Reef Nomads

May 22, 2016

Where do I even begin? There are so many things buzzing around in my head, ready to share, and punctuated by the fact that summer has officially gone and I have yet to welcome the return of school tomorrow. I'll start by saying that I made the right choice of company to tick another thing off my bucket list with for this year; Reef Nomads was an absolute pleasure to learn skindiving and meet the cast of one of my faaavorite Pixar movies with. I know it's been a week since our dive, yet I still can't believe I'd only found out about them a year after they started touring, given that they're created and run by very close mutual friends. (Miguel, why didn't you tell me you had a cool sister?!)

If you don't know what skindiving is, it's essentially the lovechild of scuba diving and snorkelling -- you apply the same methods and principles in scuba, only you use the gear required for snorkelling (fins, mask and snorkel). I'd done a few underwater sports prior to this one but this season, I thought to try something different, more challenging, especially since it was going to be another agonizing wait before I could be back in the water again. And I just simply couldn't risk the time not seeing a sea turtle up-close. So after picking up the basics in the morning dive session and learning about the sea creatures we might encounter in the reef, we swam out to the Twin Rocks Marine Sanctuary and proceeded with what we came there for, while I silently prayed that I wouldn't get a barotrauma or black out (as what commonly happens to many divers that fail to equalize).

Although a sight of the resident turtle wasn't guaranteed, my faith was strong. The first few minutes, we were met with the rich marine life that existed meters from the shore, my eyes all-out feasting on the vibrant colors of moorish idols, blue tangs, clams, sponges, anemones and many, many more. Some half hour or so of diving tens and twenty's of feet deep (and not forgetting to equalize), a young hawksbill gracefully emerges from the floor, giving us a quiet little dance number, completely showing off. The trick to a successful skindive, I learned, is to be completely relaxed so as to save energy and oxygen to prolong your time underwater. But when you're surrounded with so much beauty and serenity and there's a majestic sea turtle twirling around just a few feet away from you, you think, how is it even possible to adjust, stay still and relax? If I wasn't so busy tearing up at the sight in my goggles and mentally having the longest jaw-drop moment in diving history, I would have taken our little friend in my arms and covered him with gentle wet kisses (literally). Thank you, #LeaveNoTrace policy. And thank you, ocean, for these never-ending moments of wonder, mystery and magic -- even if they do make me cry.

All photos are courtesy of the Reef Nomads Skin Diving Tours

Find out more about diving in Planet Dive, Anilao, Batangas here and here.

*Special thanks to Sara Erasmo for being a wonderful guide and Elaine Tacubanza for introducing me to Reef Nomads. Hope I made you guys proud!

(For some ocean love/skindiving/freediving inspiration, check out this piece from world champion freediver, Guillaume NĂ©ry.)


  1. I think this is my fave article so far. I think this article captured the effect of wanting to experience it. And kinda getting a taste of it.

  2. Hi Meek. Good read. I'd just like to correct you on something. I think you confused blacking out with barotrauma (2nd paragraph, last sentence). Black out is loss of consciousness due to lack of oxygen while barotrauma is an injury due to pressure. :)

    1. Oops! Sorry about that. I was warned by Sara about shallow water blackouts and I made a Google search about them as well before diving. I've now updated the post. Thanks for the correction! :)

  3. This is why we love teaching safe skin diving! ‪#‎SeaOfLove‬ ‪#‎LeaveNoTrace4ever‬ ‪#‎ReefNomads‬
    Thank you so much, bb Meek, for this kilig feature! :')



Powered by Blogger.