Rosan Cruz is deeply involved with the Lopez Holdings Corporation. But when work is done it is scubadiving that allows Rosan to plumb the depths of coral reefs, sunken ships, and underwater caves. While others seek to climb ever higher up the corporate ladder. To Rosan success and pleasure both mean going down and deep.
Your post in one of the Philippines’ largest companies, the Lopez Group of Companies, must have been exposing you to some of the greatest corporate challenges. In spite of this, you still find time to indulge your passions, such as diving. How did you get into diving?
I started diving way back in College. My older sister introduced me to the UP Diver’s Club where I got certified as an open water diver. It was only when I got back from abroad (where I took my masters and did some work) that I seriously took up diving. Meaning, I trained in Advanced Open Water, Rescue, DiveMaster and even got training in technical diving (nitrox, cave, wrecks and deep diving)
How do you balance your corporate career with going out for diving adventures?
Before, weekends would usually be relegated to nearby spots that require at least two hours driving like Anilao in Batangas or Subic and maytolerate an additional hour’s boat ride to Verde Island or Puerto Galera. Now with the cheap air fares and evening flights, my weekend diving destinations include—e.g. Cebu’s Moalboal, Malapascua or Bohol. This means leaving Friday night and taking the early Monday morning flight to make it back to work on time.
A lot of people say that if one loves the beach and the sea, the love grows all the more when one sees the sea from below. Can you recount to us your first ever diving experience?
My first diving experience is the openwater check-out dive in Anilao. This is the final phase before getting certified. The dive instructor would do the drills and even remove the masks and regulator (in case it gets knocked off) . I remember on our way to the checkout dive spot, a pod of dolphins were escorting us and doing their fancy jumps and turns. The water was crystal clear where the visibility was almost 80 feet. I could see the boat from below. I was amazed by the number of variety marine life and how easy it was to just float and swim.
What’s your level of expertise as a diver? What is the lowest depth you have reached? Where were you able to accomplish this?
I guess I just wanted to dive and took one course after the other to improve my skill. For recreational diving, I reached Divemaster level and for technical, cave, wreck and deep diving. The deepest was 200 feet in a cave in Mapating (Anilao) and openwater, in Basterra (Tubataha). Both were technical diving – on twin 80-cubic ft tanks using ‘air’, a 80-cu ft tank with travel mix (more oxygen) and a 40-cu ft tank with 100 percent oxygen. If I remember right, both dives were almost three hours. It took so long because it required decompression stops to shave off the nitrogen build up from accumulating air. One can’t just ascend fto the surface without risking decompression sickness or the dreaded ‘bends.’ In Basterra at 200ft, that was the first time I saw a tresher shark, the long-tail shark.
What other diving goals have you set up for yourself? How do you plan to accomplish them?
I’ve always wanted to try ice diving in Alaska and dive the cenotes in Akumal (Mexico). Both are overhead environments.
In what places has your diving taken you? What for you are the best diving sites in the Philippines, in Asia, and in the world, and why?
My best diving in the Philippines would be San Agapito (in Verde) for its marine biodiversity, Bajura (Anila) its easy to get to, make sure to dive when there’s currents to see pelagics, Coron for the wrecks, Bali for the sunfish and mantas when the water is freezing (July), Cocos Islands for the schools of hammerheads, Palau for the grey reefs, Maldives for the endless fish.
What’s the condition of our seas from down under? Based on your experience, are the world’s or the country’s best dive spots being well-preserved? If not, what do you think should be done?
We need more enforcement in areas that are prone to illegal fishing activities (dynamite and cyanide) and also poachers. We’re doing a good job in Anilao where a diving pass is collected and goes to the municipal office to help police the area. In some areas its called a sanctuary fee. We can’t do anything though with the effects of global warming such as coral bleaching which lowers the reproductive ouput of corals, I’ve seen this phenomena here and abroad.
Although it’s not often the case, a lot of diving spots are connected to pristine white beaches. Among all the diving spots you have seen, which are those that are near or actually connected to such beautiful beaches?
Actually, most diving spots are usually rocky areas. But the ones with pristine white beaches are Sogod (Leyte), Siargao, Bohol and Cebu.
You are diver, that should mean you love being underwater. When above water, at the beach, what do you usually do to have a good time?
Eat. I’m also a gourmand. I love exploring and checking out the different delicacies and cuisine of the place.
What is your favorite beach and why?
Right now my favorite is Coron. Its unspoiled, not so many people, the wrecks are intact and there’s so much to see underwater.
What tips would you give those who want to try out diving, and those who want to be better divers?
Don’t panic. If you are confronted with a situation, stop breathe and then act. the best way to become a good diver is to be fit and to practice, practice practice. Meaning, work out and dive often. Please be mindful of the environment. Conrol your buoyancy so you don’t end up stepping on the corals, don’t touch sea creatures or swim towards marine life. I’ve seen divers who would swim towards a manta on top of a coral shelf being cleaned by a wrasse and scaring it away.
To improve your skills and confidence underwater, continue learning, taking more course. Make sure that to check the dive instructor’s credentials. Always dive with a buddy and look out for each other. Enter and exit together.