Five years ago on the 14th of October, it was a fine Sunday when three bloggers namely Edwin, Doi, and Johnn decided to try “freediving” in the reefs of what then was Tambuli Beach Club. The three were curious about the sport of freediving and did not know much except for what they have tried to experience for themselves.
After almost 4 hours in the water, they were quite spent but extremely stoked about the whole experience. With smiles on their faces, they vowed to discover more reefs and take their dives to further depths.
Back on dry land, one of them decided to create a Facebook group to invite more friends who might be interested in the group: “Dive ta Bai!”. The group wanted to connect with like-minded individuals who wanted to explore freediving in Cebu.
Five years later, the Dive ta Bai community has now over 1000 members with chapters in Bohol, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Diplog, Iligan, and even Dubai!
Dive ta Bai! “Let’s Dive!”
The group was informally created as a community to connect fellow freedivers so nobody had to dive alone. The activities were fun dives and social activities that involved freediving. As the years went by a good number of the freedivers began to grow with the sport and pursued certifications for freediving.
Freediving was not as popular around five years back. Back then it wasn’t easily understood what we were doing and many people would actually mistaken our activities for scuba diving. Nowadays with digital media easily sharing videos of freedivers, it’s not too difficult to explain what we do for fun.
Advocacy and Community
While we were focused on building the community, different chapters around the Visayas and Mindanao pursued their advocacies. Ian Uy, Dive ta Bai- Bohol, lead a great example in adopting reefs and also advocating the development of reef protection programs. Edwin Castillion, co-founder of Dive ta Bai, also lead the protection of the sardine school in Panglao as they face heavy fishing. Dive ta Bai-Davao, Ritche Abgragan also lead clean-up activities with the freedivers in Davao.
Beyond just freediving and having fun, the community has now become a gateway to exploring collaborative efforts to help conserve marine life while promoting the beauty of the Philippine waters.
Welcoming Every Freediver in the World
As part of the spirit of community of freedivers, every chapter of Dive ta Bai will act as an ambassador to freedivers who are visiting the Philippines, helping them discover the beauty of the Philippines in a proper and safe manner.
Dive ta Bai Today
We do know that initially that Dive ta Bai was built on the purpose of fun and community however after half a decade of community growth and development, the leaders of Dive ta Bai have been called to a purpose of responsibility and example. The communities that carry the brand “Dive ta Bai!” all follow a universal set of standards that are based on the standards set by agencies like SSI, RAID, and AIDA.
It is the community’s focus and advocacy to help the safe growth of freediving in the Philippines in line with the Department of Tourism’s objective to develop the Archipelago as the Freediving Capital of Asia.
One A Personal Note
I miss the days of how Dive ta Bai used to be. The simple times where we just gathered for freediving simply just for fun and discovery, the innocence and simplicity was delightful. There is now a more serious note on how we approach the community’s objectives because we are now even more cautious when dealing with newcomers because we are now responsible for how we cultivate growth around the sport.
Though I miss the old Dive ta Bai, I am excited for what the community has to offer. 5 years has been a long time and quite enough experiences to help shape the direction of Dive ta Bai as a family of freedivers, athletes and instructors.
How to Join Dive ta Bai?
If you are not a freediver it is okay, the group will be able to guide you through everything from equipment to certification.
If you can’t swim, we can also help you get connected with swimming coaches who can help you with your needs.
I’m excited to see more and more Filipinos get involved with Freediving and hopefully our athletes will make their mark in the World Record logs.
Dive more, Dive safe, Dive ta Bai!