THE next big dive festival in Central Visayas will be at the Municipalities of Zamboanguita and Dauin in Negros Oriental on July 28-31. Organized by the Department of Tourism- Central Visayas (DOT7), the DIVE7 Festival is expected to draw hundreds of Philippine and international SCUBA divers and enthusiasts.

The festival, developed as part of the DIVE7 program, is generating high interest from various dive communities affected by restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dive festival was launched last year and has attracted both experienced and beginner divers.

This year’s Negros Oriental leg of the festival kicks off along the Zamboanguita coastline and closes in Dauin. Underwater and beach clean-ups will be done at both municipalities.

Participants may take diving lessons from certified instructors of dive shops accredited by the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD). A list will be available at the event. The mermaiding experience or SCUBA lessons with full face mask will also be available with the first fourteen (14) given free of charge.

Highlighting the festival is an underwater photography contest envisioned to capture the marine kaleidoscope that has flourished over the two-year COVID-19 hiatus, says DIVE7 Program Head Gloriece Do.

The competition is open to amateur and professional underwater lensmen of all nationalities, provided that the participant is residing in the Philippines at the time of registration. Participants can keep their shutters going throughout the duration of the multi-activity event. All entries must be submitted by 9:00 a.m. on July 31.

Various subjects and concepts will be showcased in the competition, including nudibranchs, swimming with the turtles, frogfish, wide seascapes and marine life behavior, in the open and compact camera categories. Photos of people with purpose, featuring practices that benefit the reef, community or tourism, especially awareness and advocacy actions, may also be submitted under their specific competition category.

Cooperating with the DOT7 for the Dive Festival are the PCSSD, Tourism Promotions Board, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Province of Negros Oriental, the two municipalities, Zamboanguita Diving and Leisure Resorts Association, Negros Oriental Dive Association, and the Dauin Resorts Association.

Online registration is available via https://forms.gle/gEnnEiLZqtenWThv5. For updates on the DIVE7 Festival and other events under the program, participants may also follow the official FB page DIVE7 DOT Central Visayas https://www.facebook.com/dive7.dotcentralvisayas/.