Canned, bottled or in olive oil, this is the usual perception when sardines come to mind. Most of us are familiar with this creature but only in its lifeless and edible form. Because of this, people have totally no idea how these fishes look in the wild. Recently, a group of VisMin based free divers called Dive ta Bai have discovered a shoal looking concentration of fish off the coast of Tangnan, Bohol.
When they came to inspect, what they discovered surprised them, it was a giant vortex of Sardines, comprising of hundreds of thousands of fish. This discovery places Panglao, Bohol as the third destination in the world that experience this phenomenon, just behind the Sardine Run in South Africa and the Shape-shifting school of sardines in Moalboal, Cebu.
The migration of the Sardines in Bohol came as a surprise to the locals, none of which know how and what is the reason behind their migration. One possible answer came from UP Marine Scientist Tara Abrina. She hypothesizes that recent effects of Climate Change brought these creatures to the water of Bohol, which is ideally warm and teeming with marine life. She also identified several other locations where concentration of sardines have been spotted. This includes Danao, Poblacion, Baclayon and Panglao, but the largest concentration stays in Tangnan.
Since the sardines found a safe refuge in the waters of Bohol, local conservation efforts have been made to protect them. The area surrounding the school of Sardines called “Neptune Garden” has been declared a “dive-spot” by virtue of Municipal Ordinance 12 created in 2014. This means a “no take zone” is enforced around the area that will prevent anyone from catching these beautiful creatures.
How to Get There
Dive ta Bai- Bohol's President Ian S. Uy and Co-founder Edwin Castillon are at the forefront in the protection of the area against poachers and illegal fishing activities. His organization, Dive ta Bai- Bohol has partnered up with several resorts to assure the conservation and preservations of the local sardine population. Any traveller who wishes to experience swimming with the sardines can reach out to any of the partner resorts below:
SCUBA Diving and Snorkeling rental
Baywatch Diving and Fun Center
Bohol Casa Niño
The cove where the sardines are found are accessible directly via the following resorts:
Panglao Kalikasan Dive Resort
Alexis Cliff Dive Resort
Molave Cove Dive Resort
Bohol truly captivates everyone with its unparalleled beauty and charm. No matter how many times one has visited this picturesque province, it can still pull off a surprise that will surely make anyone want to visit over and over again. Just like the Sardines, the usual canned product turned a "can of surprise" that is waiting for any iHAPer to explore in the beautiful province of Bohol.
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