Finding one’s passion is the same as finding one’s true self, such is the case for Michael Dizon who discovered his fascination and passion for marine life at an early age. As a grade school student, he began his collection of freshwater fish with purchases he made outside the gates of La Salle Greenhills, which he later on kept in his 50-gallon tank at home. Michael’s budding collection, however, was cut short after he was sent to the states to continue his education at a military school – where he learned the discipline and determination he still applies to this day. He later on finished his high school education at a co-ed Franciscan school in Long Island, New York.

Discovering His Artistic Talent

While pursuing his undergraduate degree at Fordham University, Michael discovered his artistic side during an elective class in graphic design which challenged him to excel in class. Fortunately, his graphic design class didn’t only push him to do better, but it also ignited a new fire in him – one that is creative and artistic in nature.

This latter on persuaded him to foster his newfound talent at the Pratt Institute, where he received professional training for two years, before pursuing a promising career in the software industry. However, while at the Pratt Institute, Michael proved to himself that he is truly an artist at heart and everything artistic was second nature to him, as he was able develop remarkable graphic works and art pieces. His works as a visual artist, in fact, has garnered recognition in and outside school. On top of his recognitions, he has also contributed in an art exhibit in the Philippines to showcase the country’s natural beauty through his photography.

Currently, Michael actively develops his artistic portfolio – which includes coral art as sculptures, illustrations, and fashion & landscape photographs. He is also engaged in Three-Dimensional (3D) Modeling – which transforms his designs into solid objects, as part of his way to visual communication projects; he has also begun to try his hand in metal sculptures on wall. Some of his corporate graphic works also remain to be present around the country and continue to serve visual communication needs of his past and present clients.

Re-sparking His Love for Marine Fish

As Michael went on with his post-college life, his passion for marine fish once again resurfaced, as he began to fill up his 60-gallon saltwater aquarium in his New York City apartment. This carried over upon his return to the Philippines, immediately after he closed down his graphics company. He fondly remembers how he repeatedly gets excited whenever he sees saltwater aquariums. Such was the case after he visited a restaurant in San Juan, which prompted him to go to Cartimar and restart his collection of saltwater fish. Things, however, didn’t immediately bode well for him, as he had difficulty keeping his fish alive, which led to him to conduct his own research in properly caring for his collection.

His desire and passion later led to his lengthy trip to Spain, where he consulted a European exporter on how to properly maintain his saltwater fish collection.

Upon his return to the country, he applied his newly acquired knowledge which proved to be effective, as he was able to cultivate his collection. It was also during this period when he was able to gain access to better quality fish and began to import for his collection.

In 2003, Michael began Direct Aquatic – borne out of his desire and mission to help out his fellow marine life hobbyist in caring for their collection.

His shop aimed to address the lack of proper equipment, food, and supplement to properly maintain one’s saltwater aquarium tanks.

Today, Direct Aquatic is only one of the few shops knowledgeable in breeding clown fish, and is accredited by the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC) for handling, husbandry, and transport.

Pursuing an Advocacy

Even with an established reputation in the marine aquatic community, Direct Aquatic never seemed to have it easy, as it encountered multiple challenges since being established. Michael’s passion, however, never wavered and he continued to pursue his shop – seeing it as the materialization of his passion, which has now transformed into an advocacy.

Recognized as an environmentalist, his life-long fascination for nature have driven him to contribute in preserving the environment, whether through his inventions, artworks, or his saltwater aquariums.

As an inventor, Michael developed his own water filtration system, which harvests and treats rain water to make them suitable for drinking and to meet his home’s water requirements. This is the same water used for his pool equipped with an automated maintenance and temperature system that he developed, which can be controlled via a mobile device.

As an aquarium expert, he uses his fascination as inspiration in becoming a beacon in the unified drive of saving the fish, and keeping them alive – outside of their natural habitat.

Michael has also joined a few foundations, in order to help him learn more and impart his knowledge to others, and has likewise written articles to guide his fellow hobbyist.

Through his drive for his passion-turned-advocacy, he has also sought more knowledge outside of the country to better improve the system used by the marine aquatic community in the country. Most recently, he gained knowledge on the system used by marine aquatic experts in Japan – something which he has already applied in his San Juan based shop.

Applying His Artistic Talent to His Passion

Michael’s fascination for marine life went beyond properly maintaining and customizing saltwater aquarium tanks, as he also began to develop his own artificial corals. Using his background in the arts, he began to create more lifelike and hand-molded corals that weren’t plastic and rubbery.

Currently, artificial corals are made by him and his team in-house, and are proven to be a cut above the rest in the market, which has helped in Direct Aquatic’s evolution into one of the most well-known and respected marine aquarium sources in the county.

Portfolio

Coral Sculptures
Creative Directing
Photography
Package Design
Annual Report
Booth Design
Brochure
Invitation Design
Logo Design
Newsletter Design
Illustrations