Learn Scuba Diving in the City

This must be how asthmatic people feel like.”

No you idiot, asthmatic people can’t breathe normally.”

“But I can’t breathe normally.”

Of course you can you dimwit, that’s what the regulator is for.

Nah, I quit, I don’t want to do this. I am not a fish.”

Who says anything about becoming a fish? This is scuba diving, what did you expect? Now stop being melodramatic and get your as* back there.”


No buts, we don’t have all day. Don’t leave this swimming pool without knowing how to do this.”

It’s the script of my inner dialogue from all the struggling that I endured in the swimming pool, trying to learn how to scuba dive. It’s not that there was no supply of air, but not being to breathe through the nose and to force myself to do it all through the mouth was nerve wracking. Then somewhere along the way, it suddenly clicked like a puzzle that suddenly fits. And from that moment I began to really enjoy myself. It was my first scuba diving experience and it all happened in the swimming pool of the Selah Garden Hotel.

What is Try-Dive?

Try-dive is exactly how it is named, a quick lesson to try scuba diving. Also known as Discovery Diving, it is best for people who want to try scuba diving without the requirement involved when taking a certification course. The good news is you don’t have to go far away from the city to do this because Selah Garden Hotel is offering try-dive with Dive RAID Philippines. [Read: Selah Garden Hotel: Discover this Urban Oasis in the Heart of Pasay City]

DiveRAID Philippines

DiveRAID is a dive center-based training agency. RAID stands for Rebreather Association of International Divers and they have dive centers all over the world including the one in Anilao, Batangas. For our diving lesson we were trained by DiveRAID instructors Eric Yee and Christoferou Chan.


Before we went to the water, the instructors told us a little background about DiveRAID and prepped us on what we should do and expect while diving. They explained the purpose and use of scuba diving equipment, the two skills that we need to learn in the water, the hand signals, among others. We were then divided into two groups; I was in the first batch with Jon and Jerny.


If you don’t have a wetsuit, I suggest that you wear a swimsuit or like in my case a rashguard. The rest of the equipment was provided by DiveRAID and they are as follows:

  • Submersible pressure gauge: The gas indicator of the tank
  • Buoyancy compensator (BC): If you don’t know how to swim, don’t worry, the buoyancy compensator or the vest that you will wear for scuba diving would make you float. BC also makes carrying the tank easier.
  • Fins/Flippers: Worn in the feet and aid movement through the water.
  • Tank: The source of air so you can breathe underwater.
  • Mask & snorkel: Is used so you can see underwater.
  • Regulator: This is what you use to breathe the air from the tank.

Scuba Diving 101

The most enjoyable, albeit also the most challenging part of it all is of course when we finally went into the water to apply everything that the instructors told us. My past snorkeling experience should have lessened the learning effort—it didn’t. In fact it meant no sh*t as I flailed about, making a fool of myself. And so in the midst of a struggle that in my estimation lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes, I was ready to quit. My chest hurt, I’ve swallowed and snorted pool water, coughed and wheezed, and called out all the saints and angels. Eric, one of our diver instructors seemed to have thought I was worth the effort so he didn’t give up on me.

The fact that the water was freezing also made things harder than it already is. I gave up in the middle of the tree-top adventures  and I regret it. So this time, despite that voice in my head that was telling me to give up, I pushed through and completed it.

I’m sure glad that I did, because when I finally got the hang of it, I honestly found it quite enjoyable that I didn’t want to leave the water. Pretty much what happened when I was first learning to breathe during snorkeling, that’s how I eventually learned to breathe through the regulator. I followed Eric’s advice all throughout, and in the process, I was able to learn two skills; how to take out the water when it gets inside the mask and how to take out the water when it gets through the mouth. I did them a few times before I was able to learn. Just like everything else in life, if you keep going, if you just keep your patience, you will everything learn it.

So my advice to you is to definitely try scuba diving if you haven’t yet. I swear it is one of the most memorable and fun experiences you will have in your life. I am now thinking of taking a full course and I want to try to dive in the open sea. Diving in the swimming pool is fun, but it’s not really scuba diving until we take it to the ocean and be with the sea creatures right?

If you are interested to take Try-Dive at Selah Garden Hotel, call them up or send them an email. Refer to the contact information below this post. Rate is PHP 2,700 (USD 54.19) per session and if you want a full Try-Dive Course, the rate is PHP 18,000 (USD 361.26) with 4 dives; 2 sessions in the swimming pool and 2 sessions in the open water.


