Birth of a freediver

Living by the sea most of my life, I have always had a special connection with the ocean. The first time I put a mask on and realized that a whole world of beauty and mystery was there to be explored I knew that I had to see more. Freediving was the logical answer. All my equipment could fit in a back pack and in 10min I could be in the water enjoying the freedom of gliding weightlessly through the silence. Just putting your head in the water the rest of the world disappears and it’s only you and the infinity of the ocean. Freediving in the Philippines are a freediver’s dream come true. Perfect conditions year round, beautifull scenaries and friendly locals.

You too can experience the ultimate freedom:

Using comfortable and simple equipment, freediving can be done anytime anywhere. This essential life skill will have you redefine the way you interact with water:

  • It gives you total freedom to move underwater in a natural way.
  • Freediving offers some of the best feelings of relaxation you can possibly experience.
  • Reunite the mind and the body as you become one with the environment.
  • Freediving is an exciting way to rediscover yourself and all around a very pleasurable experience.
El Nido’s beautiful islands offer ideal freediving conditions with their calm and clear water. So take advantage of it!

FREEDIVING IN EL NIDO

What is Freediving?

  • Freediving is diving and exploring under water while holding your breath. It is as ancient an activity as humanity itself.
  • Freediving is for everyone. We offer freediving trips and courses adapted to all levels, from the complete beginner to the seasoned freediver.
  • Scuba divers will also greatly benefit from learning freediving. Achieve easier equalization, reduce your oxygen consumption, increase the efficiency of your movements and improve your overall safety  and confidence as a diver.
  • It also allows you to get much closer to the marine life without disturbing it. When freediving you feel that you belong in this beautiful and peaceful marine world.
  • If it looks good it is because it feels good. The serenity you get out of a diving session itself is a good reason to start Freediving.
  • Once you try it you will struggle to think of how you enjoyed the ocean without this essential life skill.

Visit our FAQ section for more information on Freediving.

 

The Ama pearl divers.

Ama in Japanese literally means ‘woman of the sea’. Traditionally these women have been freediving for close to 2000 years gathering pearls, abalone, seaweed and other shellfish. The word ama is recorded as early as 750 in the oldest Japanese anthology of poetry, the Man’yoshu. Since these days these where women were freediving into cold water wearing nothing more than a loincloth not much has changed as they carry this unique heritage. As women, they were believed to be better suited for the task because of an extra insulating layer of fat on the female body that allowed them to hold their breath longer than the men.

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As technology progressed, the ama communities were faced with decisions – adopt new tools and equipment or retain traditions? They also include questioning how lifestyles could potentially be changed by indiscriminate adoption of technologies all in the name of progress. It was understood that adoption of oxygen tanks could potentially lead to over-harvesting and eventual exhaustion of the marine resources sustaining their community. The sense of belonging that daily interaction in the marine web of life has instilled in the hearts of the ama also influenced their decisions. Today they are still freedive using minimal equipement and working for up to 4 hours a day perpetuating the tradition.

 

diving in el nido palawan

Paradise beach

Welcome to your new classroom.

One of the most beautifull beach in the Philippines and our freediving daycamp, Paradise beach has it all. An immaculate beach for breathing and streching practices. It’s also our favorite swimming pool, it’s peacefull waters are perfect for initiations and confined water sessions. The area is lined by 2 beautifull coral gardens. For those who want to push the exploration a bit further we can take you to an open cave filled with bigeyes fish. You will also get to meet Jojo our resident and friendly grouper.

Recomended for:

Advanced Freediving Course

 

Duration 3 day
CommitmentPerformance
SupervisionAutonomy development
Maximum Depth 30 meters

Advanced Freediver Course

Over the next few days, you’ll practice various drills designed to help you progress in oxygen management, deep equalization and safety. The goal is to prepare you to independently plan and participate in freediving activities with other experienced buddies. After going through the theory online, the fun begins with the in water training.

Days: 3
Time: 8:00am – 4:00pm
Includes: Theory, Relaxation & Breathing, Open Water session
Price: Php18,000

If you are here, you already know that you love freediving. Now, you can take your freediving to the next level. You will master the free fall and improve your oxygen management, practice deep equalization and provide advanced safety.
Day 1: In the morning, you’ll design your own warm up and coaching routines and perform a static breathold. After the lunch break you will do your first open water session, getting back in the water and practicing frenzel. By 4:00pm, we’ll be back in Freediving Dimension for a debriefing.

Day 2: Start the day by designing and performing your own dynamic tables during our second confined water session. In the afternoon you’ll do your second open water session where you’ll get to start practicing the the free fall.

Day 3: On the 3rd open water session, you’ll try out different drills and safety exercises. The 4th open water session will be the time to put what you learned together and why not get a new personal record!

Our Advanced 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).

Our package does not include the Eco Tourism Development Fee and it has to be paid in cash. This ticket costs Php200 and is valid for 10 days.

