Thursday, 30 April 2015

CMK TRAVELS : PLANET DIVE RESORT AND MY FIRST DIVING STORIES


Try proper scuba diving. That's one of my to-do's in my bucket list. And for the longest time, I've been so chicken to tick this off. Then one ordinary day at work, a friend invited me to try diving! I was in London, UK that time and it was winter. I don't know what got into me but I guess I miss the sun so much that I said, let's do it!

It was a Good Friday when we went off at Planet Dive Resort. It's in the heart of San Teodoro, Mabini, Batangas, Philippines. We met at Makati and left at around 7:00 am. We arrived 10:30 am-ish. Note though that it was Holy Week.
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THE PLACE
Oh, where shall I begin? To describe it with mere words would do you a disservice. You have to physically be there to appreciate it! It was such a paradise! Well, before I forget there's one disadvantage pala. From the parking lot you have to mini-trek upwards to get to the view. Oh man, I was sweating like a pig and my leg muscles were shocked by this exercise. BUT, the moment you saw the view (and the food, lol) you'll forget that you've stepped into some rigorous rocks :)





THE DIVING EXPERIENCE
This is the moment I've been waiting for! Or was it? I was on the verge of backing out again because of {insert all imaginable excuses here}. However, I need to do this. NOW. I've had my first intro dive on a Good Friday (!). My dive master was Kuya Herbert (from PADI) on the first pic {with me in a blue rashguard). I was given a set of instructions:
  1. Diving uses hand signals because we can't talk (oxygen/regulator is in your mouth the whole time, remember?) I was like, oo nga pala. So me being madaldal would be utterly useless here. We have hand signals for OK, NOT OKAY, DANGER and LOOK AT ME.
  2. Breathing. We'll be underwater for 40 minutes so you have to know how to breathe using your mouth. Kuya explained. I gulped three times. Parang nag-yoyosi ka lang. He quipped. I said, di ako marunong mag yosi. :D Seriously, he showed me how to do it. Okay kuya, got it! But I was really hoping I'm doing that right!
  3. You have to equalize. This means you have to pinch your nose and blow gently to take the pressure out of your ears. Otherwise, you'll have ear problems.
  4. Mask clearing. Water will slip into your mask inevitably, so you have to look up (whilst 20 feet below the surface) and slowly get the water out of your mask.
  5. Never panic. Whatever happens, keep calm.
  6. Make sure to remember items 1 - 5. And enjoy!
K and his dive buddies were prepping for their own dive too {they're all seasoned, certified divers}. They're some few distance away and they can see me! I bet you if they didn't I will tell Kuya na bukas na lang :)) Oh well, I gather that this is universe conspiring and telling me to GO FOR IT.


Finally the dive. Heck you guessed it! I panicked. I drank more water that I felt full even before lunch. I can't breathe properly and the water got into my mask preventing me to see the underwater world. Maybe diving isn't for me. I shrank in defeat. 

Then came the second intro dive, which was spot on, by the way. There we were, eating lunch on a Black Saturday. We're just finishing off with some turon (banana fritters with caramel) then K said: Why don't you dive again? Here's Sir Arwin (from NAUI), he'll guide you. I mustered up some excuse but something's telling me to go for it again. And I'm glad I did.



Sir Arwin has a different approach, and to me, that's more effective. We didn't leave the surface until I am confident that I can breathe using the regulator. Whenever I have my panic attacks, he keeps on saying 'that's okay, that's normal'. That put me on a relaxed mode.

In a nutshell, we dived 20 feet below for 40 minutes. We went to a dive spot called twin rocks (if I got that right) and I enjoyed every bit of it. I was so glad I tried again otherwise, I'll forever avoid diving which is a shame. Underwater is a whole new world! Yes, like Aladdin! I saw Nemo too! Ang cute ni Nemo!

ROOM, FOOD AND COST
We availed their dorm-type accommodation. It's pretty basic but it's nice and clean. Room was air conditioned. Tidy bathroom and I appreciate the fact that they have shampoos and soaps just in case you forgot yours. They've got hangers and towels too. Bed was comfortable. Food was buffet type. They have an in-house chef and I love their food. I'm semi-picky but they've passed my taste test with flying colours! I've enjoyed our dinner the most. It's seafood galore! 


Room inclusive of food is about Php 1,900. Intro dive costs Php 1,500 approx. each. I've spent about Php 5,200 for the whole trip. You may think that's too much but I think that's fair enough. Also, you can't put a price tag on a good time with friends and a new perspective at diving. Can you? :) I plan to enroll at NAUI's diving class very soon. Some details if you like:

Where to find NAUI in Makati? G01 Rada Regency, Rada St. 
corner dela Rosa St, Legaspi Village, Makati City
Contact Person / Details: Dencio Catienza | denciocat@gmail.com | 0917-8113571  
Source: Google

I've seen Sir Dencio personally. When K and his dive buddies went out for a dive, Sir Dencio was their dive master. He's super calm and collected. He gives instructions ever so clearly. Of course, I didn't join them since I still don't have a certificate. You need that before you can dive. I'll get one soon. Fingers crossed :)
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Let me leave you with an article from Lifehack.org: 5 Things We Should Spend More Money On, And 5 Things We Should Not. -CMK



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