Take a look at the Philippine map. Somewhere between Palawan and Mindoro is an island that is no more than a speck. It’s easy to overlook, but what you see there is just the tip of the iceberg.

This humble island is where you’ll find Apo Reef,  and it’s the life source of a vast population of marine life. It’s the largest coral reef system in the country, and second in the world next to the Great Barrier Reef.

Many have claimed that the reef is one of the best diving spots in Asia, with sightings of rare species like the Hawksbill turtles and Bottlenose dolphins.

Apo Reef Natural Park

Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) or the Grand Apo Reef is made up of several islands. It spans around 34 square kms within the waters of Occidental Mindoro. Apo Island being the largest, followed by Apo Menor and Cayos del Bajo. Tinangkapaan Island is the smallest isle of the ARNP.

The reef has taken a beating throughout the years due to overfishing, coral mining, and climate change. To prevent further damage, it was declared a protected area in 1996.

Now, marine life continues to thrive. Scuba divers both beginner and professional are all in awe at the sightings unique only to this area.

 

You might be able to spot manta rays, mammoth tuna, and sharks among the 400 species that inhabit the reef.

 

Freediving in Apo Reef

Apo Reef is one of the best places to go freediving. When freediving, you rely on nothing but your own breath. Only your composure and technique will aid you in your underwater exploration. Seazoned gives classes from basic lessons to practice diving sessions so you can prepare for your actual freediving.

Here are important tips to remember when freediving:

Always have a buddy system

Never dive alone. This is the most important tip to remember if you want to try freediving. No matter if you’re diving in shallow or deep waters, you must always have someone to spot you while you are underwater.

Relax

When freediving, your breath is a limited resource. Tense muscles will consume large amounts of oxygen, so staying calm and relaxed will help conserve your oxygen supply.

Have the right equipment

You don’t need the most expensive gear, you just need to make sure it’s the right fit. A low-volume mask and a tight fit wetsuit will help make your freediving more efficient.

Always ask a freediving professional for tips and guidelines before you try it out.

 

See what freediving in Apo Reef is like:

 

Erwan Heussaff
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