Author Archives: Asia Divers

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

Underwater Adventures

This month’s Monday News cover photo is of Maria zipping around the yacht on a DPV.  You can have a go on the DPV while you’re here. Just ask us about doing the PADI DPV Specialty course or if you’re already DPV certified you can join a dedicated DPV dive. Its super fun and completely different type of diving.  If you would like to keep up to date on what’s happening here please sign up for our weekly newsletter.  Just send a message to instructors@asiadivers.com

A time for learning something new

Andy Xie has been back in China since March keeping busy working and he just did a course for “Public Safety Diving” at Fuxian Lake. The Public Safety Diving course is for police, fire, and civilian volunteers.

They learned about the use of dry suits, full facemask , underwater communication equipment, and signal ropes, crime scene investigation, risk assessment, land and underwater evidence search and collection. Also study the search and salvage of human remains, vehicles, and physical evidence in zero visibility and highly contaminated waters, as well as post-effluent investigation, protection, transportation, and disinfection procedures.

Andy is looking forward to coming back here and perhaps teaching this to others who might be interested.

Learn PADI Courses Online, Dive in the Philippines

PADI Courses Philippines

What if you want to learn to scuba dive, but for some reason (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), it’s not possible for you to travel to The Philippines to appreciate its underwater beauty and to apply your skills. Don’t worry, because PADI offers the online PADI eLearning course to learn diving theory in the comfort of your home.

Learning theory is an important part of PADI courses

Even if you haven’t taken the eLearning course, your dive instructors will need to test your theoretical and technical knowledge before embarking on the practical skills. This is standard practice wherever you go.

The benefit of studying with PADI eLearning at home is that you don’t have to spend your holiday time in a classroom to learn about the prerequisite materials – you would’ve already done that at home!

What is included in the PADI eLearning courses?

All PADI eLearning courses contain a number of learning systems such as online videos, interactive learning, review tests, and the classic dive manual which you can download. Depending on your online course selection, an active internet connection may or may not be required (get in touch for questions on this).

With one years’ access to PADI eLearning courses, you can learn from an unlimited source of knowledge about scuba diving, from basic safety guidelines to technical calculations such as dive durations for specific cases and dive depths. You will receive the same knowledge that you’d have received in our live PADI dive classroom.

With the PADI online course, you can spend a longer amount of time than a rigid classroom schedule would allow. You may even surprise your instructor as you recall the dive table from memory.

How to learn online courses effectively?

PADI eLearning courses grant you the ability to study independently, which means at your own pace, you can learn at a style that you choose. Some people supplement their reading by further researching on the Internet about the material, and even calling up a diver friend to discuss the theories.

In any way you learn, don’t forget to be active – be an active reader or listener by reading up on supplementary materials outside the eLearning course. This isn’t to say that information in the online courses is incomplete. Supplementary reading allows you to add on to your current knowledge, about how the theory works in real life.

Why dive in the Philippines?

We hope you don’t change your mind about where you want to dive. The Philippines is an amazing place to start your diving career. In fact, the Verde Island Passage, between Luzon and Mindoro islands, is the most popular region for both amateur and professional divers.

There is an outstandingly high marine biodiversity in this region, and it has become known as the world’s most important reserve for coral and tropical fish species.

Whenever you have the time to go to the Philippines, visit Puerto Galera’s many dive resorts, like El Galleon, working together with Asia Divers to create a holistic diving holiday experience. Book your room and a PADI course here.

What Can Dive Resorts in Puerto Galera Do to Become Sustainable?

dive resort puerto galera

Dive Resorts in Puerto Galera are blessed with direct access to the world’s most diverse marine ecosystem, the Verde Island Passage, which is home to hundreds of species not found anywhere else on Earth.

It is our greatest responsibility to operate sustainably, not only because of our special location but because we want to move towards this kind of business model – to go at the same pace with the rest of the world.

What is sustainability?

Many people have different definitions of what being sustainable means, and even mention a list of specific features a dive center should have. PADI has an excellent article outlining what an “eco-dive resort” should look like.

By definition provided by PADI, we are not an eco-dive resort. We still provide, for example, television, air conditioning, and hair dryers, to make our guests as comfortable as possible with the facilities that they expect to have.

However, this does not mean that we do not try to reduce our environmental impact. For years, we have followed a more general definition of sustainability and continually strive to improve upon our existing system.

