving adventures here - they have temporarily reverted to fishing for livelihood; the former scuba guides are ready and happy to assist you to discover scuba diving in Maestre De Campo.

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