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.
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.
Are you a certified diver and want to develop your skills, learn new ones, and become a more confident diver? Are you trying to decide between taking a core PADI course or a specialty when you are diving in the Philippines?
The good news is that as a certified diver you have plenty of options and we have a diverse range of dive sites in Puerto Galera for you to explore while developing your skills and learning new techniques.
Deciding on what course to take next depends on your current certification level, your interests, and what you want to get out of the program.
If you are an Open Water Diver then the next core course for you is the PADI Advanced Open Water Course – and this is our recommendation for all Open Water Divers in Puerto Galera! You do not need to have advanced dive skills to start the advanced course – you learn advanced techniques during your program and the course may even be taken directly after the Open Water course! You’ll make 5 incredible dives with your instructor, including a deep dive and underwater navigation. The other three dives are yours to choose from a wide range of options. Until the end of May, PADI is also offering a 25% discount on Advanced Open Water eLearning so you can start learning from home straight away!
For those who are already Advanced Open Water Certified, the next step is the PADI Rescue Diver Course. Do you want to become a PADI Divemaster or Instructor? Then you’ll need to become a PADI Rescue Diver first – it’s a requirement for all professional level courses.
Here are some other programs that might be of interest to you when it comes to diving in Puerto Galera and developing specific skills…
Emergency First Response: Known as “EFR”, the Emergency First Response is a complete CPR and first aid course which is a requirement for certification as a PADI Rescue Diver and PADI Divemaster. The course deals with all aspects of emergency assistance, not just those related to diving. You’ll learn about handling accidents at home and in other daily situations too. Topics covered included, CPR, spinal injuries, serious bleeding, choking, shock, splinting, first aid assessments, and many more techniques that can extend a patient’s lifeline and provide care. This is a great certification for anyone’s CV and teaches essential lifesaving skills.
Rescue Diver: This is one of the most challenging and rewarding PADI programs you’ll ever take. You’ll learn how to stay calm and handle emergency situations in a focused and efficient manner, You’ll learn self-rescue techniques as well as how to rescue others. Most importantly you’ll learn how to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place and how to recognize potential accidents before they happen.
Reactivate: Has it been a while since your last dive and you want to recap some of the essential basic underwater skills before diving in Puerto Galera? No problem, the PADI reactivate program is specifically designed for this purpose – to get you back in the water and feeling confident about your abilities.
PADI Divemaster: If you are already a PADI Rescue Diver and are thinking of the diving industry as a future career path, then the PADI Divemaster Course is your first step into professional diving.
Unlike other PADI Courses you’ll be mentored and work alongside your instructor. You’ll gain an insight into working in the industry and behind the scenes at a dive center. You’ll also develop the skills required to assist PADI Instructors with PADI Courses as well as how to guide certified divers independently. If you want to take your scuba diving to the next level then taking the PADI Divemaster Course in Puerto Galera is a great way to do it.
If you are already an advanced level diver, or want to specialize your skills in a particular field then PADI Specialty courses allow you to do just that…
Enriched Air Nitrox Specialty: It seems so unfair when you have plenty of air left and your computer tells you that you need to shallow up. Have you ever wished you could stay deeper for longer? Diving with Enriched Air (Nitrox) increases your allowable bottom time meaning you can admire the depths of your favourite sites when diving in the Philippines, for longer. Did you know that you can take the Enriched Air Specialty theory online with PADI eLearning?
Digital Underwater Photography Specialty: It’s hard to explain to non-diving family and friends some of the creatures that we see underwater, but with amazing images, you don’t need to! Master the techniques required to produce sharper and more colourful images that will impress your buddies and land-loving friends.
Other PADI Specialties: Is there a particular type of diving that you want to learn more about? We also offer a full range of PADI Specialty Courses which allow you to learn more and develop knowledge in specific aspects of diving. We currently offer the following additional PADI specialty courses: Boat Diver, Deep Diver, Drift Driver, Night Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Search & Recovery Diver, Underwater Naturalist, Underwater Navigation, DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle) and Wreck Diver.
Are you feeling inspired to step up your diving skills? For more information about diving in Puerto Galera and our PADI Courses, send us a message through our online contact form or email us at [email protected] and we will get right back to you.
We look forward to introducing you to scuba diving in the Philippines soon!
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
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.
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.
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?
With many of you at home around the world, we thought we’d share a little scuba diving love with you and some ideas on how you can still be a diver and how you can even develop your skills, and make the most of some great savings while we are all waiting to be able to travel again!
