In the PADI Open Water course your scuba instructor teaches you how to scuba dive safely together with a buddy. At its heart scuba diving isn’t very difficult to learn – but there’s a number of things you might want to do with your diving (or while diving) that takes a bit of practise and getting used to and where the aid of an instructor can severely cut down on the time you’d need to learn the same things by yourself. The PADI Underwater Photography course is a good example of this. There’s also certain things that’s just too dangerous to learn by yourself, examples of this would be the PADI Cavern specialty and the PADI Wreck Diving specialty, where you can enter an overhead environment and lose your way. Another example would be diving with enriched air without knowing the dos and don’ts of this kind of diving.
In order to offer scuba divers the chance to learn all these activities without cluttering and overloading the entry level open water diver course, PADI devised their range of specialty courses. There’s a great number of these – some pertain to special conditions such as drift, boat or night diving or even ice diving. (Yes you can dive underneath the ice, but obviously that particular scuba course isn’t available in the Philippines.) other PADI specialties are less specific and can be of use regardless of where you dive – examples of such courses would be diving with enriched air, the PADI deep diver course or the self-reliant diver specialty.