Bilangdang Reef in General Santos City - Philippines
For divers seeking an adventure packed diving experience, the best place to head on to is the Bilangdang Reef. The Bilangdang Reef is situated along the Sarangani Bay, on the eastern side. And, since it is on the eastern side, it means that the weather here can be quite rough at times. To reach the Bilangdang Reef from the General Santos City proper, one may take a jeep, habal habal or tricycle going to Sarangani Bay. From there, the tourist may ask one of the local fishermen to get you into their boats and drop you off at Bilangdang Reef, of course for a fee. Since Bilangdang Reef basically belongs to a network of dive spots on the entire stretch of the Sarangani Bay, one can do a tour of various diving points in General Santos City just by hopping around on fishermen's boats along Sarangani Bay.
Once the tourist diver gets into the spot, perhaps the first thing he will notice is some damages on the coral reefs in the area. This is due in large part to the huge outbreak of the sea parasites called crown of thorns sea stars in the waters of the Bilangdang Reef about five years ago. These sea creatures eat corals, so when the number spread to more than a hundred thousand, the effect was kind of insane. A lot of the coral reefs, especially those that have been destroyed in the past because of human intervention, suffered severe damage. Good thing there were a group of people who initiated a big campaign to remove the crown of thorns sea stars from the Bilangdang Reef and rehabilitate the coral reef system from the damage. The rehabilitation efforts continue to this day.
Another thing that the diver might take note of is the strength of the waves in the area. As it is mentioned earlier, the weather can be quite turbulent in the eastern portion of the Sarangani Bay, so one would expect the waves to get affected as well. Because of this, it is advisable for novices to stay away from the Bilangdang Reef, or to at least refrain from diving. On the other hand, tourist divers who are adventure seekers as well would be sure to find the thrill and exhilaration they want from the Bilangdang Reef.
Because of the damages incurred by the Bilangdang Reef due to some malpractices in the past, the area has been privatized so it can be ably rehabilitated, and because of this, entry prices at the Bilangdang Reef can be a bit steeper compared to the other dive points along Sarangani Bay. But local tourism officials swear that the divers will not be disappointed.