Tubbataha & Apo Reef are among the most popular dive sites in the Philippines, what with their rich, biodiverse coral and marine life. These have been proclaimed UNESCO Heritage sites, meaning they’re heavily preserved sanctuaries. For Tubbataha, one would have to be a certified PADI diver, reserve your slot weeks in advanced, and take a special charter to get there.
Fortunately for first timers, we need not search far and wide to dive and discover the deep. My adventure buddies from highschool have been itching to go somewhere, especially since two of them were home for the holidays!
So off we went to Marianne’s dive house in Bauan, a mere two hours away from Alabang. Since I was exhausted from work, I took to commuting on an afternoon bus from DLTB Buendia terminal, bound for Lemery. The trip took a lot longer than expected due to the number of stops within Batangas, and getting caught in rush hour.
I arrived Lemery at nightfall. A 15 minute drive, and another 15 minute boat ride finally took me to my friends! They were chilling outside the house, watching this beautiful sunset.
The next day, we were made to watch a video on the technicalities of scuba diving. Not to worry though, our dive masters would be there to handle all our equipment for us since this was just an intro dive. All we had to focus on was our breathing and equalizing! The deeper you go, the more pressure you are subjected to, so you have to blow your nose and pop your ears to adjust.
We took a quick boat ride to Dive & Trek and man, were we in for a treat! Check out all the fish that greeted us.
While we felt confident in going through the motions of the ocean, we really couldn’t have done it without our dive masters stringing us along.
… and taking our photos!
When going underwater, remember that you can only communicate using hand signals! A thumbs up actually means you want to ascend, while holding up three fingers means “Good/I’m ok!”
As long as you know you’re in good hands, never ever panic underwater. That I think is the biggest no-no! That, and don’t let go of your oxygen, even if you need to cough into it.
The more you panic, the more you’ll lose oxygen. Don’t clam up like this little guy:
Just keep swimming
and enjoy the ride!
Thought we found Nemo & Dory
… but apparently, he was safe home with his dad.
Leaving you with this video just to show you how diverse marine life is in Batangas. Our family frequents the nearby Anilao, which may not have white sand or a shoreline, but snorkeling there is uh-mazing!
So the next time you feel like escaping to an enchanting world, remember that you need not look too far off from Manila!