Some photos are courtesy of RAID Philippines

Selah Garden Hotel
2715 Park Ave. San Rafael,
Pasay City
Telephone nos: +632 511-1331/+639 508-9141

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  • Reply
    Kenneth Ramos
    November 22, 2018 at 11:41 AM

    Hi Marjorie. As we have planned to go to Selah Garden. I did not know they had this kind of activity. Thank you, but I have a question. I would like to ask, what are the inclusions of 2,700 PHP per sessions. How many minutes does it have? Thanks. I’ll wait for your reply.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      November 25, 2018 at 4:51 PM

      Hello Kenneth, the rate includes the use of the scuba diving equipment and of course the lesson itself. I can’t recall how long our session is, but I would say it lasted for 2 to 3 hours.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2017 at 7:33 PM

    I haven’t tried scuba diving and it looks like you had to convince yourself first to go with. 🙂 But i’m glad you did. As for me, I’m not entirely sure if i would do it. If ever I change my mind, I think I would have the same conversation in my head. Haha I have a weird paranoia when I go swimming in the sea.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 7:35 AM

    One of my best friends’ parents own a diving school here in Ostend, where you can learn to scuba-dive as well! I tried it a few years ago, but I couldn’t get adjusted to the ‘wierd’ breathing. I always started to panic in a way .. Maybe it’s because I’m a little but claustrophobic? I don’t know! Happy to read you had a great time!

  • Reply
    jared's mum
    February 17, 2017 at 7:15 AM

    Diving is something I would love to try and this is an absolute fun and awesome thing to experience in this lifetime, at least for someone like me who does not know how to swim well. I wish they’d offer this in affordable rates, though, so more people will be encouraged to give it a go.

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    February 7, 2017 at 1:22 AM

    I wasn’t aware that there is actually a hotel who allows Scuba Diving sessions in its own pool. Breathlessness is a paranoia that haunts me when getting underwater and I need to fight it.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2017 at 2:38 PM

    Woah! It’s so near my place, I think? Hahaha! But, scuba diving has been one of the activities that I really want to try! The fins made me remember my childhood. I have told myself that I want to be a mermaid someday. HAHAHA So I always try to swim like a mermaid whenever there are fins.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2017 at 12:27 AM

    I’ve always been curious about diving but I don’t think I’m cut out for this! I love to be able to swim freely so feeling ko all the gears and equipment strapped on to me may limit my movements haha It’s good to know there’s a trial course for those who want to just feel it out! Mejo price nga lang though! XD

  • Reply
    Aica Batoon
    February 5, 2017 at 4:04 PM

    That are my exact thoughts every time I go scuba diving! Please do share if you try to scuba dive into the open ocean in the future! I can assure you even though you have the fears (because I’ve tried several times but I still get scared), it is still fun and incredible. Still, thank you for sharing this! I’m glad you enjoyed.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2017 at 1:35 AM

    Awesome!! Been looking around for a place to learn how to scuba dive but oh maaaaan so pricey 🙁 ;( 🙁 My ultimate ultimate dream is to scuba dive to the tubbataha reef and the great barrier reef in australia!:D

  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 5:07 AM

    Parang naiimagine myself saying those lines, lol! I actually can’t swim. My partner was patient enough to teach me pero I gave up. I tried but I’m afraid of deep water. I probably need to learn how to swim first before I try this. Pero once I learned how to, I’d definitely try snorkeling/diving.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 27, 2017 at 6:20 AM

      Hi Abbie, you don’t have to know how to swim to try diving. The BC will make you float. I mentioned this in the article.

      • Reply
        Aica Batoon
        February 5, 2017 at 4:00 PM

        Actually you have to learn how to swim if you were to scuba dive in the ocean. Just saying.

        • Reply
          Marjorie Gavan
          February 6, 2017 at 2:20 PM

          Really? The scuba divers told us that we don’t have to because the BC would make you float anyway plus seawater makes you float too.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 3:42 AM

    Wow! You are a scuba diver! So envy your skill! Am sure you enjoy the beautiful underwater world from your diving! I can’t swim, even though I know not a requirement to venture for diving. Underwater world is so beautiful & all divers will get to enjoy from diving trips 😉 wish 1 day I can swim & dive too 🙂 cheers,SiennyLovesDrawing

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 27, 2017 at 6:19 AM

      Hi Sienny, it looks like you didn’t read the article. I am not a scuba diver, I tried diving in a swimming pool, so nope I haven’t seen the underwater world yet. This comment makes me sad.

      • Reply
        January 28, 2017 at 6:15 AM

        Please don’t be rude to your readers.

        • Reply
          Marjorie Gavan
          January 30, 2017 at 2:26 PM

          Hi Gabe,

          Correcting something that is in fact in the post is not being rude. In fact, I am frustrated that people nowadays just leave comments just for the sake of commenting. I go to their blog posts and take time to read and understand what they wrote and leave a meaningful comment and this is what I get in return.

