1st nat’l freediving competition takes off in New Clark City

Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving Executive Director Marco Angelo Ancheta, BCDA Officer-in-Charge for Investment Promotions and Marketing Michelle San Juan- De Vera, and DOT 3 Regional Director Richard G. Daenos present medals to the Filipino freediving athletes who brought pride to the country during the 30th AIDA World Championship in Jeju, South Korea last June. BCDA photo

The New Clark City Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac is serving as the stage for the country’s first-ever national level freediving competition from September 29 to October 1, 2023.


Association Internationale pour le Développement de l’Apnee (AIDA) Philippines, the national governing body for freediving, has partnered with the the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 3 to host the AIDA Philippines National Freediving Pool Championship in the world-class facility.


As the first competition of its kind held at a national scale, the event aims to raise the profile of competitive freediving in the country, and present an opportunity for athletes to showcase their skills on a larger stage.


“AIDA Philippines has a clear objective to elevate the landscape of freediving competitions in the Philippines and take full advantage of the diverse freediving spots available, be it in open water or pool settings. We believe that this goal can only be achieved through a collaborative effort involving the freediving community, government agencies, and the private sector,” AIDA Philippines President Ramar A. Acuna said. 


Over 30 competitive freedivers from here and abroad will be participating in the competition, driven by their hopes of becoming a national freediving champion and national record holder in four freediving disciplines, namely, static apnea, dynamic apnea with bi-fins, dynamic apnea with monofin, and dynamic apnea without fins.


This landmark event is part of DOT Region 3’s “Travel Breathe Dive” Program, which aims to promote Central Luzon as a choice destination for diving professionals and enthusiasts.


“The Travel Breathe Dive Program aims to equally promote scuba and freediving in the region through the unique combination of  diving and wellness as part of its holistic, sustainable and inclusive tourism product offerings,” DOT Region 3 Director Richard G. Daenos said. 


With the Aquatics Center hosting the national freediving championships, BCDA Officer-in-Charge for Investment Promotions and Marketing Michelle San Juan-De Vera believes that New Clark City is well-positioned to become one of the freediving spots that can be promoted under the DOT campaign. 


“With this competition, New Clark City’s world-class Aquatics Center opens its doors to more water sports aside from the events it usually hosts, such as swimming and diving. This is also a chance to showcase New Clark City’s world-class sports complex to the freediving community and help position the Aquatics Center as one of the pool freediving hubs in the country,” De Vera said. 


The partnership between BCDA, DOT Region 3, AIDA Philippines and various freediving schools started in March this year, with AIDA Philippines and the freediving schools conducting a freediving clinic for BCDA and DOT 3 personnel at the Aquatics Center. 


As part of its plans, AIDA Philippines is also actively pursuing the opportunity to host the 31st World Pool Championship in New Clark City. 


“If successful, hosting this event would not only offer our local freediving athletes the chance to compete on home turf but also expose our judges and safety divers to the intricacies and demands of a high-level international competition,” Acuna said.