Author Archives: Asia Divers

Eggciting times in Puerto Galera~!

This month’s Monday News cover photo is a real special treat, taken by Jordi Lopez! Look very carefully and you’ll see the baby flamboyant cuttlefish inside. Our divers we’re very lucky to witness them hatching!! If you would like to get our weekly newsletter to keep up to date on everything here just send us an email to: instructors@asiadivers.com


What’s been happening

June has started out as an amazing weather month. Perfect diving conditions, warm clear water and so much cool stuff to see! There are no more Covid test requirements to come to the Philippines if your fully vaccinated and have a booster and  the insurance requirement has also been lifted. The other very recent news is that for those travelling to the U.S.A. there is no more test requirement so very easy to go home if you’re from there. Start planning your visit to El Galleon and Asia Divers now! https://asiadivers.com/reservations/

June 1 2022. We couldn’t find thresher sharks this morning ….No problem. We saw Manta Ray instead!!! What an amazing surprise for our group of divers.

No matter what level of diver you are and no matter how many exotic locations you have dived, the diving in Puerto Galera will not disappoint even the most seasoned of divers.

Puerto Galera offers beautiful protected coves with stunning coral gardens and scores of exotic underwater species. Schooling reef fish, including jacks, snappers, fairy basslets, triggerfish, groupers, trevally, drummers and barracuda, set the scene against vibrant coral reefs and passing reef sharks. Turtles, moray eels, cephalopods and macro crustaceans are all found in abundance. And then there’s the thresher sharks – one of the most impressive sharks to see in the ocean.

P.G.  offers everything underwater that you would expect from the world-class scuba diving in the Philippines. From macro critters to cruising pelagics, Puerto Galera truly has it all – and in abundance!

The Best of Solomon Islands

Join us November 18 to November 28!  Asia Divers will be hosting a dive liveaboard, aboard the M/V Solomon Master and  Maria will be the one to lead this trip. Check out the schedule, details of the M/V Solomon Master and some of the amazing dive sites you’ll visit aboard this impressive vessel. Dive sites, reef, walls, WWII wrecks, amazing swim throughs such as the Leru Cut.  Departs from Coral Sea Resort, Honiara Solomon Islands, 16:00hrs November 18. Contact us at admin@asiadivers for more information if you’re interested to join.

E-IDC update

Congratulations to David, our newest PADI Instructor for passing the IE and to Pete who did his Staff Instructor course. Pedro and the whole team here at Asia Divers are very proud of you both!  If you are a PADI Divemaster with at least 100 logged dives, you can sign up for the next IDC and become a PADI instructor. Next IDC Sep. 4 – 16. IE Sep 17-18. RSVP: instructors@asiadivers.com.

 

 

A day at Verde Island with Asia Divers


Very happy divers after two dives at Verde Island! Great shot Robin Chew.

Experts have called The Verde Island Passage the “centre of the centre” of the world’s marine biodiversity. Life enhancing nutrients from the Pacific mix with waters of the South China Sea. You would never guess that beneath the surface are spectacular reef formations with more than 300 species of corals and underwater rock canyons that host nearly 60 percent of the world’s known shorefish species.

The Verde Island passage is situated between the islands of Luzon and Mindoro. A trip to Puerto Galera is not complete with at least one visit to Verde Island. You can get there in 40 minutes by bangka, which is a local outrigger boat, or 20 minutes by speedboat.

 

Gorgeous colours of Verde Island. Photos by Beth Watson

The best and most well known dive site is the “Verde Island Drop off” or “San Agapito” about 300 meters off shore. Approaching the dive site you are greeted by the rough tips of pinnacles breaking the surface. From the surface it doesn’t look like much, but as soon as you drop in, you’ll see that these pinnacles are like the icing on top of large colourful birthday cake.

The Drop Off can be described best as steep slopes with stunning vertical walls that drop down to 70 meters or more. Beautiful gorgonian fans, basket sponges and anemones nestle in and make their home here. Numerous nooks and crannies are home to all sorts of reef life including shrimps, sea snakes, scorpion fish and moray eels. Volcanic bubbles rise up through the corals and create a magical effect. Anthias and red-tooth triggerfish are so abundant that I tell people that there are so many fish on the pinnacle that they’ll have to push them aside to see the reef.

 

Surface interval on Verde.

This is one of those dives sites that you can happily use a wide-angle lens or a macro lens and come away with great shots. Since Puerto Galera is known so widely for its macro I sometimes encourage the photographers to pull out their wide-angle lens for a day on Verde to take advantage of the spectacular pinnacles and beautiful gorgonian sea fans. These teamed up with the colourful anemones and reef fishes make an excellent backdrop and are a great area to shoot wide angle. Nudibranches are plentiful and you’re bound to see a gnarly scorpion fish or two, so a macro lens will come in good use as well.

