Author Archives: Asia Divers

Asia Divers celebrates its 32nd Anniversary

Many people who live and work here have “their story” on how they landed up in Puerto Galera in the first place. It makes for very interesting conversation in the bar and what you’ll find out quite often is most of us really did not plan on living here. Here is Allan’s story.

How I became a dive resort owner

By Allan Nash

I was formally in Hong Kong working as a construction supervisor and the partner in a nightclub called Rick’s Café. After seven years in HK, I decided I wanted to buy a boat and sail around Asia for a couple of years. I managed to get my masters two and engineer two for costal sailing but had no experience in blue water sailing. I resigned my job and told the company I would see them in two years, went to Hebi Haven yacht club and asked if anyone needed help sailing their boat somewhere in Asia. That’s when I met up with an American guy (Ogle Warfield) with a 42ft Tiana (the Elusive Butterfly) leaving for Puerto Galera, Philippines.

Five days after leaving HK we got sight of the Philippines Islands, and San Fernando. From then on it all went wrong and I had the worst trip you could imagine, typhoon, almost lost the boat on a reef coming into Subic Bay without harbour charts! The owner called a mayday when approaching Subic Bay; I was somewhat disappointed with his decisions. Then he managed to jump into the water with my passport in his pocket, bugger.  After several days in Subic Bay sorting out passports and drying off we headed to Puerto Galera. I arrived in Puerto Galera on the 28th of October, twenty days after leaving HK on October 8, 1985.

Ending up in Puerto Galera I could not wait to get off the boat. I said to myself if this is what it’s like living on a boat, forget it, and went looking for something to do. That’s when I walked into a dive shop called Reef Raiders owned by two Australian’s, Jim Wilson & Neil (Snake) Krumbeck and a German Willi Tobler. The freelance instructor Dave Penman (English) met me when I walked into the dive shop and we quickly became friends. I was already a certified diver, but had not dived for a few years. He took me out on a dive and I just fell in love with the diving all over again and loved the area. So I asked Dave to take me through the PADI Open Water Course again and onward and upward. He did and within two months I was a divemaster working for the Reef Raiders. I became an instructor in March 1987, and worked with Dave as the instructional team for Reef Raiders until May 1988 when a fire ripped through the beach and took the dive shop with it.

Big Lalaguna in the early days

 

Small Lalaguna in the early days

I never intended to start my own dive shop, but with not having a dive shop to work out of, and not wanting to go back to working in the real world, I suggested to Dave if he would like to start a dive shop since the previous owners had decided they’d had enough and were heading home. Dave agreed and with that, we worked day and night recovering whatever we could from the fire, regulators, charred wet suits that had been saved but left on the beach. Ten tanks were saved as these tanks were rented out the night of the fire, and a handful of masks and fins. Within a week we had borrowed a thousand dollars and purchased a small 2.7cfm compressor, we were up and running. We used the name Reef Rangers until one of the owners of Reef Raiders came back with a Japanese guy and resurrected Reef Raiders, and asked us to change our name. With that I decided on the spot it would be Asia Divers and Asia Divers was born.

We started Asia Divers (now where Tech Asia Divers Institute stands) in my spare bedroom being the equipment room and used my kitchen and balcony as classrooms and my living room as the bar. After five great years we badly needed our own rooms so in December 1992 we purchased El Galleon Dive Resort with seven usable rooms and a small restaurant. Today we have 30 rooms, a new kitchen, pool, two bars and an incredible dive platform.

Our family, the team, is as solid as a rock and we do know how to have fun, it’s our pleasure and our job, one that none of us would trade for anything. We love Puerto Galera, the diving and dive industry as a whole and the many new and old friends we meet every day who appreciate that common interest.  We have come a long way and it’s been a great ride! Looking forward to the next 32 years!

Allan with Willy, Dave, Snake, and Jim from Reef Raiders

 

Allan, Tommy, Andy, Asia Divers, Puerto Galera

It’s been 2 years since we celebrated our 30th Anniversary at what was the most amazing party in our history. We’re now on our 32nd year and looking forward to another big party in a few years.  If you would like to do a bit of reminiscing of that weekend, you can see of all these images on our website: http://blog.asiadivers.com/30th-anniversary-photos/

We’re starting to jingle our bells!

