A site dedicated to scuba diving off Mactan Island, Philippines

Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary

IMG_5079-© A few dive sites may come to mind with Marigondon Cave or Talima Marine Sanctuary. But what about Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary.  SMS has something for everyone.

After spending a whole day completing a Digital Underwater Photography course with my student Lain from Indiana USA on February 1st to this morning’s dive with a colleague, SMS is still surprising me.

IMG_4450-©For those of you who are unaware of the details, SMS is a protected marine sanctuary taken care of by a stewardship group comprising the Shangri-La Resort, Scotty’s Action Sports Network and Amores Charities. The Sanctuary covers more than 1000 square meters and hosts a thriving coral reef with abundant marine life. Protection of the area was granted officially by the government in 2007 although many years of unofficial protection had already taken place prior to this. In 2011 SMS received its own wreck which has now developed corals and has small schools of glass fish in between its twisted stern.

IMG_4575-©Some of the species within the sanctuary have decided to stick around and have quickly learned that they are less likely to end up on a dinner plate if they stay within the sanctuary zone.

This all makes for fantastic diving whether it’s deep or shallow, and on every dive you can see something different from huge groupers coming up from depth, the schooling trevally under the table corals, the hundreds of unicorn fish darting around, the large school of juvenile batfish or even the two or three barracuda that seem to have made the place ‘home’. The list goes on.

For me this is why the Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary is the best dive site in Mactan.


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