Bernil H. Gastardo

bernilBernil was raised in Toledo City where his father worked as an Engineer for the Atlas Fertilizer Corp. His primary and secondary education was in the company subsidized school called the Andres Soriano Memorial School de La Salle.

1993 was when he first tasted SCUBA in the University of Cebu pool on his last year as a Nautical cadet. Hooked, he did a few more non- certification dives in Mactan before he was sent to Europe to start a year-long contract as a Deck Apprentice for a Norwegian bulk-shipping company. The Arctic Circle, the North Sea and the busy ship schedule gave Bernil little chance to do any diving. He advanced his diving certification levels in between contracts.

In 1999 he passed his Divemaster course, 5 months later he became a PADI Instructor. Bernil secured a job in a liveaboard company where he acquired extensive diving experience in areas such as Apo Reef – Mindoro, Coron & Tubbataha Reef- Palawan, Apo Island- Dumaguete, Malapascua- Cebu, Cabilao & Balicasag- Bohol.

On March of 2005 he became a DSAT Tec Deep Diver. This initial technical certification was followed by an IANTD certificate in Technical Wreck and DSAT Trimix. Exotic gas (helium) and deep wrecks proved a great combination and he was part of a small team that located and dived WW2 Japanese and American wrecks in the Bay of Ormoc in 2006.

In 2007, a fateful re-introduction to Doc Amores (whom he first met in 2002) ignited Bernil’s interest in cave diving after the good doctor regaled him with the story of his discovery of a freshwater cave beside a highway in Mactan. Bernil then enrolled in the IANTD Cave course and he was certified Technical Cave diver with the Pawod Cave as his graduation stage.

Bernil is happily married and blessed with a lovely daughter.

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