diving in el nido palawan

Weather in El Nido

Understanding the weather and seasons in El Nido.

El Nido enjoys pleasant weather and calm seas are great for freediving.

Even though it can be at times hard to predict, El Nido’s weather follows distinct patterns depending on the seasons of the year. To get the most out of your trip, time your visit to El Nido and enjoy the best weather.

December to April: Dry season

The main wind is blowing from the North-East bringing nice sunny days and good diving conditions. At this time of the year, the temperature are a bit cooler which is always enjoyable if you are planning to do any inland activities. This is also high season and you should expect higher tourist affluence.

Late April to early June: Summer time

The temperature are steadily rising until June. This is the hottest time of the year in the Philippines. This should not bother you if you are planning to spend most of your time in the water. The diving conditions are at their best with flat seas and visibility of up to 30m and water temperature around 30C°.

June to October: Rainy season

The Monsoon starts to establish itself sometime around mid June. From then on humidity rises and rains becomes more frequent. Typhoons are also common during those month. Even if El Nido is enjoying protection from it’s location far west of the areas most affected by typhoons, a low pressure system will bring rain and winds for up to week. Flights and boat trips can be canceled. Take this in consideration when planning your holiday.

November: Fall transition

At the end of the rainy season we enjoy a few weeks of perfect weather and great diving conditions. The wind drops in late October before getting steady again in December. The rain is gone and the temperature not as hot as in the summer months. For many this is the best time to visit the Philippines. The water is calm and clear, perfect for freediving.

 

Where to find us

Our freediving center is located in Corong-corong, El Nido, Palawan.

It’s a 5min tricycle ride (local taxi) from the center of El Nido. Ask for “La Plage”, a popular restaurant on the beach front. You will see us on your left side as you approach the beach through the sandy path.

In Corong-corong you will find a wide choice of accommodation and restaurants. It is also one of the best place in town to enjoy the sunset!

 

diving in el nido palawan

Freediving in the Philippines

Why Philippines is a must go for freediving?

Located in the coral triangle, the Philippines offer some of the best diving in the world. Thanks to it’s amazing biodiversity and ideal water conditions, it has been a major scuba diving destination for more than 3 decades now. Today the calm and clear waters of this paradisiac archipelago are drawing the attention of freedivers worldwide.

Can you ask for more?

Freediving in the Philippines you will find yourself in 30°C waters and 30m visibility with a postcard picture background. The country is now home to a growing community of freedivers. You will find several centers and people training throughout the country. More international competitions and events are taking place. If you are looking for the next freediving hotspot in Asia, you have found it.

El Nido and Bacuit Bay offers a great settings above and under the water

What about freediving in El Nido?

During your stay indulge in the island lifestyle. El Nido seems to have found the perfect balance between nature and comfort. Conserving its fisherman’s village charm it now offers all the commodities you would need to make the most of your stay. Surrounded with a pristine environment, El Nido offers a wide range of accommodations, restaurants and activities. The slow life pace and quiet surroundings are an invitation to lay down in a hammock recovering from your diving watching the timeless sunset.

We welcome freedivers of all levels. Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned apneist we have something for you, find all the details about our freediving courses and special training opportunities.

Healthy food lovers: take advantage of the abundance of fresh sea food and delicious tropical fruits found yearly on the local market. If ever you want more action, there is always an opportunity for exploration weather on land or in the water. Hiking, mountain biking, kayaking…

Take a look at our blog on life in El Nido to find all the details.

The Mammalian Diving Reflex

How can people possibly hold their breath for so long or dive that deep?

The human body has a set of physiological reactions that helps it deal with breath hold diving. These adaptations where inherited through evolution and can be found shared by all mammals. Of course this includes dolphins, whales, seals… The same mechanism we see in marine mammals can be observed in humans. This is truly the magic behind free diving. All those changes combine to optimize your O2 consumption and can extend your breath hold abilities. With relaxation and training we can take advantage of these changes making free diving easier and more enjoyable.

Bradycardia and freediving

The first thing we can notice is bradycardia, the slowing down of the heart rate. It can be drastic, down to 30bpm in trained free divers. This will help conserving O2. As the heart pumps less blood the arterial pressure drops as well. To counteract this effect vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the arms and legs takes place. Squeezing the blood out of the extremities and channelize it in the core where it is the most needed. In the heart, the vital organs and the brain of course. Any time you are holding your breath, your body will take the steps needed to protect you and these changes can start to be seen. Just having the face immersed in cold water will trigger the mammalian diving reflex.

