Category Archives: News and Events

Taal volcano eruption

We all got quite the shock yesterday as Taal Volcano erupted, putting on quite the show up in the sky. Everyone is fine here as Taal is about 2 hours, about 50 km away. It’s quite beautiful to watch and there was some spectacular lightening, but of course we’re all concerned about everyone’s safety on the other side and especially for those living close to the Volcano.  Everything here was unaffected and the threshers are back making their daily appearances.

Alli got the big WOW photo!

 

What’s been happening

Welcome back to the British School Ho Chi Minh. Everyone is well settled and getting into dive mode.  12 OW, 1 AOW and 1 Rescue/EFR are on their way to becoming certified! More details to follow next week

Freshly back on the beach, Allan, Angie, Rhuby and Sherly enjoyed their adventure in Japan

Travel

Truk Lagoon Liveaboard – MV Odyssey Sept 26th 2020

Tech Asia has another liveaboard trip organized aboard the Odyssey spanning the October 1st holiday this year. Truk offers beautiful diving, unmatched in the world of Wreck dives, and pretty hard to beat also for big fish and sharks swimming around as well. Add warm and clear water, not a lot of current, and a vessel Captained by one of our former guests and students who couldn’t be more helpful, and you have all the right boxes ticked for a fantastic trip!

 

What are we going to see? Over thirty Japanese shipwrecks lie here in a large sheltered Pacific lagoon, all sunk by an American Carrier strike in February 1944. The wrecks are almost unsalvaged, many hadn’t yet been unloaded when they sank, and therefore full of things to see from torpedoes to aircraft parts to crates and crates of Saki. And covered in tropical reef. Fantastic!

 

The dives will be kept mainly in the nitrox diving range, very suitable for comfortable recreational divers. Double tanks, sidemount and rebreather support are available for tech divers who want to spend longer on the bottom or go wriggling around in engine rooms. A few places are still free, you can lean more by emailing [email protected] or have a look at this link

A new decade begins

2020 vision! We welcome the New Year with this absolutely fabulous photo by Marc Van den Broeck who was here last September. This will be the cover photo for this month’s Monday News, our weekly newsletter. If you would like to keep up to date on what’s going on here you can subscribe to it by sending an email to [email protected] . Marc has been diving with us for many years now and has won several photo competitions.

The New Year was rung in fine form with a delicious feast in El Galleon and celebrating with good friends at The Point Bar. Special mention goes to Trevor and Lyn, Arjan and Ingrid for their outstanding costumes!  At midnight everyone wandered down to the Platform to ring in the New Year looking upwards and outwards to a fireworks display put on by EL Gal and in the perfect position to witness all the other fireworks up and down the whole beach. Oh what a view! Things are off to a great start and we look forward to seeing everyone here this year! Stay healthy and happy and submerged

Travel plans for 2020 with Asia Divers

 YAP WITH NGULU ATOLL, MICRONESIA

We will again do an exploration trip to Ngulu atoll to try to dive on the walls on the west side of the atoll.

Ngulu atoll is located right between Yap and Palau in Micronesia, very remote and only a handful people still live on the atoll.

The dates are July 18-24 and we will start with a day or two to do the best dive sites of Yap where we are staying with Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers. We did the same trip August 2018 but will change it slightly for the 2020 adventure. We will bring tent for accommodation on Ngulu atoll to get a bit more comfort then to try to sleep on the boat. Also we should get a bit better weather than last trip when we had a too much wind from the west side, very unusual for the time of the year.

If we have days left when we get back from Ngulu we will finish off with a day of diving around Yap on the way back.

Last trip Yap offered brilliant diving when we spent 2 days of diving before the Ngulu exploration trip and got one full day diving after Ngulu as well.

Yap are of course famous for the Manta Ray dives but have also some spectacular shark dives. Schools of Barracudas, Eagle Rays, Humphead Parrot fish just to mention some.

Maximum number of divers for the trip is 6 pax and the prices will $2,078.00 based on 6 pax. If we only get a lower number of divers we will need to split the fuel to Nhulu between the lower numbers, if just 4 guests it will be $2,303.00 per person. Just to give you an idea.

Included in the price is transfer from Yap airport return, share accommodation with breakfast in Manta Ray Bay Resort, we have 3 dives a day in Yap with pack lunch, camping and all food (basic) while in Ngulu and there we do as much diving as we can get tanks with us and weather permitted.
Flight to Yap is not included but we can get assistance with this.

Please contact Tommy at [email protected] if you are interested to join the trip.

Christmas arrives at El Galleon


A scrumptious Christmas dinner was prepared by Jamie and his team and everyone got into in the festive mood together. Now we’re all looking forward to our New Years Eve feast and fireworks…you can still join us!

Oh the weather outside was …delightful…


A bit of wind and rain did not dampen the spirit of these Christmas Day divers, Arjan Kroon, Hanno Jansen, Ingrid Van Vierzen, Jeffrey Consolmagno, Meghan Dube, Tim Mcgee,  Pete, Rob and Damien

 

Candyman and Candygirl arrived to celebrate Ingrids birthday and Christmas with us. We always look forward to their arrival for many reasons…including the candy after all the dives!

 

Congratulations to our new certified diver, Emma Sedgwick. She did it though the Christmas festivities and a typhoon! Something that she’ll never forget….

 

Advanced student Alistar Burns, and his dad Jamie are getting themselves  all nitroxed up for a dive to the Canyons with Pete.

