Vietnam & Cebu, Philippines

And so another holiday came to an end and I find myself back in Nabire for another tour of duty flying in the mountains of Papua. Whilst it’s nice to be back flying again, this last holiday was a pretty special one catching up with my brother, his fiancée and her family, all of whom I’d not seen since Christmas. Because we all like to travel, we decided on a two week holiday hopping around Vietnam and the Philippines, focusing mainly on something we all enjoy, scuba diving.



My first port of call was Hanoi, in northern Vietnam, where I met up with the gang at a hotel in the old town. Just around the corner was one of the larger water puppet theatres which we were told is a must see thing up in this part of Vietnam. I can’t help but feel whoever is spreading that rumour works for the tourist board as it was pretty cheesy; I wouldn’t bother again but I guess I can say I’ve now been to a water puppet show…

Old town, Hanoi, Vietnam
Street vegetables, Hanoi, Vietnam

Water puppet theatre, Hanoi, Vietnam
Water puppets, Hanoi, Vietnam

After a night in Hanoi, we all headed down the coast to Nha Trang. Now this is a fairly typical SE Asian coastal town, similar to Pattaya in Thailand but perfect for a few days beaching it up and taking in a spot of diving.

Whilst there we also decided to try the local water park on Vinpearl Island. Now this place is just like those ones in the USA, only you have the added bonus that you will get injured and possibly killed on some of the water-slides. Most of us had a few grazes and possible concussion from a certain tube ride. Still, all good fun!

Water taxi to Vinpearl island, Nha Trang, Vietnam

The diving was enjoyable and gave me a chance to test out my new camera setup. For those that want to know I’m using a Canon S110 in the Canon 40m underwater housing along with a Sea & Sea YS-02 strobe. The full manual options of the S110 are extremely useful whilst underwater and, paired with the strobe, produce some pretty great results.

Lionfish, Nha Trang
Pipe fish, Nha Trang


Moalboal,  Cebu, Philippines

The second half of the holiday was to be in Panagsama Beach, Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines. If you’re into diving you simply must come here! It’s by far the most incredible diving I’ve done so far. The reefs are just awesome with huge drop-offs, teaming with all manner of marine life. The waters are the clearest I’ve seen with 30m+ visibility. We chose to dive with Savedra dive centre who were simply fantastic. Near new rental equipment, well maintained dive boats sped us to the reefs and first class divemasters accompanied us on all our dives helping to point out all the sights to see.

Savedra dive boat, Moalboal, Philippines
Sunset, Moalboal, Philippines

Aside from the diving, the village itself is brilliant. With a smattering of bars and restaurants right on the beach, it has just the right mix of local traditions whilst being able to accompany western wants and needs. It’s also just far enough off the beaten track that it’s not too touristy and only the more dedicated traveller comes here.

Of course, Moalboal is all about the diving, so I’ll leave you with a small selection of the 600+ photos I took in the underwater playgrounds surrounding the island.

Box Fish, Moalboal
Giant Turtle, Moalboal
Adolescent Batfish, Moalboal
Dancing fish, Moalboal
Whale Sharks, Oslob, Philippines
Clown fish and anemone, Moalboal
Funky blue thing, Moalboal
Blue-ringed octopus, Moalboal

A final shout out goes to The Nomadic Family who we bumped into whilst in Panagsama beach on one of our diving trips. They’re travelling the world as a family and blogging about it as they go along. If you’re interested how on earth Kobi and Gabi manage to do this, check out their blog here.

Now I’m back on the job, the next post will be bush flying related. Promise!

Matt Dearden

Matt Dearden

English born professional pilot, writer, blogger and columnist. Currently flying the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter in Papua, Indonesia.

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