SSI Open Water Diver Scuba Certification at Harold’s Dive Center, Dumaguete


I had never done any scuba diving before, but after doing some research and talking to some friends, I thought that this would be a great way to relax after a busy semester at work. Between SSI and PADI, I chose SSI just because it was recommended by the dive masters.


The course was over 3 days and the first day was spent in the classroom, watching videos, reading a bookend answering questions. I would have liked to have some practical experience in a deep swimming pool, but since I was basically having 1-1 lessons with my instructor, it didn’t really matter. I got fitted for my gear. Harold’s Dive Center has got the best prices on the island of Negros Oriental. It costs 12,000 php ($285US) to get open water certified. The accommodations are good and cheap, but getting the right room and dorm can take some time, so reserve in advance to ensure your stay. The single or double fan rooms with private baths were the best deal in my opinion, starting at 400 pesos ($9US) a night.


The next day started very early. I was ready to go by 7am and we arrived at Dauin beach at 8:30. I reviewed the skin dive with my instructor. Holding your breath in snorkeling is in direct opposite of scuba diving, where you should breathe regularly at all times. So I was glad to start diving. It’s a bit challenging when you first go down to combat the urge to panic, but you quickly get used to it.


Being under water is like being in a dream or in space. It’s quite amazing to see fish flying over you and under you at the same time.

It took a while before I was able to achieve good neutral buoyancy but eventually, with the right weights, it was pretty good.

My deepest dive was to 18m (60ft) and it’s quite amazing. There’s always a rush to discover something that was previously unknown to you.

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