“Mermaid, you?! never thought you would agree to go for it. I thought you’ll be like, ‘oh, that’s women’s thing” My co-owner, John Hathaway II, replied in doubt to me when we were discussing that I was being sponsored via iMessage.
“Really? Honestly, I think it’s cool for any gender. I mean there are Mermaids and Mermen. They’re basically the same” I told him.
“Point taken. Well, enjoy!”
When I found out that I was being offered a sponsored mermaid lesson by The Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy in Boracay. I was like “Sure! I’ll do it. Why not!” It’ll be interesting to learn how to swim like a Merman.
The Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy was founded just a few years ago by mermaid-loving business partners Anamie Saenz and Normeth Preglo and now they teach students to focus their core muscles and swim around like Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
Anamie was the one corresponded with me through emails. We both agreed to meet at Bulabog Beach at 10am where her partner Normeth would conduct the Introduction to Mermaid Swimming lesson. She pointed out that it would be near Starbucks.
In the morning, I headed out to the Bulabog Beach. it was about 20 minutes walk. I met Normeth there; she told me that she knew some sign language. That’s really nice, a big bonus for deaf people who go there.
In the meanwhile, we had some time to kill before other people arrive. I asked the lady to explain to me what we would be doing so I would have a better idea. She handed me a flyer that would explain the procedures.
It explained on how we would lay on our backs and move our arms into a circular motion and arching our body sideways. It also talked about moving our legs up and down just like a mermaid would with their fin tail. How to arch our fin tail in the air and doing flips were also on the flyer. The flyer also included information on how to deal with deep-water swimming, how to hold my breath effectively so that I would be able to stay under the water longer.
After going over the flyer, I asked her how long she had been working there and she said had been working there for twenty-three years. After inquiring how she knew some signs, she said she had been a certified scuba instructor, and while scuba diving underwater you would need to be able to communicate underwater. She felt like knowing signs would help her with that, but she doesn’t use it often though because the residents in the Boracay didn’t really use sign language. She remembered some—mostly gestures, but was she fluent in sign language? No. Although, she had a slate that we could write on to communicate that could also be in the water.
That underwater slate was what we had been using and we used it from time to time during the lesson as well.
The wait for people to arrive finally ended. Everybody was here.
I finally got my mermaid tail fin, it was really nice. It was sleek and curvy on the legs. Bright orange with fading blue swirls at the bottom of fin. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. You agree? Yes? =P
We proceeded to the area where we would do it. Then we did some stretching exercises to loosen up our bodies for the activity. I was with five other women. One of them had a boyfriend taking pictures. At least I think he was a boyfriend.
Anamie explained that we would be going into the water and swimming with the mermaid fin tail. Before we did that, we had to test the mermaid tail fin and make sure it fit us. Normeth personally guided me through the lesson while the others had one guide, Anamie, for all of them. Normeth wanted to personally instruct me because she wanted to make sure I would be able to get full understanding and experience in this lesson, so I could enjoy it to the max.
I put my feet into the fin first and then slowly pulled it up my legs up to my waist. After the fin was all fitted and snug on my legs, I moved the fin up and down to get the idea how it worked. I also took several fun poses as they took pictures of me. One pose with the fin on the ground, another pose with the fin in the air, and a couple more.
Everybody was laughing and giggling as that went on. The women were praised for taking a part in and they ridiculed the other guys—maybe boyfriends?—for not taking a part in this. The guys were speechless and provided no rebuttal to this. They acted like it wasn’t a cool thing for men to do. I disagree; it is a cool thing to do.
Anyway, after all the pictures and giggling was done. We had to go into the water, it was not easy. Obviously we couldn’t use our legs so we had to use our arms to move ourselves through the thick green moss on the beach and in the water. As we got further into the water, it became easier.
We had goggles too, and they said to make sure that we had complete control of our body and breathing before we went any further so that we wouldn’t drown or any have any mishaps. We all understood and prepped ourselves.
We were told to flop our mermaid tail fins in the water up and down while on our backs and then were told to do it on stomachs as well. We also were told to do it in the water to dive into the water and move using our legs. They wanted to see and make sure that we understood how to do it by using the fins like a mermaid would.
We had to go up and down and twirl around in the water just like you would see a mermaid swim. We also had to propel ourselves up to the surface using the tail and move around. The water was about three to four feet deep.
