Adventures and Sports
Helmet Diving: Mindanao’s Newest Underwater Adventure
Ida Damo | Apr 17, 2018
As if mountain climbing, river rafting, water tubing, paragliding, swimming, ultralight flying, diving, skimboarding, surfing, aerobatics, and kayaking are not enough for the list of adventures that you can do in Mindanao, add helmet diving to your bucket list of underwater adventures in the Land of Promise.
Talikud Island is 2,197 hectares of coconut trees and other inland forest and beautiful coastal area, some of which are just getting on the radar of travelers and tourists. Ergo, there are days when you can have stretches of fine white sand beaches all to yourself.
Isla Reta has always been on top of the list of Mindanao beaches that bloggers recommend because of its clear blue water, powdery white sand beach, backpacker accommodation, affordable rates, and the over-all rustic feel.
From its five concrete cottages and native row rooms, it has now added 5 more concrete cottages, native picnic huts, dormitory, and tents for rent to accommodate its growing number of visitors. Entrance Fee: Day tour: PhP100, Overnight PhP200.
Aside from the lure of the clear water that makes you want to dip, swim, dive, and snorkel, comes helmet diving—the first in Mindanao.
Away from the crowded portion of the resort is a quiet place where the helmet diving platform is located. You either swim towards the platform or ride their raft of recycled barrels.
A briefing is done to acquaint helmet “divers” with the helmet, how to regulate the air pressure from your ear (pinch nose, swallow, move jaw), hand signals (okay, up, kneel), and other safety instructions.
After the briefing, you are then led to the stairs going down to the water and then your helmet is fitted on before being guided by the divers on your walk in the sand. You breathe in the oxygen from your mask just like breathing on land.
At a depth of 10 feet, the whole walking/diving area is roped in and surrounded by corals with anemones that house the orange clownfish. All around you, different kinds of fish in different sizes, shapes, and colors swim by and feed.
The sound of the water rippling on your helmet and the whoosh of the oxygen is soothing. The underwater world of blue and streaks of a kaleidoscope of colors of the fishes is beautiful.
For just PhP400/20 minutes, Mindanaoans and other tourists can now enjoy helmet diving at Isla Reta in Talikud Island, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte.
Big thanks to Isla Reta’s Mario and Joan Reta, Isla Reta Helmet Diving crew, Maayong Buntag Mindanao’s Hernel Tocmo, Kenneth Mangaya-ay, Chastine Montaño, and Fredzon Sagarino for the underwater photos and video.
How to get there:
Major airlines fly daily to Davao City from Manila and Cebu.
From the Francisco Bangoy International Airport, ride the taxi to Sta. Ana Wharf in Magsaysay, then take the Isla Reta boat or Rosie that leaves for Talikud Island at 9am (On weekends, it is jampacked so better be there by 7am.)
Have you tried other forms of diving? Share it over on www.ChoosePhilippines.com, or post it with the hashtag #ChoosePhilippines!