Apr 30, 2017
Freediving at Dauin's Poblacion 1
GPS waypoint: 9°11'13.4"N 123°15'57.9"E
Location: Poblacion 1 (barangay), Dauin (municipality), Negros Oriental (province), Philippines
Cressi Mask and Snorkel
After giving my mask and snorkel to a Vietnamese friend 2 years ago, I was without my gear. While looking for the White Tip dive shop in Dumaguete, I mistakenly entered the Cressi Dive Shop. Having enjoyed small-talk with the staff, they made me an offer I couldn't refuse on the mask/snorkel combo. Yey! Now, I have a full set of snorkeling gear - my old Mares fins, the frameless mask and the snorkel.
I loved the frameless Cressi mask. It comfortably wrapped around my face and kept the water out at all times. It didn't even fog. The snorkel did a fine job with its efficient purge valve. Construction was solid.
Dauin's Poblacion Marine Reserve
Gung-ho from my Freedive training in Apo Island and acquiring new dive gear, I was all-out to test the mettle at Dauin's Poblacion Marine Reserve. Being a holiday, the beach was packed. But going further out into the depths, I was by myself. I was luggi,ng along a drybag with all my stuff. Even though I've taken all the air out, it was still bouyant - I had to tied it on a buoy so I could go deep. But visibility was bad.
Normally, I don't do any freediving if I don't see the bottom. But with increased confidence, that's exactly where I went. Keeping the lessons of Jean-Jacques Gautier in mind (my Freedive teacher), I lay flat on the surface, equalized and did a duck-dive, going down with my chin close to my chest until I could see the bottom. I continued going down until I was on the sand. Normally, I would panic and head straight-up. This time, I was chill as a cat, even took a few seconds before starting my ascent - finning just twice and then allowed the air in my lungs to provide me the bouyancy. On the surface, I gracefully took-in air instead of gasping for it. Whoa! That was cool. I took a few more dives before heading back to shore.
I had fun with my spontaneous conversation with people. I saw my old friends from back in the day - Magnus and Shayne couple, Tommy the Thai party dude and talked to some of their guests at Bongo-Bongo Dive Shop. 2 people left a nice mark on me.
I saw the familiar white drink on a big plastic jar which was unmistakably Tuba. Although not for sale, the owner, Mr. Ikoy obliged and gave me a glass full. We started talking. He shared me his life story including stories in Mindanao about the legendary Toothpick, the Christian militant leader who allegedly repeled the enemy's bullets with his talisman. This is what I like about talking to oldtimers - they have fascinating stories to tell about their life and times. I had one-too-many drinks I was already tipsy when I left him. He didn't even charge me for the Tuba. I love this guy.
I met Melissa after she did her dive at Apo Island. She's Singaporean and I talked about my fascination with Lee Kuan Yew and her country as a whole. I liked her energy. We could have talked some more but I had to catch my 5:30 in Dumaguete. She invited me to come back and I invited her to chill in Dumaguete. It never happened. That's the last I saw her. With travelers on the backpacker trail, it happens a lot. Another time and place perhaps.
Marine Reserve Fee
When I tried to pay for the marine sanctuary fee, the office was closing with no one to give me a receipt although the staff was still there. I insisted on paying but they said without the receipt, it may be construed as corruption. They just gave me a free-pass. Nice. And nicer still, to know we have honest people manning Dauin's marine reserve.
I wish the visibility of the water was better. But I'm just stoked about Freediving. My increased confidence allowed me to push barriers with ease. I'd like to go deeper next time, but I need to find a buddy for that. Freediving anyone?
Reader Comments:Melissa Chong
(May 3, 2017) Very nice meeting you!!! Already on my way to Tacloban now! Paths might cross again someday we never know!!
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