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Diving with… Allison Manis, El Galleon Resort/Asia Divers, Puerto Galera, Philippines

Asia DTA Team

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Allison Manis

What is the name of your business?

El Galleon Resort/Asia Divers

What is your role within the business?

Marketing Manager/PADI Instructor

How long has the business operated for?

Over 33 years

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

Over 33 years. PADI IDC Staff Instructor. I have done training for Tech and Rebreather as well.

What is your favorite type of diving?

I enjoy all kinds of diving but I really do get a thrill out of a good drift dive. Also recently I’ve become very interested in Blackwater diving.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

Wow…I can tell you so much about our business as I’ve worked here for more than 20 years! I think the main thing to know is that Puerto Galera has amazing biodiversity.  Puerto Galera is one of the leading scuba diving locations in the Philippines, offering some of the best diving in Asia. We are located in “The Verde Island Passage Marine Corridor” (VIP) which is known as “the center of the center of marine biodiversity”, the heart of the Coral Triangle. There is no better place to experience this than our spacious dive centre and beachfront resort.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

After more than 25 years and 11,000 dives in Puerto Galera  I would have to say that out of all the amazing dive sites here I am truly enthralled by The Canyons. This is Puerto Galera’s signature dive site and divers come here from all over the world to get that big “WOW” moment diving it. The Canyons is well known because it’s quite often an exciting heart-pumping drift dive that brings out all the bigger schools of bigger fishes and you can really get that feeling of flying.

What types of diving are available in your location?

We’re so lucky in Puerto Galera to have so many different types of diving including amazing drifts, gorgeous reefs, wreck, fantastic macro and of course one of the most spectacular dive sites in the world, Verde Island. Our Blackwater diving is getting more popular as well. We have had many world class underwater photographers coming here because of the biodiversity and variety of diving offered.  Asia Divers is a PADI Career Development centre and is well known for its high standard of teaching across all PADI courses, from Bubblemakers for kids to Divemaster and Instructor level courses. We keep new divers happy on easier dives but we also have more challenging dives for experienced divers. For those who like to go a step further, we have a technical diving operation, Tech Asia.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

I love to meet people from all over the world and I’m very proud to introduce them to the underwater beauty of Puerto Galera.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Ha ha….I love so many creatures and critters, but lately I’ve become fascinated by salps. I come from an art and design background and I’m always searching for colours, shapes and textures in the ocean.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

With the “new normal”, our guest’s well-being and comfort is our priority at El Galleon Resort and Asia Divers. All considerations for health, safety and enjoyment are already in place throughout the resort.

Luckily being located right on the ocean and not in a busy area, we have lots of space and room for everyone to enjoy their stay and dive in a relaxing and safe way. It’s very easy to practice social distancing in our resort and dive center. El Galleon has implemented a 3-step room sanitizing process, with disinfectant fogging as one of the steps and many other steps to ensure everyone’s safety.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

COVID -19 has affected the whole world and tourism took a major hit here.  Right now of course it’s getting tourism back to the Philippines, safely. We have everything in place; we just need the government to lift travel bans and to allow people to travel here.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Asia Divers has been actively involved in the Project Aware International Clean up day and conduct underwater clean-up dives at least once a month as we are involved in Project AWARE Adopt a dive site. All candidates who are in training to become instructors at Asia Divers learn how to organise Project AWARE Dive Against Debris and use the data to change habits. We also report our data is great detail so it can be used for policy development. Throughout the years we have been working along with local schools for environmental education conducting beach clean-ups along with presentations about environmental awareness.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

We’re lucky here that not only can people go scuba diving, but it’s also fantastic for snorkelling.  Freediving is gaining allot more interest and I can see that this is an area which will grow in the coming years.  Puerto Galera has pristine corals and lots of fish to keep everyone interested in the aquatic world.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

El Galleon Dive Resort and its dive centre, Asia Divers, have everything you need to experience the best of Puerto Galera.  Located on a serene and quaint beachfront fronting Small Lalaguna Beach the resort has 30 air-conditioned rooms that have been constructed in the tropical hillside with stunning views of Sabang Bay and Small Lalaguna Beach.  The restaurant extends to the water’s edge, offering a great value in international  cuisine.  Puerto Galera is one of the leading scuba diving locations in the Philippines, offering some of the best diving in Asia and there is no better place to experience this than at our spacious dive centre.  We are the only dive center in Puerto Galera with a private pier and diving platform and of course you’ll get spoiled by our friendly and outgoing team!

