ESTHG | Freedive in the Philippines – What you should know first | Freedom! We are finally free to visit all the destinations we put on hold for the past 2 years. We survived the pandemic, and new adventures await in 2023. What escapades do you have planned? If it’s off to bathe in the tropical sun for you, why not explore the seas and include freediving in the Philippines on your list? The country is more known by scuba divers, who have been raving about Philippine waters and reefs for years. In recent years however, freediving in the Philippines has grown in popularity too.
Both local and international champions have established training centers to cater to freedivers of all levels. One of which is Camotes Freediving, located in the area of Cebu, a major tourist destination found south of the capital of Manila. The newest world-class facility is headed by no less than 9x French record holder in the sport, Thibault Guignes.
Here’s everything you wanted to know about why you should try FREEDIVING in the PHILIPPINES but were afraid to ask:
- What languages must you speak to travel in the Philippines?
Most Filipinos can converse in English. Even in the most remote places, It is a breeze to communicate even with just basic English. There are more than 7000 islands that make up the country, so expect ferry and boat rides to get to your final destination. Don’t worry, major islands outside of the capital, like Cebu, are tourist-friendly and equipped to provide inter-island transportation.
- Do you need a travel visa?
There are only a handful of countries from which the Philippines will require to have a visa. You can stay in the country without exceeding 30 days. Upon entering the country, you should have your return flight ticket booked before the 30 days is up. You can renew your visa without leaving the country and extend your trip easily to several months.
To know if you need a visa, check the Philippine consulate near you or this link.
- Is it safe to go to the Philippines?
Tourists, no matter where they go, should always exercise caution and travel with the bare minimum of valuables. The Philippines is quite safe. The area where it is marked unsafe is a land-locked area in the Southern part of the archipelago, which are islands apart from where you would normally go to see the beauty of the beaches and countryside.
Besides, if international champs put freediving in the Philippines on their list of hotspots, it must mean that it’s worthwhile to check out.
- Where is Cebu? Is it near the capital of Manila?
Cebu is the third most populous city in the Philippines, and is an important economic hub for the country. It is located more than 500 km south of Manila, so you’ll need a connecting flight if you go through Manila. But check out all travel routes possible because there are direct international flights to Cebu, too. Mostly catering to South East Asian destinations like South Korea, Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and Xiamen; but also accepts flights from Tokyo, Dubai, Doha and Los Angeles. Here’s a complete list of flights to and from the Cebu-Mactan International Airport.
- Where exactly is Camotes Islands in the Philippines, and why it’s good to freedive there?
The Camotes Islands are a group of four islands located about 60 kilometers east of Cebu. After arriving at Mactan-Cebu International Airport take a taxi to either Port of Cebu or Port of Danao. The white taxis work with a taxi meter, so you don’t have to worry about getting overcharged. The taxi ride to Cebu Port should cost around Php400 and to Danao Port around PhP600 depending on traffic conditions.
From Cebu take the Ocean Jet ferry which departs daily at 6 am and takes about 1h 45 mins to arrive at Poro Pier, Camotes Islands from where we can arrange your pickup to your hotel or dive center.
From Danao take the Jomalia ferry which takes about 2 hours to arrive at Consuelo Pier, Camotes Islands.
- What is the weather like at Camotes?
The tropical weather and water conditions are incredible. The Camotes Islands are protected surrounding larger islands and rarely get hit by tropical storms directly. Its geographical position also makes the area protected from the strong winds. You don’t have to worry much about strong currents because the water is flat as a lake, making it a perfect location to try and train freediving in the Philippines
- Where is the freediving shop and the set up?
You will find Camotes Freediving in the northern tip of Pacijan Island. It started to offer courses for freediving in the Philippines in June 2022, to those who wish to discover the sport, or hone their skills as a competitive and professional freediver.
This is the freediving training center of Thibaut Guignes, ranked 5th in the world and 1st in France for the 117m free immersion record. Thibault is also a prominent member of the Molchanovs training committee, so you are in the hands of a top-notch expert who is keen on safety. Molchanovs also approaches freediving training on an individualized basis, so your training will be mapped out according to your level of experience and knowledge. The dive shop offers world class facilities including a 25-meter swimming pool for dynamic and static training; calm, azure waters with depths of up to 150 meters, a large room dedicated to storing your equipment properly and safely; and a well-ventilated training room for classroom sessions.
- What else is there to do?
Relaxation strategies are one of the first things you study on a freediving course. When you relax, your heart rate and oxygen consumption decreases, letting you dive longer and making the dive safer, and more pleasant. Camotes offers the perfect environment in and out of the water to experience freediving in the Philippines. White sand beaches, beautiful sunsets, magnificent spelunking sites, waterfalls and much more await you at the island, all available to help calm your mind.
Are you ready to book your flight to Cebu and try freediving in the Philippines? Go ahead and send a message to Camotes Freediving. Thibault responds to questions and inquiries often so to plan your trip, reach out to him through Instagram (@camotesfreediving or @thibault_freediver), Facebook (Camotes Freediving) or email:email@example.com .
Watch out though, because Thibault enjoys freediving so much that his passion will definitely rub off on you.
Cebu International Airport