Having completed my Open Water Diver (OWD) Course at Liquid Dumaguete in Dauin just last October, I was more than eager to come back this month to take my Advanced Open Water Diver Course, revisit my diving “home base”, and most importantly, be part of Liquid Dumaguete’s Sunday Funday, a great initiative that the team began last December and will continue to do every first Sunday of the month.
Getting to Dauin
I’d been traveling through Iloilo and Bacolod the days before, and preferring land vs. air travel, I took a 6-hour bus ride from Bacolod to Dumaguete (I’d been on a 31-hour road trip before, so 6 hours is not a big deal), but given that I had only left Bacolod a little past 4pm, on account of my visit to Rapha Valley, this meant that I’d arrive at roughly 10:30. Upon my arrival at Dumaguete, it turned out that I’d have to wait for the 11:30 bus leaving Dumaguete for Dauin (since I arrived at a less than ideal time — it’s usually a worry-free 20-minute trip from Dumaguete to Dauin).
I cram myself into the bus departing for Dauin at 11:30pm, and get dropped off at the Petron station near Liquid, take a flashlight-guided 10-minute walk to the resort, and at around 12:00 midnight, feel grateful for arriving unscathed.
Again, by no means do I advise solo female travelers to do what I did at the time that I did it. Traveling solo at night isn’t exactly the smartest thing to do. But anyway.
Touchdown: Liquid Dumaguete
The following morning, I was warmly welcomed by the always smiling Nez and the rare Filipino guest, Sheila, and groggily greeted by my OWD instructor and to-be AOD instructor Adam. Later, I was also happy to find that I’d be able to catch Jasper — who helped Adam teach me diving and served as my Dumaguete tour guide back in October — before he left the Philippines to go back to the Netherlands.
In photo: Adam, me, Jasper — Following tradition, we took a picture by this board to celebrate Jasper’s upgrade to Dive Instructor.
On my first day back, I felt right at home at Liquid again, and since it was Sunday Funday, there was a lot of activities in store. Read about my Sunday Funday experience here. 🙂
Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD) Lesson Proper
With all of the excitement of Sunday Funday behind us, Monday marked the beginning of my AOWD course. Zoe and Adam told me that the course would be a lot simpler than my OWD Certification, in that there wouldn’t be any major classroom sessions or written exams, and I guess also in that the tougher skills to face were already somehow conquered during OWD.
In getting your advanced certification, you get to go on 5 dives — 2 required by PADI, and 3 for you to select yourself, depending on the dive skill or experience you want to get, including:
- Deep Dive (required by PADI)
- Underwater Navigation (required by PADI)
- Fish Identification
- Underwater Naturalist
- Peak Performance Buoyancy
- Drift Dive
- Night Dive
- Wreck Dive
- Search & Recovery
- Boat Adventure
- Enriched Air
- Underwater Photography
All sounded awesome, so I didn’t have the easiest time choosing, but I wound up going with Fish ID (because I usually just hit the water and think: “Wooow fiiiiish!! Oooooh colooor!!” and wanted to be a little bit more intelligible than that), Peak Performance Buoyancy (because I think this is something any diver should really master to make dives more efficient and ruin no underwater life), and Drift Dive (because I wanted to compare the drift dive I’d have here with the pretty much insane drift dive I had in Puerto Galera).
The whole course just seemed like a series of fun dives (specially the checkout dives in Apo Island — so many corals and huge sea turtles!) with some random “obstacle courses” or “challenges” here and there. But overall, it was a breeze, except when I got “narc-ed” (Nitrogen Narcosis-ed: the state of feeling a little tipsy when diving greater depths) during my deep dive and took forever to multiply 11 by 10, wrote the right answer down, crossed it out, and put a wrong answer in its place. What. I shake my head about that to this day.
The formerly elusive Apo Island
Adam was always very helpful and ready to answer questions, and I did learn a fair share of new things, but I feel like the PADI course should require more dives and go a little more in depth on certain topics because I still don’t feel like the Advanced Course advances you very much.
Then again, now that I’ve received my certification, it’ll allow me to go on certain dives where some operators might be strict about having more than just an OWD Certification. And I feel that the way to really earn and maintain a level of diving ability is to really log in more unique dives regularly. Soon, hopefully.
Thresher sharks in Malapascua, anyone? 🙂
See more pictures from Liquid Dumaguete v 2.0 here.
* If you’d like to sign up for a fun and novel experience like I did, get in touch with über warm and friendly Zoe or Nez of Liquid Dumaguete at firstname.lastname@example.org or +63917-3141778.
Liquid’s PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course is Php13,950/diver, inclusive of the PADI manual, Liquid Dumaguete log book & sticker, use of all required diving equipment, sanctuary fees, instruction and certification. The course can be completed in 1.5 days, with 5 open water dives including a required deep dive to 30m and underwater navigation. Upon completion of the course you will receive a PADI certification card (I recommend getting a Project Aware one) that is lifelong and accepted worldwide. 🙂 This might be pricey for the budget traveler (believe me, that’s what I am), but diving is definitely one of the few things that motivates me to work so I’ll have money to dive.