My Failed SCUBA Attempt

August 31, 2009

Portulano Resort

Just got home from a long 3-day weekend spent in Batangas, in the Southern part of Luzon (the island Manila is on).  We’ll just cut right to the chase – YES, IT’S TRUE.  I FAILED AT SCUBA.  Seriously, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s failing.  It stings just writing it.  But I tell you, SCUBA and I just never clicked.  And it was not for lack of trying because I worked my butt off to get it and I still SUCKED.  How miserably depressing to admit defeat and disappoint my amazing partner who had dreams of us SCUBAing together off into the sunset.  Here’s a recap of how the weekend played out…

Portulano Resort

We took off from Manila at 6 AM on Saturday morning to beat traffic.  We stopped at a fabulous little breakfast place called Bag of Beans in Tagaytay on the way.  It was a beautiful morning and the farther we got from the city, the fresher the air got.  It was delightful!  We should have known that it was going too well – no traffic, a nice breakfast, good weather.  Far too perfect for Manila.  As we were nearing the final drive segment, the driver asked for directions to Balite (Bah-lee-tay) and we followed this windy road for about 30 minutes and arrived in a random town not at all near the ocean.  SURPRISE- wrong Balite!  We need the BalEte (Bah-lEE-tay) with an E!  Who names two cities near each other a same phonetically-sounding name???  That’s ludicrous!  So back we went down the windy road for 30 minutes, asking directions 10 more times until we finally reached our destination at 10 AM.  Now that’s more like what we’ve come to expect from Manila…. The result: we had to cancel our morning pool session and push it to the afternoon.  Fine with me, I always prefer to eat before working!

Portulano Resort

The resort was a 5 minute boat ride from the drop-off spot, only accessible via water.  The resort is owned by Carmela and Arnel, a couple that live in Manila.  Arnel is a full-time Dive Master, but Carmela still holds a traditional office job.  They come down each weekend to run the resort.  They started out wanting to own property that they could dive from frequently and it morphed into a resort from there.  It reminded me a lot of a bed and breakfast that focuses on diving.  We definitely felt like guests in their home – it was very intimate and all the guests were incredibly social.  Location was superb, resort had a cool vibe and the dive facilities and instructors were excellent.  If I was to ask for a few upgrades, it’d be a softer bed and better food (I’m done with rice for awhile).


Classes started right after lunch.  I started to freak out when I realized that they expected me to put the big, huge, heavy tank on my back and walk over to the pool and take a giant stride into the pool.  Problems with this scenario: I do not like lifting heavy things (I had convinced myself that tanks could always be put on in the water), I’m not coordinated enough to carry heavy things and gracefully land in the water AND what if I hit my head on the tank on the way in (which I could easily see myself doing).  Alas, this was only the first of many challenges.  Happily, I did manage to safely make it into the pool.  It went downhill from there – couldn’t remove my mask and put it back on (water kept flooding up my nose, causing me to choke).  Didn’t even attempt the skill after that because I was so water-logged.  It was not pretty.

I was wiped after 2 hours in the pool, but the instructor insisted that we go try an ocean dive.  I tried to delay it, but he insisted.  The low point of the day was being towed around the reef by the Dive Master because I couldn’t figure out the buoyancy thing.  I am not over-exaggerating: he pulled me around by my jacket!  And to top it off, my mask fogged the whole time, so I couldn’t enjoy the beautiful fish.  SIGH… Nick and I talked about it at dinner that night and I made the decision to stop.  It was obvious to both of us that this wasn’t meant to be.


Apparently the instructor agreed.  When I went to tell him my decision, his reply was, “Good choice.  It’s always better when the student comes to that decision themselves.”  Translation: I wasn’t going to pass you anyways.  Thanks for saving me the tough conversation.

Nick was obviously pretty disappointed but we had some great conversation around it and I felt fully supported in my choice.  I am grateful for having such a wonderful partner!  And so the search for our shared couple’s activity continues…. potential options we’re exploring are: Bird Watching, Ballroom Dancing, Badminton, Photography and Boating to name a few.  Don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated on our progress.  We are realizing now that the tough thing about being opposites is that you don’t like the same activities!

We failed to get a picture of me in the equipment ( I promise I really did do it)!  I also have included a video of the boat unloading procedure that all guests go through- it was wild stuff!  Sorry this is so lengthy!  Part 2 will come tomorrow… Sad story over for today.


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