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This Dive Resort's Green Practices Keep Moalboal's Waters Vividly Blue

By championing eco-friendly practices, supporting conservation efforts, and embracing community engagement, the resort has created a blueprint for a sustainable future

In the depths of the Philippine seas lie a fragile world of breathtaking beauty and vibrant marine life, one that demands our protection and stewardship. We really do have some of the best dive spots in the world, and Moalboal has been up in the ranks when it comes to having an unbelievably amazing underwater world. Sadly, climate change, water pollution, and overfishing are just some of the factors that dulled the vibrancy of our reefs. This is where environmental sustainability plays a crucial role.


In 2023, environmental sustainability is no longer just a buzzword. It refers to the practice of meeting our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs, to ensure a long-term, harmonious co-existence between humans and the natural world. Going green is no longer just for the elites like how the first wave of natural products were marketed. It’s already accessible to most of us, with practices that we can implement in our own individual lifestyles, up to influencing our immediate communities.

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The gorgeous Moalboal sardine run

I took a 4-hour drive from Cebu City to Moalboal to see what the diving rave is about. I’ve met a couple of tourists on separate occasions while in Boracay, telling me how surreal the sardine run and turtle watching were, and how it was only a 3-minute boat ride from the shore. I was convinced to go, especially after looking up images and videos online.

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Club Serena’s reception and pool lounge

I stayed at Club Serena, one of Moalboal’s premier resorts. With their world-class service, inviting amenities, and scrumptious food, I was more than happy to stay in and just enjoy the views as I rested. But I found out they have a partner dive shop for their adventurous guests, so when the idea of SCUBA diving popped up, they instantly recommended me to visit Cebu Fun Divers (CFD), a 15-minute drive away from their property. 

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Club Serena’s luxurious treehouse villa—a true staycation enabler

With the threats of rainy weather, we still pushed through. God must’ve wanted me to marvel at His creations because the day was sunny and the water had good visibility when we went for a dive. The experience was absolutely enthralling; I haven’t done SCUBA diving in ages, and to do it as an adult is truly something else. 

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From the pool to the seas: diving with my twin sister, Stacy

I was impressed at how they were able to preserve the family of sardines so close to the shore, and several turtles grazing so calmly on the seabed, swimming around humans; I just had to ask German owner, Karl Heinz Epp, how they’re able to maintain the marine life nearby, and how CFD plays an integral role in the ocean’s sustainability as a dive shop and resort.

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Karl Heinz Epp, Owner of Cebu Fun Divers

Epp, who’s been living in Cebu since 1991, is a German corporate-employee-turned-dive-instructor that later on became an entrepreneur. Owning CFD and being a partner at Seaview Dive Resort, he’s one of the first tourists who became enchanted with our underwater galaxy and decided to make a living out of it as an aquanaut. His first fun dive was at Mactan Island. When he got back to Germany, his life was forever changed by what he experienced, so he decided to pursue a 2-year dive instructor training course around Europe, so he can fly back to Cebu to start his diving career—and that’s exactly what he did.

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Various areas inside their resort compound

But Epp’s passion doesn’t just stop at being a fan of our seas, he also makes sure to do his part when it comes to protecting our marine resources, while educating his immediate community. “What people think are natural calamities are actually direct consequences of climate change. Looking back at typhoon Odette, it was only supposed to last for 15 minutes at 140 km/h. But when it hit the waters near the Philippines, it sped up to 270 km/h because the water was too warm. That’s one of the firsts here with that increased intensity, creating terrible damage to our island and marine life,” Epp shared.

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Cebu Fun Divers rinse area and training pool

This is why Epp also chose to be an active member of Green Fins, a club that requires dive, snorkeling, and water activity centers to protect and conserve coral reefs by following environmental guidelines that promote a sustainable diving and snorkeling industry. “Green Fins come every year to see if we’re meeting the required standards of their conservation management approach. They go on our dives, and check the rules and regulations in place when it comes to briefing our tourists, and protecting our reefs through sustainable tourism,” Epp explained. 

