Pushing the Limits: Open Water Exposure with Swim Central PH

A little recap about my aquatic journey, I started off this year with a list of things that I need to accomplished. One of which is to learn how to swim and conquer my fear of deep water. Even though I’m already a full grown man, I still believe that nothing is too late in learning new things. We only need self discipline, dedication and commitment in order for us to succeed. Luckily, I was able to triumph over my fear with the help from amazing swim coaches of Swim Central Philippines.

After learning the basics of swimming and survival in deep water, I thought my aquatic journey is already over. Well, I was wrong. It’s time to push our limits even further through the open water exposure of Swim Central Philippines.


Photo of swim coaches waiting for other students

Open Water Exposure

All the way from Manila, we bolted southward to the beautiful province of Batangas and visited the municipality of Mabini. From there, we went to one of the famous diving spots in the Philippines ~ Anilao!

The open water exposure is a supplemental program from Swim Central Philippines designed for their current and past students. In this event, the students will be able to apply all the knowledge and skills that they’ve learned in the swimming pool, be acquainted with other students and, have a quality time with the coaches of Swim Central. Accomplishing this program will push your limits even further and gain more confidence in swimming in open water.

This is their 3rd Open Water Exposure for this year and our event was held in Balai Resort in Anilao, Batangas.

Photo of Coach Mark in Swim Central, Balai Anilao Batangas

Upon arrival in the venue, Coach Mark (head coach of Swim Central PH) gave a short briefing about the event that day. The program is divided into 2 parts, the first part is all about application of the concepts we’ve learned from our survival swimming lessons. This involves swimming in open water, vertical floating and water treading.

The second part is about an introduction in freediving. This is something new for me and personally I am excited to learn this discipline. We all prayed after the short briefing and we were given ample time to prepare for the upcoming activities.

Photo of a balsa in Anilao Batangas

First Part: Survival Swimming

Coach Mark elaborated that we have to swim from the shore going to that balsa as shown in the picture above for the first activity. Balsa is a Filipino term for a wooden raft used as a float in the sea and looking in that balsa feels like it is miles away from us. Some students stood aghast by the time they knew the details of the activity while others were terrified.

Photo of Swim Central PH in Balai, Anilao Batangas

Since this is an open water event, our swim coaches ensure our safety first. They brought life buoys, floaters and extra goggles and tested their functionality. When everything is set, then its swim time!

Photo of open water swimming

In this picture, Coach Allan (one of my coaches in basic swimming) was giving instructions to the students before swimming. In my experience, there’s a huge difference between swimming in a freshwater pool and in open water sea. I observed that I am able to move easier and tread with few efforts in saltwater than in freshwater. That’s because of the buoyancy from high salinity of the open sea.

Photo of Open Water Swimming with Swim Central PH at Anilao Batangas
Students start to swim from the shore going to the Balsa

This made me realized the importance of being calm in deep open water. If you panic, you will surely sink and might even drown. Being calm and relax is the key in surviving this activity.

When my turn came up, I started swimming from the shore going to the balsa. Together with my friend Angie, we were able to climb the balsa and celebrated our simple victory with a groufie. #LifeVestNoMore

Photo of Open Water Exposure with Swim Central PH in Anilao Batangas
With Coach Maiko (middle) and Angie

Photo with coach maiko of Swim Central PH

Photo of open water swimming in anilao batangas with swim central ph

The feeling was exhilarating! From here, we learned the meaning why this resort is named Balai. Simply because, there’s a huge boulder named Balai rock (which is filled with corals and other marine life) found underwater in front of the resort. However, we didn’t see the coral-filled rock because the seawater was murky that morning.

Photo of seafoods in Anilao Batangas, Balai Rock Resort

After the first part of the program, we headed back to the resort and had a sumptuous lunch filled with freshly-cooked seafoods, vegetables, chicken and other Filipino cuisine perfect for recuperating from the physically demanding activity.

Photo of lunch time in Balai Rock Resort in Anilao, Batangas

Funny story, since our lunch was a buffet, I ate for a total of three rounds! I think all of my energy were drained in that first activity.

Picture of siesta time in Balai Rock Resort in Anilao Batangas

Good thing a 30-minute siesta was part of this open water exposure event. Balai Resort also offers hipster ways to chill. I brought a banig (a Filipino term for a weaved mat) to this platform and had my refreshing nap while feeling the sea breeze blowing silently in my body and the sound of waves crashing in the shore.



18 thoughts on “Pushing the Limits: Open Water Exposure with Swim Central PH

  1. Wow! So proud of you. I cant remember when I started to learn how to swim, it cane very natural to me, but the lack of proper technic made it hard for me to do free diving cause I am very buoyant and I can go down easily haha. I’ll check this group up.


    1. It seems like you grew up in a place near the sea. I envied those people since they’ve learned swimming since childhood. Yep, go and check out Swim Central. Their swimming programs are great for adults like us 🙂


  2. Good that you are taking steps to overcome fear. Afterall this is one life that we have and we must experience all.
    I too have planes to do diving sessions.


    1. Wow that’s great! Go and have diving sessions, you’ll surely enjoy it!


  3. I am someone who loves swimming. But when it comes to open water, I am a bit apprehensive too. I have slowly started testing my waters and like you said, it is never late to learn something new. All the pictures are just gorgeous.


    1. Both of us have the same love for swimming. I’m glad that you loved the photographs in this article. Thank you so much!


  4. What an adventure! I can’t imagine myself learning how to swim in a shallow pool, let alone in the open water. Guess I should have paid more attention to my college swimming classes, lol. Props to you!


    1. I was also not interested in learning this skill when I was in college. But better late than never. I simply love this lifestyle now haha


  5. Your post reminded me of my scuba diving experience in Andaman and Nicobar islands, India. I was scared at first , lost breath but eventually learnt a new skill which i boast of till date. By the way I loved the font style and size that you are using, can you let me in on it?


    1. Hey, yes of course, you can have this kind of font. Though, I don’t know what’s the name of it since it is embedded in the theme I bought in WordPress.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hell yeah! great write up right here! you really captured the spirit of the phillipines! easy to read and enjoyable. many thanks 🙂


    1. Glad that you liked the article, thank you for visiting. I appreciated it a lot 🙂


  7. Ok, I did not know that saline water gives you more buoyancy. I have swum in the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal, without realizing the benefits of buoyancy. Though I must admit, I lost my goggles in the process!.


    1. Goggles are important because it will protect your eyes from any dirt in the water. Yep, you’ll also notice that it is easier to swim in seawater than in fresh water 🙂


  8. Sounds like a very interesting course to do for the swimmers. And if one aspires to learn further. Alas, I don’t know swimming although I would love to. Is there any course for novices also?


    1. Yes Neha, there is! Before taking the open water exposure program, you must complete at least the basics first.


  9. It is never too late to learn a new skill or activity. Reading about the post took me back many years to when I was having my swimming lessons and at one point was close to drowning. I need to learn scuba diving and this is on my list of things to learn.


    1. That’s nice to know Sandy. I pushed myself to learn this skill for my own safety too whenever I will go traveling around the country 🙂


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