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Beneath the Galleon - Puerto Galera, Philippines

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Beneath the Galleon - Puerto Galera, Philippines

Post Number:#1  Postby Knightdivers » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:49 am

Just wanna share my trip to Puerto Galera in June 2013. This is one of those trips where I made the decision to just pack my equipments and go without much research. I just wanted to surprise myself this round.
Manila is an easily accessible city by taking a direct flight from any major city in the region. In my case, I flew directly on MAS from Kuala Lumpur. Ideally, you want to land in Manila Airport and not Clark as it takes only an hour plus from the airport to Batangas Pier which is to the south of Manila. From the pier, it will take another hour to get you to the resort.
Platform Advantage
It is interesting to note that El Galleon is the only resort on Puerto Galera that has her own platform. This is extremely crucial for divers and any sensible tourist who is not too fond of getting their luggage and equipments wet at the wrong time. Personally, I am not keen in getting my feet and equipment full of sand whenever I get on and off a boat.

Muck Paradise
With more than 30 sites to choose from, we were spoilt for options. Do note that if you are looking for the pelagic creatures, this is NOT the place BUT if you are into muck diving, tiny creatures, the weird and unknown, beautifully healthy corals and nice wrecks with good visibility (up to 40 metres), this place is a MUST. The Mandarin Fish can be easily seen a stone's throw from the resort.

Matter of Experience
If you are looking for experienced dive guides, El Galleon’s dive centre - Asia Divers offers the best with some of them logging more than 9000 dives in this area alone and 26 years of history! One person that you must meet with such experience under her (weight) belt is no other than Allison. We had the privilege to dive with her during this trip along with her other equally experienced guides. With such great experience, it is not surprising that they run a lot of PADI courses as a CDC including the certification to be a Dive Instructor. As the market for Chinese divers from China is growing in this industry, Asia Divers engaged 2 full time Chinese speaking instructors to capitalize on them.

A Safe Haven
Well, training aside, what did we see and what can you expect to see? As Puerto Galera was discovered by the Spaniards in the early 16th century as a safe haven from the storms as typhoon, you can expect most creatures here has the same instinct and divers can enjoy year round diving. On a good day, you may find the Hairy Frogfish resting at approximately 15 metres in the Boat Yard, a site which eventually stretches to another site called The Hill. This area is definitely a haven for macro photography. I took more than a dozen shot trying to frame the Blue Ring Octopus and countless anemone shrimps. If you are a fan of nudibranches, this is definitely the site and you can always have the chance to find the Wonderpus or the elusive Mimic Octopus lurking behind tiny corals. Sea moths, ghostpipe fish, pygmies, flounders, flying gunards, scorpion fish and any other bizarre creatures can be found right here. You will just need a good guide or an eye for details and a great sense of imagination.

The Sites
If you are looking for pristine corals, the stretch of dive sites from Sabang Point to Monkey Beach will never disappoint. It is also interesting to note that El Galleon uses a speed boat for the divers making most of the sites accessible within 5 to 10 minutes tops.
If you ain't claustrophobic, the Hole in The Wall is one dive site you should consider. At approximately 12 metres, there is a hole where it fits a diver with good buoyancy through. You can expect to see snappers, giant trevallies and occasionally a turtle.
Personally, I enjoyed my dive in Alma Jane, a wreck located at 30 metres deep and it is not too far out from the resort. This cargo vessel was sank by the Puerto Galera Dive Association about 10 years back and now it is teaming with life. You will most probably be welcomed by a school of friendly batfish. If you can position yourself right with the sun, the wreck and the school of batfish, an award winning shot will be in your pocket soon. If you are on Nitrox, you will probably have time to go into the wreck and discover other interesting creatures in there such as the Painted Frog Fish and the Coleman Shrimp. I managed only the former.

Best Place to Go Tech!
If deep diving is your cup of tea, Tech Asia, which is the technical diving arm of Asia Divers offer full fledged PADI technical diving courses, dives and even trips around Puerto Galera and also around the region. The person to talk to is Dave Ross. This fine British spends his free time exploring and charting the caves of Samar in the country and funding it himself. Technical diving allows you to explore the deeper outer reef of Puerto Gallera which starts approximately 50 metres deep with sites such as Sweet Lips Corner for the Eagle Rays, Mapating for Marble Ray's nest, and a site called Black Fish Corner for Tunas. It is at this site that the divers of Palau's Blue Corner find it comparable!

Surface Time
El Galleon offers more than 30 air conditioned rooms on the beach side and the hills. A swimming pool with a deep enough corner for new divers to practice, a restaurant with a French chef, a bar for divers to chill and share their stories, a private spa that allows you to look to the open sea, a well equipped camera room with computers, and most importantly, a fully equipped dive centre on the platform. If you happen to come along with a spouse that didn't dive or bringing your kids along, you might want to spoil them a little by checking into El Galleon's Villas instead which is located only 5 minutes walk away. I hope the photos represent the beauty of the villas well as I think I ran out of words to express myself here.

For more info and photos of this trip, you can always visit their website http://www.asiadivers.com/ or check out their FaceBook pages at https://www.facebook.com/asia.divers and if you need an agent, PacDome would be of great help http://www.pacdome.com/
Night life in Puerto Gallera can be pretty interesting if you decide to take a walk into the nearby village. This is where you can get some local food especially the BBQ, fruits and perhaps top up your pre-paid phone. Bistros serving both local and imported beer are literally everywhere as well.
The usual question I suppose - Will I be back? Most definitely!!

Getting There & Costing

• Budget: Below USD500.00 for 4 Nights 5 Days with 4 boat dives a day, twin sharing room, breakfast, dive guide, tank, weights, return transfers from Manila Airport – Boat – Resort
• Nitrox Available with minimal charge
• Return Air Ticket to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore USD200.00 (if you buy early)
• Lunch/Dinner – Approximately USD5 to USD10 per person per meal
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Re: Beneath the Galleon - Puerto Galera, Philippines

Post Number:#2  Postby fish-hunter » Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:26 pm

Thank you for sharing, very useful detailed info.
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Re: Beneath the Galleon - Puerto Galera, Philippines

Post Number:#3  Postby run » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:08 am

thanx for sharing knightdivers :d

I stayed near to the jetty (point A). Dive with Badlaz (al-chepo style).
Dived near to the lagoon. Had a few dives around Sabang but then the divers choose to do more dives around the lagoon
coz can found so many things there. For Pelagic and nudi can go to Verde Island with 40m of clear viz from nudi to tunas and more than 1 sea snake encounter.
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