Islands and Beaches

Only in the Philippines: An Underwater Grotto in a Double-Barrier Reef!


Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Jan 12, 2015

Did you know that the Philippines hosted the first underwater pilgrimage on September 7-8, 2012 in Bien Unido, Bohol? It is also where you can find the only double barrier reef in the Philippines!

In the photo below, national record holder Martin Zapanta freedives to the 14-ft. Sto. Niño statue. Martin can hold his breath for over 4 minutes and dive on a single breath for more than 100 feet.

(Photo c/o Martin Zapanta / [email protected] /

In 2010, the local government of Bien Unido thought of building a grotto under the sea to discourage fishermen from illegal and abusive fishing techniques, such as the use of dynamite and cyanide.

VIEW: Freediving, The Quietest Festivity in the World

Along the Danajon bank, they lowered two (2) 14-foot statues into the depths of the Bien Unido Double Barrier Reef Marine Park. One was the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8, 2010 to commemorate her birthday, and the other on October 18, 2010 for the Holy Child Jesus, the Sto. Niño. This was done with the help of Seaknights and Boholanon divers.

It was then blessed underwater on October 28, 2010 by three Seaknights’ priests, Fr. Charlie Orobia, Fr. Murphy Sarsonas, and Fr. Tito Soquino.

(photo from

The grotto is also meant as a reminder not only to the fishermen but to everyone that the gifts of God are precious and must be treasured.

(photo from

VIEW: Only in the Philippines: 5 Strange Cemeteries, 5 Cool Things to Do There

Photo credit:

VIEW: Memoirs of a Freediver


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