MANILA -- Not even a pandemic can stop the Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX), dubbed as the country's largest platform for the diving community, as it kicked off virtually on Friday.
Themed "Our Sea, Our Story," this year's PHIDEX features discussions by prominent experts on the sea, both in the Philippines and abroad.
Among them are California Academy of Sciences curator Dr. Terry Gosliner, French-British underwater photographer Henley Spiers, Emmy Award-winning husband-and-wife documentary team Howard and Michele Hall, Professional Association of Diving Instructors ambassador and Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving commissioner Bo Mancao, University of the Philippines marine economist and community scientist Tara Abrina, and German underwater photographer Tobias Friedrich.
Participants can register for free and view all the lectures and talks on the PHIDEX website. The expo will run until March 21.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said PHIDEX 2021 is one of their ways of supporting the country's diving industry.
"As the Philippines is known around the world for its diving destinations, it is truly important that we do everything we can to sustain the local diving industry. The latest recognition we received was from the 2020 World Travel Awards which named the Philippines as the World’s Leading Dive Destination," she said.
"This year's PHIDEX is a step in the right direction to sustain our gains toward recovery, for all to enjoy the natural wonders our archipelago can provide," she added.
For this year's expo, the PHIDEX website will host three stages: the main stage, the expo stage, and the panel stage.
Aside from attending discussions, participants can also buy equipment and experiences from partners and exhibitors during the three-day event through a virtual marketplace called Dive Travel Exchange or TRAVEX.