“A couple of weeks of training in heaven – Romblon, Philippines – have wrought results. A new personal best in freediving. Depth: 46.6m FIM 2:06min. With this post I’d like to thank resident jedi master of this remote island – Emil Lars of Dumagat Freedive. Truly one of the best instructors of any sport or discipline that I ever had the pleasure to meet.”
“Highlight of our 2 months trip to the Philippines! I don’t know where to start, everything about our freediving course with Emil was fantastic – I would give 10 stars if I could!
Emil came by our hotel the night before to bring us our course material and from that moment on we knew we were in good hands. He took such good care of us, he really customized the course to our wishes and needs and did everything to make my girlfriend and I feel comfortable and safe in and outside the water. (He even improvised a nasal rinse for me since I was a little congested and had some problems to equalize.)
In other freediving schools in the Philippines you get two 90min classroom lessons and two 90min water sessions in the course of two days. Emil instead really gave us the time we needed and in the end we spent three full days freediving and learning with him and the course day ended, when we were exhausted (but stoked) after a long water session. He’s got so much love for this sport and the ocean and he really cares about you having a great time and making progress, without ever putting any pressure on you.
We’re so glad we went to Romblon, which was definitely one of our favourite islands in the Philippines and we’re so glad, we got to meet Emil. He’s a brilliant teacher, so much fun to hang out with (and share a beer with) and probably the nicest person we met in our 2 months in this beautiful country.
I genuinely miss this guy and whenever I’m back in that area I will take my next freediving course at Dumagat Freedive.
Thanks so much for everything – good luck for the search and see you soon, Emil! Servus.”
“I am pretty sure there are adventures or activities on this planet some people will say are insanely great and other people won’t get hyped or touched by at all. Traveling around 10 years visiting nearly 20 countries, I would 100% say this is the way things are working and that’s fine. But that was before we went to Romblon to do a freediving course at Dumagat Freedive. Actually it was so nice I really thought about not writing a review while hoping this wonderful place should stay the same till I go there again. But that wouldn’t be fair and everybody should know what a beautiful pearl is laying there in the center of the Philippines. I really think experiences like this will make the world a better place… you will know when you will go! So I made myself a TripAdvisor account just to tell you what’s up with Freediving, Romblon and Emil. Freediving is a way of diving which concentrates on the ability to connect your mind with your body to achieve a state of high relaxation and control. You will be able to do things you probably thought were impossible. And yes you are gonna be diving without an oxygen tank on your back. Romblon is a small island you can orbit via coastline street in about 2 hours and it is breathtakingly :) nice… On this colourful island you will hardly find a single person who is not smiling, in a friendly way. And if you stop, it won’t take long to have contact with the locals which means you will most often have a drink and a snack and perhaps a new friend. Emil ( the founder of Dumagat Freedive) has Filipino roots but also spent some years in the U.S studying, so the course will be optionally held in English. He is such a cool, relaxed, polite and funny guy, you could easily think he is a friend you are traveling with instead of him being your teacher. Actually we spent most of the time together cooking, meeting locals and having a drink, watching a movie or simply having a talk about whatever feels worth talking about. He as a person is really enjoyable, he as a diving teacher is simply the best I ever had by far! I had a couple since a started scuba years ago. Whatever you imagine a teacher should be like, he is. Whatever you imagine a teacher shouldn’t be like, he isn’t… The only thing which is below average are the prices per course Emil charges. What a great dude.. I never had any kind of homesickness, but yeah I miss that place. See you again for sure. You did an incredibly great Job…”
“Already looking forward to my trip back!
Upon the suggestion of a common friend, I decided to check out Dumagat Freedive during a trip to (beautiful, peaceful) Romblon late last year; didn’t really have plans to do freediving prior; but still checked out the place and spoke with Emil a bit, and decided then and there to at least go for the introductory course.
Emil’s probably one of the best instructors I’ve had — I love how chill he is, and considering I have some anxiety issues when in open water (and with no scuba gear or at least fins on), I quickly learned to relax, breathe properly, and have lots of fun at the same time! It rained quite hard at one point, and I really loved the contrast of being underwater and all its serenity versus surfacing to heavy pounding rain. Saw one of the resident sea turtles as well, which was def a treat!
