In the world of imagination, children dream of living a fairy tale. In reality, there’s the mermaid academy. Yes, there are swimming schools for those who want to be like Ariel, the heroine of the movie The Little Mermaid, or, closer to home, Jezebel.
Being a mermaid is not all about carousing in the water among the coral reefs and schools of fish, as Ariel does with her long colorful hair trailing her. It also means learning the basic strokes of gliding and moving underwater with legs enclosed in a 2-kg mermaid tail, movements that also happen to work out the core abdominal muscles, the lower back, legs and entire upper body.
That is why being a mermaid takes training, and an aspiring mermaid or merman, as the male counterpart, can enroll at the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy which was founded in Boracay but also has sites in Manila and Cebu.
Indeed, mermaid training is challenging work. At the PSMA, the different lessons last from 90 minutes to five hours long, depending on the level. The first lessons include familiarization with the mermaid tail, a safety briefing, learning the four basic swim strokes and breathing techniques and also practicing these skills in three-meter deep waters.
Advanced swimming lessons specialize in breathing and equalizing techniques, rescue exercises, various underwater mermaid tricks, bubble and blowing in a depth of 10 meters of water.
A certificate card from the International Mermaid Swimming Instructors Association is given during the introduction and the advanced levels.
Other lessons include free-diving basic techniques, performance mermaid and scuba mermaid. These three require a Professional Association of Diving Instructors Certification or a Free Diver certificate from the International Association for Development of Apnea.
For those who are afraid of the water but still want to capture a perfect mermaid moment, the Academy offers a mermaid photo opportunity. For 30 minutes, PSMA teaches the student how to pose like a pro. Fees include the tail rental and directed photo shoot on dry sand and in knee-deep sea water.
The growing number of mermaid and merman enthusiasts has prompted the celebration of the first-ever International Mermaid Day on March 29 and March is the mermaid month.
All photos were granted permission from PSMA. For inquiries, you can check the website:
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