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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.