Dive into the art of freediving

Dive into the art of freediving
Photo by Rardough

Diving enthusiasts seeking to explore the mysteries beneath the waves know that Cebu is a real gem.

For those in search of accessible dive spots, Moalboal emerges as a star attraction according to Pacific Blue Diving’s founder Marion John Sumalinog. Renowned for its breathtaking sardine run, this underwater spectacle captivates divers with a mesmerizing dance of silver swirls. The freediving school recommends this spot as a must-visit for enthusiasts seeking both accessibility and natural beauty.

Photo by Rardough

One can also venture into the depths of Malapascua for a truly unique experience — freediving with thresher sharks. The island also offers freedivers an extraordinary encounter with one of the ocean’s apex predators.

“A hidden gem would be the Malapascua dive with the sharks. The thresher sharks now are a lot shallower compared to before, so it’s one good spot to do freediving,” said Marion John Sumalinog, founder of Pacific Blue Diving.

Photo by Rardough

Cebu stands as a blessed marine sanctuary, home to docile reef sharks, wild whale sharks, thresher sharks and the ubiquitous turtles. According to Marion John, he reveals that the local freediving community plays a pivotal role in promoting Cebu’s dive tourism, particularly in Lapu-Lapu, a haven for depth training just minutes away from the shore.

Photo by Rardough

Despite facing the challenges brought by Typhoon Odette, Lapu-lapu’s Kontiki remains a cherished location, boasting a sardine run and occasional visits from juvenile whale sharks.

“Kontiki has been one memorable dive spot for me, which is where we started our freediving school. Though it was partly destroyed during the typhoon Odette. We are blessed to have our own sardine run and juvenile whale shark passing by,” said Marion John.

Freediving mastery

“One of the many fundamental principles of diving is how to relax and control your breathing. Freediving is a sport that is opposite from all the adrenaline sports that we are used to,” said Marion John.

He underscored how freediving, contrary to adrenaline-fueled sports, invites participants to explore a more serene and mindful approach to underwater exploration.

Photo by Rardough

Instructors dive alongside students during classes, ensuring a secure learning environment. This commitment to safety extends to extensive discussions on safety measures, especially for beginners.

“We really emphasize the importance of safety in freediving, especially during our classes, which is the longest discussion during the class. We make sure that instructors go down with the students, especially during beginner classes, for them to feel safe as someone is diving with them in the water,” said Marion John.

Pacific Blue Freediving also details the essential equipment for a successful freediving experience — masks for visibility, snorkels for breathing and relaxation and fins for efficient underwater navigation. Each piece becomes a crucial tool in unlocking the secrets of the deep.

For instructors like Marion John, recognizing the unique learning curves of individuals is important, Pacific Blue Freediving encourages continuous practice. The school offers free practice sessions, acknowledging that mastering the art of freediving is a journey that extends beyond a single day.

“Advice would be to take the time to really listen to the theory/discussion part. And listen as well to the instructors and assistant during the open water session,” he added.

Beyond skills and techniques, Pacific Blue Freediving instills a deep sense of responsibility toward marine conservation. Students are educated on the no-touching policy, emphasizing the fragility of marine life and corals. Pacific Blue Freediving’s commitment extends beyond the thrill of exploration to fostering a sustainable and respectful relationship with the ocean.

Success stories

If one is looking for a sign to start freediving, there’s one lesson that masters of freedive want people to know: Everybody starts as a beginner.

One student of Pacific Blue Diving holds the deepest bifins record in the Philippines, while another proudly bears the title of the deepest Filipino freediver. These success stories embody the transformative power of grit and determination.

Aside from this, Marion John as an instructor also holds the title of the deepest monofin freediving in the Philippines.

“It was just a hobby before. My yoga instructor got me to try freediving and I was amazed how it was so different from any other sports. So I took my first certification class and got hooked. Eventually, I found out I was good at teaching and found my passion in freediving so I decided to do it full time two years ago,” said Marion John.

In essence, the underwater wonders of Cebu, as unveiled by Pacific Blue Freediving, transcend a mere dive or freedive — they represent a journey into the heart of nature’s aquatic marvels.


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