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Choosing a dive shop to do your PADI Courses can easily seem like a jungle. And it is. We have put some of our thoughts down on our blog for, what you need to be aware of before choosing a place who will teach you to dive. We will try to break it down, so you can find the best dive shops in the Philippines. What should you look for and be aware of before deciding a dive center.
If you are looking to do your first course like the PADI Open water, there are tons of things that you won’t have a clue about. If you are looking for a place to continue you dive education as for example doing your PADI Advanced Open Water or are you thinking of doing your PADI Rescue diver or even far enough to begin the biggest adventure of them and become a real PADI professional with the PADI Divemaster program. There are different factors we need to make sure before taking our final decision.
PADI Open Water
The PADI Open Water course is where you learn to dive and is by far one of your most important courses of them all. It is where you will learn all the basic theory of diving, and it is insanely important that you understand all of it. It is also a course where you by the end should have an idea of handling your buoyancy, monitoring your own air consumption, being able to plan your own dives, and understand the theory behind the dive tables, so you won’t exceed your “no stop limits”.
The truth is lot’s of divers who just finished their Open Water Course, would question a lot of these things and wouldn’t actually understand all of it, even it is some of the most basics taken from the Open Water Course. Why is that? There is lot of answers tho this. One of them if definitely lot of bad dive centers and lots of bad instructors, not taking their time to teach their students properly.
Lot of bad dive center are not taking the responsibility of their instructors just to make bigger revenues, faster money etc. Look at for example Ko Tao Which is properly the best example in Asia. Here most of the students will finish their PADI Open Water in 2 1/2 day with theory, quizzes, exams everything done so they are ready to move on the the next course – if you ask us – To teach an Open water in 2 1/2 day is simply not possible! Let us not blame it all the teachers, sometimes it is also the students fault. The course structure is made so most of the theory is self studying, which is great when you are a teacher, it means less teaching right. Some students sign up for a course and are not interested in learning the actual theory, but are able to pass the, quizzes & exam with no bigger effort, and are therefor able to finish. Sometimes it seems so frustrating to teach people who aren’t really interested in learning what they signed up for. Guys please take responsibility for your own learning – it takes 2 to tango right 😉 !
How can we then know whether we find a good dive center? Well it isn’t easy, but mostly for us, one of the biggest factors are time. Do the instructors have enough time to teach their students without being pressured from the management, on for example how many tanks, and how many days they use to teach their students. I once worked in a Dive Center where we were told to only use 6 tanks pr. open water student (WTF),
We usually recommend minimum of 4 days to do your Open water, since this is a nice and relaxed pace without too much overloading of skills and theory (trust us it will still feel quite a lot the first days)! So any dive shops advertising to learn to dive in 2-3 days is the first warning IT IS SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE if you need to follow all the requirements from PADI !
Secondly price. If it seems way cheaper than most other dive centers in the area, there is a big chance that you’ll end up getting what you pay for, which means you won’t be taught properly or they use dangerous equipment ! How can we find out? Read reviews online and make sure you won’t use any dive centers that have several bad reviews, about equipment failure, no maintenance, etc. Don’t be ignorant about this since you want a smooth beginning where you learn all the basics with properly maintained equipment, that aren’t leaking from every hose, BCD, Tank. etc. If you see the equipment broken into pieces looking old and mistreated – there is a problem.
What do Bongo Bongo Divers do to prevent all this. The whole history of Bongo Bongo Divers has never been hardcore business, it has been fun time and giving people good value for money. We work hard to keep our equipment as the best, and spend the extra time and money to service all our rental gear. We believe in honest business and returning costumers and therfor we always been acting fair towards our guests, and have many returning costumers every month ! Sounds very cliche but we are really a home away from home ! WE strive hard to keep the highest standards for teaching and compared to many of our surrounding dive shops we teach longer, spend more time in the water and use computers(free of charge for courses :)! The beach in front of us is the best place in the Philippines to learn to dive (Atleast from our perspective). This is due to the composition of the bottom and the corals cutting right out. Due to the turtles we see when we teach. As many other states it isn’t super important where we learn to dive, but it is nice when we can see some turtles and other fish while we do it. Some places in Dauin they actually teach where it is all sand, because they are out of the sanctuaries and therefor don’t have to pay the extra sanctuary fees. But then all you get to see is sand and that isn’t the most fun in the beginning! We always teach inside the sanctuaries and therefor guarantee turtles and loads of fish among the corals. One of the reasons that we are where we are is simply because the place in front of us is one of the best for teaching in the Philippines – and it is simply true :D! Other places that we would recommend if it should’t be Dauin, Apo Island or Maolboal which offer great sites for courses as well…
Diving off the shores of Negros Oriental is really extraordinary, and here we are able to entertain any level of divers. If you wan’t to see some of the weirdest creatures in the world take a look in Dauin. If you get tired of diving around in some of the best muck diving Philippines, take a day trip to Apo Island, where you’ll find some of the best reefs in the Philippines. If you wan’t to see sharks in the Philipipnes try to take a day trip from Bongo Bongo Divers to Sumilon Island and go hunting for black tip reef sharks…. Very few places in the Philipines offer such diversity with completely different sceneries all just within reach from the same dive shop.
Try to check our videos which are all filmed in Dauin, Apo Island & Sumilon Island. We do believe it’s all worth flying in to Dumaguete for your next diving holiday :p !
So for you guys who have never been to Bongo Bongo Divers, this might be a new experience where staff and guests mingle together throughout the days and nights, talking about their dives or lifes etc. What they have seen during their dive in Apo Island or of the coast in Dauin.
So for a lot of people they think they will go diving in Dumaguete, but actually they will more likely go diving in Dauin. If you dive in Apo island your jump off point will also be the Municipal of Dauin. (Apo island is part of Dauin) Dauin is a small quiet town just located 15 kilometeres south of Dumaguete city, and therefor Diving in Dauin, is sometimes referred to as diving in Dumaguete.
So if your are planning to dive in Apo island or Dauin, you might as well save the hassle of going back and forward everyday through the hectic traffic in Dumaguete city and stay in the little local town of Dauin.
Here at Bongo Bongo Divers we offer quality PADI courses, daily dives in Dauin, and several times a week we go to Apo Island. If you come to dive in Apo island make sure you’ll have a few buffer days since it’s rarely that we can go everyday. We offer some of the cheapest rates to dive in Dumaguete, and also cheapest diving at Apo Island. We are a PADI Center and a green fins members, it means we take action supporting the local area with beach cleanups, underwater cleanups, educating local guides, supporting several orphanages etc.
Diving in Dumaguete / Dauin is an underwater photographers heaven, we have plenty of frogfish ranging from 1 mm to 25 cm, sea horses, flamboyant cuttlefish, bluering octopus, wonderpuss, scorpionfish, ghost pipes in all categories, goby’s, tons of different shrimps etc. The volcanic sand gives also another dimension, and every dive is like a little treasure hunt looking for awesome macro.
Location is the key, we are just perfectly located so you can dive Apo Island and same day continue towards Siquijor Island, Bohol, Moalboal or Cebu city. With our own airport it is also possible to fly into Dumaguete early in the morning and dive the same day at Apo island. Lots of our guests usually dives around the Visayan and honestly it’s the perfect combination of dives that you’d like to do on your vacation. Beautiful reefs in Apo Island, dramatic walls in Maolboal, Sharks in Malapascua, and tons of funky muck diving in Dauin. Between the places is usually 4-5 traveling time so you won’t be to exhausted arriving at you next destination.
Some people just can’t get enough and ends up staying here for several weeks and months even…