Diving in Anilao: The First Beach Trip of 2018

I resolved to go to the beach more often this year. It’s an odd resolution, at least for me. For as long as I can remember, most of the goals and resolutions I made were always related to work or school. I often used work and school as convenient excuses to avoid the other aspects of my life. And when I graduated, I finally ran out of excuses.

Diving was one of the things on my bucket list. I wanted to try it ever since I was in high school. I even wanted to be a mermaid! In the five years of college, I never did it. Setting up the transportation and the accommodations seemed like such a hassle. I also obsessed about the many things that could go wrong, both on land and underwater. And it was a struggle to make time for it, given the workload for work and school.

More than busyness or the hassle of planning a trip, I think that thought of doing it some other time is the biggest hindrance in doing things we want to do—like ticking diving off my bucket list. Even on weekends when things weren’t as busy, it never occurred to me to try diving. “Maybe some other time,” I told myself (and any teammate from WhenInManila.com who invited me.)

 

When I was invited to go to Anilao for two days, it felt almost serendipitous. There I was, resolving visit more beaches this year—and then receiving an invitation to go diving in Anilao!

#GetReadyToLive

The organizers of the trip were the friendly team behind FWD Insurance, a company that hopes to change the way people feel about insurance. The guiding principle behind the company isn’t fear. They don’t preach about death and illnesses and injuries. Instead, they talk about possibilities. They want people to live life to the fullest with the assurance that they have you covered.

Their message is best encompassed with the hashtags #FWDLifetimeOfPossibilities and #GetReadyToLive. Their most recent campaign, #FWDLifetimeOfPossibilities, was why we were invited to Anilao in the first place.

The trip to Anilao was a fitting culminating event to their Lifetime of Possibilities social media campaign challenge. Through that campaign, they hoped to “challenge the public to live life to the fullest, say yes to every possibility, and start working on their bucket lists.”

The winners of their online competition were awarded with a diving trip to Anilao, along with members of the media.

Diving in Anilao

The car ride from Metro Manila to Casa Escondida in Anilao took only two hours. Maybe we were just lucky—or strategic with the timing. Turns out, Anilao isn’t as far as I had thought it would be.

Casa Escondida, our home away from home, was clean, safe, and relaxing. The staff was friendly and efficient; the owners were so hands-on. The food was amazing.

On Day 1, we were all taught the basics of diving in the pool. The dive masters were attentive and patient. The time spent in the pool gave us the confidence to avoid panicking once we were already diving. During the exercises in the pool and the actual dive the next day, each of us was assigned a dive master.

The rest of Day 1 was spent mingling with others over good food. (And of course, shamelessly taking pictures.)

On Day 2, we headed to Sombrero Island, dubbed as the “Coral Garden of Anilao.” It felt so relaxing to have the entire island almost all to ourselves. I kept on thinking how I could have let so many years go by without doing this!

 

During the dive, we were accompanied by conservation and wildlife photographer, Noel Guevara (@studentofthesea on Instagram). I’ll let his photos speak for themselves!

Right before we were supposed to dive, we were asked to sit at the edge of the boat and fall back towards the water. That was the terrifying part–I almost backed out! But almost immediately after doing taking the plunge, the dive master and I slowly descended underwater, and I was welcomed by such a beautiful scene–one that I wouldn’t have known had I not tried diving.

That was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip: seeing firsthand the beauty that comes after facing our fears.

Thank you so much to FWD Insurance, Lorem Ipsum, Casa Escondida, and Noel Guevara (@studentofthesea) for an unforgettable experience!

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