For underwater lovers, diving enthusiasts and venturesome devotees of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Infant Jesus, here is another exciting treat for you to indulge, the newest sensation of Bohol, “The Bien Unido Double Barrier Reef Dive Site, the Underwater Grotto Shrine”!
In the town of Bien Unido, Bohol, the government thought of installing giant statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Santo Nino, not just to boost its tourism industry but also one way of preserving the natural resources of the town in which the government are most serious of.
The religious statues of Our Lady of Danajon and Sto. Nino were erected on September 8 and October 18, 2010 respectively. These 14-feet statues were positioned 60 feet below the sea surface to remind illegal fishers that God also created the seas as well as its indwellers. For the sake of future generations, these are among the gifts of God that are meant to be preserved and be given proper attention. Moreover, it will deter illegal fishing, especially the usage of dynamite and cyanide.
Indeed, this endeavor is favorable for the Catholic Divers. Now, they can pray and meditate while being immersed in another amazing world where God’s wonderful creations are appreciated. It gives a moment of deeper reflection than those normally experienced.
To encourage more tourists, experienced divers or neophytes, a mini hotel, dive shop and other basic diving facilities were put up in the area. The successful blessings of the underwater statues and the facilities were conducted by Fr. Tito Soquino, OSA and Fr. Charlie Orobia, OAR last October 28, 2010.
Thanks to the Mayor of Bien Unido, Nino Rey Boniel, the town’s vision of becoming a prime eco-cultural tourist destination and a balanced agro-industrialized municipality has just started. Its first eco-tourism project is entitled, “The Bien Unido Double Barrier Reef Dive Site, the Underwater Grotto Shrine”.
Elmer Anthony is the webmaster of Bohol Philippines premier guide to Bohol Island; editor of Philippine Travel; and Cebu Explorer.