Text and Photos Bo Mancao

The collection is shot at many of the Philippine islands’ best dive sites, including Anilao, Mactan, Moalboal, Malapascua, Bohol and Dumaguete.

While the bright hues of coral reefs are indeed an impressive sight, the spectacle of colour and movement creates a challenge for the photographer wishing to focus on the beauty of a single organism. By using a black background, creatures are allowed to stand out from their normally cluttered environment and we are able to see them in all their glory. Shot without the addition of false backdrops or postprocessing techniques, The Black Chronicles aims to emphasise the beauty of the marine world in its simplest of details.

Philippines: Places to dive, things to shoot. Dauin, 20 minutes from Dumaguete city, is a muck diver’s paradise, with clear waters and dark sand allowing the critters to stand out. One favourite in Dauin is a dive site called “Cars”. It has to be one of the easiest and most fun shore dives in the Philippines. Night dives in Dauin are all about cephalopods, with ample opportunity to capture a range of behaviours, from hunting to mating.

Gato Island, Malapascua, Cebu: Seahorse (genus Hippocampus)

Malapascua’s Monad Shoal is worldrenowned for its daily thresher shark encounters. However, many don’t realise that Monad also has great macro possibilities. The night dives here are especially thrilling; you never know what big fish might be swimming with you in the dark.

Gato Island, Malapascua, Cebu: Tiger nudibranch (Notodoris minor)

Gato Island is another much-loved dive site in the vicinity of Malapascua. Once used as a shelter from bad weather by poachers, Gato is now popular among macro enthusiasts. Seahorses of every kind can be found in the island’s waters, and divers can take their pick from the rice grain-sized pygmies to the bigger species. The fortunate few may also encounter the rare Bornella anguilla nudibranch.

As for Anilao, there’s a reason why it has become the archipelago’s most popular macro dive destination. Some of the ocean’s rarest critters are found in abundance here and the variety is unbelievable. Feather stars (Florometra serratissima) are common in Anilao, and they normally harbour a squat lobster or a well-camouflaged shrimp.

Mactan is the dive hub of the Visayas. Just a quarter of an hour from the international airport and you’re in its clear, calm waters.

Monad Shoal, Malapascua, Cebu: Harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera picta)

For the rest of this article (Asian Diver 2014 Issue 4 No 133) and other stories, check out our past issues here or download a digital copy here.

The 25th anniversary of the largest and longest running dive show, Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) is set to occur on the 11-14th April 2019. Centred on the theme – Plastic free Future, ADEX is more than just a dive show with its commitment to the environment. Among an exciting lineup of programs, attendees can look forward to a Future Forward Series of Panel Discussion on the Single-Use Plastic Conundrum in Asia, on 13th April.

So join us at the event, get inspired and for all you know, you might just liberate the inner diver in you! More details of the event here.

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