Apo Island: A Diver's Paradise

Sunday, August 10, 2014
If you're a diver and you've been to Apo Island in the Philippines, I'm pretty sure the name Mario will ring a familiar bell in your head - Mario Pascobello to be exact.

Mario, Lasse and I riding the boat between dives at Apo Island, Philippines
The primary reason why I decided to visit Apo was to get close with the friendly turtles who swim at very shallow waters there. I had brought along gear for snorkeling and I was not considering to become a diver... Until I met Mario.

When I first met Mario I was not in doubt; if I was to become a diver, this was the guy I wanted to teach me the ways and techniques of how to breathe underwater.
Mario brings a calmness and patience which made me feel safe from the very beginning. Alongside of that he has a tremendous passion and respect for the ocean and aquatic life which I as a diver strive to understand and attain.
Mario is a man of storytelling as well. And not just regular bedtime stories - amazing stories. Unbelievable stories. Stories from a diver who's living and breathing his passion. And though he has experienced what only few people on this planet has, his storytelling is not about bragging. Even though Mario is one hell of a diver, he doesn't tell stories to get attention or recognition. I believe that's why everyone stops and listens whenever Mario starts telling stories. There's always something to learn when his telling another story. Always there's some parallel to your dive studies or a point you'll remember forever with that one story.

As I came to Apo Island with no diving experience what so ever, I was a bit nervous about the whole breathing-under-water-thing, but Mario showed me a world so unique that I am already craving for more.

Blue-spotted Stingray at Apo Island's Coconut Reef, Philippines
Breathing underwater is so breathtaking that you almost forget to breathe! Diving takes you to an unexplored world where humans don't rule. Everything down there in the deep blue is so untouched and there's so much to see that you'd wish you had an extra pair of eyes.

Feeling confident underwater at Apo Island, Philippines
What I learned at Mario Scuba Diving & Homestay was beyond explanation. I can't describe how my first breath underwater felt like or what I saw when we went sunrise diving at 6 am, but I can tell you that it amazes you in ways you never thought possible. I felt addicted right away and I can't wait for more underwater adventures to come my way.

Green Sea Turtle at Apo Island's Chapel Reef, Philippines
And by the way. I took the time to snorkel with the turles in between my diving lessons with Mario.

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