Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dive Buddies Save the Seas Through Fantastic Photos & Videos

This is a worthwhile advocacy to save our seas! If you are compelled to join the cause, please read on ...

Press Release:

The Philippines is teeming with amazing underwater attractions and thriving aquatic life as it is one of the countries that make up the Coral Triangle, the global center of marine biodiversity. Among the most popular diving sites in the country are the Tubbataha Reef and the Apo Reef, home to myriad species of fish and corals.  These are just some of the wonders that the Network of Underwater Digital Imagers or NUDI hopes to bring to the surface. NUDI is a non-stock and non-profit association founded in 2010 that champions the conservation of magnificent marine life through photos and videos.

Citizens of the sea.  Among the growing number of NUDI members are marketing manager Wowie Wong and seasoned actress Elizabeth Oropesa. Captivated by the Philippines’ underwater treasures, both Elizabeth and Wowie feel strongly about marine life conservation. “We have the most number of sea creatures and corals. That is something we want more people, including the future generations, to discover and revel in,” Elizabeth shared. Wowie related one story of how NUDI became instrumental in raising marine environmental awareness. “In 2010, fellow divers told us that there were a lot of sardines in Pescador Island in Moalboal, Cebu. They weren’t there before,” he shared. The locals were surprised to see divers trooping to the town, because the marine life in the area had suffered from dynamite fishing.

NUDI members documented everything about the sardine run and shared photos on their social network sites. This prompted fellow divers from all over to journey to Pescador Island. “The community was brought back to life as tourists made their way to the island and discovered its wonders,” Wowie said. The group decided to provide the locals with dive guide training which became an alternative source of livelihood and dissuaded them from dynamite fishing. “We made them realize that the water is their treasure—it gives them food and income,” Wowie said.

“Apart from training dive guides, we also have regular coastal and underwater cleanup drives,” Elizabeth adds. “We also mount photography exhibits to raise funds for different causes. Among our recent projects is for the benefit of children who wish to study marine biology,” she added.

United in preserving nature. NUDI hopes that more Filipinos will take advantage of the natural wonders that thrive in their shores. Elizabeth’s love for diving has even brought her traveling to many parts of the world, but her heart still beats for home. “I have traveled to different countries just to dive, but the Philippines has some of the best spots and marine life. Cebu and Davao, for example, are amazing,” Elizabeth shared. While diving and underwater photography can get pricey, enthusiasts now have a variety of choices to keep costs down. Wowie shared that among their biggest expenses are airline baggage fees. “In a single trip, I would carry nearly 50 kilos worth of equipment, from camera lenses to their corresponding metal housing,” he said.

Wowie said that this is one of the things he values most about the country’s leading low-cost carrier, Cebu Pacific. “They offer several baggage options that passengers can pre-purchase upon booking, so that they won’t have to shell out extra cash during check-in,” he shared. Known for its year-round low fares and travel options, Cebu Pacific also supports NUDI’s mission to save the Philippines’ underwater wonders. The company was among the private organizations that sponsored the 2013 NUDI Cup in Cebu, which gathered underwater photography enthusiasts from all over the world. 

Moreover, the airline gives passengers an opportunity to fight global warming and help protect the Apo and Tubbataha Reefs, through its Bright Skies for Every Juan climate adaptation program. Guests can help coastal communities by making donations as they book their CEB flights via www.cebupacificair.com. To know more about NUDI and volunteer for its various projects, visit www.nudi.ph.

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