We could only think “this isn’t happening…”
Emily, the owner of the centre 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 centre and a dive centre 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!”
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 centre 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 and on July 19th the honorary mayor Leonila Montero gave us as the first freediving centre 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, pool and schools are closed, and while many are still forced to isolate at home. For this, we have listed a few frequently asked questions.
Q: When will you start training and running 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. For the recreational freediving courses, we’ll certify you Theory Freediver, so you get access to the free dry-training programs as preparation for your visit to Panglao. The instructor courses we run are fully remote and partly remote for those visiting us later this year.
Q: Do you still accept bookings?
Q: What about date restricted courses?
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 the moment 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.
Q: Is there still someone to help me with my questions?
Q: Can I travel to Panglao and the Philippines already?
Q: What is the best source for PH travel news?
Q: Are orders still shipped out?
Q: Is there a delay in shipping and receiving orders?
We’ve also seen a delay in parcel processing with the customs of the different countries. We still expect a maximum delivery time of 2 to 3 weeks, but do note that we’ve seen deliveries of 6 weeks too.
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!