The Christmas holidays are only a few weeks away and we’re already starting to get everything prepared around the resort. There are still rooms available so contact us at admin@asiadivers.com or sign up on our website: https://asiadivers.com/reservations/ if you’re looking for a great place to spend the festive season with a bunch of fun people.  We have a couple special theme nights already planned. On December 24 we have our Christmas dinner at El Galleon and we’re asking everyone to come all dressed up… that means perhaps wearing something really dressy like an evening gown or fancy dress,  a nice shirt, or barong, or anything else that might be a bit dressy, Christmassy,  or sparkly. Bring on the bling!! On December 31 we’ll have our New Years dinner and big party up in the Point Bar and fireworks to ring in the New Year at midnight. Please show up in a “Costume Of Your Choice” outfit. Be creative!! We’re looking forward to having lots of fun over the holidays and getting everyone into the holly jolly spirit!

Planning Ahead

“Asia Divers Excursion” is now up and running for Jan 30-Feb 3, 2020. It’s for all non divers, who want to give scuba diving a go and also for certified divers. This package deal at Asia Divers is the perfect experience for those looking to do some diving, meet people, have a good time, and discover the beautiful paradise Puerto Galera has to offer. Click on the link for details about the 5 day package deal! Just do it!!

https://asiadivers.com/blog/asia-divers-excursion/

What’s been happening

The gang is all ready to head off to Verde Island for a day of spectacular diving with Ruben and Maria. (Tammy, Reed, Ali, Daniel, Fielding, Chris and Tony). Check out the green tree in the background…just a few weeks ago the leaves were orange and yellow and falling off the tree. Fall has passed, no winter and spring has sprung!! Gotta love the Philippines!

 

Allan has returned from his epic 2 months motorcycle adventure in South and Central America with lots of stories to be told. He should really write a book don’t you think?!  In the meantime the Pont Bar and Barrel Bar are the perfect place to reminisce and tell some stories with good friends and a few drinks.

A great find!

 

Spiny Tiger Shrimp, you can’t hide from me!  Many of us have been diving here in Sabang Puerto Galera for several years and it’s the first time for some of us to see this. What a special find it was indeed. Thanks for this awesome photo Alexandra Redhardt.

Spiny Tiger Shrimp (Phyllognathia ceratophthalma)

Also known as Harlequin Shrimps, Tiger Shrimp, Bumblebee Shrimp, Horned Bumblebee Shrimp, Bongo Bumblebee Shrimp, Bongo Shrimp, Dragon Shrimp.

Found on algae, rubble and sponges over coral and rocky reefs, rarely moves far from same spot.
They feed on asteroid sea stars.
Length – 2.5cm
Depth – ?m
Widespread Western Pacific

Happenings

It’s been another great week here At El Galleon, Asia Divers, peppered with birthday celebrations, awesome nights in the Point  Bar and of course what people come here for, our wonderful diving.  As you know we do have some very cool diving here in P.G. Not only for the amazing macro, but for the spectacularly healthy reefs full of fishes, some very cool drift dives, the big schools of bigger fishes roaming about and even some heavy metal with good life on them.  It’s never dull around here.

Well done Eric Vuillaro after completing his Discover Scuba experience with Ruben. Chris liked it so much he did several follow-up dives with his Pal Fred Tshidimba. Glad we could help!

Welcome back Dorothy Telford. She completing her PADI Open Water course last year and came back for some more lessons, this time for the Advanced Open Water course care of Elly. We think you might be hooked.

We almost didn’t let them go! Mark Schumacher and Nick Spallone did their PADI Advanced Open Water course with Elly and had a blast. They got to go to Verde Island for their deep dive on the course and even took the DPVs out for a ride on their last day with Pete and Jamie.  The last night in the Point Bar was something else with endless shooters and several successful Stairways to Hell. One awesome night!

Klaus’s Birthday

Two of our favorite people, Klaus and Gabby Eschelbach caught in loving embrace. Photo bombed of course! Another huge night in the Point Bar as Klaus celebrated his 73rd Birthday. His hospitality was, Bar None. There was plenty of San Miguel, pizza and of course a cake. Happy Birthday Klaus! May you have many more!

Asia Divers Excursion

Asia divers Excursion is a package trip made to gather different people from different parts of the world to come and experience the beauty of Puerto Galera.

This package allows you to dive in world-class diving spots and experience one of the most diverse marine life on earth. Whether you are an experienced scuba diver or not, as long as the underwater world interests you, then this package is the perfect gift to give to yourself. This is open for both certified scuba divers and those with no experience at all. For the latter, we will be facilitating an intro course (discover scuba).

