Basic Freediving at Anilao Batangas: Conquering The Fear of The Unknown
For years, fear of the unknown is what kept me hold back to explore underwater. It was mid-June when I stumbled upon a Facebook event dedicated for basic freediving lesson at Anilao, Batangas. The basic freediving class comes with a cheap price so we didn’t bother joining it. Carlo and I are both frustrated when it comes to exploring underwater. And joining the basic freediving class was by far the best decision we’ve ever made.
Freediving just relies on a diver’s ability to go underwater with just one breath, without any breathing apparatus unlike scuba diving. No bulky scuba gear or hefty tank rates, just a mask and fins. But it’s not simple as that, it can get by with technicalities.
Carlo and I haven’t set our foot in the lands of Anilao so we were quite worried on how to get there by commute, we thought we might get lost and the like. Luckily, Miles was offering carpooling in the group so immediately grabbed the chance. Next day, we woke up extra early to meet Miles and Mike at Katipunan and make our way to Anilao, Batangas. Throughout the ride, we just shared some stories of our lives, what we do for a living, why do freediving and so much more. We all agreed that freediving is such a cool sport to try since it doesn’t come with a hefty price compared to scuba. And also, freediving can make our every trip worthy – we can finally explore the underwater with one hold breath.
After three-hour journey, we finally made it to Anilao, Batangas. Anilao is We then met Jeroun, Ms. Val and other freedivers. Moments after that we were given gears (mask, snorkel and fins) and even dive log. Jeroun started the class by batch, the class focused about the science behind freediving and gave us ‘trick’ on how to hold our breath longer and how to equalize underwater.
(Photo taken by Miko Gimeno)
We were the first batch to go to the water. Anilao’s shores are mostly rocky and be quite slippery. We were taught on how to defog mask, how to properly drain water in the tube, on how to survival float, on how to duck dive and the most important thing is how the buddy system works. Once we perfected each of it, we can freely explore deeper waters.
As a non-swimmer, I was extremely happy to see myself as I moved away from the rocky shore. My first attempt to dive deeper didn’t go as easy as what I’ve expected. But I was left for words and just marvel at the beauty of underwater. With every dive, I felt like I’ve been transported into new world. Exotic fishes coming in and out from the corals and so much more. There’s this instance when I have to pick up some trash I’ve found underwater. Some plastic bottles floating and some plastic wraps trapped. Simple deed can make a big difference.
After few attempts, I was able to reach my personal best at 5m or 16ft and hold it for 50 seconds. I’m grateful to be able to do it and jot it down to my dive log as my first official dive. That same time I’ve realized that I will pursue freediving as an extreme sport. Will definitely go back for more, Anilao!
(Photos taken by Miko Gimeno)
I tried to outnumber my personal best but clearly failed. I had a hard time equalizing in deeper parts as I descend then my right ear felt uneasy so I decided to make my way back to the surface. Ms. Val also taught us the importance of static apnea, I didn’t make it long enough but I promise myself to do it better next time. Perhaps on my next dive, I’ll be able to beat my personal best and practice more on equalizing. Can’t wait to explore the underwater beauty of other 7000 islands of the Philippines. This is just the beginning of something great.
Indeed, it was a whole day of exploring and conquering the open water and the unknown underwater. Freediving in Anilao, Batangas is surely one for the books! ‘Sea’ you soon and keep swimming!
What are your thoughts about freediving? Share it with us!