Along with our interest in travel and exploration, we have always had a fascination with the underwater world’s unfamiliar environment. With Scuba Diving, Boracay seamlessly combines these two. The island addresses the need for an adventure destination and the desire to discover what beauty there is beyond our shores which comprises two-quarters of our Planet.
As the Philippines’s Premier Vacation Destination, Boracay is famous for its white-sand beaches, securing a niche in the annals of travel and tourism. Adding to the allure of the island’s natural beauty are the comforts and conveniences, activities, and enjoyment that tourists expect. Accessible by air and sea, Boracay Island is reachable through Caticlan’s airport and seaport. On your arrival on either of these passages, just across the channel, Boracay is just some 15 minutes away by outrigger ferry.
Boracay has several dive sites that welcome divers all year-round. With its white sand floor, appreciation of the underwater world’s visual aesthetics is considerably mesmerizing. Summer, referred to as the Dry Season in the Philippines is the best time to go. While you can still dive during rainy days, it is not as much fun when visibility is affected by the pouring rain.
Boracay’s Underwater Attractions
There is a wealth of beauty and wonder beneath the surface of Boracay’s seawaters. Thanks to Jacques Couteau and his often-unmentioned albeit historically ignored co-inventor, Emile Gagnan, divers can explore deeper waters more safely and enjoy it for longer periods with SCUBA, an acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, also known as an Aqualung.
Before SCUBA, diving was a cumbersome affair with weighty and unwieldy equipment. It has been used more for commercial activities like salvaging rather than recreation. According to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, an organization based in Ohio, USA, “the Aqualung was introduced in 1946 and was available on the U.S. market in 1952”. It provided safe and low-cost opportunities for scientists, engineers, and underwater enthusiasts.”
SCUBA also changed the world of adventure seekers all over the world, creating an industry that serves this peculiar market. A segment of the tourism industry, they provide recreational divers the convenience of all-inclusive packages. From training, equipment rentals, and allied services with an emphasis on environmental tourism.
Discovering the beauty of the Kingdom of Pontus on this side of the Philippines has never been as easy as being able to breathe underwater. But nobody should just grab scuba gear and go diving without training. It is an activity fraught with danger, and to the uninitiated, it could be fatal.
Who Can Dive
Those who would like to take up scuba diving in Boracay Island should be at least 10 years old. They must also be physically fit, with no health issues, and of course, able to swim. To see if you qualify, ask for a Diver Medical Form and fill it out very honestly. This is to see whether you would need a medical clearance for fitness to dive from a doctor. This form is downloadable from the website of most dive shops. Simply fill it out and get this over and done with before you even book your hotel and travel tickets.
Allot at least 4 days to a full week for the training itself. Add a couple more days as you become a more competent diver hungry for more experience and eager to explore more in the realm of Pontus, the forgotten sea god. Be sure to acquire travel insurance that specifically provides coverage and protection for diving activities. Give this information, along with your emergency contacts, to the diving school you choose.
Get Trained and Certified in SCUBA Diving in Boracay
The next part is to choose a dive shop that trains and certifies. Most scuba diving shops in Boracay are boutique types rather than chain operated, like hotels and resorts with the same brand name you find all over the world.
Ask around, do your research before committing. Ensure that the diving school is certified and has a good reputation. Check out reviews off their website and be on the lookout for gripes against ill-maintained scuba equipment and anything and everything that has to do with their services. Opt for the responsible operator who cares and adopts initiative to promote and protect the environment which sustains their business.
Check with which group they are affiliated with. Several groups offer training and certification, the most popular ones are Scuba Schools International (SSI) and the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), both of which have been founded in the United States. There are other groups and organizations from other countries but PADI is the dominant group offering diver training, education, and certification in the Philippines, not to mention, Boracay.
The World Recreational Scuba Training Council (”WRSTC”) regulates and checks these groups, setting standards and ensuring compliance for their operations. Note that SSI and PADI recognize each other’s certifications. Whichever group you have trained under and gotten certified, the other group will accept your certification card.
Although they practically have the same curriculum, so to speak, SSI allows a little more flexibility. This makes students gain more confidence as they focus on certain skills. PADI on the other hand requires students to complete a set order in compliance with their course requirements.
Boracay Underwater Explorations
For PADI, their basic course, Open Water, is perfect for beginners. This training and certification program is their most popular. People who go through this invariably become Ambassadors for the Environment and Protectors of the Sea.
The course begins with an introduction to scuba diving and its fundamentals such as equipment and terminologies. You can begin this part of the training/certification even before you leave for Boracay. PADI offers its copyrighted eLearning package, complete with videos and quizzes to get you good and ready for the immersion phase called Confined Water Dives, which usually takes place in a swimming pool or any calm body of water in a quiet environment.
During this phase, you will learn crucial skills. You will learn to clear water from your mask, as well as ascending and descending techniques for optimal safety. The primary purpose of this phase is for you to be comfortable doing these skills on your own.
The final phase is the adventure of a lifetime: The Open Water Dives. Yes, Dives, Not just once, but four times, called checkout dives, usually over two days. You will go down to a maximum of 60 feet or 18 meters deep, with your instructor always by your side.
Always give your trainers your full and undivided attention, and pay heed to the Dos and Don’ts as Sacred Commandments.
After all hurdles have passed, you become a certified diver. This will open a whole new world of adventures and discoveries – and levels of certification that allow you to go on different types of dives as your proficiency grows.
Boracay’s Scuba Diving Sites
Now that you are a certified diver, Boracay’s underwater beauty awaits more of your explorations. Your dive operator, now dive buddies, are experts in the locality, and know which dive sites to take their customers to based on their skills and experience.
Among the dive sites of interest and are perfect for beginners are Angol Point, Balinghai, Crocodile Island, Friday’s Rock, and Malabunot. There are other dive sites in and around the island but for safety reasons offered only to higher-level divers.
Scuba divers have the unique opportunity to see what lies beneath and they need to learn how to properly interact with the denizens of the sea. It is a different world out there, and you can experience it for yourself.
Now is the best time to learn and get certified. The seawater of Boracay Island is waiting. But keep in mind: scuba diving in Boracay can be addicting.
Contact us at Pinnacle Boracay for your hotel accommodation, airport transfers, and scuba diving activities.