I can remember several years ago, I would notice a friend post a lot of Facebook updates of her snorkeling. She’d always express her big love for the ocean and life underwater and I admired that about her. Soon after, my circle of friends and their friends opened up a new world of freediving. I got really envious. I could never duck dive, go deep, and hold my breath. Believe me, I attempt every time I’m in the water. I honestly didn’t know how to do it. I was just up to looking at photos and drooling with envy 😦
In 2015, I moved to another island in the Philippines and lived there briefly. It was a big step for me because it was the first time I lived on my own and it was in an unknown place. Yes, I moved there without having visited before. I left within 5 days of deciding. It was an adventure! I didn’t know anybody but a week into my life there, I saw my friend on Facebook say he was in the same island I was in! I got kind of excited to see a familiar face so we met up and caught up with each other’s lives. He told me he was stationed there to be a freediving instructor and I thought, hey, this could be my chance to learn!
When I asked how much it was to try it out, it broke my heart and my wallet squealed out of fear. It was a hefty few thousand pesos for a day. I do want to pay for it, if only I could. I don’t underestimate the skills they could teach you and they’re well worth the price tag, I’m sure. I just. couldn’t. afford it. I still can’t for the moment, to be honest, but I’ll work to save for it!
Fast forward to about a month ago, a friend who freedives regularly in Mactan told me that their freediving group called Sawum Freedivers offers opportunities for newbies to try it out – for FREE. I jumped right into the opportunity of course! I joined their Facebook page and kept an eye out for the Newbie Sundays post so I can register (first comment, first serve). It took my third try to finally get in! It was soooo exciting I couldn’t wait! You can watch my experience in the video above!
At first I thought my problem would be holding my breath but for some miracle, I held it quite well and longer than I could ever have imagined. Okay, it’s not like I can hold it in for over a minute but it’s a lot to me because I could never hold my breath that long. I used to smoke (5 years total) and ever since then I would find myself gasping for air after about 10 seconds.
My second worry was my buoyancy. Yep, whatever I do, my body finds its way back to the surface. It still is a problem but I’m sure I’ll improve over time (and with the help of a weight belt, hah!). My first dive was only about 2 meters down (boo) but in my second try I think I went four or five meters, yey! Overall, the experience was great and I’m looking forward to diving more and eventually get certified!
The Sawum Freedivers group is a community of both new and seasoned freedivers ready to welcome you. If you need a dive buddy or if you’d like to meet other freedivers, don’t hesitate to join the Facebook group! They go out diving every weekend in Kontiki in Maribago, Mactan.
To join Newbies Sunday, simply stay updated for a post on the Facebook group with the details and COMMENT fast! There’s over a thousand people in the group so make sure you comment first! It’s a very limited opportunity and I hope you can make it!