Become an Even Better Diver
Have you always thought about taking your next level of PADI Course or wanted to take a specialty but never found the time or don’t want to spend your time in the Philippines studying? Well, there is no time like the present to get started and get the theory out of the way without even leaving home. If you are looking for something to do on lockdown then this could be the solution! PADI eLearning takes care of the knowledge development component of your PADI course and by taking it at home, you can work through it at your own pace and PADI are now offering an awesome 25% discount on all eLearning Courses!
Here are some of our favourites:
Advanced Open Water: If you are a PADI Open Water Diver, we recommend taking the Advanced course. The PADI Advanced is the next core course for you and it will certify you to dive to 30 meters – which means even more of Puerto Galera’s awesome dive sites to explore! You’ll also learn how to navigate underwater as well as looking at other new and exciting types of diving!
2. Rescue Diver: This is probably the most rewarding course you’ll ever take and you’ll build your confidence in the process. You’ll be learning lifesaving skills and techniques as well as learning how to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place. If you are thinking about becoming a PADI Divemaster or Instructor in the future then the Rescue Diver Course is essential.
3. Divemaster: Yes!! You can now start your journey to becoming a PADI Professional at home! If you are thinking of the diving industry as a future career path, get started now! The PADI Divemaster certification is your first Pro certification and your first step towards becoming a PADI Instructor!
4. Digital Underwater Photography Specialty: Okay, so you can’t go underwater right now, but the skills and techniques you learn in the PADI Digital Underwater Photography specialty can be practiced at home – which means hours of entertainment with your camera when you can’t go out!
5. Enriched Air Diver (Nitrox): It seems so unfair when you have plenty of air left and your computer tells you that you need to shallow up. Have you ever wished you could stay deeper for longer? Diving with Enriched Air (Nitrox) increases your allowable bottom time meaning you can admire the depths of your favourite dive sites in Puerto Galera for even longer!
Don’t want to study alone? Buy a PADI gift pass for your buddy and study together! Do you have non-diving friends that want to get certified? The PADI Open Water Course is available online too and is now reduced from AU $220.00 to AU $165.00. There is no better time to convert your non-diving friends into diving buddies than now!
Did you know that we see thresher sharks in Puerto Galera? How much do you know about threshers sharks and do you know why a sighting of a thresher shark is so special?
Of course, diving with thresher sharks is on most divers’ bucket lists but we guarantee you’ll have an even better underwater experience if you know a little bit about these amazing sharks before you dive with them – read on to find out more!
How to Identify a Thresher Shark?
Thresher sharks are also known as fox sharks and they are easily recognizable by their long and highly distinctive thresher-like tails which can be just as long as the shark’s body. Thresher sharks also have unusually large eyes in order to help them to see in deep water where less light is available. When in shallow water however, their eyes become sensitive from too much light which is why they usually remain deep and are rarely seen by divers on a regular basis. The sightings we have of thresher sharks, at recreational diving depths, at Puerto Galera’s dive sites are very unusual and this is why a sighting is very special!
Thresher sharks can grow up to 6 meters long, including their tails and they feed on a diet of schooling fish and squid. Their long tails are not just for decoration – the sharks use them to stun their prey. Thresher sharks circle smaller fish and ‘herd’ them with their tails into a tight, ball formation, which they will then attack with a powerful swipe of their tail – stunning some of the fish which the shark will then feed on.
Thresher Sharks and Depth
Thresher sharks are generally a deeper dwelling species of shark that spend most of their time below 40 meters. So why then, do they come to the shallower water and dive sites around Puerto Galera? Because of the fish – and not to eat them! Thresher sharks carry parasites on their skin and around their eyes and gills. These parasites do not harm the thresher shark if they are kept in check, however, if they are not regularly cleaned away, the number of parasites will increase and the shark will become unhealthy. Thresher sharks rely on the small reef fish to help them out by ‘cleaning’ them. When the threshers come to the shallow water, the reef fish will feed on the parasites – a free meal for the reef fish in return for some personal grooming for the shark! Because the cleaning process is vital to the health of the sharks it is extremely important that divers do not interrupt this process (see below).
Diving with Thresher Sharks
We hope that we will be seeing thresher sharks in the waters around Puerto Galera for many years to come so it important that they are not scared away by divers. If you see a thresher shark during your dive, please observe the following guidelines!
Stay calm and control your buoyancy. Try to avoid sudden movements.
Please do not ‘chase’ the sharks.
Please do not try to touch the sharks.
Please do not direct camera flashes or strobes into the thresher sharks eyes – they are extremely sensitive!
Please always respect our reefs and do not touch, kick or break and corals.
Leave the dive site as you found it. Please leave behind only bubbles and take away only photos.
