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A Sensei of the Seas at Anilao, Batangas

I was blessed to have an instructor like Marianito “Lito” Castillo introduce me to the joys of scuba diving in Eagle Point Resort at Anilao, Batangas.

 

By Anna Liese L. Roque

Marianito “Lito” Castillo is the resident dive master and instructor with Eagle Point Resort
Marianito “Lito” Castillo is the resident dive master and instructor with Eagle Point Resort

Trust is the foundation of all relationships. In the case of a student-teacher relationship, the student trusts that the teacher knows his or her subject thoroughly, and the teacher trusts that the student is willing to learn.  In learning situations involving physical safety in an unfamiliar environment, there is an added dimension to the trust of the student in the teacher’s knowledge and experience.

 

AL-010I was blessed to have an instructor like Marianito “Lito” Castillo introduce me to the joys of scuba diving in Eagle Point Resort at Anilao, Batangas.  Born and raised in the area, Lito was familiar with the currents, underwater sights and yes, even dangers of the waters of Batangas. Proficient in both English and Tagalog, Lito set me at ease with his humor and reassured me with his calm but brisk explanation and demonstration of the scuba gear. He never showed any impatience at all when answering my many questions about the equipment and what to expect in the dive pool and the waters off Eagle Point Resort. He was also thorough in checking that I was doing the drills (underwater breathing, regulator retrieval, etc) properly and comfortably under his direct supervision.

Lito gave me the benefit of his 32 years of diving, inclusive of 15 years of experience as a dive instructor. Interestingly, despite being the eldest in their family, Lito was not the first to learn how to scuba dive among his siblings, one of whom is a dive instructor too, and the other a commercial diver.  He was preceded by his two younger brothers who were employed as dive instructors at nearby resorts. It was his two younger brothers who taught him how to dive in 1981.  Lito recalls spear-fishing with his brothers once he learned how to dive, and back when it was still allowed.  By 1989, Lito had earned his professional diver’s license on his own coin, allowing him to go on a thousand dives while he was in Palau for work.  By 1995, he had joined Eagle Point Resort as a certified dive master.  Note that it was quite expensive to get PADI certifications back then, given that PADI-certified centers were located in Puerto Galera, and there were payments required in dollars.  Back then, the signed certifications were issued only by the US branch of PADI.  The current crop of divers interested in certification can now enjoy the option of having their certifications issued by the Australian branch of PADI.

By 1998, despite having to pay his own way, Lito decided to go for a PADI certification in dive instruction so he could do what he enjoyed best:  teaching others. Lito admits he enjoys his role as instructor more than his role as a divemaster. Lito seems to have come by his love of teaching naturally having taught aikido while working as a security guard to finance his college studies. At 56 years old, he shows no sign of neither increasing age, nor declining interest, despite having raised three professionals (two sons involved in the IT industry and a daughter who is a nurse) and enjoying grandchildren. He mentions how lucky he is that he can think of enjoying the rest of his life and retirement in the beauty of Eagle Point Resort, in the company of family, doing what he enjoys the most.

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I started off just wanting to cure my curiosity about scuba diving with a one-time only introduction to scuba diving.  But with Lito as a teacher, continuing my education and possibly earning a diver’s certification is certainly beginning to look quite appealing, thanks to my sensei of the seas!

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