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Dive Review of Asia Divers/El Galleon in
Philippines/Puerto Galera

May, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Gareth Richards, Ohio, USA
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 5153
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cocos, Galapagos, GBR, NZ, Roatan, Cozumel, Cyprus, Turkey, BVI, Keys, etc
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

calm, currents  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive your computer, 55 mins limit  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
1 stars  
Boat rides are so short (5-10 mins) no need for a tank. Cameras were well
handled and respected by the crew. No shore facilities but none needed: the
hotel is 100 feet from the dock. Subject matter outstanding, very healthy
corals, tons of nudis, seahorses, small fish fab.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
El Galleon is in my opinion the best all-around dive resort in the Sabang
area. El Galleon has its own dedicated dive store (Asia Divers), and it is
the only dive resort nearby with its own private pier. This is significant
as other dive boats load and unload from the beach in Sabang which is less
convenient. Asia Divers offer nitrox and even trimix through their Tech
Diving operation. Nitrox is commonly used all the time by most guests, and
at a price of $60 for unlimited nitrox, it is easy to see why. Day dives
are scheduled 7 days a week at 0800, 1030, 1330 and 1600. Dives are always
50-60 minutes; one exception was a deep dive to 129 feet (Fishbowl) which
naturally was shorter. Night dives are available any day upon request, even
it is one person. I corralled some others for the night dive that I did, so
we had a small group. The dive was scheduled for 1815 and we were back by

Nearly all divers are European so all diving is conducted in metric:
meters, bar and deg C; however all instructors are bilingual and if your
gear is in feet, psi and deg F (mine is), no worries.  Most guests were
experienced divers, but I did see regular small Discover Scuba and Open
Water classes being held also. Most diving is from PI-style bangkas but
Asia Divers also has a purpose-built dive boat with 2 powerful outboards.
This boat is used for day trips to more distant locations, such as Verdi
Island. I joined one of these trips and dove 2 tanks at Verdi. An
additional charge of $25 was added for use of the speedboat, but it cut
travel time from 60+ minutes to only 20.

As a guest your main responsibility is to analyze tanks in advance and
write your name and mix on the tank on tape, and sign the log. These tanks
are then taken to the boat and assembled into your gear for you. At the end
of the day bring back just your fins and mask , etc and the main part of
your gear is brought back for you. So as a guest there is no handling of
your bc/tank combo required.

Hot towels are offered on the boat immediately after the dive (kept in foil
in a cooler!) and towels and a fresh water shower are available as soon as
you return, as well as a fresh water hose and rinse tank for gear. Hang up
your wetsuit and it will be stowed away for you.

Most diving is drift diving of one form or another. Currents can be
ripping, or completely absent depending on location and state of the tide.
Dives might begin in one direction and reverse course in the middle
according to prevailing current conditions. The boats follow the divers and
pick up based on SMB deployment.

Diving is nearly all reef diving, of the highest caliber. In my opinion
this is some of the finest reef diving in the world. Reefs are in pristine
condition with hard and soft corals, plentiful fish life of many species
such as wide variety of anemone fish, lion fish, trevally, tuna, fusiliers,
nudis, feather stars, morays, rays, sponges, seahorses, ghost pipe fish,
and on and on. Verdi Island is a phenomenal wall dive. There are also some
dive sites (Giant Clams) offering terrific muck diving as well as, you
guessed it, giant clams. 

Water temp was 82 F at nearly any depth; I wore a 5mil and was glad of it
as I was doing so much diving; I saw others in everything from just shorts,
to shorties, to 3 mil full suit, to 5mil plus full hood.

El Galleon is located around the point from Sabang itself, on Small
LaLaguna. This in itself is a big advantage in my view. All the Sabang
hotels are jammed next to each other on Sabang beach and are crowded
together, backing on to the village. El Galleon is much more open and
spacious in its setting. There are many types of room  I stayed in a
ground floor poolside room which was great. Room was well outfitted with
cable TV, a safe and a nice bathroom, and good AC. Bed was a comfortably
firm Queen size. Laundry is done for you immediately (I turned it in around
0700 and received it back at lunch time for a very nominal fee). Free wifi
is available.

Food is outstanding  dishes cover European, Thai, Filipino, Indian cuisine
and are of uniformly high quality for an astonishingly reasonable price
(typical main course running 5-7 USD. 

Total cost: $1200 for 7 nights, poolside room including single supplement,
including unlimited day dives for 6 days (up to 24 total) and all food.
This could have been as low as $854 per person if I had been in a budget
room, double occupancy. Amazing value.

PG is 3-4 hours from Manila depending on traffic; 2 hours by road to
Batangas and one hour by boat. There are many many ways to do this.
Probably the best combination of convenience and value is the Sikat
bus/ferry service leaving Manila at 0800 and connecting to a dedicated
ferry at $25 one way per person. The resort can arrange completely private
transport via car and private boat for $175 one way, up to 6 people. This
is the way to go if you have a group. If you dont have a group, or prefer
something in between, you can arrange a private car for about $60 one way
and connect to the boat yourself for about $6. This has the advantage that
you can leave on whatever schedule you like (if you dont want to catch the
0800 bus for example). I did this and arranged a car through It was prompt and reliable in both directions.

All in all an excellent trip and incredible value.
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