For your own safety, always be aware of your no-decompression time and do not exceed the planned depth or time of your dive.
Diving in Puerto Galera
While thresher sharks are a definite highlight of diving in Puerto Galera they are not our only highlight! Our reefs are packed with some of the rarest and most unusual critters in the Coral Triangle – if you are a macro underwater photographer, then diving Puerto Galera is for you!
Are you excited to come and join us for scuba diving in the Philippines? Our friendly team are as passionate about diving as you are and there’s nothing we love more than sharing our reefs and marine life with like-minded divers from around the world!
We like many of you are trying to navigate through these unprecedented times. First and foremost we all want everyone to be healthy and to take care of yourselves and your families.
As you most likely heard the Philippine government closed the Philippines several days ago and introduced a myriad of internal travel restrictions. Over the past few days we have been assisting our guests to get them to the airport for their international flights. As of today, El Galleon Resort and Asia Divers have shut down except for a skeleton staff to keep the restaurant open for take-away and to secure the resort. We will reopen as soon as allowed which hopefully will be on April 14th but we really don’t know yet if the one-month quarantine will be enough. As of today there are no confirmed cases of COVID_19 here in Oriental Mindoro, let’s pray it stays that way.
We will do what we can to assist our employees in the meantime, thirteen month pay paid in advance, holiday pay and sick leave pay paid in advance.
If you have questions on how this affects your future reservation please contact your travel professional if you have made a reservation through them. If you have booked directly with us please email us at [email protected]
I know a lot of you will have your own staff/friends and family to take care of and this is totally understandable. However, in these trying times, it is becoming apparent that many not so fortunate Filipinos will be struggling to put food on the table and to afford medical supplies that are already at short supply. Should you be able to afford just the smallest amount we will be working with several groups that will be coordinating medical supplies and food for the not so fortunate… with thanks.
Thank you for all of your support over the years we look forward to seeing back here soon.
Puerto Galera was once an exclusive playground for adventure divers and advanced deep-water adventurers. Today, it is much more. The whole family can be included in fun activities, that is if you pick the right beach resort in Puerto Galera!
At El Galleon Dive Resort and Hotel, our tour organizers can’t wait to show you around the northeast of the Oriental Mindoro. It has so much to offer, and it’s a pleasant feeling knowing that our guests are having fun while exploring our home island.
From a river trekking and jungle ziplining to visiting a protected indigenous village, you would need more than a day to experience it all. Let’s check it out!
Tukuran River Trekking
Your destination is a quaint spot with plenty of trees for shade, a cool friendly pool to dip in, and a relaxing view over the Tukuran River. The river is calm and wide, with several mini-waterfalls that cut through a small gorge surrounded by white rocks which you will pass on your way to the spot.
As it’s located an hour from the coastal town of Puerto Galera, you’ll be taking a jeepney ride to your starting point of the trek. You’ll also stop at a few interesting spots along the way – Tamaraw Falls at San Teodoro and the Hanging Bridge giving you a better view of the river.
You can choose to continue the trek on foot for half an hour, or to ride in a cart pulled by a carabao!
Mangyan Village Tour
The Mangyan people are the indigenous people of Mindoro Island, and the particular village that you’ll visit is a preserved village. You can tell by the sign at the thatched wooden gate – “Vehicles are not allowed inside” – that the village is serious about conserving the way of life and its inherited natural appearances.
This village was founded by philanthropist Jaime Zobel de Ayala and his wife Donya Bea in the 90s, and today it provides shelter and sustenance to many Iraya-Mangyan families who have been resettled here.
Although they strictly follow their traditional way of life in many aspects, from constructing houses to finding food, the Mangyan people also generate additional income from selling authentic handwoven and wooden crafts to tourists. You will also find a small museum in the village that displays traditional clothing and kitchenware.
As you swoop down the 610-meter zipline above the jungle canopy, you’re not only exposed to the wind and the sun, but also the wide panorama of the Puerto Galera peninsula.
You’ll instantly feel small as you look at the tall hills and mountains to your left and right, and a rush of adrenaline as you look forward to the tiny marker at the end of the speeding zipline.
A truly breathtaking experience you should definitely try before going back to El Galleon.
Private Beach BBQ
The ideal family picnic takes place on a secluded beach where you receive full privacy to spend the absolute best quality time with your family. Luckily, we know a few places, and everything will be waiting for you there.
Your food will be brought with a barbeque hamper, so choose what you want to grill – beef, chicken, pork, prawns or fish, all available in various forms. And if that’s simply too much to think about, ask our kitchen to put a selection together for you, you won’t be disappointed.