Of the two so-called “diving capitals” of the Philippines, the nearest to the big cities of Luzon is Anilao, in Batangas. It may seem like diving is the preferred activity in the province, what with the diving courses and diving expeditions that abound in an Anilao alone.
But many visitors to vibrant and natural resource-rich Batangas enjoy another underwater activity: snorkeling. Unlike diving, snorkeling can be done by visitors of any age and in shallow waters. It is also easy to learn the basic breathing technique that is used in snorkeling, and one can take immediate breaks from having their face submerged. Plus, a short day’s excursion will reward any snorkeler with a full glimpse of Batangas’s underwater fauna, which include clownfish (like the protagonists of Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo), parrotfish, sea cucumbers, large clams, multiple varieties of starfish, eels, and maybe even the odd sea turtle or two if it’s your lucky day.
But before you head out to go snorkeling at a beach resort in Batangas, you should re-acquaint yourself with proper snorkeling gear, or perhaps even buy some of your own (especially if you are the germ-conscious type). Here’s a quick rundown of equipment and supplies you’ll need for snorkeling, and how each one works.
- The snorkel mask is the portion of snorkeling gear that protects your eyes and nose from incoming seawater, and it is supposed to enable maximum visibility. The traditional snorkel mask looks like a wide pair of goggles with a silicone nose cover, but more modern designs now feature a one-piece, full-face cover with the snorkel integrated at the top. Regardless of the design you prefer, you should choose a snorkel mask that fits snugly over your face and doesn’t press down uncomfortably over your eyes and nose.
- A snorkel is what enables snorkelers to breathe through their mouth, at a natural pace, by sucking in air from the surface. If you’ve never gone snorkeling before, you may have to learn how to time your puffs, but it’ll be easy once you get used to it. If you’re opting for a two-piece snorkel and mask set instead of the full-face type, make sure that the snorkel is securely attached to the mask strap. You should also check if the snorkel seems too long for you, because a snorkel on the longer side may make it harder for you to breathe comfortably.
- Fins. Some snorkelers also opt to add fins to their ensemble, especially if they want to swim out at a distance. Fins allow a snorkeler to propel themselves across the water with additional speed (think of how animals like whales and dolphins are able to achieve this in the wild). The hot climate of the Philippines means that its seawaters are usually warm and calm, and not hard to propel against. As such, it’s fine to use full-foot fins with simpler features than those used for diving.
- Life vest. A life vest is a must-wear for beginning snorkelers, snorkelers who will be swimming through water deeper than ten feet, or snorkelers who are not 100% confident in their swim strokes or stamina. Your life vest will guarantee that you stay on the surface throughout the duration of the activity, and that you don’t get tired or weak from floating. You should be supplied with life vests if you’re on a snorkel tour, but you can also choose to bring your own.
- Wetsuit or rash guard. As it is with more intensive water sports, like diving or surfing, it’s best if a snorkeler’s body is protected by an external layer of clothing. A wetsuit or rash guard will properly shield you from sunburn, skin irritation from saltwater, and minor stings from small jellyfish or sea anemones. Choose the kind that can stretch, is comfortable on your body type, and has ample ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) against the sun.
With this gear in your arsenal, you’re as good as ready for your next snorkeling adventure in Batangas. Don’t forget to follow all the safety rules prescribed during your tour, to apply sunscreen, to relax when you’re breathing through your snorkel—and to be enchanted by the many sights you’ll see underwater!
Thank you for reading!
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