The currents on Verde can be tricky, but going with an experienced guide you can safely manage them. The key is to stay tight to the pinnacle and not get pushed over deep water into the strong currents. As you approach “the corner” you can feel the current pushing in your face, so you can make a decision of what to do next. With an experienced group I like to get on to the corner and “watch the show”. This where you have the best chance to see many of the larger fishes including schooling jacks, sweetlips, tuna and snapper all dancing in the current. I love to be in the mix of this, but if my group is less experienced I can turn around and miss this corner and keep everyone out of the current.

Treasure hunting….

A Spanish galleon, the Nuestra Senora dela Vida, which sank in 1620, was discovered in the late seventies just off Verde Island. Unfortunately it was heavily salvaged in the 70’s and 80’s and nothing remains of the wreck except for a few pieces of porcelain. The larger plates and terracotta jars are now long gone. I like to take my divers “treasure hunting” for these little pieces of porcelain during their surface interval. If you walk along the beachfront and look in the sand you can be sure to find a few pieces wash ashore. It’s a nice little souvenir to go home with.

A day trip to Verde Island is a great experience for our guests. They get to dive on a spectacular dive site with prolific fish life, learn a bit of local history and combine this with a beach barbeque you’ll have a lot of happy people.

Celebrate of 30 years of Asian Diver with us!

Asian Diver is celebrating 30 years of publishing with a special feature of divers digging deep into their greatest diving experiences. Allan Nash was asked to be featured in their upcoming issue of Asian Diver. Under the 2010s category, he was asked to answer the following questions:

  1. Share one unforgettable diving experience in the 2010s.
  2. What were your favourite dive sites in the 2010s?
  3. What diving gears did you use in the 2010s?
  4. How did you connect with Asian Diver Magazine? As a reader, contributor or part of the team.


Learning to dive at the age of 12

Below are his answers:

I’m the founding partner of Asia Divers and we own operate Asia Divers, El Galleon Resort, Tech Asia and Ocean Dive Supplies, Philippines. Asia Divers was started May 1987, the other businesses followed shortly after.

I traveled the world diving and some of my favorite places to dive is the Cenote in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Mt Gambier South Australia, the wrecks of Tuke and the Sardine Run in South Africa. But one dive I know well is Black Fish off Verdi island, out of Puerto Galera Philippines, it simply never fails to please.

My first dive at Black Fish was a tech dive to 50m. It starts with a descent to 30m, down a pinnacle (starts at 20m) that is covered with colours and fish life. It rolls off into the abyss. Visibility is almost always twenty to thirty plus meters and there is as the name suggests the resident school of black fish to welcome you on the descent. You drop off the side of a wall that will decent to well over a hundred meters with large over hangs and just a few meters off the wall is another pinnacle that rises up from the depths to around 40m giving you the opportunity to swim over and around the top of this pinnacle. From there you swim (scooter) along and slightly up to where it slops up to an amazing forest of giant Gorgonians, spectacular view looking up through this forest and to the main pinnacle of Black Fish which will lead you up through fantastic formations covered with hard and soft corals to where you will eventually ascend up a finger like pinnacle to a depth of 21m, switch over to 50% and swim south west to the slopping island of Verdi where you slowly make your way up and around a corner into a quiet 6m, switch to a 100% and finish your dive in a sandy colourful reef with all kinds of small critters to amaze you while you finish your deco. Defiantly one of my favourite dives.

On the way to Black Fish early to mid 2010’s

My favourite dives in 2010’s would be the Sardine Run off of the wild coast of Africa. Manta aggregation Dives in northern Maldives, big action dives Darwin Galapagos, Cocos pinnacle, Mantas Raja Ampat Indonesia Cenote Pet Cemetery includes King Pong restriction onto the Blue Abyss, Mexico.

My dive gear, Tech is Halcyon regulators, lights and wing with Shearwater computers. I used an Inspiration rebreather, and Suex scooter. Recreational dives, Cressi dive gear with Waterproof wetsuits.

I first met the Asian Diver magazine owner back in the very start when it was launched at the Asian Dive Expo in Singapore. I was  regular advertiser in Asian Diver mag and if I remember right I may have done an article in one or two additions. I have written for many magazines, but it has been a while since I have done any stories.

Allan Nash
Managing Director
El Galleon Resort
PADI Course Director

 

March into Paradise

Spectacular sunsets, turquoise waters, and lots of fun for the kids right here in our beachfront! The resort sits on the largest beachfront property in Small Lalaguna beach, and the waters in front of the resort are excellent for swimming and snorkeling.

