Category: nature trips

Diving Coron: Lusong Gun Boat and Sangat Sub Chaser

Seeing Coron again after more than a decade and this time, having the chance to dive two wrecks, I couldn’t help but wonder… how did the place look like during World War II?

It must have been barely touched. There must have been very few people. That first Coron trip at the turn of the century was far different from the Coron I saw last week. Thus, it must have been even more pristine in the 1940s.

Now imagine how it was with a World War raging on and Japanese battleships anchored on your shores. It must have been eerie. More eerie than how the wrecks look like now.

James at Lusong Gun Boat
James at Lusong Gun Boat

My dive buddy James said he hesitates to enter a wreck because he can imagine invisible beings grabbing him. I can imagine how he feels, but that isn’t how I feel. Mine’s more of an excitement and a lot of questions.

Like, who were the last ones who manned these ships? How did they feel as the bombs came dropping? How many died? Were their bodies ever found?

Just before penetrating the Sangat Sub Chaser.
Just before penetrating the Sangat Sub Chaser.

Coron has 11 shipwrecks that now serve as a major come-on to divers. These are the Sangat Sub Chaser, the Olympia Maru, the Morazan, the Kogyo Maru, the Lusong Gun Boat, the Irako Maru, the Akitsushima, the Okikawa Maru, the Kyokuzan Maru, and the Nanshin Maru. With our limited time to dive (just one afternoon), our dive master Nicole decided that we will check out the most shallow of the 11: Sangat Sub Chaser, and the Lusong Gun Boat.

Entering the wreck.
Entering the wreck.

The low visibility and dark silhouettes of the wrecks can make one’s imagination run wild. Mine was just spinning out questions upon questions, all unanswered, with just my breathing breaking the eerie quiet as I looked around and inside the wrecks that have been there since 1945…

The bridge of the Sangat Sub Chaser.
The bridge of the Sangat Sub Chaser.
The view from the inside the bridge of Sangat.
The view from the inside the bridge of Sangat.


1IMG_4438I’ve been wanting to write again, revive the blog that last saw light after typhoon Pablo. But the urge to tell personal stories isn’t just there. What could possibly revive it?

Now I know.

Diving a wreck.

As divers know, there is a different thrill upon seeing the bow of a ship that has long been down there, underwater, and this was the thrill I felt upon seeing the bow of the Sangat Sub Chaser just off Sangat Island in Coron.

I leave you with this image while I bask in the afterglow.

Portraiture… of the underwater kind

We’re still underwater, from my collection of years ago.

Since we’ve already tackled “connections”, here are some of those photos I most treasure because of the subjects’ seeming willingness to have their portraits taken.

It’s a joy to establish such connection with creatures in the wild.

Like crabby crabs…

Of different kinds. All of them caught at mid-flight, staring.

The mantis shrimp, dangerous as it is, pauses for a while before disappearing underground.

A hinge-beaked shrimp giving a full frontal.

A tomato clown anemone fish seconds before it attacks to protect its territory.

A puffer resting on a soft coral.

My favorite of them all, in a pose I can no longer replicate.. the elegant mandarin fish looking straight at the camera.

Indeed, to establish connection with nature is a joy to behold and these are but a few of the joy the underwater world has shared. How much longer will they be down there to showcase a world so different from ours? For as long as we keep our oceans clean… At the rate we are dumping wastes and silt into it, however, this beauty may no longer be there for the next generation to behold.