Freediving with purpose
Conservation Freediving Bohol
Conservation Freediving Bohol is a newly established conservation and freediving center in Panglao, in the province of Bohol, Philippines, which offers marine conservation training and freediving courses under Apnea Total, AIDA, and SSI freediving agencies.
Apart from sharing the passion for freediving and raising awareness about environmental concerns among the visitors of the island, the primary objective of the conservation and freediving school is to logistically and financially support the Apnea Green Organization, a non-profit environmental organization which acts to protect marine resources and benefit local communities in the Philippines.
Conservation Freediving Bohol itself is a non-profit organization, and all the profit generated will be donated to the Apnea Green NGO in order to finance its activities.
Learn freediving with us! We offer certification courses with Apnea Total, AIDA and SSI freediving agencies, for beginner, advanced and master levels. We also offer personalized coaching sessions according to your needs.
Our instructors are fluent in English, Chinese, Spanish, and French. They are all passionate freedivers who have several years of experience as freediving instructors, and all dive beyond 60m deep.
We offer a personalized teaching philosophy adapted to who you are and what you seek, based on quality rather than quantity, focused on the beauty of the experience rather than on the performance itself.
You will learn to let go and to explore new depths in comfort, relaxation and security.
Conservation Freediving Bohol (CFB) has been created with the objective of financially and logistically supporting the activities of the Apnea Green Organisation.
While Apnea Green provides free environmental courses to the local communities in order to monitor, maintain and rehabilitate the coral reefs in the Philippines, Conservation Freediving Bohol offers the same courses for a fee to the visitors of the island. Each course given through CFB is an opportunity for us to train members of local communities like fishermen, spearfishers, and tourist guides, … for free.
For the coral reef rehabilitation courses, we partnered with the Ocean Quest Global organisation and their all-natural methodology, and we adapted their standards to freediving.
With regard to our coral monitoring training, we follow the “Coral Watch” methodology, a citizen science program launched by the University of Queensland in 2002.
Conservation Freediving Bohol has teamed up with Eco Warrior Mermaid to provide mermaiding courses incorporating environmental awareness and education.
We offer Eco Warrior Mermaid courses to local children for free, but also provide a full range of mermaid courses that will allow you to become one with the water. Building environmental awareness through art is the key message of eco mermaiding, so why not learn how to best protect the marine environment while you learn how to become a mermaid and dive in it? For a magical experience you won’t forget, we offer a special mermaid photoshoot package so that you can share your special underwater memories with family and friends.
If you are interested in community outreach here in Bohol, you are welcome to volunteer in the Eco Warrior Mermaid Program and help our mermaid instructor to teach some local kids how to swim while holding their breath, and to bring them some environmental awareness.
The practice of freediving is particularly adapted to take amazing underwater pictures.
While scuba diving photography focuses more on close subjects and macros, the total absence of bubbles in freediving allows to shoot entire landscapes and more distant subjects, using the natural light to lit the scene.
Conservation Freediving Bohol offers a discovery module and a complete three days course to delve into the specificities of freediving underwater photography. We also offer a more specific post-editing module and teach you how to apply filters to your pictures in order to get the best out of your underwater shoots.
And if you prefer to be on the other side of the camera, we also offer some professional level photo shootings, so that you can impress your friends and family on your favorite social media.
The school is settled inside the premises of Almira Diving Resort, in Napaling Point, on the North shore of the island of Panglao, in the Philippines. Napaling Point is the best place on the the island to practice freediving and snorkeling.
The dive site is located just in front of the resort, behind the Marine Protected Area, where you can see a colourful pattern of abundant sea life, including a huge school of sardines, and the occasional visit of whale sharks, dolphins, and even a blue whale, if you are lucky!
The resort itself offers comfortable rooms, a big swimming pool adapted to our pool sessions, a restaurant, and all the facilities you may need for your stay. We can get you a discount on the prices if you are interested in their services : Almira’s Facebook page and Google page.
One of the best freediving spots in the world
The dive site in Panglao is one of the best places on earth to learn freediving and is perfect for training. The available depths vary from 15m next to the Marine Protected Area for the beginner courses, to a depth of 95m approximately a hundred meters from the shore for competitive freedivers. No need to take a boat, we can access the water whenever we want.
With water temperatures between 26°C and 30°C, no thermocline (same temperature at depth as on the surface), little to no current, barely no waves, and water visibility from 15m to 30m, this is the perfect spot to learn and train freediving in the Philippines. These unique conditions allow us to dive 95% of the time. It takes a typhoon or… a world pandemic to prevent us from going into the water.
Patrick Swartenbroekx (Belgium)
Co-Founder of Conservation Freediving Bohol & Apnea Green
Patrick started freediving in 2013 in Nemo 33 in Brussels and was directly hooked. He continued evolving through the different levels and he became an AIDA and PADI instructor in February 2017.
Discovering freediving was a radical change in his life. For the last eight years, he had been working as a logistician and a project coordinator for the medical NGO “Médecins Sans Frontières”, in different emergency contexts and conflict zones. After this intense period, the practice of freediving gave him the opportunity to breathe and to find another perspective of development.
He arrived in the Philippines at the end of 2017 and settled down in Panglao, with the idea of practicing freediving and developing a project in permaculture. Since then, he became a freediving instructor with two more agencies: SSI and Molchanovs. He also had the opportunity to grab a Belgian national record with a constant weight bifin dive at 67m deep. His personal bests so far are -70m CWTB, -75m FIM, -80m VWT, -57m CNF and 6’30” static.
He met Arnaud on the island in 2019, and they launched together the Apnea Green NGO. They later decided to open Conservation Freediving Bohol… The adventure continues!
Arnaud Simons (Belgium)
Co-Founder of Conservation Freediving Bohol & Apnea Green
After living for a while in Morocco where he worked for the Dutch embassy, Arnaud resumed his studies in management, environment and development in Belgium then headed to Southeast Asia. He’s since then been sharing his time between environmental projects and freediving, first in Thailand then in the Philippines.
His first discovery with the sport happened in Koh Tao, where he became intrigued by a small group of quirky individuals who all seemed to be obsessed with the idea of holding their breath and disappearing into the water… there had to be something interesting there*.
He became a freediving instructor late 2017 under Apnea Total, and then crossed over to AIDA a year later. At the time he co-founded Apnea Green with Patrick in Panglao, he was working for the environmental organization Ocean Quest Global on a campaign to better involve local communities in reef rehabilitation processes through freediving.
His personal bests so far are: -58m in FIM, -61m in VWT, 115m in DYNB and 6’05” in static apnea.
* There is indeed something interesting there. Unfortunately, no one can be told what it is. You have to experience it for yourself.
- Covid 19 Update -
Dear visitor, due to the COVID-19 situation, all our courses are suspended until further notice.
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In the meanwhile… Stay safe!