Freediving with a whale shark

Yesterday, we met a whale shark near Miniloc Island! And we have been lucky enough to dive with him for 45 minutes with cameras. Whale shark sightings can occur just about anywhere in Bacuit Bay. But this gentle giants are rare animals. So our guests and our team were blessed to encounter him. It’s a good opportunity to speak about this fascinating creature!

Whale Shark from Palawan Divers on Vimeo.

The biggest fish in the world.

The Whale shark is the largest fish in the world, growing up to 12m in length an up to 20 tons. Despite their size, they are totally harmless. They are filter feeders, straining their prey -plankton and small fishes – from the water column. Whale sharks are found in warm waters worldwide including Philippines.

They are rare.

Because Whale sharks live long lives (estimates say 70+ years), mature late not producing offspring until 30+ years of age, and give birth to relatively few offspring during their lifetime, they are especially threatened by human exploitation. Like human fingerprints, whale sharks have a unique pattern of spots which allow individual sharks to be identified. By taking photos and cataloguing them, WWF has identified 458 different whale sharks in the Philippines.

Threats to the whale shark include habitat loss which results in loss of prey species, coastal development resulting in marine pollution, collision with boats, and disturbance or harassment by boats and divers engaged in irresponsible tourism activities.

Do not touch!

If you are lucky enough to encounter one of these gentle giants, it is an experience you will never forget. Meeting a whale shark is high on the wish list, for anyone freediving in the Philippines. So, a little excitement is understandable, but please resist the temptation to touch or ride a whale shark. Passive interaction with all marine life is healthier for the animals and will not alarm them. Just keep watching, and often the curious whale shark will come close to you. Avoid whale shark feeding as well!

Pictures from Joanne Kan Mei Fong. Visit her Facebook page.

Few links

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Go Pro

The Philippines are becoming one of the top destinations for freedivers as freediving continues to grow worldwide. There is more and more demand for freediving instructors with professional, officially recognised qualifications. If you are dedicated, you will learn an amazing job and get to share your passion with other people. AIDA is the most widely recognized freediving agency.

Duration:  On request
Time: 8:00 – 19:00
Days: Daily
Includes : AIDA1 . AIDA2 . AIDA3 . AIDA4 . IDC
Price : PHP110,000 – US$2,500 – €2,000 – You save 30% !
Note: Age 18 and above – Able to swim 200 meters non stop

Our complete program will take you from beginner to AIDA instructor. We work closely with our partner school in Moalboal, Philippines, Freediving Planet. You will have the opportunity to dive there and meet other instructors. Making your freediving education even more complete.

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The best part: you get unlimited diving!

You will be diving daily, assisting and sitting in with instructors in order to gain real life experience and knowledge in the teaching environment. It is the best way to learn, during this time you will have extensive time in the water and master all the skills taught during the AIDA 1, 2 & 3 courses. Once at the AIDA4 level, you will start giving feedback to students under the instructor’s supervision. At the same time you will keep training as freediver, achieving all the minimum requirements necessary for the instructor course.

When both you and your instructor trainer feel that the time has come, you will start your instructor course, and once finished, you will also have the chance to teach some real courses in order to leave as a confident and independent freediving instructor.

Call +639 399 581 076 or use our contact form.

If you have particular requests or just want to do part of the package, we can arrange a customized program for you.

 

Binangculan rock formations

One of our favorite dive site.

The huge rocks make up an under water maze with countless swim throughs. It’s an amazing playground with most of the fun found between 10m and 25m. For confirmed freedivers only.

Recomended for:

  • AIDA3 and above
  • Fun Dives

 

overlooking view on bacuit bay el nido

Why visit El Nido

El Nido is your starting point to discover the wonders of the surrounding Bacuit bay.

You will be blown away by the crude beauty of the place. With pristine beaches and secluded lagoons, luxurious vegetation and exotic wildlife, It has nothing to envy when compared to Koh Phi Phi or the bay of Halong and offers breathtaking sceneries above and under water. The warm turquoise waters are home to some of the best marine life variety in the Philippines. There, countless species of fish and corals form a vibrant array of forms and colors.

With high variety of marine life and clear waters, El Nido is a great place of a freediving course

El Nido is a must see for anyone traveling to the Philippines and has much more to offer than just tour A,B,C:

Freediving is a unique way to discover the islands and the underwater wonders far from the crowds. Beginners are more than welcome. Join one of our courses and learn a new skill that will open a whole new world of possibilities for you.

Don’t miss out on diving!

On the other side of the mirror you will find strange rock formations, colorful corals and lush sea life, all coming together to create an incredible underwater scenery. Each island corner having developed its own biotope and particular character.

Bacuit bay’s unique setting offers you endless exploring possibilities and a new experience every time.

F.A.Q.

What is Freediving?

Freediving is diving and exploring under water while holding your breath. It is as ancient an activity as humanity itself. It gives you total freedom to move underwater in a completely natural way. Freediving is an exciting way to rediscover yourself and all around a very pleasurable experience. It is about reuniting the mind and the body as you become one with the environment. It also allows you to get much closer to the marine life without disturbing it. When freediving you feel that you belong in this beautiful and peaceful marine world. Once you try it you will struggle to think of how you enjoyed the ocean without this essential life skill.