If heading to Romblon, I’d definitely suggest to spend at least a few days in this part of the island and not just stay in town for the whole duration. And do consider taking a course with Dumagat if you’re even the least bit interested in exploring unspoilt nature — you won’t regret it! and you’ll get to meet a pretty fun bunch as well!
My only disappointment was that I didn’t have more days in the island to do a proper course. But hey, it’s one of many reasons to go back!”
“We spent a total of 8 weeks in a row in the Philippines, but our week on Romblon island with Dumagat Freedive and Emil was one of the brightest shining highlights.
Driven by the idea to boost our snorkel adventures we decided spice up our holidays with something challenging, a freedive course. We picked Dumagat Freedive because it had the best reviews and the island Romblon itself seemed to be off the beaten tracks.
Emil taught us everything we needed to successfully complete the SSI Level 1 Freedive Course: breathing techniques, equipment, finning, streamlining, relaxation, freediving physiology, equalisation techniques and much more. For the course, Dumagat Freedive provided all the study materials, lots of fun, fins, wetsuits and if you need as well masks.
Emil is a very very good and dedicated freedive instructor. We always felt safe and comfy with him. His humour always keeps a smile in your face and his patience but encouraging style ensures maximum success and a pleasant experience. Thanks again Dumagat Freedive for enriching our life with new sensations! Level 2 is in planning!”
“Freediving at it’s best: Dumagat could not have done any better. I did the level 1 and 2 Freediving course with Dumagat. Honestly, it was perfect. Here’s why: 1. Emil is a teacher who always fits the individual needs of his students (I was a little to pushy; my girlfriend was afraid under water). We both learned to enjoy freediving and developed a passion for it…”
“So you would like to learn how to freedive?
Then you just found the right place.
Instructor Emil is a very smart and sensible man
and he will take your worries in an instant.
Actually I never experienced a relaxed state like on his yoga mat again.
I wish I could get into that moment again… feel the wind, hear the palm trees,
face hurting from smiling while trying to hold my breaths…
– and it really works: I was down 20 metres. Again and again. It really is addictive.
I even quit the rum to gain more dive power.
.. I will start holding my breath again…”
“When visiting Romblon, we met this guy Louis, he told us about the freediving training he was doing with Dumagat Freedive, and the good instructor Emil.
I was curious, went to Emil and it was immediately clear that he is a professional instructor, relaxed guy, friendly and funny.
Decided to do an introduction course together with my wife.
Now I had never succeeded in equalizing, so was never able to dive below 2-3 meters when snorkeling. Emil taught me how to be completely calm, pre-equalize and then keep on equalizing with every increase of depth. It worked so well!!
So the first day I was able to reach 15m underwater. It felt amazing and I was so happy!
Thanks again and see you soon!
@everybody: I can highly recommend Emil as an instructor and freediving as an experience! (And maybe even as a new ‘hobby’) :)”
“Great freediving experience. I always wanted to try freediving and found Dumagat Freedive through Tripadvisor.
I did a try freediving session with Emil and can not recommend him enough. He makes you feel comfortable, relaxed and safe from the very beginning. It is easy to see that he loves what he is doing!
Also the contact beforehand via email was easy and you can feel that he is willing to go the extra mile for his customers.
Emil, you definitely got me hooked! I will come back :)”
“The best freediving school in the Philippines! Dumagat Freedive is a professional and fully-equipped freedive center. Emil is the best instructor you can find! I really loved my time there. He gave me feedback after every dive so I could correct myself, go deeper and freefall faster every session. As freediving is also a mind game, Emil always found the appropriate words to give me confidence and encourage me. During all the dives, I’ve felt safe and I knew I was in good hands. He was there for me and to assure my safety. Also, the shop has everything you may need, from full wetsuits to first aid kits and drinking water. Thank you so much Emil for everything (including the delicious ginger tea!). Without you, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to reach 35m (and I would even have gotten deeper if I had more time in Romblon). I highly recommend Dumagat Freedive!”