It could be said that fate brought them together. Charlie, who was looking for a dive instructor, spotted and approached a man with pepper-gray hair wearing a t-shirt with a conspicuous dive flag printed on it, while waiting in line in a bank. Although, this man already had concrete plans of retiring, the ever-convincing Charlie Gamboa talked him into joining the Paradiso Rito team.
Gifted with a rare combination of humor and retrospect, one immediately feels at ease with and enthralled by Bobby Manas, Paradiso Rito’s Dive Facility Manager, as he talks about the unique and exhilarating experience of exploring the wonders of the deep, the flow of excitement and ebb of calmness one feels when surrounded by the blueness of the underwater world, punctuated by the awesomeness of being near a myriad of spectacular marine life. Now at 64, and looking way younger, Bobby continues his passion and, together with Dive Instructor Popi Torralba, guarantees guests of Paradiso Rito a diving experience they will fondly remember.
Born and raised in Hacienda Biga-a of the Ayala-Zobel clan in Calatagan, Batangas, Bobby, with his signature self-deprecating humor, shares that during his younger years he actually thought he was an Ayala-Zobel due to the closeness of their family and actually living in the hacienda with his father, Dr. Gerardo “Doding” Manas, the Ayala-Zobel’s family physician.
Having lived in a peninsula like Calatagan, it was impossible for him to resist the calling of the sea and so, as young as thirteen years old, he already dreamt of being a diver. He poured through all the Nat Geo magazines he could find and was greatly influenced by the adventures and exploits of the legendary explorer, scientist, photographer, researcher and conservationist Jacques-Yves Cousteau. To Bobby, just like Jacques-Yves, life is an adventure and diving is one of the best-ever adventure one can dip one’s self in to. Not only because of the beauty one can find under water, but also because of its transformative ability. Bringing the diver into a meditative state, actually compelling the diver to focus, admire and reflect on the “nowness” of the moment.
As one gets to know the people that make up the Paradiso Rito family a little more intimately, one will sense a certain commonality. And that is, each and every one of them is driven by their own particular passion and has that ardent desire to share the beauty of their experiences and the benefits they have reaped from pursuing it, to everyone or anyone who is interested.
Get your southbound plans ready soon and get to know Paradiso Rito’s Dive Guru. You just might find that Zen you’ve long been searching for. And, you’ll never know, you may find yourself #EnjoyingParadisoRito more and more.