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

News

Book Review: Secret Seas

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Secret Seas: Discover Oman’s Unique Underwater World by Paul Flandinette and Michel Claereboudt 

I do not usually agree to review a book without having a physical copy in my hands, as it is impossible to judge what the quality of the final product is going to be. However, in this case I made an exception, as the book is going to be printed and distributed based on pre-orders. What I can say is that if the publishers put as much care into it as the authors clearly have, it is going to be well worth a look. The book will be a 240 page hardback containing 295 beautiful photos of the 160 marine species featured within.

I have never considered diving in Oman. It has just never come up in conversation before. And yet the opening pages of this book have moved it right up my wish list of diving destinations. I was delighted to read that Oman is an important turtle sanctuary, protesting the 4 species of nesting turtles that visit its pristine white beaches. After introducing the readers to the country, a little of its history, and some information on the marine environment, the book dives right into its main trust which is to show you the beauty and diversity of Oman’s underwater world.

The chapters within cover a range of marine life from macro critters to sharks and are packed with excellent underwater images. You can really get a feel for what it is like to dive there. Whether you love looking for tiny crustaceans or you prefer looking out into the blue for pelagics to cruise past, it seems that Oman has something for everyone.

I was delighted to see that the authors have put in a chapter about ocean conservation and the risks these precious habitats are already facing. It was also good to see a chapter on underwater photography and how to take images like the stunning images in the previous pages, without harming the marine life.

All in all this looks to be a well thought out book filled with beautiful photographs of Oman’s underwater world. You can sense the authors passion for this place as you read and peruse the images.

To learn more visit the website by clicking here

It is available for pre-order by emailing the author Paul directly:

Price is GBP36.85
plus shipping –
GBP 6.50
EUROPE – GBP 16.95
REST OF THE WORLD – GBP 31.95

About the Authors

Paul Flandinette is an award-winning film maker, professional underwater photographer, author and artist. His film making career has included productions for some of the world’s leading companies and government organisations as well as a number of broadcast documentaries.

He is passionate about the underwater world and has dived extensively in the in the Far East, Red Sea, Caribbean and the UK. He has been living in Oman since 2013 and has spent the last seven years photographing Oman’s underwater world.

Michel Claereboudt is Professor of Marine Ecology at the Department of Marine Sciences and Fisheries at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. He is an internationally recognised authority on corals and echinoderms and continues to research the ecology and biology of corals and other reef invertebrates.

Michel has been living in Oman since 1997 where he has made thousands of dives and has an intimate knowledge of Oman’s underwater world that few can equal. He is also an underwater photographer.

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News

Bunaken Oasis wins Global Tourism Award

Asia DTA Team

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Bunaken Oasis, the award-winning destination on Bunaken Island, North Sulawesi, has been recognised as Indonesia’s Best Boutique Resort by Global Tourism Awards 2021.

For a resort that opened just four years ago, winning Indonesia’s Best Boutique Resort is a massive accolade. With the Global Tourism Awards being recognised globally as one of the travel industry’s most prestigious hallmarks of quality, owners Elaine & Simon Wallace are thrilled to have won such a high-profile award.

“We are delighted to announce that the Global Tourism Awards have voted us the ‘Best Boutique Resort in Indonesia 2021. Given the number of amazing resorts in Indonesia, this is an accolade of which we are hugely proud!

“We have also been voted ‘Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort’ by the World Travel Awards for the past three years, so now to have Bunaken Oasis recognised by the Global Tourism Awards solely as a resort is really exciting, as it demonstrates the all-round excellence which awaits divers and non-divers alike.

 “We’re especially pleased for our team, who’ve worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that Oasis is a safe and luxurious retreat which is fully ready to welcome guests as soon as they are able to travel”

Bunaken Oasis Dive & Spa Resort is situated on Liang beach, on the edge of Bunaken’s National Marine Park which is an underwater paradise for divers & snorkelers alike. Bunaken Oasis has redefined diving within Indonesia and helped to put Bunaken on the map as an internationally recognised dive destination.

The luxurious resort prides itself on being an ecotourism destination, with a zero single use plastic policy, and is proud of the extensive infrastructure designed to minimise any impact on the environment.

Offering 12 sumptuous cottages, all with spectacular ocean views and a long list of amenities including beautiful traditionally handcrafted four-poster beds and organic shower products, as well as the latest in room tablets and coffee makers, it is no surprise that Bunaken Oasis has been recognised for its luxury and world-class service.

For more information about Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort & Spa visit www.bunakenoasis.com.

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