COVID-19 Response

We are Ready for the NEW Normal!

We could only think “this isn’t happening…”

Emily, the owner of the center and resort, had this to say about the season.

“After almost a year of preparation and hard work, we just finished the first bungalows. We turned a dream into a freediving center and a dive center into a beautiful sports resort. Finally, we were ready to accommodate our guests ourselves.

But after exactly two days (!!!) of finishing the first bungalows, the Philippines went into lockdown. Having dealt with cancellations for weeks already, now the country closed and no tourist could enter the Philippines anymore, and Panglao was running empty.

We just couldn’t believe what was happening. After all this hard work, we had to send the staff home, and we wondered if it was all done for nothing…

Now almost five months later, we’ve done a tremendous amount of work, and the shop is looking great. And now that we got the official approval for re-opening we’re all getting super excited! Good times are coming!”

Emily Smiling

Dear freedivers – and future freedivers!

We just wanted to answer some questions about how things are going during this season of COVID-19 and current shutdowns. First of all;

Thank you for your messages and support, we are all healthy, the center and resort are still open, we’re still fulfilling orders, and we continue to assist our customers with questions.

Even though the global tourist and freediving industry took a severe beating, it’s important to note that we’ve worked hard. We are still open, running courses, and we’re financially healthy. We are more than ready to welcome you, our guests, back here in Panglao.

Furthermore, the National government of the Philippines and the local government of Panglao made a long set of new rules and regulations for businesses in the tourist industry – a 15-page document to be exact. We had different inspections from different local government institutes. On July 19th, the honorary mayor Leonila Montero gave us as the first freediving center in Panglao the official go-ahead for re-opening. After being out of the ocean for months, the remaining instructors, interns, and guests are training in open water again – we are all very happy!

We hope this situation resolves soon. Until it does, we know that we have a crucial role in advising our guests on travel plans and travel restrictions to and from Panglao and the Philippines. We also understand that we also have an essential role in helping freedivers stay active while gyms, pools and schools are closed and while many are still forced to isolate themselves at home. For this, we have listed a few frequently asked questions.

Re Open Certificate Panglao

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    Q: When will you start training and running courses?

A: WE ALREADY ARE! At the beginning of the lockdown, we had to train in the pool, but now that we have the Mayor clearance for reopening, we can train in the ocean again. We finished the running courses that we started in the pool, and now we are running courses almost daily from Wave 1 until SSI and Molchanovs Instructor Courses.

Furthermore, now, almost every week, we have online freediving courses starting. If you plan on coming to Panglao for a recreational or professional freediving course, you can start from home. We’ll certify you as Theory Freediver for the recreational freediving courses, so you get access to the free dry-training programs as preparation for your visit to Panglao. The remote instructor courses are mostly Wave 2 cross overs from other agencies, while some of the courses are Wave 3 instructor upgrades.

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    Q: Do you still accept bookings?

A: YES! Not only do we still accept bookings, if you want to come to Panglao for a freediving course you have to book in advance. At the moment, booking course dates for Level 1, 2 and 3 courses is quite easy. For the freediving internships, zero to hero freediving programs and the different instructor courses for sure, you have to book in advance.

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    Q: What about date restricted courses?

A: NO WORRIES! The only real courses with date restrictions are Instructor Courses and Internships. Instructor Courses for sure isn’t a problem since we run SSI and Molchanovs Instructor Courses almost every month and now the Remote Instructor Courses almost every two weeks.

As for the freediving internships, we arrange something special. This year we had to postpone a lot of internships. Normally we are limited in our staff and intern accommodation. However, we decided to rent extra accommodation this year so everyone who had to postpone their internship can still come the moment the travel restrictions are lifted. This means we’ll have a big group of interns when the country opens, but this will be double the fun. Postponed internships are still three months – extendable with three months extra training, but don’t have any set travel dates.

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    Q: Is there still someone to help me with my questions?

A: YES! Even though the center staff still hasn’t fully resumed work, we do have staff answering emails, FB, Whatsapp and phone questions.

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    Q: Can I travel to Panglao and the Philippines already?

A: NO. Unfortunately not yet, but we expect it won’t be long before we are opening up. Panglao is seen by the government as a role model and will likely open up as one of the first provinces in the Philippines. The laboratory at Mactan International Airport is operational already – Mactan is the island North of us. And the laboratory and testing facility at Panglao Bohol International Airport is now operational too. We are now open for local tourism, and although nothing official yet, it looks like we’ll open up international in September and October.

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    Q: What is the best source for PH travel news?

A: US! We started a Facebook messenger group with people interested in coming the moment travel restrictions are lifted. We are updating this group regularly with news directly from the island. If you want to be added to this group, please message us via FB.

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    Q: Are orders still shipped out?

A: YES! We have taken steps to ensure the safety of our staff (and customers) as we continue to ship out orders.

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    Q: Is there a delay in shipping and receiving orders?

A: POSSIBLY! Under normal circumstances, the orders will be fulfilled the same day they are placed. However, during COVID-19, we’ve seen a significant increase in online orders, and orders may be shipped out the next day.

IMPORTANT: We’ve also seen regular delays in parcel processing by the different shipping companies and the different countries’ customs. We still expect a normal maximum delivery time of 2 to 3 weeks, but do note that we’ve regularly seen deliveries of 6 weeks too, with few exceptions of 2 and 3 months. If you need the item before a certain date, please contact us before placing the order.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us anytime. We will be more than happy to assist and help you out.

Stay safe and healthy!

Emily and Vincent and the Freedive Academy family!

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