What is the difference between freediving and scuba diving?

Freediving, as the name suggests, is diving with complete freedom. It is easy to setup using simple and light equipment that you can easily travel with. In addition, it is environmentally friendly and probably the lowest impact water sport around. The vast majority of freedivers claim to be able to approach and interact with fish much more intimately than when using scuba equipment. Interesting also for scuba divers, is the fact that proper breathing techniques acquired in a freediving class decrease your gas consumption. The efficiency of your movements also adds to the comfort level and effortlessness of a scuba dive. It can also be an additional safety tool for every scuba diver.  With freediving all you really need is a course, a mask and some fins and you are good to go, anywhere, anytime.

What’s the difference between snorkeling and freediving?

Although similar at the first glance, there are some differences that make each of these activities separate. Snorkeling is the act of floating on the surface while utilizing a mask to see underwater, a snorkel to breathe while keeping one’s face submerged, and a pair of fins to move about the surface. Freediving adds a much needed third dimension to this by allowing you to dive deep under the water and to become part of the environment and not just sit staring at it from the surface. It does this by using advanced breathing techniques, efficient movements underwater, and specialized equipment – all designed to conserve oxygen – thus dramatically increasing depth and time underwater.

Can anyone freedive?

Yes, It’s a sport for everyone. The only requirement is to know how to swim. For the first 9 months of their lives, humans exist in an aquatic environment very similar to seawater. If a human infant is submerged under water, it instinctively holds its breath for up to 40 seconds while making swimming motions. This thanks to old subconscious reflexes we have in common with marine mammals, adaptations which were inherited through evolution. Waking up these reflexes is one of the most important elements of freediving. You do not need to be super fit to be able to freedive! We work closely with each student to encourage them and make sure they are happy and progressing well on their freediving journey.

Holding my breath that long, won’t it be a bit difficult for me?

Not at all. The one thing all of our students say without fail is that they were surprised. Surprised to see how easy and how much fun it was to dive down into the ocean to depths they never even dreamed of and find there a calm mind and deep relaxation they never knew possible. Learning to freedive is highly rewarding and the learning curve is relatively fast. After just 3 days of training with us, our beginner students are able to feel at home underwater and hold their breath for 2 to 3 minutes !

What if I have equalization problems ?

Well you are not alone. We offer specific equalization workshops for people who need it. Just let us know when you book your course so that we will take this into account and include the time for the workshop to be done prior to the beginning of the course. Our method has proved very helpful to a great number of divers, ranging from beginner to advanced.

I’ve heard it’s dangerous?

No, no more than any other in water activitie. And not if you abide by the golden rule: “never freedive alone”. Always freedive with an experienced buddy. During all of our freediving activities you will be supervised at all times by a certified instructor, offering you the best conditions in which you can practice freediving. Safety is the central element of freediving. As part of the course you will be taught and have the opportunity to practice the safety and rescue procedures that are integral to the sport. Thanks to a step by step approach, we ensure the enjoyment and progression of all our students.

What are the benefits of freediving?

There is a unique feeling of inner peace as you merge with the liquid element. Integrating this with slow and relaxed movements plus the connection with marine life, freediving truly is a therapeutic activity, and it will help you in more ways than you could have imagined. Learning to Freedive will also help you to manage stress, assist in other sports and promote a healthy mind and body. Personal achievement and self discovery are other benefits. Any time you will be in or near the water you will be a safer and more confident person.

Where are our courses held?

All of our courses are held in stunning El Nido, the diving paradise of Palawan and one of the top spots when it comes to freediving in the phillipines. Freediving is truly a unique way to discover El Nido. With it’s sheltered coves and impressive visibility, El Nido offers ideal freediving conditions in picture perfect settings. For more infos on things to see and do in El Nido take a look at our blog: Life in El Nido. We can arrange transport and accommodation for you in El Nido if requested. For more details please refer to our how to get to El Nido and sleep, drink and eat in El Nido sections.

When can I start?

We run several courses every week so let us know when you’d like to start. We have discovery courses almost daily and at least one AIDA2 courses and one AIDA3 course per week but we can put on a course to suit your dates if required. Make sure you book your course well in advance as places are limited and courses fill up fast.

What is included in a course ?

All of our AIDA courses are designed to help you master new freediving skills and techniques. Theory sessions will allow you to get in depth knowledge of the crucial concepts involved. Put them into practice exploring all the disciplines of freediving. Static sessions are all about preparation and relaxation; Dynamic sessions are the best time to improve finning technique; put it all together during the various drills practiced during open water sessions and enjoy the results on fun dives.

Do I get a certification ?

Yes we offer AIDA courses and certifications. AIDA international is the most widely recognized freediving agency. So if you get addicted which is likely, you can continue your freediving training where ever you decide to dive next. As a registered AIDA member you will also get access to all the AIDA’s online education system with freediving material, news and more. In addition to freediving education, the International Association for Development of Apnea is the worldwide rule- and record- keeping body for competitive freediving. It aims to set standards for safety and comparability of Official World Records.