We are only 3 hours away from Manila, and we offer private transfers that can drop you off directly here in the resort. Only a booking confirmation and tourist QR code are required to enter Puerto Galera. So…what are you waiting for?! email:admin@asiadivers.com

What’s been happening

Tina has got back into mermaid mode since she arrived here last week. A refresher course got her going so that she could spend the rest of the week happily submerged.  Her last dive for this trip was with Arthur and Rene.

Want to give it a go?! After a short briefing you’ll get comfortable with the gear and the basics of diving in the comfort and safety of our training pool under the watchful eye of an experienced Instructor. You’ll then enjoy a great dive at one of Puerto Galera’s unrivaled sites, your Instructor will never be far away as you’re introduced to a wonderful new world. Check out the PADI Discover Scuba program: https://asiadivers.com/padi-diving-courses-philippines/padi-recreational-scuba-diving-courses/ and contact us for a dip in the ocean.

It’s been great to have Pedro Magsino back on the Asia Divers dive platform these past few days. He’s been busy with an IDC here. Looking to become a PADI instructor? checkout all the details on how to do it with our awesome team: https://asiadivers.com/gopro/

Happy 65th to Tommy! Hope the next year is full of many great adventures for you…

 

A very long time friend of Allan’s, Steve Smith was here for a visit along with Rey Villarama. Allan has known Steve from his previous life back in Hong Kong, but have remained friends ever since. It’s always such a wonderful thing to have our long time  friends visit us here. Enjoy the rest of your time together in the Philippines.

 

Thanks to Sarah McLeod for this gorgeous photo from the Point Bar. Best place in the world to enjoy happy hour!

Delicious  times!

What a delicious afternoon spent with friends. Allan hosted an a special lunch at El Galleon with chef Mark Biddle who created and supervised  this 6 course long lunch along with our El Galleon team. Mark is an accomplished chef with forty years of extensive culinary, kitchen management and menu planning experience gained all over the world. You can only imagine what a culinary experience this was!

 

What’s new at Ocean Dive Supply

 

New arrival of wetsuit, hood and boots from Waterproof Diving International. With all the delivery problems and delays we are happy to see our stock of below being topped up again.
https://divesupply.com.ph/en/blog/viewpost/105/waterproof-new-arrival

Allan is checking out the hood!

I’ve lived in Puerto Galera for almost thirty-six years and thought I’d been to most places, yet over the past fourteen months of so called lockdown, it has given me a chance to explore places I would probably have not thought of doing so. The other day I had a great time exploring Tagaparaiso falls, back of Baco and Malaylay river, mostly on my motor bike. Tagaparaiso falls was a nice ride and a two hundred meter jungle track up a river to find the falls, great little spot, what a find! Then it was off to find some dirt to play in and I got plenty of it, river crossings, and some fun trails with outstanding views. Over the months I have found places I love going back to, it’s an amazing island, so very grateful.

As well as Scuba Diving, El Galleon offers kayaking, sunset cruises, beach hopping, volleyball, golfing, snorkeling, and trekking. Whether it’s a lazy day in the sun, some adventure or a game of golf, we have what you’re looking for. See this like for Activities to do while you’re in Puerto Galera. We can arrange all for you!

https://asiadivers.com/beach-resort-philippines/recreation/

Asia Divers Dive Angels

The “Asia Divers Dive Angels” is up and running and getting a great turn out. It’s a group of ladies plus sometimes few ” Devils” that are living or working here plus some of our guest mermaids who are also staying with us. We get together every Wednesday for the 13:30 dive and then on to snacks and bubbles following at El Galleon Resort. If you’re in the area full time or just temporarily, and want to join, just let us know! It wonderful to see this community building up and we look forward to adding more team members.


Our Asia Divers Dive Angels have their own logo and t-shirt. Want one? …Join the Asia Divers Dive Angels today and you can have one!


So nice to have many Asia Divers Dive Angels enjoying our weekly event now.

 

The whole team got together for Rhuby’s birthday dive.


BCD party time! This is the way the gang finished off the dive on Rhuby’s B day. It’s such a cool feeling to be floating out in the Verde Island Passage while enjoying good company and a few cold beers.

Spectacular Diving in Puerto Galera made easy!

Thanks to Yvette Lee of Discovery Fleet, for the below photos and also this gorgeous photo of Dee in the Canyons.  We we’re all very excited to have this group of eight here for 5 diving days over the holidays. Dive conditions in Puerto Galera have been superb and they also got in a day of diving at Verde Island.

