Scuba Diving Rediscovered

Underwater selfie

Underwater selfie

Rich marine life in Anilao

Rich marine life in Anilao

A couple of months after I took a challenge to see things underwater in the flesh, I found myself inside Stef’s car traversing South Luzon Expressway. My feelings were mixed like my insides were going ballistic–I was anxious, nervous, and excited at the same time.

Euphoria, the state of being intensely excited–the very reason why I decided to join another DSD this time with my Travel Factor friends. Since January, Vhik was persuading us to join her. She told us how addicting it is and how diving helped her health immensely. And true enough, when I had my first DSD in Malapascua, I went nuts.

When in Anilao :)

When in Anilao🙂

Flashback to Saturday–16th of May. After my work, I happily went to a convenience store to buy some snacks for the next day’s adventure. At around 7PM, I set my alarm at 3AM although our meeting place was just at the Sta. Rosa Exit which is about 20 minutes from our house without traffic. I was tired the entire week but adventures always do the impossible of giving me recharged mind and body without the state of fully caffeinating my system.

3AM the next morning, I was up like a ball inside a pinball machine. I went mad. I felt I was already late. I rushed to get my things and put everything in a knapsack and the next thing I knew, I was in the meeting place at exactly 6 in the morning. Kath and Stef then arrived few minutes after.

Certified.

Certified.

“Pag-aralan mo yung GoPro ha!”–that was the instruction of Vhik to me weeks before our dive. She asked me to take care of her GoPro and operate it. I was actually really willing to take it because I didn’t have a chance to take an underwater photo when I had my first DSD so I was thinking “it’s my time to get that underwater profile picture”. Hehehe.

Around 10AM, we arrived in Anilao. There we met Rain, our divemaster–or maybe “tiredmaster”. Hehehe. We’ll get to that later. We took a motorboat to Dive N Trek. When we were bound to leave for the resort, I wasn’t sure if it was Rain who spotted a sea turtle swimming on the surface of the water but sadly, I wasn’t able to snap a photo. It took us around 20 minutes to get to Dive N Trek and honestly, I think it’s a really nice resort. It is big, their package includes unlidive, food, and gears at a very affordable rate. And probably the best thing about it is that the place is surrounded by magnificent dive sites.

At the resort

At the resort

Suit up!

Suit up!

Upon reaching Dive N Trek, we filled out a form stating if we die, they are out of it. Haha. Of course I was kidding but that was the general idea. After signing the forms, we went to our cottage, then Vhik reminded me “Melvin mawala ka na wag lang yang GoPro ha.”. But then, I realized that I left the GoPro at the front desk. That cracked me. Hahaha. Vhik was shouting at me. What the heck happened? I think I was just too excited to take a dip in the water.

We wasted no time when we got there. Rain told us to go to the classroom, then he gave us tips and told us the basic things we needed to know. He also gave us an idea on what to expect with our DSD. After a quick class, we geared up and went to the pool where we practiced the skills Rain taught us. Vhik was pressuring me to do good because she said that there will be a graduation afterwards. But being a competitive person as I am, I took her challenge. I actually had a head start since I was the only one who did it before.

After about an hour in the pool, Rain split us up in two pairs. I was paired with Kath, then Stef was paired with Froi. Vhik said she’ll join us to play around only to regret it after the dive hahahaha.

This is it!

This is it!

Stef, kaya pa?

Stef, kaya pa?

Madam Vhik, the dive master

Madam Vhik, the dive master

It was mid-day when we did the supposedly 10:30 dive. Kath and I suited up then off to the waters we went. Rain demonstrated how were we going to enter the water then one by one, we followed. I was pretty surprised when I peeked the bottom of the sea through my that time fogged up mask. There were corals right beneath me already. When we started the dive, Rain commanded us to kneel but what the heck? I was wearing a shorts. My knees were partially murdered as soon as it touches the hard corals. Kath seemed to have a bit of problem with her mask and she needed to swim up to the surface to defog it.

While Vhik and I were underwater, I wasted no time and took selfies whenever I can (it’s not everyday you get to dive, you know?). Although we just started the dive, Anilao just impressed me with the level of its marine life. We didn’t even need to swim that far to see a lot. When Kath gathered herself together, we carried on. I was not entirely shocked that we got to see a lot, but seeing everything at such shallow depth was insane. I had a quick glance on what’s happening on the surface and I actually saw a boat pass above us. Seriously, we were not that deep. It was basically surface tension separating two worlds and right at that moment, I felt blessed.

Ray of sunshine

Ray of sunshine

Finding nemo :D

Finding nemo😀

I remember when Vhik and Rain told us about the giant clams and that we’ll be able to see it. After about fifteen minutes underwater, Vhik was pointing to a clam. It was not at all big. Yes it was the size of a center table but not big enough for my scale. Haha. Sorry for expecting to hear Ariel sing. I actually expected a clam that can swallow my entire body. No kidding. Anyway, we were about to finish the dive when I experienced a problem–my fin fell off my left foot, good thing that there was another diver just beneath me and helped me put it back on. After that we swam to the surface.

Diving 101

Diving 101

Apir!

Apir!

We went to our cottage, Stef and Froi are preparing for their dive. Kath and I decided to eat while waiting for them. When they came back around an hour later, they just grabbed some food then we went to the water again. This time we were five–Rain, Vhik, Froi, Kath, and me. I can see Rain’s astonished face when we asked him if we can dive altogether. He said yes but we needed to just be in the shallow.

With Proylan

With Proylan

Kaya pa guys?

Kaya pa guys?

I was pretty excited on our second dive mainly because I will have another chance to take that ever elusive profile photo worthy image. Hehe. But also because I wanted to maximize our time to explore underwater and admire the majestic marine life of Anilao. What I like most about this dive is that Rain allowed us to swim, he allowed us to take care of ourselves–to be independent, to be one with the sea. He was right, I can go home and tell everyone that I did it.

Fish pa more!

Fish pa more!

Achievement unlocked! Dive Anilao!

Achievement unlocked! Dive Anilao!

Anilao is just a three hour drive away from Manila. If you are the adrenaline-junkie type, try scuba diving – it’s fun, fulfilling, awakening. If you have seen the world from above, why not try discovering it from below? Believe me, it is a different world down there.