Are you mesmerized by life underwater? Or do you want to do more than just a fun dive? Maybe becoming a certified PADI open water diver is right for you!

I took my PADI open water diving certification with ProDive Davao a few years ago. Although I was nervous when I started (I’m not a good swimmer), I ended up feeling satisfied with my decision.

Why become a certified SCUBA diver?

If you tried fun dives and you wanted to do that more frequently in other places, then getting certified in SCUBA diving is a good choice.

I personally took the course because I was planning to do more diving in Palawan. Many diving shops require you to become a certified open water diver if you want to dive in certain areas.

Why choose ProDive Davao?

I am not (in any way) affiliated with ProDive Davao. Back then, I found them through a Facebook post.

My SCUBA sisters Ey and Kat ♥️

Here are my top 3 reasons why I opted to get my diving certification with them:

Cost

I’m not going to lie but cost is my number one reason for choosing ProDive.

At that time, I was working as a freelancer and between saving up (both for savings and future trips) and day-to-day expenses, I can’t afford to pay around PhP 15,000 ($294) in one go. Fortunately, at that time, they were offering doable payment plans.

Credibility

The dive masters and instructors have decades of experience in diving. As a beginner and prospective student, it’s a big thing for me.

I’ve read a lot of horror diving stories and I definitely don’t want to put my life in jeopardy just to save.

I’d rather spend a little bit more and learn from people who truly value their clients’ safety than save a few thousand pesos but being wary of my safety.

Responsiveness

This is one of the things I really like about them. They are very responsive.

I inquired from several diving shops about their diving course but it takes so long for some to respond.

I didn’t have that kind of issue with ProDive.

What do you need to enroll in a PADI open water diver course?

The following are the basic requirements to enroll in a PADI open water diving course:

  • Be at least 10 years old
  • Have adequate swimming skills (you’ll be required to swim 200 meters without stopping or 300 meters if you’re using mask, fins, and snorkel)
  • In good physical health

What can you expect in a PADI open water diver course?

The PADI open water diver course is comprised of three phases:

  1. Knowledge development which will help you understand the basic principles of SCUBA diving
  2. Confined water dives to help you learn basic SCUBA skills
  3. Open water dives to apply the skills you learned

Knowledge Development

This is basically the theory part of diving. Aside from the lectures we have with our instructors, we were also handed with books to take with us at home.

Our instructor Paul talking to us about our gear.

Many of the concepts discussed started to make sense when we went to the second phase of the course – the confined water dives.

Confined Water Dives

Prior to the confined water dives, we were taught how to check our equipment and gear up properly.

Gearing up!

Once we geared up, we were taken to the fun part – the confined dives!

During this phase of the course, the basic diving skills we were taught were put into practice.

Our instructors Scott and Paul showing us how to breathe properly underwater.

There were two areas that I struggled with during this phase – normalizing and buoyancy. I was fortunate enough though to have very patient instructors, Scott and Paul, who taught me some tricks to finally ‘get it.’

I struggled so much with buoyancy as you could see in the photo.

Open Water Dives

This is probably the best part of the course! In this phase, we get to apply the skills we learned and practiced in the open water.

Scott talking to us about the dive watch.

As buoyancy and water conditions vary between the swimming pool and open water, we started this phase adjusting to the water condition. We practiced our buoyancy, how to normalize, descend and ascend safely, and how to navigate.

Practicing buoyancy underwater

The navigation part is the hardest for me. There was actually a situation that I thought I would fail it.

We were put into pairs to take turns navigating underwater. I got confused and ended up ascending so fast (not safe!). My instructor was understandably furious due to safety concerns.

Working with my dive partner Kat

Another concern I had during this phase was the swimming part. I can swim but not really well. 

We have two choices on the swim part – swim 200 meters without any gear or 300 meters with the snorkel and fins. Silly me for choosing the former!

I started strong but as the current started getting stronger, I panicked when I was halfway through. I was so anxious that time, that there were so many thoughts running in my head. But fortunately, I made it! 😁

Taking the certification (written) test

To finally get certified, we have to pass the test. After several dives in the open water, we have to take the test and pass it.

PADI certified divers!

The written test isn’t really difficult. It’s basically about what we’ve discussed for the whole duration of the course, plus learning how to calculate the next dive. This is where the take-home book becomes handy. Just study and understand what’s in there and you’ll pass 🙂

Would I recommend taking the PADI open water diving course?

Yes, yes, yes!

I actually have used it in the subsequent trips, including one with A in Coron, Palawan.

If you want to check out the full list of diving courses offered by ProDive Davao, you can visit their website or check them out in their Facebook page.

Have you thought about becoming a certified diver? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

All photos are provided by ProDive Davao.

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