Dealing with the pressure at depth

As pressure increases the next phase of the mammalian diving reflex comes into play. In the past physicians had predicted that people would get crushed by the surrounding pressure if they were to dive deeper than 50m. Freedivers proved them wrong and it is now understood that thanks to the blood shift. This newly available volume of blood is going to be concentrated in the lung area. Blood fills in the void left by the reduced air volume effectively protecting the lungs from collapsing as blood is not compressible. The spleen effect will also assist the free diver. This organ will be squeezed and release it’s stores of blood and red blood cells in to the circulation. This phenomenon occurs on deeper dives, further enhancing the availability of oxygen and it’s delivery to the body tissues.

Everyone is a natural born freediver

It’s only up to you to tap in this potential and experience one of the best feeling of relaxation as you make one with the environment. Just let go of your apprehensions and trust your body, it knows what to do. Learning the proper freediving techniques you too can dive deeper, longer and enjoy the rewards of being able to become a dolphin even if it’s just for a few minutes. We make it happen here in El Nido, Philippines most amazing freediving destination.

 

 

discovery Freediving course

Discovery Freediving Course

Duration 1 day
CommitmentCurious
SupervisionInstructor personal support
Maximum Depth 10 meters
Discovery Freediving Course

If you’re curious about freediving but you’re not sure if you’re ready for a full course, this discovery day is for you. You’ll learn the basic breathing techniques and immerse with your instructor. Get into waters enjoy the underwater world safely.

Time: 8:00am – 4:00pm
Includes: Theory, Relaxation & Breathing, Open Water session
Price: Php4,800.

The freediving discovery course is perfect for those who don’t want to commit to a full course but are interested in freediving. With its calm and clear waters, El Nido is perfect for freediving courses and first-timers. After completing this program, you’ll be more confident whenever in the water.
The day before: Meet your instructor and chose your equipment.
08:00: Meeting at Freediving Dimension and theory session
09:00: Breathing & Relaxation
10:00: Static breath hold at the pool
12:00: Lunch & Rest
14:00: Open Water Session
16:00: Back at the Center for Debriefing
16:30: You’re released 🙂
Our discovery Freediving course package includes:

  • Full freedive gear
  • Instructor fee
  • AIDA instructive materials
  • AIDA certification card
  • Boat travel
  • Warm lunch made from fresh local ingredients
  • The undivided attention of our friendly dive staff

You can pay by cash or by Paypal. A 10% fee applies on a PayPal final payment (no fee on PayPal deposit).

 

The Bajau people

• The Bajau, people of the sea

They live of the fishing they make from their hand crafted houseboats called lepa. Their boat is also where they live with their family, and how they travel from island to island. Others chose to live on stilt houses in coastal areas but maintain a close connection with the sea. Often the only connection between houses and even the whole village to the main land is by boat and they continue to live off the sea by subsistence fishing and the gathering of luxury sea products like trepang for export.

• Kids from a young age spend most of their time in the water playing and swimming

Later they will take on freediving and fishing as their main activity. Generations of this lifestyle have lead to remarkable adaptation. Along with a strong mammalian diving reflex, their eyes have adapted to enhance their underwater vision. It is easy to understand as they have the greatest daily apnea diving time reported in humans: greater than 5 hours per day submerged. The average Sama Dilaut – which is how the Bajau call themselves – can dive to 30m with little to no equipment, thanks to this life long training and genetic predispositions. It is also nice to know that the Philippines freediving national record for depth belongs to a Bajau young men with a dive of 80m.

• A way of life threatened?

Sadly today their unique culture is threatened by cultural assimilation and modernization. In the Philippines, the boat-dwelling Sama-Bajau are still subjected to strong cultural prejudice. This discrimination and the continuing violence in ARMM have driven many of them to emigrate. Their livelihood is also at risk. Because of restrictions imposed on their nomadic culture by modern nation states, they are losing their traditional fishing grounds and have little means of competing with better-equipped land-based and commercial fishermen. Since they cannot earn enough to feed their families, some refuge groups of Sama-Bajau in the Philippines are forced to resort to begging, particularly diving for coins thrown by tourists from ferries.

discover freediving course day el nido

Freediving and sailing: a unique association

Freediving and sailing: a beautiful combination of two silent water sports!

• Freediving is an ancient sport, likely starting with sponge diving during the time of Plato in Ancient Greece.  And there is evidence (the mammalian dive reflex) that humans have evolutionary roots as aquatic mammals.  Today freediving is practiced as an extreme sport, or with freedive spearfishing, and freediving photography.

