“Inner peace and connection to the earth is what I attained in freediving. It’s a personal space that I want to share with everyone through safe practices and my art—film and photography.”
Valerie Faye Bautista or VAL is a freediving instructor and a photographer/filmmaker from the Philippines. She started freediving in 2015 and since then, she has promoted safe freediving and has shot several UW short films and photographs in the country. She is an official Garmin PH Dive Ambassador.
In 2017, after finishing her IDC in Cebu, she went back to Manila and established Azul Freediving school, which has been awarded by Travel and Hospitality Awards as the 2019 and 2020 Best Diving School in CALABARZON, Philippines’ Best Group Travel Company 2020 by International Travel Awards, and 2019 Best Diving and Travel Company by LTG Asia and Australasia Awards.
Currently, she is the first Freediving Instructor Specialist of Amanpulo and AmanGroups.
Val holds a 1x-Philippine National Record for DYN. She plans to compete again in 2021 but for now, she’s focused on training her students for future competitions and instructorship.
To connect more with nature, VAL also travels on different local and international diving spots with her students. She uses her films and photographs to inspire people to value and appreciate our ocean. To help the coastal communities, she also directed Project Silay, an NGO providing diving masks and marine conservation etiquette to the youths of local tribes in the Philippines.
“My dream to swim with the whalesharks has got me started to freediving, and now, combined with my passion in photography and film, I found a bigger purpose on promoting this lifestyle and sports to everyone.”