The Freediver: Martin Zapanta

Back in 2015, I went island hopping in Balicasag. I knew how to swim in a pool but it was my first time to snorkel in open water. I thought it was going to be easy. Then the water started to enter my mask. I panicked and almost drowned. Thankfully, I managed to get back on the boat. I promised myself that I will learn how to swim freely.

I gravitated towards freediving. It looked graceful and practical to me. But it was also physically more challenging. I was diving almost everyday, trying to focus on my depth and technique. One of my goals was to find a way to combine my experience at work with my newfound passion. I found the right mix when I became a freediving instructor and pursued underwater photography and filmmaking.

I enjoy teaching people how to freedive and capture moments underwater. It brings me joy to see them start from nothing and end up holding their breath longer, diving deeper. Each student has their own strengths and weaknesses, every class is different. Every attempt feels like a puzzle I need to solve, I enjoy figuring out the best ways to help them finish their course.

Don't wait for the opportunity to come, create them. Explore every possible way and don't be afraid to try something new.


Story and Photos by Martin Zapanta

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