According to them and everyone else who has been here during the past few weeks, the trip to Puerto Galera is seamless, only 2 hours to Berberabe Port, 25 min Speedboat ride to Puerto Galera and then the boat drops off all our guests off at our private pier at Asia Divers in Small lalaguna. They were diving by 13:30 pm!Contact us to make your escape from the city…we can organize everything for you to get here easily!

Karen Chan, Davidson Huang, Brittany Kaw, Regine Tan, Maria Teresa Robles, Yvette Lee, Edna Decastro, and Drew Weiner enjoying their stay at El Galleon Resort and Asia Divers in Puerto Galera.


Most of Puerto Galera’s dive sites are only 5-10 minutes away from the resort

Check out more of Yvette’s photos below:

The Boulders is one of my favorite dives sites. The whole area is covered with huge boulders of different shapes and sizes to give you some very interesting topography. At depth is the place to look for seahorses, ghost pipefishes, and sea moths. Afterwards, you wind your way up to shallow depths amongst the rocks. A resident school of snapper will escort you through the site with lots of whip corals, many fishes, bubble corals, sea fans, sponges, and perhaps even a ribbon eel. Beautiful soft corals up in the shallows make this a very picturesque dive.


Just look at the healthy sea fans at Verde Island Drop Off. Only twenty-five minutes away by Asia Divers speedboat, it makes a fantastic day trip! Pinnacles break the surface on the East side of Verde Island and drop away to great depths. The Drop Off is a gorgeous vertical reef with some beautiful gorgonian fans, sea snakes, frogfish and some large pelagic schools.

 


There are lots of Batfish in the stern area of Alma Jane Wreck. This popular PG wreck is right off the end of our pier! It’s a 30m steel hull and wooden cargo vessel which was sunk in March 2003 and has turned into a fantastic dive site with great fish life. It sits in 30m of water and is a perfect training site for different courses such as nitrox, wreck, and deep specialties. Sweet lips, snapper, batfish, jacks, lionfish, boxfish, and rabbit fish have taken to the wreck.

 

Fantasy Reef is a very pretty reef dive just off of our pier! Lovely hard corals escort you all the way up to the shallows from an 18-20 meter depth. Turtles, snapper and lots of fish make it extra special.


Yellow snappers at Alma Jane.

Elly at the Anchor after the 3rd canyon. This is one of Puerto Galera’s signature dives. It is an exciting drift dive for experienced divers.  There are three drop-offs below the Hole in the Wall covered in soft corals and sponges. You can duck into the canyons for a break from the current. There is much to find on the bottom but primarily it is the large school of drummers, snapper, emperors, sweetlips, barracudas, jacks, and trevally that make this an exciting drift dive. The dive ends at a 1½m anchor embedded in the coral, where the group can gather before being swept off for a blue water assent to the safety stop in the current.

Resident Frogfish at Alma Jane.

Riding around Mindoro

By Tommy Soderstrom

Allan and Tommy together with Tommy’s son Leary decide to check out how the rest of the province looks like after all the bad weather in the past month.
Of course most have been cleaned up but it sounds like good excuse to get out a day on the bikes.

Allan started in Puerto Galera and after an hour ride to Calapan he picked up Tommy and Leary to head down south to the first highlight on the trip, the curvy road between Victoria and Socorro passing the Naujjan Lake, a real treat for bikers. Next highlight on the trip was the Francis Coronel road that by-pass Roxas up in a hilly area with wonderful view in towards the center of Mindoro island. Equally good and winding road with good surface so the boys had a lot of fun.

As none of them really had explored Roxas town center before they decide to check it out and found a nice little restaurant, Red Tomato that served nice meals, not the last time they will visit there.

As they had so much fun on the by-pass road they decide to go back the same way as they came even though it is an extra 20km.  They split in Calapan as Allan was heading back to Puerto Galera with Tommy and Leary to follow following day. The return trip is around 400km from Puerto Galera to Roxas that gives it a good day out on the bikes.

Riding around Mindoro is a fun way to spend the day so if you’re looking for something “off the beach” to do you can consider this.

El Galleon Resort has a swimming pool, spa, beachfront restaurant, in house PADI Dive Center and two bars.

As well as Scuba Diving, El Galleon offers sunset cruises, beach hopping, golfing, snorkeling, Zip line, Extreme Sports and day trip activities. Whether it’s a lazy day in the sun, some adventure or a game of golf, we have what you’re looking for.

We can help you to arrange all while you’re here.

Promo Packages

It’s time to escape to Puerto Galera!

