Actress Sarah Lahbati wowed her social media followers a few months ago with her amazing diving photos taken by the talented photographer Martin Zapanta. And one of those photos caught the attention of Asian Diver, which is recognized internationally for its penetrating and unique insights into the world’s richest dive regions.
And yesterday, September 22, Sarah shared via Instagram that she was invited to give a talk for the Philippine International Dive Expo hosted by the Department of Tourism. In the tourism talk, which happened over the weekend at the Conrad Manila, she was able to share how she made it on the cover of the Asian Diver as well as her diving journey in front of a huge crowd.
“Got a chance to be at the Philippine International Dive Expo to talk about how I started w/ scuba diving, free diving & how I ended up on the cover of Asian Diver.” Sarah wrote on her IG post.
Sarah also mentioned there that her love for diving was hugely influenced by her father, who’s a scuba-diving addict. And later on, she met her celebrity partner Richatd Gutierrez, who also happens to share the same passion for the sport.
But since she said she gets shy with public speaking, she just decided to write her whole speech.
For those who missed her speech at the said event, Sarah published her piece online.
Her speech read: “I’m Sarah Lahbati. I am a mother, an actress, a wife to be & an ocean lover. I started my scuba diving journey at the age of 8 using a bubble maker because my dad who’s a scuba instructor forced me into it. I’m glad he did. About 7 years ago I met my fiancé, Richard who you may know as an actor but his real passion lies in underwater photography. We’re both certified AIDA 2 free divers.”
AIDA, according to their website, is one of the first worldwide freediving organizations and actually the most renowned. It was founded in France more than 20 years ago by freedivers for freedivers. And it offers freediving courses for beginners to instructor levels.
“We started free diving a few years back in Moalboal & completely fell in love with it. Free diving led me to landing on the cover of Asian Diver shot by the talented Martin Zapanta. I’ve always admired his work & liked every single photo he’s shot.
“We’ve been fortunate to be able to travel the world & swim with beautiful & smart underwater creatures. I love being based here in the Philippines & being able to go to beautiful islands only a few hours away from the city by plane.”
In the same speech, Sarah made sure that she also mentions her advocacy, which is about the urgent need to save the seas and to protect all the underwater species.
“Who here feels depressed after an amazing vacation?,” she asked in her speech. “I think we all do. The one feeling I always get after a trip is obviously feeling bittersweet. But because it’s more than that...when I rewind in my mind, all the amazing interactions I’ve had underwater, I truly feel blessed. But I’ve also seen a lot of sharks with fishing hooks on their mouth or dead turtles wrapped in plastic or fishing nets. Just a whole lot of plastic all over our ocean and that pains me. I wish I could do more to protect them & help make a change.
“My favorite person in the world, aside from my family, once said ‘Here we are, the most clever species ever to have lived. So how is it we can destroy the only planet we have? What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.’”
Sarah ended her long speech by encouraging others to take part in saving the ocean, saying: “I hope we continue to spread awareness on protecting our oceans & their inhabitants. To urge our leaders to take action. I dream of a world where our children & future generations experience nature cohesively.”
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