Puerto Galera sits right in the heart of the verde island passage. It is dense with marine life and coral species. Equal to the beauty that lays beneath the ocean are the white-sand beaches and majestic waterfalls.

On one of the days we will take you to Tukuran which has multiple small waterfalls and pools to swim in. Our staff will prepare a scrumptious lunch while you relax, unwind and enjoy some icy cold beers. The trip will also include a sunset cruise where we take you to a beach where you can enjoy activities such as snorkeling and swimming. You will be served beers and pizza as you create meaningful connections and share blissful conversations and memories with fellow excursion participants. Just before sunset everyone will board the boat cruise in the ocean, drink some more and watch the sun as it sets. Allow us to give you an experience of a lifetime.

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November in the sunshine

Look at this cool shot taken by Phil Rudin. It’s a nifty little creature called a Pelagic Zoea which is the larval stage of an unidentified Crab, taken on a blackwater dive here last June. We’re already in planning stages for Phil to come back next June to conduct another photo workshop with us.  Dates are: June 15-22, 2020. This year’s photo workshop will include two blackwater dives! If you’re interested in bringing your underwater photography level up to the next step and getting lots of hands on experience  than this workshop will be great for you. Please contact us for all the details: instructors@asiadivers.com

A Spooktacular Halloween at The Point!

What a fantastic Halloween party we had at The Point this year. It was a great turn out, and so many people got into the spooky spirit and got dressed up in some very creative costumes….even BaileyJamie created some ghoulishly delightful shots and made up a very cool meat and cheese platter as well. Thanks to everyone who came out to make this a super fun night!

 

DEMA 2019

Tommy, and Alli will be at the DEMA Show November 12-16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida. We’ll be with the Philippine Department of Tourism booth promoting Asia Divers/El Galleon. We’re Looking forward to catching up with our pervious guests, many friends, business associates, and our wonderful travel agents who have been supporting us. Please drop to hear about some great accommodation and dive packages if you’re attending.

What’s been happening

A fun week with this group of keen divers from Hong Kong group (Hau Chuen Wong, Ka Keung ( K.K ) Cheong, Ko Keung Yeu, Lap Ping ( Mark ) Lee, Man Wai ( Sting ) Lor, Ng Kwong Cheung, Sung Kit ( Iris ) Mak, Tsoi ( Frankie ) Shu Kan, Wai Chi Yim, Wai Tho ( Cindy ) Tsang).  Lots of laugh and great diving, hope to see them all again!

Lou Fernandes decided to do a refresher to get back into the swing of diving again. He loved the whole experience and is looking forward to doing more diving.

Big congratulations to Lyka and Mike for successfully completing their Advanced Open Water Diver course with Maria and George Vest coming along as a visiting Instructor to gain experience with us. Well done guys! Hope to see you again for more diving adventures

While Lyka was being kept busy on her AOW course Tim decided that he should give the DPV a go. What a buzz it was!

Underwater photography workshop

Join Phil Rudin
Take your photography to the next level

Puerto Galera Philippines, El Galleon / Asia Divers June 15-22 2020

PACKAGE INCLUDES:

  • 7 night stay ~ double shared room
  • Full board (all meals)
  • all dives, including night dive offered every night or Blackwater dives (2 included in package) (w/tank, weight belt, boat and guide)
  • FREE NITROX for those certified ~ recommended • One free boat trip to Verde Island
  • Photo Workshop (6 days) PACKAGES:
  • Seaview Double per person: $1,553 USD
  • Seaview Single: $1,938 USD
  • Companion non-diver (shared room, full board meals): $791 USD
  • Poolside Double per person: $1,473 USD
  • Poolside Single: $1, 777 USD
  • Companion non-diver (shared room, full board meals): $711 USD

DETAILS/ITINERARY:

  • Arrive at the Belmont Hotel near Manila airport www.belmonthotelmanila.com or hotel close by June 13th. To be arranged by yourself.
  • Meet at Starbucks at 11:00 a.m. June 14th for two or three hours of Lightroom workshop
  • Depart for El Galleon Resort from Belmont hotel June 15th 10:00 a.m.
  • The transfer to the resort will take approximately 2 hours by van and 1 hour by boat
  • You will be met by El Galleon/Asia Diver staff upon arrival and have time to unpack, settle-in and set up cameras in the camera room.
  • If anyone wants to do a check dive that day they can do a dive at 16:00

June 16th to 21 schedule:

  • 6:30 breakfast
  • 8:00 dive 1
  • 10:30 dive 2
  • 12:00 lunch
  • 13:30 dive 3
  • 15:30 classroom lesson
  • 18:00 night dive or
  • 19:30 Blackwater dive

Dinner will either be after the night dive or before the blackwater dive

June 22

Group departure to Manila airport or hotel. Time TBA

OPTIONAL: 3 – NIGHT Add On

If you elect to add on additional nights at El Galleon, please add-on after the workshop!