  • Reply
    Me-An Clemente
    January 26, 2017 at 2:32 PM

    It’s funny that I love the ocean than the mountains but I don’t give scuba diving a try. Ever since I heard a horror story about the lungs that popped because of going above the water too fast, I got scared. Sometimes I don’t have the patience to stay down under. I prefer skydiving since it’s easier. Well, if you say it should be tried, how long does each session last?

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 3:23 PM

      Hi Me-an, I don’t think you will surface in the water too fast so don’t worry about it. Each session lasted for an hour, but it will actually depend on how many you are in the group.

    • Reply
      February 25, 2017 at 11:16 PM

      Hi Me-an,

      I’m a professional diver and I can tell you that this only could happen if you hold your breath while you are going up from the depth and the swimming pool in not deep enough to make this happen, but you will see that if you start a diving course, this is one of the first things that they will tell you “DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH” 😀 And during the course they will tell you millions of times, so don’t worry about this too much. If you life fishes and beautiful nature it’s a must try.

  • Reply
    Ashwathy Manimala
    January 26, 2017 at 2:28 PM

    This post is so helpful. I learned the names of equipments that i wasn’t knowing about. In future if i go to a scuba diving class i will sound little smart ?, coz i can name few things ?. Thanks for writing on scuba diving i wanted to know more about it. 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 3:25 PM

      Hahaha… Show them girl!

  • Reply
    January 26, 2017 at 10:54 AM

    I was amazed that there is a scuba diving training aside from the open sea. And that it can be learned even for non-swimmers, like me. Your post is very informative and some of my friends are interested on this water sport. I’ll share them your blog. And I hope I am as gutsy as you are for trying out and learning very challenging sport. Way to go! 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 3:26 PM

      Thanks Wishingbelle. I’m sure you can do it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mica de Leon
    January 26, 2017 at 9:53 AM

    Ohh I’ve never tried Scuba Diving. It looks really fun. I’ll add this to my bucket list. I’m glad they’re offering a trial. Thanks for sharing,

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 3:27 PM

      Sure Mica.

  • Reply
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limits
    January 25, 2017 at 10:59 PM

    Wow, this is truly an awesome experience. I’ve been planning to try scuba diving, but just like you, I have so much inner thoughts that are cynnical and that hinders me to didn’t try until now. I haven’t heard about learning scuba diving in a swimming pool, but just like what you have written, you have just explained all the questions forming inside my head. Anyway, congrats on your scuba diving lesson. May you try it in the wide ocean soon.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 3:28 PM

      We can be our own worst enemy but if you do not listen to that negative voice inside your head, you can definitely do it.

  • Reply
    Above Precious Rubies
    January 25, 2017 at 10:41 PM

    I don’t know if I’ll ever have the guts to try scuba diving! First of all, I don’t know how to swim, so that’s one. But I’ve tried snorkeling once and it’s really awesome so if given the chance, I might try learning scuba diving too. I’m not sure. I will not worry about it for now and just decide whenever the opportunity comes! lol.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 5:15 PM

      Like I said, you don’t have to know how to swim to try scuba diving. The buoyancy compensator will help you float.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2017 at 3:04 PM

    Your description encourages me to try this out at least once.. I have been always scared of breathlessness. The equipment looks sound and should be safe.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 5:14 PM

      Yes it is, it just takes some getting used to but it works and pretty soon you will get to enjoy it.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2017 at 1:00 PM

    Scuba diving is something I would like to try as well. I thought it is similar to snorkeling. Sometimes trying water sports makes life a little exciting. It gives us a break from our usual day to day activities

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 5:16 PM

      Yes, they are a bit similar as far as breathing through the mouth is concerned. But scuba diving is much more complicated and it will allow you to go deep into the water and see the underwater world up close! I can’t wait to try it to the open sea.

  • Reply
    Jon Espina
    January 25, 2017 at 12:27 PM

    This brings back some memories about our Try Dive (Kala mo antagal na eh no?) It was hard at first but as what you said, once you get it, it becomes enjoyable. It’s so nice to breathe underwater haha I am also considering to try this in Anilao or any diving spots. sabay sabay na rin tayo. Ipon na tayo starting today hahaha

    I enjoyed reading this Marge. Our phot is nice ah hahaha mukhang excited tayo to Try Dive 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 5:17 PM

      Brings back memories agad hahaha… So let’s go na ha, karirin na natin ang diving!

  • Reply
    Andrew Pablico
    January 25, 2017 at 4:45 AM

    Oh wow! I’ve always wanted to try scuba diving but it always ends up as just a plan. Thanks to your blog post, I’m now considering this new Try-dive.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      January 26, 2017 at 5:17 PM

      Hi Andrew, I hope you get to try it. It’s really fun!

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