No tanks and regulators. It’s just you and the deep blue. How to freedive according to instructor Johnn Mendoza.

Conserve oxygen, equalize and safely surface

Relax before and during the dive.

Prepare for a freedive by lowering your heart rate through normal breathing and exposure of the face to water. This induces the mammalian dive reflex that helps in adapting the body for freediving.

Equalize the whole time because the initial depth changes in the water greatly affects the ears’ eustachian tubes and it may cause pain or discomfort—similar to what you feel when flying in higher altitudes.

Go only as far as you can, then go up. Slowly.

When you reach the depth you can handle, ascent safely and slowly and avoid overstretching as you do so.

Upon surfacing, do sharp sets of inhale, holding it in, then exhaling to restore oxygen content in your body.

Best time to freedive

In the Philippines, it’s year round because the waters, in general, have wonderful temperatures and conditions. The best is in the summer months of March, April and May when the waters are flat, warm and clear, allowing for a better diving experience.

The ideal location

Cebu has good waters for freediving, as well as seeing whale sharks.

Cebu is one the best and most convenient places forfreediving with so many dive spots only a few hours’ drive from the city. Panglao, Bohol has amazing reefs.

The right outfit and gear

You might also want to bring something to capture the moment, but it’s best to just enjoy the dive.

Fins, mask and snorkel. A low-volume mask is necessary for easier equalization. The snorkel has to be a simple J-type without a purge valve. Go for long fins designed for greater thrust using minimal exertion.

The basics

Lessons

Dive ta Bai chapters all over the Philippines can help you connect you with the local community of freedivers. Message them on Facebook at Facebook.com/DiveTaBai/.

Words and photos by Johnn Mendoza