My Favorite Dive Site

Almost daily I get asked, “what is the best dive site” or “what is your favorite dive.”

That is a really tough question to answer.  I usually compare the wrecks to pizza.  Everybody has their own favorite.  You may not like what I like.  Final answer:  thick crust peperoni and black olive.

When I think back on my dives, I think more about those small moments during a dive where my mind is blown away.  The problem is,  I have been here so long that I have had these moments at all of the dive sites.  Here is a short list of some of those moments:

  • There is a small cluster of coral heads at CYC that has has a huge school of cardinal fish hanging around.  I really like watching the synchronized swimming of small silvery fish.  It makes me feel as if I am swimming through rain shower underwater.
  • I encountered a school of around 200 barracudas at Seven Islands Marine Park ranging in size from .5 to 1.5 meters.  It was awesome to swim just underneath the school looking up at them with the surface of the water as the background.  (Why didn’t I have my gopro that day?)
  • One of my other favorite spots is swimming the oil tanks in the Okikawa Maru.  It must be the combination of open, dimly lit rooms with the small restrictions in between that has always made me think if I was a fish, I would totally live there.
  • Another time, on the top of the Kogyo Maru there was a massive school of small silversides swarming  about.  The activity attracted a few large jacks.  It was quite an impressive sight watching the jacks hunting, darting in and out trying to get their next meal.

I don’t remember where I heard this line, but I definitely identify with it.  “The best dive is the next dive.”  I have been diving for more than a decade; and I still come up from my dives with an awe of mother nature that makes me feel good inside.



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Yolanda. Six months later

Coron has healed quite quickly after Yolanda powered through six plus months ago.  Aid and volunteers came from all over the world to help the Philippines.  We had crews of workers from the electric company in Puerto Princessa come up and help to replace the downed power poles and get the power lines up and running again.  I met countless individuals from several organizations such as the Red Cross and others.  One of our guests that was here during the typhoon, upon arrival home, organized donations from her friends and family in Australia.









We used the donations to help in the rebuilding and restocking of the small medical clinic in village of La Jolla.  La Jolla is a small fishing village on the neighboring Uson Island, and is home to many of the boat captains and boat crew that take divers and island hoppers out around the Coron area.  The donations not only helped to rebuild the health center, but also replace damaged equipment such as:  stethoscopes, blood pressure monitors, glucose monitors, and consumables such as sterile bandages, latex gloves, and antiseptics.









Coron still has some scars.  The cross is still down at Mt. Tapyas, but the stunning sunset views are the same.  The local government does have plans to replace it, not only for the tourists, but for the spirit of the locals as well.  A couple of the smaller seaside hotels are gone.  However,  more have been built and there are new restaurants as well.  We lost many trees, and you can still notice it when visiting the Islands.  But with the rainy season upon us, everything has greened up nicely and new growth is starting to cover any evidence that there was ever a storm at all.



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Yolanda’s Aftermath

Six days after one of the strongest typhoons on record hit Coron Town, we are doing quite well.  Yolanda devastated some locations such as Tacloban, Leyte and Malapascua Island, Cebu.  It’s my opinion that the community of Coron Town was quite fortunate.

A countless number of trees were uprooted, windows were blown in, power lines were knocked down, and some roofs were damaged by the high winds.  Most of the concrete structures here weathered the storm well.  The local style nipa huts suffered the brunt of the damage.  Many, having the sawali (woven bamboo mat) walls blown away or the roofs blown off.

Power lines will take a few weeks to get repaired.  I was told two weeks for Coron Town, but I feel that would be optimistic.  Longer for areas outside of town.  City water is already flowing.  Debris has been gathered into piles, and is waiting to be taken to the trash dump.  One of the cell towers was blown over, so cell service and internet can be hit or miss.  However, for the most part, people here are now starting to get back to their normal lives. 

