Dik de Boer is a Dutch national who together with his Filipino wife Cora built the first dive resort on Malapascua Island in 1997. They had both travelled extensively throughout the Philippines and in 1996 they read an article in the Lonely Planet guide describing a little island paradise in the north of Cebu. On their first visit to Malapascua they agreed with everything they had read – the true tropical cliché of palm fringed white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. What more could they do but fall in love with this tropical paradise? As experienced Philippine travellers it was the ideal place to settle down. The only thing they needed to do was find out how the diving was!
Tourism was still a long way off at the time, with only a few beach cottages to rent and nothing in the way of diving facilities. They began asking the locals about the surrounding waters and were enthralled by stories of sharks and Japanese war wrecks. The stories were enticing – enough for Dik and Cora to return in 1997 with a little portable compressor. Whilst exploring the surrounding reefs, they soon realised the enormous potential of Malapascua as a dive destination and laid the foundations to build the first dive resort.
It was during this time that Dik along with his friend Mikael Person first dived with the Thresher Shark at Monad Shoal, which has now become a major worldwide attraction. Monad Shoal is now believed to be one of the only places in the world where you can regularly observe at close range these beautiful sharks in only 25m of water.
Another ongoing project that Dik and Cora began was our House Reef in 2001. Over the years we have sunk jeeps, concrete thresher sharks and an array of man made objects which have created a special artificial environment where the fish thrive. In 2008 we were awarded the Environmental Achievement Award from Project AWARE for our work on this reef.
Exotic Dive Resort has grown a lot since its original few beach cottages in 1997. It is now a world-renowned 5-star IDC Resort. The dive shop has expanded rapidly over the years and now has 4 big “banka” boats, 1 smaller dive boat, 2 flat boats, nitrox facilities, multimedia classroom, and a large team of experienced instructors and Divemasters.