A submarine story

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fiona Patricia S. Escandor

Or how Cebu tourists can go underwater without getting wet

IT almost sounded like a myth: a story casually passed around in chitchats and small talk. For over a year, there has been much talk about a submarine lurking within the waters off Mactan—just waiting for the opportune moment to open its hatches to the public.

That moment came on March23 this year when the underwater vessel was finally issued a special permit to operate by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina). It proudly has the name Cebu written on it, an image of the Philippine flag and—as the popular The Beatles song goes—it’s bright yellow.

Considered to be the country’s first tourist submarine, Cebu Yellow Submarine is officially up and running, all set to bring with it adventurous locals and tourists who want to witness the hidden wonders of the sea. It operates within 500 meters from the shoreline and has a diving depth of 35 meters from the water surface.

It’s spacious, comfy and has huge portholes through which one can have an unparalleled view of a bevy of fishes and corals as well as be entertained by divers who would be taking pictures of passengers from the outside.

The submarine has scheduled trips starting 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily so there’s no need for booking or going in groups. The trip duration runs a little under an hour with a bottom time of 35 minutes. It can accommodate 48 passengers each trip.

Built in 1989 in Antwerp, Belgium, the submarine used to operate in Pattaya, Thailand until such time the investor decided to bring the sub to the Philippines. The underwater vessel was inspected, and follows safety and emergency protocols accredited by the Korean Registry of Shipping.

At present, Cebu Yellow Submarine has promotional per person entry rates of P1,200 for adults and P800 for kids ages 4-12 years old. Kids ages four years old and below are free of charge, provided they are accompanied by at least one paying adult.

Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort & Spa, where Cebu Yellow Submarine & Undersea Tour Corp. is located, also offers a tour package for families.

For a net price of P11,000, families of two adults and two kids can avail themselves of the submarine experience, plus an overnight stay in a deluxe room with breakfast.

WANNA HOP IN THE YELLOW SUB?

HERE are a few tips if you want to ride the submarine:

Wear comfortable clothing that would be easy to move around in, particularly in going up and down the hatch ladder.

Make sure to visit the comfort room before the tour, which lasts an hour or so.

If you easily get motion sickness, carry a bottle of water and some meds, just in case.

Keep calm and keep cool so you can enjoy the short but memorable trip.

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