People hoping to combine an adventure holiday with a spiritual journey might find that a new attraction in the Philippines is exactly what they are looking for. Close to the town of Bien Unido, in the province of Bohol, an underwater shrine home to 14ft statues of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus has been built. Here, 60ft below sea level, experienced divers can pray and pay their respects to the statues.
Bohol is already known for its natural wonders, such as pristine white beaches, sparkling blue seas and its popular Chocolate hills, which boast awe-inspiring caves and waterfalls. Now, this man-made wonder can be added to the region’s list of attractions. The region is also a haven for divers and in order to see its latest creation, tourists will have to leave the comfort of the beach behind and plunge into the turquoise waters. The statues were installed in an attempt to discourage illegal fishing on the Danajon reef, which has been damaged by fishermen using dynamite and cyanide to catch fish. Rey Nino Boniel, the mayor of Bien Unido, said: “Divers can pray underwater to have a moment of deeper reflection than those normally experienced, and be thankful to God for safely guiding them through all their diving adventures. “Because in diving, one is immersed in another amazing world where everyone can really appreciate God’s wonderful creation.”