The El Nido municipal government announced Friday they will host the 11th Season of the “Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series”, a sporting event that is expected to draw 24 of the world’s best cliff divers to the limestone rocks on Miniloc Island in Bacuit Bay.
Rene Jay de la Calzada, El Nido municipal administrator, said the staging of the first leg of the cliff diving series in their town is an indication that despite its environmental challenges, sports event organizers still think highly of their place as one of the best destinations in the world.
“Ready na ready tayo to welcome them dito sa El Nido. I-re-review ko pa ang memorandum of agreement (MOA) pero dito na nga gagawin by April ang event. Ang mangyayari dyan ay may scheduling ng pagpasok at paglabas sa Miniloc na sa tingin naman namin ay magiging sobrang manageable Natutuwa naman tayo na walang epekto sa kanila itong mga pinagdaanan namin at di lang turista ang nagtitiwala kundi mga sports event organizers na malalaki talaga. Patuloy pa rin ang suporta sa El Nido bilang destination ng mga ganitong event,” he said.
De la Calzada said the organizers of the event will put up a prefabricated diving board made of sturdy bamboo poles on a rock platform that has a height of 27 meters for free-falling combined with acrobatics.
Miniloc Island is home to the Big and Small lagoons, frequented by tourists daily because of its pristine rock formations and blue waters.
He said the cliff diving world series will also post its own air ambulance and rescue doctors in case anything untoward occurs on April 13.
“May sarili silang air ambulance, may mga doctors din na kasama sa team para kung may mangyari man ay naka-ready sila. Ang local government unit (LGU) din syempre merong sarili to augment whatever they have,” De la Calzada said.
On its website, organizer Red Bull cited that El Nido was chosen to become the venue of the kick off for its “dazzlingly clear emerald waters.”
“The towering limestone formations of the Small and Big lagoons on Miniloc Island, a forty-minute pump boat ride away from the town of El Nido, provide a magnificent backdrop for the season opener in mid-April,” it said.
Among the 24 male and female professional cliff divers from 18 countries who will travel to El Nido mid-April for the world-class cliff diving event are said to be Rhiannan Iffland of Austria and Gary Hunt of Great Britain.
The cliff divers will be questing for the King Kahekili Trophy starting in El Nido which is among the three new venues with Ireland’s capital Dublin and Beirut in Lebanon.
Organizers said, “Round 1 and 2 or the women and men will be held in the Small Lagoon, which is accessible through a gap between two giant limestone rocks that appear to be about to kiss each other.”
“Through this little space, one can swim or kayak into the lagoon. It is actually these cliffs, and the rocks and corals in the shallow part of the area that temper the waves, protecting the water in the lagoon from any violent events in the open sea,” organizers said.
It said further that “for the more difficult optional dives, the athletes change to the Big Lagoon, frequently visited by sea turtles and kayakers. It is a bay carved into the island, with deep water and corals below pointed limestone cliffs.”
“The cliff diving elite can’t wait to take off into another exciting year from up to 27m!” it said.
Red Bull said the event will be lived on April 13 at 4.45 PM local time (8.45 AM GMT) on www.redbullcliffdiving.com, Red Bull TV, Facebook & Youtube.