Congratulations to Rueben Matt on your Advanced certification. It was very “eggciting” for sure!

 

Irwin Batang and Jon Lee loved their time trying scuba diving for the first time. Hopefully this is just the beginning of their underwater adventures.

 

Ingrid has spent the day in the kitchen with our team learning all the top secret recipies.

Challenge yourself in 2020

Want to challenge yourself in learning something new and exciting? Consider doing the PADI Freediver course as something to challenge your mind and your body! We teach the PADI Basic Freediver and the PADI Freediver courses. Freediving is about inward power, discipline and control. If you’ve always wanted to enter the underwater world quietly, on your own terms, staying as long as your breath allows, then freediving is for you. Taking the PADI Freediver course is your first step toward discovering why freediving is becoming a popular way to explore beneath the waves. See more information here on our website: https://asiadivers.com/padi-diving-courses-philippines/padi-freediver-courses/ or contact us at [email protected]

Wedding “giving” from Larry and Kris Bird

cutting the cake

Last September Larry and Kris Bird had their wedding celebration here at el Galleon and had asked guests not to buy gifts for them, but instead to make a donation to go towards a helping the kids at a local school.  Last week it all came together and Rhuby and Alli went to two schools, both in need of help. One school was in Puerto Galera, one a bit further away towards Calapan. The first school was a mix of kids Tagalog, Muslim and Mangyan.  They were having their Christmas party on that day and we’re excited that we could be there to join them.

 

We gave the 80 school kids a personal hygiene kit which had toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and towel. This is something that was requested by their teacher and principal as many of them don’t have these. We also had pencils, markers, a few small toys, a world map learning activity toy and some school materials for the kids. There were lots happy faces there that day!

The second school we went to further away was really in need of even more help. This is a school with kids who are Mangyon and Tagalog, but all quite poor. We gave each of the 110 students personal hygiene kits, plus 2 big sacks of rice which will be enough to give them food for one month at the school. Along with that, we donated two big buckets of paint and the rollers, brushes so their classrooms can be painted and also a bunch of pens for older kids.

We explained to them about who was responsible for this donation and they were all so appreciative and said thank you so much. It was really a touching experience and we’re happy to have been a part of it. Thank you to Larry and Kris for making this happen

If you’re interested in learning more about the Mangyans of Mindoro please see these links:

https://www.jacobimages.com/2012/12/the-mangyan-of-mindoro

http://www.mangyan.org/book/export/html/60

Mindoro Mangyans

Mindoro is the seventh largest island in the Philippines, with an area of 10,224 square kilometers and two provinces – Oriental and Occidental. Of the total population of one million, the indigenous population is estimated at 100,000.

Mangyan is the collective name for the eight indigenous groups living in Mindoro, each with its own name, language, and set of customs:

There are 8 different Mangyan groups (Iraya, Alangan, Tadyawan, Tau-buid, Bangon, Buhid, Hanunoo and Ratagnon) on the island of Mindoro and all are distinctively different including their languages. Mangyan is just the collective term used for the indigenous peoples found on Mindoro.

Something unique to the indigenous Mangyan of Mindoro is how well organized their groups are. All eight groups have active tribal councils and they are very strict about what visitors can enter their communities.  Each group also has formal bylaws with penalties for different crimes that are committed.

Most families spend a lot of their time collecting crops in their fields. The Mangyan must have land to plant crops in order to survive. This is their main food source. However, many families are now growing larger tracks of produce that they harvest and sell to lowlanders as well. The Mangyan are very much against mining and any mining activities on their ancestral domain.

Every opening of the school year, the spotlight is focused on the public school system’s lack of classrooms, books and toilets. Often though, the spotlight misses the school situation of indigenous children. For children of the Mangyan, an indigenous people’s group comprising seven linguistic tribes in Mindoro, school opening is marked by an even more basic set of problem — they do not have schools nearby.

If the lack of classrooms afflicts ordinary Filipino children, Mangyan children who live in far-flung areas frequently do not have formal schools at all, resulting in a far worse illiteracy incidence among the Mangyan. This, in turn, leads to the tribe’s further marginalization.

 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas….

Christmas preparations are in the works and you can still join us! Contact us at [email protected] or sign up on our website: https://asiadivers.com/reservations/. December 24th is our Christmas dinner at El Galleon and we’re asking everyone to come in join us wearing something really dressy. 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”. Be creative!! We’re looking forward to having lots of fun over the holidays and getting everyone into the holly jolly spirit!

Congratulations to Sue!

Congratulations to Sue Goodman for doing dive number 2000 and many of those done here with us! That’s a big number for sure and it was great that she had Chuck, Maria, Jamie and Rene jumped in for the big number. Looking forward to the next celebratory dive which involves a bit of fluffy fashion….(a Tutu)

In the beginning…

Asia Divers has passed our 32nd anniversary. Want to know how it all began? Please see the link:  https://asiadivers.com/blog/asia-divers-celebrates-its-32nd-anniversary/

Typhoon Tisoy

On December 3rd typhoon Tisoy came though here and made things a bit windy for the day. The  resort and dive shop were well prepared and luckily for us, no damage.  By the next morning all was back to normal and the reefs are still as spectacular as ever. We sure made most out of it with a Typhoon party up in the Point Bar with many of our local friends and guests from our resort. It was good fun to have everyone all together.  Thanks to Andy Xie for most of these photos.

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 [email protected] 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.

SIGN-UP

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: i[email protected]

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!