I Left My Heart in Anilao | Birthday Dive

“From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea, Creation’s revealing Your majesty”.

I remember these lines from the famous worship song of Chris Tomlin’s Indescribable. It has been one of my favorite songs and one of those that I would play in my playlist over and over. And if I were to create a music video of how I celebrated my birthday last January11, that would most probably be its background song.

I’ve added scuba diving in my bucketlist of to-do’s this year 2014 (along with surfing and whitewater rafting) but didn’t I realize that I’m gonna do it on my birthday. Woah! I didn’t know where that lakas ng loob was coming from that when I saw Doc Mai and Nadia organizing a Scuba Diving activity on that day, I just immediately said yes to it. I scrapped my original itinerary of having a Birthday Climb in Taal Volcano. Since I’ve been into mountain climbing, why not try something new this time? Why not explore the wonders of the underwater?

Add up the perkiness of my craziest and funniest set of friends who went with me (Lucky, Lorie, Jerimae, and Marvie), I do really had a blast! My friends have long been known that my love language is quality time. That more than receiving tangible gifts, I do really appreciate and love it the more whenever people go the extra mile just to spend time with me. Awww…

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The gang: Jerimae, Me, Marvie, Lucky, Lorie

DAY1 | Birthday Celebration at the Sea’s Spring Resort

Along with my co-MMS members Doc Mai and Ms. Nadia, we took a bus ride to Anilao, Batangas via JAM Liner Kamias. We boarded the Batangas City Pier bound bus at already 2PM. It was a long travel that we arrived at the Batangas City Proper at 5PM and waited for Ma’am Che who also went with us. We then took a Mabini-bound jeepney where the shuttle van that we rented will take us directly to the resort.

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Meeting Kiki and Patrick

It was already 7PM when we arrived at the Sea’s Spring Resort. They have a huge lobby that got a free Wi-Fi. We met Doc Mai’s Belgian Couple friends Kiki and Patrick. We were so surprised and very much amused by their warm greeting on us! It was as if we’ve met them for a long time already! They’ve got so much energy!

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Our room!

We took a dormitory Korean type room that can house 10pax, 5 on each side, just enough for the 9 of us. It was clean and spacious. The comfort/shower rooms are located outside and are for sharing with the other rooms. We were expecting for toiletries (shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothpaste) but we didn’t get any. Good thing Doc Mai has enough so we asked some from her since we missed to bring them. Towels are for rent for P50 each! So make sure to bring your own if you don’t want to pay. πŸ™‚

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Birthday dinner!

The resort got a big dining hall and they do serve great set of Korean and Filipino food. They also got huge servings and every meal is ideal for sharing. We had bulalo, crispy pata, and pinakbet that night, all are win! But my most favorite is their pinakbet. πŸ™‚ It was pricy yes, but we were blessed by the generosity of our Belgian friends, Kiki and Patrick. So we had them for free!!! Wiiii! πŸ˜€ We had so much fun and laughter over dinner. Kiki was very funny despite her inability to understand English, good thing Patrick was there to translate everything for us. They’ve been such good friends of Doc Mai after they became her patient in her clinic. They’ve been married for 40 years already and they do travel a lot. I learned that Patrick dives because Kiki loves diving. Isn’t that the sweetest? Learning to love the things that your love loves doing, such a selfless act! πŸ™‚ Doc Mai also brought a cake for me but sadly, they left it in the bus. Haha! It was probably meant for somebody else. But still, I loved her more for that! πŸ˜€

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At the Hot Spring

After dinner, we took a plunge at their Natural Hot Spring Pools. The water is maintained at 39-41 degrees Celsius, soothing and relieving! Perfect for that cold Batangas weather. The water is alternately drained daily as per the maintenance personnel there so we’re pretty sure that it’s clean.

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At the Billiards Hall

The resort also got a Billiards Hall where we stayed after to kill time. It’s free andΒ  is open for 24 hours.

Marc, also one of my friends in MMS, made it that night despite the glitches that happened to him and his car (long story) just so he could join our scuba diving the next day. πŸ™‚

DAY2 | Diving at Halo Dive Resort

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On our way to the Halo Dive Resort

We had a breakfast buffet in the morning and is inclusive of our accommodation fee. The food was great and we made sure that we had enough to strengthen us for our diving activity on that day. We were fetched by Sir Aris, our Dive Master, from the Sea’s Spring Resort and drove us to the Halo Dive Resort where our introductory diving training would take place.

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At the Halo Dive Resort lobby

We filled up a diving record form and signed a waiver form as well upon arrival.

Sir Aris Santos, our Dive Master

Sir Aris Santos, our Dive Master

Sir Aris Santos, our Dive Master, has long been diving. He is a Mechanical Engineer by profession and used to have a diving school in Tomas Morato. He used to be a colleague of Ms. Nadia in their previous company. He explained to us in details via lecture everything that we need to know about diving: the gears, equipment, hand signals, and expectations once we’re in the sea. He’s approachable and encouraged us to ask questions if things are unclear.

Diving Girls!

Diving Girls!