• Sailing is naturally the support of choice for a full freediving immersion in Philippines’ most beautiful islands. Reunite with nature and the elements and set the mood for your practice by combining the two activities. You will enjoy having all the comfort of a large, modern sailboat offering its support at all time, making the dive sessions easy and secure.

Freediving and sailing: a great way to discover El Nido’s secret places

Whether you want to discover the most secluded islands in Palawan or just get away from the crowd and noise for a day, you have found a comfortable, peaceful and unique way to do it. You will be gliding silently through the limestone cliffs and anchoring in untouched lagoons.

Deepen your experience and embark for a timeless and boundless journey. Live your El Nido experience to the fullest and take our fast and comfortable sail boat out for a day of bliss.

Freediving and sailing: An Australian magazine wrote a piece about us!

Have a look to this article written by Ashleigh Mills about a 2-day freediving and sailing trip in El Nido: the Australia Times. Check it page 36!

Welcome spearos

I come from a spearfishing background myself and understand the needs and specificity of a spearfishing oriented training. We welcome beginners as well as seasoned spearfishers. Together we will asses your personal strengths and goals, and thanks to our efficient and varied training methods, you can expect dramatic improvement in all areas. I can tell you that getting closer to bigger and more abundant fish, thanks to good technique is highly rewarding. Join us for a course or just a day, your fish stringer will thank you. You will also be safer freediving thanks to vital safety techniques. Set new limits and extend your comfort zone. Better relaxation will make the whole experience more enjoyable. So take advantage of being here and sharpen your skills in one of Philippines best freediving location.

El Nido has unlimited exploration possibilities. With countless islands and rocks offering all possible environments you will soon have your own favorite. The proximity of all this variety means that with quick boat ride or even swimming around the corner you will find new conditions, scenery and sea life. Have a look at some of our favorite dive sites.

freedivers apnea

Mermaids: make a myth come true!

Do you believe in mermaids?

All of us have heard stories about mermaids. You may even already encountered one before. In biology the “Sirenia” is an order of aquatic mammals that includes the dugong and manatee. This comes from a legend about their discovery, involving lonely sailors mistaking them for sirena, so you may confused a mermaid with one of those gracious creature.

With more than 7000 islands, Philippines is an archipelago. Surrounded by waters housing a high diversity of marine life, it is obvious that people believe in mermaids and siyokoy (male sirena).

It is also that the mermaids has a an enchanting voice. They may attract and hypnotize fishermen or sailors. By distracting them from their work, mermaids force them to walk off the deck or cause shipwrecks. Some old folk traditions claim that the Sirena carry its victims under the sea and offer them to their water God. Other stories claim that the Sirena squeezes the life out of drowning men while trying to rescue them.

Myth or reality, you can make this dream come true and learn how you can use your natural abilities underwater. It is safe and easy. Everyone can do it!  Have a look at our freediving courses we offer here in El Nido. We accept complete beginners up to Advanced freedivers.

How does it feel to be a mermaid? Watch a dream-like short film named “Whale Fantasia“!

Alan Watts has created this beautiful short film entirely with GoPro camera. It shows 3 sirens dancing together with 3 humpback whales like in a dream. Renowned for their great and innovative, underwater video stylings, Performance Freediving International recently teamed up with GoPro to create this wonferful short film named“Whale Fantasia“. Narrated by the late Alan Watts, Whale Fantasia mesmerizes with stunning images and footage, all captured by HD Hero cameras.

You can watch this video on youtube “Whale Fantasia”

What you will see

El Nido offers some of the best marine life variety to be seen freediving in the Philippines.

It’s many reefs are rich of more than 850 species of fishes, 120 of corals and many other creatures.

On any given dive, you are likely to see an abundance of reef fish: parrotfish, damselfish, butterflyfish, angelfish, pipefish, clownfish and many others. Grouper, snapper and trevally are common, and you may see large schools of mackerel, bat fish and baraccuda. You are also likely to encounter hawksbill or green sea turtle, and the less attractive families of scorpion fish and moray eel. There are occasional sightings of eagle ray, manta ray, black tip reefshark, bumphead, napoleon and if you’re lucky, a whaleshark.

We also regularly see lobster, cuttlefish and seahorse. There is also a very interesting macro life, with many shrimps, crabs, jawfish, gobies, nudibranchs and worms. Night dives also offer a different set, with all the crustaceans in the open, octopus, squid, and even bioluminescence!

Our experienced instructors are highly knowledgeable about the reef inhabitants and fish behaviors, with a wealth of different areas of knowledge and interest.

Sit down with us, consult the fish book and we will help you identify what you saw on your fun dives. Even after thousands of dives, we are still just as excited to see our reef inhabitants as if it was our first day.