A father of two beautiful children, Juan Naval is a filmmaker topside. He started diving in 1987 when his older brother bought him an open water course with NAUI under Louie Mora and has been diving ever since. He took his advanced class 8 years later with PADI and progressed through the courses all the way up to Divemaster under the guidance of Mario Elumba, Boy Siojo and Louie Bernardo.
By 2009, through Louie Bernardo and Miko Zulueta, he was exposed to Hogarthian DIR principles and became increasingly intrigued by it. Looking around for training, he found Unified Team Diving, an agency that had it’s roots in Hogarthian DIR founded by Andrew Georgitsis the former Training Director of Global Underwater Explorers. Interested in it’s philosophy of diving education and safety while being inclusive and non-elitist, he was quick to sign up for a class.
In 2010 he became the first UTD trained diver in the Philippines having taken Essentials of Technical under Singapore-based UTD Instructor Chew Poh Chang. Right after the class, he quickly applied what was learned in a National Geographic funded study of Marigondon Cave in Cebu as a safety diver. By 2011, he took the UTD Instructor Development Course held in Anilao, Batangas with Andrew Georgitsis at the helm, alongside the late Tom Morato and became one of the first two UTD instructors in the Philippines. During the same period, he took the Overhead Protocols Class in Subic Bay and finished his side-mount and cave training in Pawod, Cebu having been fortunate enough to be trained by both Andrew and Tom, joined by Chew Poh Chang and Poby Han for the in-water sessions. During training, at the last cave dive, Andrew gave Juan a glance, looking in his eyes all lit up from the experience and said, “you’ve got the cave bug now.” He was right.
He has since become the most senior UTD instructor in the Philippines, offering a range of courses that spans Recreational, to Essentials of Technical and Overheads. Juan is also working on instructor upgrades to certify for Technical, Cave as well as to eventually complete his qualifications as an Instructor Trainer.