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Sea creature sighting during our dive

As for tourism, Epp has his insights. “Well for the positives, muroami and dynamite fishing have stopped in Mactan as the illegal fishing practices started to terrify tourists. They’re no longer there. They moved them to Bohol islands. But tourism isn't 100% clean nor good, because there are damages that happen when tourists are not careful or unaware. Sometimes they’re so uneducated, they don’t understand the consequences of what they do. We had a case of one lady who snorkeled, and when she got back, she said, “Look, I got so many flowers,” but she ripped out the corals,” Epp shared in almost disbelief, as she was briefed not to prior to the activity. “Quality education of the diver is what we do, and it allows us to co-exist with the environment,” he added, affirmingly. 


As a partner of Seaview Dive Resort, Epp makes sure their day-to-day operations are influenced by their sustainability mindset, too. They do not provide provide single-use toiletries and have installed shampoo and body gel pump bottles. They only provide plastic bottled water once, as they encourage refilling at their water stations all around the resort. Now before you gasp at ”plastic,” they are currently in the process of replacing them with glass bottles. They also only use metal straws in their restaurant, and ensure that their plastic waste and metal scraps are collected and picked up by local collectors for reselling. Epp also hires people from the village next door, so he can provide jobs and promote a sustainable economy for the locals of Moalboal. 

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Seaview Dive Resort’s easy and comfy room with patio

What astounds me the most is Epp’s generational mentality when it comes to sustainability as well. He’s been raising awareness on our marine life for 14 years and counting at their barangay’s elementary school closeby. Every year, his team holds a documentary showing of “My Sea, My Home,” because the local students need the awareness of how rich our ocean resources are. He then opens a poster making contest at his dive resort with marine sustainability as the theme, and the winning students get to experience free beginner’s SCUBA training followed by a fun dive for a day. CFD’s Supervisor and Divemaster, Jaime Sabante, attests to this. “Some of the students we’ve taught and talked to are working with us as staff and dive instructors now. It’s amazing to see them grow and love our marine life, too,” he shared.

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Our Cebuano divemaster and Cebu Fun Divers supervisor, Jaime Sabante

Sabante, who’s been with CFD for almost two decades, also shared how Epp kept all his employees afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic, showing us that employment can be sustainable even amidst a global crisis. “He may be German, but he’s got the heart of a Filipino. He will be my last boss. I really strongly look up to this leadership. None of us were let go during the lockdowns because he thought of ways to sustain us financially; he gave us allowances.'' 


As for CFD’s future plans, Sabante told us, “Coral propagation is one thing we’re exploring. It’s on the pipeline, we’re just waiting for some governmental factors to give us the green light.” This initiative is not only necessary, it’s very logical as well. Also known as coral gardening, CFD’s team has started their efforts on coral propagation for the formation of new colonies so they can regrow what the typhoon and over-tourism destroyed.

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As we closed our conversation, I asked Epp what makes him so passionate about all this. “Easy,” he said. “I love what I do. European dive spots are incomparable with the Philippines’. Visibility and temperature are much better here, plus the marine life has beautiful coral reefs, clown fish, sardines, and sharks—divers love sharks—and you need not to go very far. I chose to come to the Philippines because I’ve fallen in love with diving in its seas, not because I fell in love with a Filipina, although the Filipinas are very beautiful, too,” Epp jokingly quipped.


Cebu Fun Divers stands as a shining example of what a dive resort can achieve when sustainability is at its core. By championing eco-friendly practices, supporting conservation efforts, and embracing community engagement, the resort has created a blueprint for a sustainable future. It reminds us that responsible tourism and the preservation of our natural wonders are not mutually exclusive, but rather interdependent aspects of a harmonious existence.


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As for my first SCUBA dive as an adult, I’m just happy I got back into the deep blue and marveled at the enthralling sea creatures, and colorful coral formations. I may have been stung by a jellyfish, but it really didn’t matter, as the underwater views made up for the physical pain. I’m just beyond grateful this all happened, thanks to Cebu Fun Divers’ green-mindedness. 


For bookings, visit the Cebu Fun Divers Facebook page.