3 night’s accommodation, with full board, up to 5 dives a day (4 day dives and 1 night dive) (w/tank, w-belt, boat, and guide)

Seaview Double: $ 597 USD per person
Seaview Single: $762 USD
Companion non-diver: $339 USD

Poolside Double: $563 USD per person
Poolside Single: $ 693 USD
Companion non-diver: $304 USD

EXCLUSIONS:

  • Airfare to Manila
  • Hotel in Manila (Belmont Hotel www.belmonthotelmanila.com)
  • Private transfers: Belmont Hotel to El Galleon Beach Resort and return from El Galleon to hotel or airport.
  • Drinks, alcohol, gratuities and incidentals Estimated round trip costs: Private transfer costs will be shared by group and will depend on how many are in the group travelling together. The van holds 6 people with luggage and cost is $80 USD. Boat is $210 USD and holds 22 people. Price determined how many passengers transfer each way.

 

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A Goulishly delightful Halloween at El Galleon awaits you

 

It will be great night to shake off the cobwebs, and bring out your nastiest or silliest Halloween costume. Join us for some spooky fun at our Halloween party this Thursday October 31st at The Point Bar. We’ll have face painting available for a small fee and there will also be prizes for the best costumes, plus lots of tricks and treats.

What’s been happening

The fun begins! Welcome to our new group from Hong Kong. We hope they enjoy their stay. Read next week’s thrilling installment.

 

You never get tired of the amazing views and awesome sunrises in Puerto Galera. Thank you @h2onomad for this reminder.

 

Maria found her diving equipment with new stickers this morning. Jamie just couldn’t wait to change her last name!! We’re all thinking that Jamie Gonzales has a nice ring to it though!

 

Welcome back to John Butler and Jenny Chang from Taiwan, two of Asia Divers dearest friends. John has been coming to our shores since at least 1994, his kids learned to dive with us and he’s been a regular guest ever since, Jenny did her first DSD with Allan Oman Malibiran and never looked back. More recently they’ve been on several Asia Divers live-aboard trips. We hope you keep coming for many more years!

Join us for Halloween a ghoulishly delightful night

Looking for a long weekend get-away?  We still have rooms available over the upcoming All Saints Day long weekend, and you can be here to join our Halloween party on October 31st. Contact admin@asiadivers.com  to make a reservation.

Clean up dive

It was a great day to “Splash for Trash”! Thanks to Shiyuan for organizing   and to everyone who participated in the Dive Against Debris. Asia Divers is committed to doing these at least once a month. If you would like to join one, just let us know.

 

Allan on Tour

Leaving Cusco on my way to Nazca one of the best rides I’ve done. Lost count of the number of times I dropped into valleys hundreds of meters below and then riding back up into the clouds again the across a massive plato before dropping way down into Nazca. Any rider would be amazed. Fantastic views impossible to capture too many changes awesome day.

Leaving Cusco on my way to Nazca one of the best rides I’ve done. Lost count of the number of times I dropped into valleys hundreds of meters below and then riding back up into the clouds again the across a massive plato before dropping way down into Nazca. Any rider would be amazed. Fantastic views impossible to capture too many changes awesome day.

 

Day off the bike to take a tour of Rainbow mountain or as the locals call it, colourful mountain. Cusco Peru. Great day at 5,036 meters.

Something new at El Galleon

Meena has been teaching yoga classes on the platform recently and people are loving it. A beautiful location with a wonderful instructor!  Meena is an ashtanga yoga teacher. She practices gratitude daily and believes that this is one of the most powerful tools to being happy. She fell in love with yoga about three years ago. Meena believes in teaching her students to celebrate their own unique light and beauty. She also believes that humor is an essential ingredient in yoga, and laughter is the best medicine and core exercise there is. If you’re interested to join a class with her just let us know.

