For the first time in the Philippines, a Freediving Convention was organised.
We from Dive ta Bai did not aim for it to be big or grandiose. Our only objective was to get it happening to cause a ripple effect. Initially expecting at least 100 attendees, it was saddening to hear that several backed-out because of Typhoon Paulo which was causing some major cancellations for boat trips and some flight cancellations.
However, some freedivers from DTB Cebu, DTB Bohol, SAWUM Freedivers, The Dive Channel, and Freedive HQ attended the event despite the weather and became part of history!
I won’t lie, I was nervous about pursuing this event because there have been several things piling up on my plate for work and then this typhoon Paolo/Lan suddenly comes in and changes a whole lot of things. Truth is, I was half my mind to cancel the event and it really was eating me up inside.
Then came for me to face the music. At 1:30pm there were still less than 10 people who arrived and I told Edwin that we were going to start with or without the attendees. So with my hair tied back, microphone on hand, and a McDonalds burger-fueled smile, I opened the first Freediving convention in the Philippines.
At first it felt awkward and weird that there were only a few attendees but I started to forget about that and focus on getting the job done. For most of the event I was focused on broadcasting the talks through FB LIVE so I was no longer looking at the audience area.
Near end of the event I noticed the number started increasing as more latecomers arrived! It also really touched me how they were really interested with the topics when they asked some very relevant questions.
Finally the talk ended and the group got a group photo.
There was nothing lavish or luxurious about the event. It wasn’t as perfect as I pictured it in my head. But despite the problems, limitations and challenges, it warmed my heart when active DTB members worked hard to make this event work and the speakers made the effort to be present and share their knowledge with advocacy as the core of their purpose for being part of this convention.
Primarily the freediving convention was created as a celebration of the fifth year anniversary of Dive ta Bai. It was to be an event to gather freedivers and discuss important matters relevant to the sport. But after today this convention reminds me of what Dive ta Bai stands for: community. This event would not have been successful if not for the support of the speakers, the attending freedivers and the other freedivers who threw in resources to support this event.
This is the marking of the beginning of a great future for Freediving in the Philippines. Simple beginnings, but meaningful ones.
Dive more, Dive safe, Dive ta Bai!
Our Speakers were
Edwin Castillon, co-founder of Dive ta Bai and SSI Instructor candidate – COMMUNITY AND ADVOCACY
Dr. Michael Lazaro, ENT Freediving Doctor – THE FREEDIVER’S BODY
Alana Caskey, 6-time Australian Womens National Record holder and RAID Examiner- FREEDIVING SAFETY
Thibault Guignes, French FIM National Record Holder (105m)- COMPETITIVE FREEDIVING
Martin Zapanta, Sony Partner and Philippine National Record Holder for CNF and FIM – FREEDIVING PHOTOGRAPHY