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MUCK DIVING an exciting new underwater activity in the Philippines

Get ready to discover a whole new world in diving!

It took the vision and resources of two persons to reintroduce muck diving in the Philippines.

Marissa Floirendo visited the small village of Lembeh in Indonesia and discovered that there was little to see in terms of the usual scuba diving attractions. But she was perplexed at the busy level of diving industry in the area. There, she was introduced to the whole new field called muck diving. And she got hooked.

Muck diving is actually the anti-thesis of scuba diving because it defies the established conventions of what is beautiful in diving. Instead of the usual coral reefs that are teeming with life, muck divers are guided in, yeah, muck – sea bottoms where the substrates are mud, sand, sea grasses, and yes, even rubbles. They don’t go out to find impressive and awesome sea creatures, but they search for critters that seem to shy away from the usual coral malls.

The rewards to the muck divers could very varied. Topmost is the chance to take photos of sea creatures that have never been documented. So a diver could be the first or only the 20th person to take a shot of a crab that looks like a Christmas tree. The critter photos are considered rare gems compared to the usual underwater subjects. Like, can you guess how many photos of jacks and barracudas can be seen in the internet?

Muck diving could bring a scuba diver to a different level of his hobby. The usual diving would require eyes wide open to see as many creatures as possible and while the tank allows him to stay underwater, muck diving could make the person have an extended encounter with the sea creatures for extended periods. Its because this can be done in a ten-feet of water depth! And this brings in an opportunity to the non-divers, one can actually do muck diving and photography through snorkeling in shallow waters. The waterproof underwater point-and-shoot cameras that now flood the market can be the simple tool to take great underwater photos!

So with a friend named Joel Uichico and an Indonesian dive master, Wilson Serang, Marissa started that small, no, critter-scale revolution that has now started to touch the interest of a lot of divers in the Philippines.

The secret in muck diving is developing good guides that will show the diver where the most interesting creatures can be spotted. The trio went all the way to train Filipino guides in areas such as Donsol, Davao City, Bohol, and Anilao.

One good thing if muck diving becomes a major offering in the Philippines is that it is a one-to-one industry. Meaning, one guide would provide his service to only one diver. More Filipinos could actually benefit from muck diving compared to many other tourism products we could offer. The more good guides we can develop and they would know where to spot creatures such as hairy frogfishes, ghost-like critters, colorful shrimps, and alien-looking whatever sea creatures, the greater chance for this country to be a major muck area (pun intended).

Here’s an interesting fact, in the course of knowing more about muck diving, Marissa came across Bob Yin, a seasoned dive photographer. He revealed that muck diving actually started in Anilao in a place called Basura. Back then, dive photography was very limited to a few persons, and they were the ones who got great shots of the underwater, critter world. It was only in Indonesia where the activity grew into a solid activity.

One of the most impressive products of their effort is the on-going competition on muck diving photography called MAD About Us. If the number of participants and their outstanding photos are any indication, we could say that the Philippines is well on its way to getting a benefits of this new scuba diving product.

All photos courtesy of and owned by Marissa Floirendo.

To know more about muck diving, you can contact Marissa through or Joel through



  1. Caloy,

    Blogger ka pala! Mahusay ang iyong site. Keep it up.

  2. This is new to me as I have never heard of Muck Diving until now.
    Something to look forward to I guess when return.