Old News

Once Upon A Time…there was no Facebook, no email and Newsletters looked just like Newspapers. A twenty one Year old Asia Divers newsletter just resurfaced from one of our guests, James Sather, who brought it along with him from Canada. If anyone would like the full version just contact instructors@asiadivers.com

October at El Galleon/Asia Divers

Thanks to Matt Hutchinson for this month’s Monday News cover photo.  Matt is keeping busy on his Instructor internship with us, but still has time to take his underwater camera out for a spin. He’s been getting some real nice photos, as usual. Check out Matt’s gallery on his website to see many more:  https://www.stingraydivers1.com/

If you would like to subscribe to our fun little weekly newsletter and keep up to date on what’s going on here, please see: https://asiadivers.com/ to subscribe.

Who’s been doing what

It’s been a very busy Chinese holiday in the resort this past week for our Chinese Instructor team. 14 Students with 5 Instructors, plus 1 Divemaster candidate keeping things running smooth and safely.

 

Lu Wang and Xueteng Zhang have had Elly all to themselves for most of their visit this past week. They requested her for a private guide and to teach them their PADI Advanced course. They had many great dives and a big highlight of going to Verde Island. Congratulations on earning your AOW!

 

Jamie surprised Alli and Arthur on Alma Jane with his favorite buddy! DPVs offer a thrilling way for scuba divers to see a lot of underwater territory in a short amount of time. They scoot you through the water allowing you to glide over reefs, buzz around a large wreck or weave through a kelp forest. Whether making a shore or boat dive, a DPV is a great way to see more and have fun doing it. Ask us about the PADI DPV course.

 

This course also includes a funky “Freddie’s Specialties” DPV polo shirt.

https://asiadivers.com/padi-diving-courses-philippines/specialty-scuba-diving-courses/

Michael Lee was here a couple years ago and did his PADI Open Water course so he thought it was about time to come back and do his PADI Advanced course.  Congrats Mike!

 

Gavin and Elly celebrated both their birthdays in one big birthday bash in the Point Bar.  It was a tremendous party with some yummy hors d’oeuvre prepared by our kitchen team and lots of beer to go along with them.

 

 

Rebecca and James had their first scuba diving experience and absolutely loved it! Thank you both and we hope to see you back here soon for more.

 

Maria was complaining her nose was too small. Jamie to the rescue!

What a week with Diveline Aus!

It’s been a week to remember for sure with this fun gang from Diveline Aus. Superb conditions, lots of sun and tremendous amounts of fun for all. The grand finale included a lovely BCD float in the Verde island Passage.

This was a perfect day for a Verde adventure with Diveline Aus! Thanks to Paul Sorensen for bringing  Adrian Marshall, Julie Wrighton, Peter Wrighton, Ian Hulett, Christine Reynonds, Paul McGrath, John Timms, Stewart Andrews, Matthew Grahams, Kenneth Mills and Jennifer Mcgrath to our happy home!

What’s happening here

Kenneth Mills  and Matthew Graham did their PADI DPV courses with Jamie and had two super dives , than Alli took all of them plus Rene on a “Magical Mystery Tour” to West Escarcio, Canyons, Atol, Kilima, Sinandigan, and Coral cove. They finished in an area that Rene and Jamie had never even seen before!

 

We’ve also enjoyed the company of this very experienced group of underwater photographers (Choi Yee Shing, Yiu Hei (Alex) Cheung, Wu Wei Keung, and Li Yat (Ken) Hung) this week. They were a pleasure to dive with. Many highlights including two Blackwater dives too.

 

Matt Hutchinson is well immersed into his Instructor internship now after passing the Instructor exams. Matt will spend the next month with us gaining lots of experience in teaching all PADI courses and also helping out on guiding. For everyone who does their IDC with us we offer this internship program for no extra charge. If you’re interested in becoming a PADI pro and living the dream, please have a look at our website for more information: https://asiadivers.com/gopro/

Ruben and Matt are teaching Greg Tirrell PADI Advanced course right now, getting him experienced in several different types of dives.

 

Huong Ly has been enjoying her stay with us doing DSD and follow-up dives.

 

Mid Autumn Day and National Day holiday in China means lots and lots of folks from China around this week. Our Chinese instructor team is busy busy and soon we’ll have a bunch of certified PADI divers to celebrate with.

 

Homies! First time for Kjell to meet up with someone from his hometown here at El Gal. Daniel Haworth is from Arboga, Sweden and Jimmy Strand is from the next town over. Small world stuff for sure!

Blackwater Magic

We took advantage of the perfect conditions for Blackwater diving this week and went out for two nights back to back.  Check out what Arthur Nash shot with the Olympus TG-3 and no strobe. Join us for some more of this really cool diving: https://asiadivers.com/blackwater-diving-puerto-galera/