Image courtesy Teddy Aquino
The first organized Deep Water Soloing (DWS) venue in Busuanga was climbed this week. Teddy Aquino, the owner of Juju Island (about 20 minutes by speed-boat from Coron town), invited a group of climbing friends from overseas to join him in exploring the craggy limestone cliffs and walls of Sangat Island (and similar islands in the Calamianes Islands Group), for the purpose of identifying the best locations for Deep Water Soloing in the Philippines.
What is Deep Water Soloing? It is essentially rock-climbing with the objective of an eventual rapid descent into deep water. The word “soloing” is included because you are not tied to any other climbers in your ascent and you jump into the deep water at the moment that you decide is right, without reference to other climbers who may be ascending at the same time as you.
Deep Water Soloing is claimed by many to be the purest form of climbing insomuch as you use no ropes or weighty climbing packs – just your hands and feet. A good pair of hands, a pair of climbing shoes, some chalk and a rhythmic swing will get you to your destination; a good head for heights and deep water below are the other requirements.
Freed from the encumbrances of the climbing pack, Deep Water Soloing provides an exhilarating experience at almost no cost – just a bit of chalk.
The sport of Deep Water Soloing was originally “invented” in South Devon and Dorset, England, where the traditional climbing venues of Lulworth Cove and Portland are now the most popular Deep Water Soloing destinations. Majorca was not far behind and the sport is now gaining popularity in Thailand, Spain and the U.S.A.
Teddy Aquino imagines that the Busuanga area, with its varied selection of traditional rock-climbing and Deep Water Soloing locations, will soon become the extreme sports mecca of the region. Around Busuanga area a handful of islands boast the perfect geology for the sport, the most prominent of which is Sangat Island – easily reached by banka or speed-boat from Coron town resorts, such as the Sea Dive Resort. Alternatively, climbers wishing to get closer to nature, can choose to stay in one of Teddy’s creative banka-cabanas, set on stilts above the water, on Juju Island – much closer to Sangat Island.
Compared to Deep Water Soloing in England, Busuanga offers a myriad of attractions not the least of which is the deliciously warm water of Coron Bay for your eventual immersion. On Sangat Island, after a hard day of climbing and jumping, you can relax in natural hot springs set amongst the mangroves or, if you still have the energy, you can go wakeboarding behind Teddy’s purpose built wakeboarding speed boat, all the way back to Juju Island.
Another venue for Deep Water Soloing in the Philippines that has been identified by climbers is the not-so-far-away Lagen Island, El Nido, and, now that I understand the sport better, I can recall numerous places around the coasts of Mindanao and Panay that will no doubt become popular in the future. All you really need is climbable rock that hangs over deep water.
For more information about Deep Water Soloing adventure holidays around Busuanga and Coron, you should email Teddy Aquino directly. Please note that Juju Island has no Internet service at this time so getting a reply to your email may take a day or two – when Teddy visits Coron town for supplies.
How to fly to: airlines and airport information Busuanga / Coron