We’re now open for domestic tourism so if your in the Philippines we can make it easy for you to come here to spend some quality time with family and friends.

Your well-being and comfort is our priority and we have lots of space for everyone to enjoy their stay and dive in a relaxing and safe way.  All considerations for your health, safety are already in place throughout the resort. It’s time to rejuvenate with fresh air, fantastic food and great diving at our beachfront location.

Our special 7 night packages includes accommodation with continental breakfast, and return transfers from Manila.*

ONE PERSON

One person Budget room: Price per person USD $782
One person Poolside room: Price per person USD $1017
One person Seaview room: Price per person USD $1146

TWO PEOPLE

  • Two persons Budget room twin share (Must be from the same household): Price per person USD $411
  • Two persons Poolside room twin share (Must be from the same household): Price per person USD $529
  • Two persons Seaview room twin share (Must be from the same household): Price per person USD $593
  • Two persons Budget rooms (2): Price per person USD $537
  • Two persons Poolside rooms (2): Price per person USD $772
  • Two persons Seaview rooms (2): Price per person USD $900

THREE PEOPLE

  • Three person Budget Rooms (3): Price per person USD $455
  • Three person Poolside Rooms (3): Price per person USD $690
  • Three person Seaview Rooms (3): Price per person USD $819

FOUR PEOPLE

  • Four person Budget Rooms (4): Price per person USD $414
  • Four person Poolside Rooms (4): Price per person USD $649
  • Four person Seaview Rooms (4): Price per person USD $778

 

  • Four person Budget Rooms (2) twin share (Must be from the same household): Price per person USD $288
  • Four person Poolside Rooms (2) twin share (Must be from the same household): Price per person USD $406
  • Four person Seaview Rooms (2) twin share (Must be from the same household): Price per person USD $470

*For direct bookings only and limited offer only

Transfers made easy!

We can assist you in having your COVID test. We’ll pick you up in the morning and take you to the Valenzuela lab. The test will be P4,500 and the extra charge for the car/van is P1000. The test will take approximately one hour. We will need you to send us a copy of your test results, the receipt for your test and a valid ID (Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp). We will then pass that onto our LGU and notify them of your arrival.

Hopping into 3000 dives!

Congratulations to Chuck Dreyfus for doing his 3000th dive. When he moved to Puerto Galera three years ago he had 1749 dives…that’s a lot of dives in just three years to hit this big number. So why the bunny ears?  Well, Chuck likes his numbers and bunnies are great at multiplying! Check out the “3000” hair band too. Rob Jacobs made a video that you can check out on our Facebook page. Nothing like seeing a bunny go scuba diving!

2020 Traveler’s choice

We are very thankful to receive the Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Award for 2020.  Thank you to all of our wonderful guests and especially those that took the time and effort to write reviews. Also, a big thank you to the staff at El Galleon and Asia Divers who made this possible.

We love getting reviews…especially nice ones of course! If you’ve visited us before and enjoyed your stay perhaps you can write a review for us on one of our TripAdvisor sites. During these crazy times every little bit can help:

  • El Galleon Beach Resort & Hotel
  • Asia Divers
  • El Galleon Restaurant

We look forward to seeing you all back soon!

Bring down the nuts!

Thank God the coconuts came down last week! Over the past few months of lockdown they seem to have grown out of control and they were dropping like bombs! Have look at our Facebook page to see the video on how to “Safely drop your nuts” if you want to see how it’s done.

Wild Philippines, a new book by Nigel Hicks

Back in 2018 Nigel Hicks came to stay with us to do some underwater photography for the book he was then working on, about the wildlife of the Philippines, and to be called Wild Philippines. Unfortunately, on that occasion things conspired against him in the form of an ear problem that prevented him from diving, though he was able to do some onshore photography instead.

Wild Philippines was published a few months ago, and you can see some sample photos and pages on his website at https://www.nigelhicks.com/editorial-photography-writing/books/wild-philippines/. It is also available from National Book Stores and from any Amazon site.

With over 300 photos and 50,000 words, Wild Philippines is major work, offering both the public and conservationists working in this field a valuable snapshot of the state of conservation in the Philippines at this time. Published to mark the 20th anniversary of The National Parks and Other Wild Places of the Philippines, Nigel’s first book about the country, and the first ever to look at its natural environment, Wild Philippines now brings an overview of our knowledge about Philippine wildlife right up to date.

X-Ray Magazine contribution by Beth Watson

Check out the latest edition of X-Ray Magazine. Lots of great dive and travel information. Including Beth’s contribution to this issue, located under the “My Favorite Wide Angle Dive” section. You download your free copy today: https://xray-mag.com/magazines/99