They instructed us to use the fins and arms to make a backward and forward flip in the water. I wasn’t sure if I would be successful as the water was only three, four feet deep. I attempted and to my surprise I made it, I also succeeded with a forward flip.
They showed us different kinds of hand signals that we would need to follow. If they turn their hand a certain way we would have to do a certain motion. It was really easy to understand and a lady filmed us the whole time. We practiced a little bit more and it really did feel surreal doing this.
It felt so different. I’d usually fail my legs and feet while swimming without the fin, but this one I had flop both of my feet in a fin. It was harder, but somewhat faster, I think… Well, maybe it was the fin that got me swimming faster. Hmm.
After some practice, we were quite comfortable with all this before actually going out to swim. I wasn’t doing too badly with all the moves that they taught us. I felt really coordinated while doing it. You really need to move your legs up and down with force in order to propel yourself forward. If you just do it easily and without power, you won’t get anywhere.
You also need to control your body using your arms and your upper body by moving it. That is really key, using your body to control your movements.
After we all got our practicing in, they asked if we were ready to move to a deeper area. It was about 10-15 feet deep with a floating tube around it. We were able to make deep dives there in the arena. Underwater you were able to see a variety of sea life: crabs, lobsters and of course, coral reefs.
Once we got there, I took my first dive into the water but immediately resurfaced as I was out of breath. They immediately took notice and taught me how to control my breathing.
They told me to take a deep breath and hold it for a while then exhale and then take another deep breath and do it a few times. This will cause your lungs to expand more each time, which allows you to hold more air in your lungs. The final time you do it you do it slowly and then go into the water. This will allow your body and mind to control your breathing thus allowing you to stay underwater longer. I thought that was interesting and I went ahead and tried it, and it worked. I went into the water with plenty of air, releasing bubbles of air every once in a while.
It was beautiful moving through the water gracefully by waving my tail fin, looking at the water reflections from the sun above. The water was shimmering; you could see the people above the water watching. It was awe-inspiring, so much fun analyzing the views I was seeing as I swam through the water.
I went underwater a few times but it was challenging with holding my breath for a long period of times. After a few attempts, I stayed on the surface and did different motions and flips. I totally felt like I was a fish, a Merman. Swam around like a Merman for fifteen minutes, it felt good. Afterwards we all returned to the beach, took off our tails. I thanked them and that was it.
Would it be worth your money and time trying this activity?
I would say yes, definitely because it was a great experience. They teach you on how to control your body, how to control the fin, as well as how to do free dive-breathing techniques. There’s a lot to learn, it surely can benefit you in many different ways.
It did help me later on when I swam in one of Island Hopping tours in Palawan. I was able to swim underwater for a long time with ease while others struggled with it. I went down deep underwater about twenty feet. I did feel pressure in my ears, but no problem with my breathing. I was never able to do that, but I was able to—definitely helped. All thanks to them!
Bottom line: It was nice and fun to become a merman/mermaid for the day, it just was. We definitely had some good laughs.
It should be on your bucket list!
Where did you stay at?
Pahuwayan Suites was where I stayed at this time.
Few days before the lesson, Normeth was very kind and helpful through the emails when I asked to see if she could help finding accommodation who would agree to sponsor my stay for couple of nights. She was quick to assist me and connected me to Joyce, the owner of Pahuwayan Suites.
That resort was just, wow! Beautiful. The beach was literally right there.
The rooms were amazing, clean beds with a large TV screen. It had really nice showers and really soft towels—so soft I almost fell asleep on it—and shampoos are included.
Breakfasts in the mornings were complimentary. Breakfasts there were really good. Plenty of areas to relax there, plenty of high-speed internet access. It was just an all-around good place to stay at; they treated me very well for the two nights I stayed there.
The Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy
- Address: Fisheye Divers, Station 2, White Beach, Malay, Aklan, Aklan Province 5608, Philippines
- Phone Number: +63 917 324 39 47
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.philippinemermaidswimmingacademy.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhilippineMermaidSwimmingAcademy
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/boracaymermaids/
- Address: Bulabog Beach, Balabag, Boracay island, Malay, Aklan, 5608 Philippines
- Phone Number: +63 36 288 1449
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://pahuwayan.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pahuwayan
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Philippines Mermaid Swimming Academy and Pahuwayan Suites. I received a free mermaid swimming lesson with lodging accommodations in exchange of this blog review. All opinions are my own.