I am now on the third part of my Bohol Series, and I’m so happy to be back in writing. Bohol boasts of its beauty underneath, and is actually one of the best diving spots in the Philippines. Knowing this, who would want to skip scuba diving when you’re in Bohol, right?

INTRO DIVE IN BALICASAG ISLAND

After snorkelling at the marine and turtle sanctuary in Balicasag Island, we wanted to explore more of its depths. We decided to ask our  boatman if he knows anyone who could assist us for an intro dive. Luckily, he did! One of the dive master (unfortunately, we didn’t get his name) taught us the basics of scuba diving, such as the use of hand signals, how to release water out of the goggles, and proper breathing technique through the regulator.

An introductory dive, also known as discover scuba diving, is a term used for people who have no experience in scuba diving, and want to try it for the first time. A trained instructor will guide you and let you experience the Balicasag reef.

Prior to this activity, we have zero experience in scuba diving. As for myself, I took swimming classes during my college years, but I am not confident enough to swim freely in an open water. The thoughts of drowning scares me big time! But really, having the ability to swim doesn’t mean a lot since the instructor will be with you the whole time.

The thing about scuba diving is that you can breathe underwater. And that’s why I wasn’t afraid to try it. Looking at the endless abyss was quite bizarre, but it didn’t get into my nerve. I can totally confirm that I’m part fish. LOL On a serious note, the only thing you have to focus on is buoyancy when scuba diving. During our intro dive, the dive masters won’t even let us do scissor kick! That’s how careful the instructors were.

OUT IN THE WATER

I have never seen life livelier other than underwater! The vibrant corals, brightly patterned fishes and hazy blue-green water at the ocean floor were feasts for my eyes.  It was overwhelming witnessing the ocean’s beauty in a different perspective.

Sure enough, I appreciate it whilst snorkelling, but scuba diving gives us a new view on this. To be able to swim deeper, and observe closely the marine habitat is humbling enough for me to realize that a human being is not the one on top of the food chain nor are we kings and queens of the world, but rather just a small portion of the whole ecosystem.

As we dive deep meter by meter, the air pressure began to increase, and it hurts like hell! Honestly, I thought my ears were gonna start bleeding, and eventually burst from the pressure. No kidding! However, it’s important to remain clam. There are techniques commonly practiced to keep your ears from hurting due to water pressure:

  • Valsalva Maneuver. Pinch your nostrils closed and blow gently through your nose.
  • Frenzel Maneuver. Perform the Valsalva maneuver by breathing against pinched nostrils and swallowing at the same time.
  • Swallow or Wiggle Your Jaw. While keeping the regulator in your mouth, swallow or wiggle your jaw.

TICKED OFF ON MY BUCKET LIST

The intro dive lasts for about 30 minutes. We were able to descend for about 7-8 meters. Not bad for a newbie, though! True enough, our dive was just a glimpse to what Balicasag reef really looks like, but the brief meeting was enough for me to save up, and get licensed! Implusive, but I think I just found my new calling (other than surfing).

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Scuba diving is extremely an expensive recreational activity, but boy did I get hooked on it. To say that the whole experience was awesome is an understatement. I’ll always be happy that I’ve ticked this off my bucket list. Other than that, it taught me to greatly care about our environment especially our ocean.

IMPORTANT NOTES

  • How to Get There: From Manila, fly to Tagbilaran. Travel time: approximately 1 and 30 minutes. From Tagbilaran, ride a triycle to get you to Panglao. Hire a boat to get you to Balicasag Island or avail the island tour (including dolphin watching, visiting Balicasag and Virgin Island) which starts early in the morning.
  • Boat rental including island hopping rate is PHP 2,000. The rate is pretty much decent considering it’s a private rental, and whole day.
  • Scuba diving is an expensive recreational activity, at least for me. We got ours for PHP 2,500 per person including gear rental and a personal instructor to assist in the dive. Ratio of instructor to student is 1:1. You won’t ever get lost as they closely monitor you.

 

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