We could only think “this isn’t happening…”
Emily, the center and resort owner, had this to say about the last two years.
“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.
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 was closed, no tourists could enter the Philippines anymore, and Panglao was running empty.
We 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 two years later, the Philippines has re-opened its borders for international tourists, and the academy looks incredible! We’ve done a tremendous amount of work, life in Panglao and at the academy is quickly coming back, and we’re all getting super excited! The time we’ve been waiting for has arrived!”
Dear freedivers – and future freedivers!
We just wanted to answer some questions about how we are dealing with COVID-19. 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 incredibly hard during the entire pandemic. The Freedive Academy is open. We are running courses, have divers training daily, and come out of the pandemic financially healthy. In February 2022, the Philippines has re-opened its borders for international tourists, and 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 2020, the honorary mayor Leonila Montero gave us as the first freediving center in Panglao the official go-ahead for re-opening. We couldn’t go to the ocean for months. Still, ever since the go-ahead of the mayor, we have been open, running courses, working hard and dedicated for the moment the borders would open – and as expected – tourism has picked up quickly. We are having a great time here in beautiful Panglao.
We understand that we have a crucial role in advising our guests on travel plans and travel restrictions to and from Panglao and the Philippines. Luckily for everyone travelling to the Philippines and travelling within the Philippines is again quite easy and very well doable with little to no restrictions – you do need to be vaccinated.
And because we have such an essential role in helping freedivers travel – and purchase gear, we have listed a few frequently asked questions.
Q: Can I travel to Panglao and the Philippines already?
Q: Do I need a special visa to enter the Philippines?
Q: Do you still accept bookings?
Q: What about date restricted courses?
The only ‘problem’ is the instructor courses but since we run SSI and Molchanovs Instructor Courses almost every month and now the Remote Instructor Courses almost every two weeks it is very easy to reschedule if you can’t travel to the Philippines because of COVID restrictions.
Q: I had to postpone my travels, when can I come?
Unlike the scheduled quarterly internships, the postponed internships don’t have approximate arrival dates but are still three months – extendable with three months of extra training.
Q: When will you start training and running courses?
Furthermore, 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 that you can access the free dry-training programs as preparation for your visit to Panglao. The remote instructor courses are mostly Wave 2 crossovers from other agencies, while some of the courses are Wave 3 instructor upgrades.
Q: Are orders still shipped out?
Q: Is there a delay in shipping and receiving orders?
IMPORTANT: We’ve also seen frequent delays in parcel processing by the different shipping companies and the various countries’ customs. We still expect a standard 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 specific date, please get in touch with us before placing the order.
Q: How is the damage after Super Typhoon Odette?
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!