For us, to be sustainable is simply to meet the needs of our guests today, without compromising the needs of our guests tomorrow.

Our sustainability protocols

1. Solar energy

Lucky for us, it’s almost always sunny in the Philippines, and the best way to make use of the tropical climate is to use solar panels. Sure, installing a solar panel is not cheap, but the long-term reward is that we reduce our national grid power consumption, and we can calmly sleep knowing that a portion of our energy is clean energy!

2. Zero liquid discharge

Using gas and oil to fuel and maintain our boats is inevitable, and we look forward to investing in boats that demand less of them. However, we spend a considerable amount of time in the boat repair shed to look out for any cracks and leaks that would be dangerous to the delicate coral ecosystem.

3. No plastic straws and small plastic parts

A few years ago we committed to stop using plastic straws and small plastic parts completely. These are hazardous to marine life, and are challenging to remove from the environment when they are misplaced. Nowadays we prefer to use convenient reusable containers and cool-looking metal straws.

4. Pro-environmental diving education

One of the most important principles that we drill into our students is neutral buoyancy

This allows them to transverse across coral reefs without accidentally bumping into them. Another special dive course that we offer is Dive Against Debris, where students collect and report man-made sea debris to Project AWARE.

We welcome guests of tomorrow

The amazing dive sites that dotted the seascape in the coral-rich Verde Island Passage is something that we want everybody to see. We are proud to follow the above protocols, and we work to do more and more for the environment. Learn more about the simple things we do everyday to be sustainable.

Scuba Diving Puerto Galera: the Coral Triangle

scuba diving puerto galera

Scuba diving in Puerto Galera is one of many scuba divers’ biggest dreams. To understand why Puerto Galera is such a wonderful place for many scuba divers, we need to look at the big picture of the scuba diving world – starting with the world-famous Coral Triangle.

What is the Coral Triangle?

The Coral Triangle is a 1.4 billion-acre coral-rich aquatic region that encompasses the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. It’s considered to be a crucial region for conservation and research, as it contains the world’s most diverse ecosystems of tropical reef and pelagic species – often found nowhere else in the world.

Often referred to as the “Amazon of the seas”, The Coral Triangle is far more diverse than The Great Barrier Reef and the Fiji Islands combined. About 6000 species of reef fish thrive in these waters – 250 of them are endemic to this region. There are an estimated 798 species of corals, making up an incredible 76% of all known coral species on Earth.

The Center of the Coral Triangle – the Verde Island Passage

scuba diving puerto galera - coral triangle

foto by Beth Watson

 

The Verde Island Passage is a narrow strait between Mindoro Island and Luzon island of the Philippines. The humble strait may not look much from above sea level – a busy strait that connects several islands together, with a shield volcano that guards the passage.

But the underwater world is beyond belief. The Verde Island Passage is called the center of the Coral Triangle because among all the sections of the triangle, this region is the richest of all. A UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee, this stretch of water – no more than 1.14 million hectares – contains some of the rarest sea turtles and wrasses.

Why stay at Puerto Galera?

If Puerto Galera is a house, then Verde Island Passage is its backyard. Of course, dozens of must-see dive sites sprawl around the holiday city like patches of flower beds in the proverbial diving garden – see them for yourself by looking at this map of dive sites in Puerto Galera.

Apart from incredible dive sites, Puerto Galera is also home to some of the Philippines’ untouched reserve of natural beauty. Waterfalls, river rapids, and curious traditional villages welcome travelers from around the globe – you just have to pick the right accommodations with the right kind of services for you.

El Galleon Dive Resort

At El Galleon Diver Resort, dive sites are just minutes away from our private dock. You won’t need to wait in a long line to get to your next bangka boat to take you wherever you want to go – we have them stationed at the docks along with a couple of speedboats.

Our thorough PADI-certified courses at Asia Divers (a subdivision of our resort) has helped hundreds of divers over the years to learn to scuba dive. Many have even gone on to become instructors themselves.

Learn to dive, dive independently, and explore the Coral Triangle – it all starts at Asia Divers.

Tips to Improve Blackwater Diving Photography in Puerto Galera

blackwater diving puerto galera

At a particularly moonless and cloudy night, the pitch-black sky blends with the featureless blackwater diving site – just a short boat trip away from Puerto Galera. In the seemingly endless abyss, a magical scene emerges as your vision becomes accustomed to the dark. Small floaters and ghostly swimmers surround you, some translucent and bizarre-looking, but all worthy of a great series of photos.

