Dive For Life with Scuba For Change
What would you choose; spending your money for an unforgettable and thrilling experience or having it consumed for helping the needy? Seems like a tough decision right? Well, actually you don’t really need to choose, Scuba For Change can offer you both!
Scuba For Change is located in Tamaraw Beach, Puerto Galera, which is a popular area for dive enthusiasts. There are a lot of dive resorts in the area but what makes them different?
Just like any other dive resort, SFC adheres to the rules set by PADI. While most of the dive resorts are located in Muelle and White Beach, SFC rests in Tamaraw Beach. For me, it’s a more quiet and private area. Personally, I’ve always preferred to stay here. It’s a stone’s throw away from White Beach yet it gives you that feel of peace and tranquility compared to its sister cove. Besides, if you are adventurous like me, you can rock climb a bit to get to White Beach or for the easier option, you can always take a tricycle for P100, good for 3-4people.
So, what does SFC have in store for us? It offers numerous diving courses that suits your needs. First timer? No problem, they offer Discover scuba diving. They also do certifications for open water, advanced and more. Last February 18, my friends and I were invited to try Discovery Scuba Diving. I already have my open water certificate but I haven’t gone in a while so I thought to join them.
Julienne and Gracian, the staff of SFC, were very patient in teaching all of us. We were twelve, all with different needs. There were those who couldn’t sink, those who were initially scared and those who just needed more assistance. They began with explaining the equipment, the safety procedures, the hand signals and then gave explanations of what to expect while diving. After the briefing, we were all made to try on the suit and check out our sizes. We were divided into two groups for the pool session where each one was taught how to clear masks, purge and well, dive.
Already having my license, I sat by the poolside and watched them go through the motion. I could really see their patience with each one and even if the participant got it the first time, they did double and triple check to see if the skill had already been mastered.
Finally, it was time to go out at sea. It was a rainy day so we had to patiently wait for some sunlight. Luckily, when it was my turn to do the dive, the sun came out. I saw a lot of variety of fish and the instructors were always around and reassuring. One of my friends, Marge, had difficulty descending the first time and had trouble with her mask, so they really took time to help her out, while the rest of us were busy exploring the underwater world. It was amazing. We were down there for forty minutes and honestly, I was sad to get the signal that we had to go up due to time constraint. There was no second dive, as we had to catch the 3pm ferry back to Manila, all having work the following day.
So what makes SFC different? The answer is simple. SFC is a non-profit organization which seeks to help locals by giving them employment and education. They also support Stairway Foundation, a charity organization that addresses the prevention of child exploitation (male children from 10-16 years of age) by donating a generous portion of their profits.
Stairway Foundation aims to heal these exploited children through counseling and the arts. The place they have is beautiful. They put the children into music classes, sports, theatre and the like. Each year they get around fourteen kids that they could help and these children undergo Home-Planning programs in order to rehabilitate themselves and their spirits. The foundation also checks by the end of the program if the child is to be returned to the family or needs to be passed on to a different Centre. When I asked them why they only did this for young boys, they replied: “a lot of people are helping exploited women but the men need help too, so we decided to focus on them.” They also firmly said that they only want fourteen kids at a time in order to secure maximum interaction and growth for each child.
As we listened to Ate Susan, explain the programs and the causes of these foundations, I was struck by what they were doing. They are really helping these children become better.
SFC believes that both “scuba divers and tourists can all leave behind positive and lasting legacies for people living in developing nations”, it fully incorporates its net earnings as a dive Centre for the betterment of the local communities and on programs that extends help for the prevention of children being forced to work just in order to survive their everyday lives.
SFC employs the local community not by just looking for qualified staff- instead, it funds training activities that offer the needed qualifications for the aspiring locals so that they will be well-equipped, thus would be given a job that ‘actually pays off’. Assuring that every hired staff will be provided with genuine career progression and opportunities.
As mentioned, 50% of the company’s profit is given to the organization called Stairway Foundation. For us to know more- Stairway Foundation was built in the year 1991 by Lars Georgensen and Monica Ray, who due to their 1988 visit in Puerto, were aspired because of the first-hand witnessing of child exploitation. Seeing street-children, at a very young age, already experiencing the burden of earning on their own, their hearts were touched to do something about this- something revolutionary. Two weeks after working for the capital, they went back to the Philippines, invested it here for the said purpose.
If that’s not yet enough, SFC together with Stairway Foundation have joined a project called ‘Seaventure’ which is into learning about the environment more- about mangroves, corals, right ways of taking care the sea, snorkeling and such.
After all the diving, we had our final boodle fight —- A meal prepared on top of a banana leaf set up on a long table where they served rice and all sorts of grilled meat and seafood in the middle. It is meant to be shared amongst everyone, while eating with your hands. It was a great way to express camaraderie.
At the end of the day, it was time to return home but still, we had that feeling of despite spending a good amount of money, we not only let ourselves have fun but we also helped out the less fortunate. That, for me is money well spent.
So if you’re hoping to dive in Puerto Galera anytime soon I recommend diving with Scuba For a Change, you won’t regret it.
This April 29 ,2017, Scuba for a Change will have a lucky draw for a chance to win an Open Water or Advanced Open Water Certification. That usually costs P20,000. If that’s not enough, they are also giving away exciting prizes like fun dives and more.
Contact us to avail raffle tickets
Grand Prize – Open Water or Advanced Open Water Certificate
2 x – 4 Boat Dive Package
3 x – 2 Boat Dive Package
3 x – Discover Scuba Diving for 3 hrs or 2 House Reef’s dive and other exciting prizes.
Buy your raffle tickets now and get the chance to win! Let’s dive for a cause!