The sexiest that we can get so far. Haha!

The sexiest that we can get so far. Haha!

After the lecture came our pool training. Sir Aris together with Sir Hayde taught us how to breathe underwater using the regulator. If you’ve tried snorkeling before and already know how to breathe through your mouth, it’s gonna be easier for you this time. He also taught us on how to put back our regulator in our mouth in cases that we lose a hold of it, how to clear our face mask once it gets misty, and what to do if something’s not going well. We communicated via the hand signals that they also taught us. They’re pretty much easy to memorize, you just have to pay attention. I also had to make sure that the water won’t get in inside the face mask since I was wearing a graded contact lens. As some of you don’t know, I’m actually nearsighted and things get blurry whenever my contact lenses are out. Without them, I don’t think I’d be able to appreciate the view underwater and would defeat the purpose of my diving so I had to wear them on. Nevertheless, I had to choose a face mask that really fits my face so as not to let the water get in.

Pool Training

Pool Training

Hand Signals under the water

Hand signals under the water

After our poolΒ  training, we were then off to the sea! Yayy! We hired a boat (part of the package) that brought us to the middle of the deep Anilao Ocean. It was a 20-minute boat ride I guess, I barely noticed cos’ we were all so giddy already. We were mostly first timers except for Ms. Nadia, Doc Mai, and Lucky.

We're so eggzzzoooiittteedd!

We’re so eggzzzoooiittteedd!

Off to the sea!!!

Off to the sea!!! This is it!

We were grouped into three: Lucky, Jerimae, and I were the first; Marc, Ms. Nadia, and Ms. Che went the second; Doc Mai and Lorie went last. Sir Aris showed us how to do the flip-over to get into the water. I’m actually not that confident in the water especially if I can’t reach the floor anymore. Nevertheless, I can do threading, floating, and some basic swimming stint enough for me to survive the water. Haha! πŸ˜€

The flip-over!

The flip-over!

Since they assured us that we will still float once we flipped over, I didn’t feel any kaba anymore during that moment. There was no resistance at all that’s why the roll was smooth and perfect. It indeed made us float afterwards enough for Sir Aris to direct to us the next steps. The next thing I knew was that I’m already submerged in the water.

Woaaahh!

Woaaahh!

First group!

First group!

That's meeee!

That’s meeee!

If there’s one thing that you have to master once you’re into scuba diving, I guess it should be the equalization. Once you go deeper, the pressure underneath increases. It’s different when you’re up the mountain wherein the pressure is at its low.Β  I had difficulty in equalizing at first so I had to go back to the surface and learn it the way I’m comfortable with. The blowing through the ears method didn’t work for me so I tried another method which was yawning then swallowing. This time, I got it better so I went back diving under the water and was more comfortable this time. I just learned later on that I had to blow it harder to have that squeeshing sound.

Done diving!

Done diving!

Happy Birthday to meeeee!

Happy Birthday to meeeee!

The view underneath is indeed breathtaking! It was as if I was flying through an open space and I can touch every fish that goes in front of me. There were corals of different kinds, clams of different colors, and sea creatures that were so unique to me. Although I’ve done snorkeling before, wherein you can only see through the surface of the water, scuba diving is indeed a lot more fun and exciting. Words are not enough to describe the things that I saw in there and the awesome feeling that I got from it. Its beauty is beyond measure! Whew! Extreme happiness indeed! πŸ˜€

Success!

The diving team!

Feasting over Buffet Lunch!

Feasting over Buffet Lunch!

To celebrate our very successful diving activity, we feasted over a buffet lunch, which was actually inclusive of the diving fee that we paid. I felt really hungry that I actually had a lot for lunch. Haha! πŸ˜€

Yeeeyyyyy

We say no goodbye to Halo, we say ‘Till we see you again! πŸ˜€

After lunch, we went back to Sea’s Spring Resort and took advantage of the remaining time. We tried the two big slides there, the natural Bamboo Sauna, and the Hot Spring again!

Natural Sauna!

Natural Sauna!

Heart to heart with Lorie <3

Heart to heart with Lorie ❀

We tried the slides!

We tried the slides!

Hot Spring!

Hot Spring!

Thank You Sea's Spring Resort!

Thank You Sea’s Spring Resort!

It was the best birthday celebration ever and most memorable so far! I would want to thank everyone who went with me- Lucky, Marvie, Lorie, Jerimae, Doc Mai, Ms. Nadia, Ms. Che, and Marc! Thank you so much and I love you all! Your presence guys are highly appreciated! πŸ™‚

My Birthday Cake! Thank you girls! :)

My Birthday Cake! Thank you girls! πŸ™‚

And much more gratitude to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for being so faithful to me for the whole 26 years of my life. Indeed, Your creations never cease to amaze me from the highest of heights to the depths of the sea. I just couldn’t ask for more! πŸ™‚

**If you are also interested to try this introductory diving in Halo Dive Resort, feel free to reach out! We paid roughly Php3000 inclusive of the training fee, rental for gears, equipment, wet suit, boat, and buffet lunch! πŸ™‚

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