Here are four tips to improve your blackwater photography so that you can make full use of the unique blackwater environment.

1. Master buoyancy

If you haven’t mastered neutral buoyancy, underwater photography at any time of day can be a great challenge. In blackwater, it gets harder because your camera works in a light-poor environment, even if you use flashlight and strobes. Any movement is sensitive and the camera demands that you stay still for a dozen seconds at a time.

Another advantage of peak-performance buoyancy is that easily-startled critters would feel less anxious in front of you as you don’t make so much movement. Smaller critters would not be pushed away by agitated water, which often happens when a diver moves too much.

2. Know your camera’s lighting needs

On land, try to experiment with macro shots at a shallower depth of field. A general rule of thumb for underwater photography is to get closer to the subject, instead of zooming.

If you take the shot at a distance while zooming, what happens is that there will be too little light for the camera to be able to focus perfectly, not to mention light scattering as your camera takes in more detail than it needs.

Some cameras require even more light at a minimum focal distance, so be sure to know how much light your camera requires.

3. Mind your light

Your lights have three functions: to help the camera focus, to help you find critters, and sometimes to attract critters to you.

The amount of light and exposure can also be affected by the type of light focus you choose – floodlight or spot. Spotlighting can be beneficial not only to find critters in the distance but also to provide a higher amount of light over a concentrated area. This is useful to photograph translucent critters as some absorb light.

It’s also important to not disturb light-sensitive nocturnal animals with spotlighting. Floodlights are a better choice to work with for easy-to-shoot critters.

4. Have patience and keep track of time

Many people get the hang of night photography in just a couple of hours on land. On your first few blackwater dives, you may only get a few good shots. While it is tempting to stay longer underwater to maximize your practice time, please remember the safety protocols of scuba diving and return to the surface at the right time.

Be patient, and keep practicing. Blackwater photography is a rare skill that takes years to fully master.

Dive with us!

At Asia Divers, our active community of blackwater divers is known to be very friendly and helpful. Don’t hesitate to contact us and become part of this great community.

How to Choose the Right Dive Center in Puerto Galera

dive center puerto galera

In Puerto Galera, there are many dive centers to choose from, ranging from small to large It can be overwhelming at first to choose the right fit, but if you ask yourself the right questions, and look for trustworthy reviews, the process of choosing the right dive center will be a lot easier. Take a look at our top considerations for choosing the right dive center for you:

Is price a reflection of quality?

Many people would say ‘yes’. After all, in our everyday life, we get what we pay for, and more expensive dive sites would offer the highest quality services, right?

Not quite. Sometimes a high-priced service masks a few weaknesses. Don’t let a luxurious dive center lead you to think that the dive center operates sustainably and safely. At Asia Divers, we are transparent about our activities and dive programs that benefit the environment and the local people.

On the other spectrum, it should be noted that paying a little more for safety can make a huge difference in the quality of your dive (and your peace of mind).

Do they care about the important things?

Many dive resorts lose themselves in providing high-quality customer experience on the accommodation side but pay little attention to the diving activities and the quality of their equipment.

Just like price, a luxurious display on their website doesn’t reflect the dive center at all. Be sure to ask for a tour around the dive center and operations area. Should they refuse to do so, then something is up! Don’t hesitate to find other dive centers in the area if that happens.

Safety and quality diving experience are the cornerstone of our operations at Asia Divers.

Find trustworthy reviews online

Review sites are some of the most democratic places on the Internet, and they are active communities of real people who have gone to the hotel/restaurant/dive center themselves. Who could be more trustworthy than them?

On our blog, we report many positive things that are happening in Asia Divers, but we encourage you to hear about what other people say about us. Dozens of people have made reviews on TripAdvisor and Agoda. These two are trustworthy review sites with a great record for accuracy.

Also, check out our blog

Our blog is a place for our active community to report about all our diving activities and programs. We are also up to date with the latest news and write a post on anything that may impact your holiday experience with us.

Apart from our informational pages, our blog is a repository of knowledge about everything related to diving, written by experts across various sub-fields in diving. Looking to improve your underwater photography skills? Wanting to know more about the dive sites around Puerto Galera?

Our dive bloggers will answer every question related to diving in Puerto Galera so that you can be more informed.