Lolo Nonoy’s restaurant had a section of tables damaged, but they are open and still serving delicious food.  They don’t have a generator so the evening patrons get to eat by candlelight.  Noname Bar is open and serving cold beer and drinks in the evenings.  Coron Bistro had some roof damage; but with the help of their generator, things are business as usual.   Coron Galeri, the largest Island Hopping Tour business in Coron, is running trips for snorkelers and beach bums.  Here at Neptune, we have been taking out divers for the past three days. 

The outlying areas of Busuanga suffered much worse than we did.  Relief efforts are ongoing to get aid to the small villages in the outer areas of Busuanga and its neighboring islands.  We have been helping by organizing canned goods and clothing for Lajala, a small community where many of the local boat captains come from.  Those other areas do need our help.  If you wish to donate items, send us an email and I can put you in contact with people here or in Manila that are helping bring goods to our neighbors. 

Coron has always been a bit of an adventure destination, and for the next few weeks it might be a little more adventurous than normal.  The biggest inconvenience is the lack of power.  So many places have generators that if you need power, you can find it.  Even though I am an import, I still consider myself a Coronian.  We are a resilient, strong, and proud group of people.  Yolanda may have knocked us down, but we got back up and have already started moving forward again.

All of these pictures were taken on Thursday morning, 14 November 2013.





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Divemaster Promotion

So, are you ready to take the first step towards a career in diving?  Where you take your Divemaster course is big decision.  It is your first professional level diving course and it is where your set habits that will follow you thorough out your dive career.   You want it to be thorough, but it should be fun and affordable as well.  The best way to get the most of your Divemaster Program is to be fully involved with a dive center’s operation.

Neptune Dive Center in Coron is a great place to take your PADI Divemaster.  Coron Bay is home to 6 big Japanese World War II shipwrecks and a couple of smaller gunboats.  We also have nice reefs full of macro life and a thermal lake dive that is one of a kind.   Working closely with our PADI Instructors, you will expand your knowledge of diving and polish your dive skills to a professional level.  Your Divemaster course is a combination of theory, skills practice, and practical application.  Yes, you will have to spend some time in the classroom reading the books and taking exams.  But, you will also be assisting the instructors on courses and gaining valuable real life experience.  In the end, you will be an excellent role model for other divers to look up to.

Special Divemaster Package!

Book before December 31, 2013 and get:

Two weeks free accommodation at Coron Backpackers Lodge

Free equipment rental

Free Enriched Air Diver Specialty

DSD Leader Program

Scuba cylinder air filling orientation

Limited spots are available, so act fast if you wish to take advantage of this Special Offer.  For more information, contact us at


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Neptune Dive Center is happy to announce the start of an ongoing underwater photo hunt!  The contest aims to help promote the fact that Coron is more than just great wreck diving.  Taking part is easy.  We have a book of “Wanted” suspects in the dive shop.  If you spot one of the Wanted characters, capture them with your underwater camera.  When you return to the dive shop, trade in your photocaptured suspect for the bounty listed on the suspects Wanted Page.  The bounties reset after three months from the latest capture.  Bounties range from a free beer all the way up a free dive.  The harder the suspect is to find, the more valuable the bounty!  Email or stop by Neptune Dive Center for more details.


Wanted Poster Neptune Dive Center

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Before heading out on the dive boat this morning, I asked Jason a few questions about life, and diving.  Jason is known not only for being an excellent divemaster, but also the delicious lunches he prepares on the boat!

Jason Diving 

Question.  How long have you been diving?  And how many dives do you have?

Jason.  Since 2008.  I have no idea how many dives.  I stopped logging them a long time ago.

Q.  What is the coolest thing you have seen underwater?

J.  I saw my first whaleshark on the Akitsushima.  It was incredible.

Q.  What is your favorite dive site?

J.  The Akitsushima.  There is just so much to see there:  the radio mast, anti-aircraft guns, ammunitions, the gears for the crane, the engine room.  The list could just go on and on.

Q.  How did you start diving?

J.  I was working as boat captain for a dive shop.  I asked one of the staff to show me diving.  My first wreck dive was the Morazan and I was hooked.

Q.  What do you like best about your job as a PADI Divemaster and your life diving?

J.  It  allows me to provide well for my family, that’s important.  But really, it gives me the chance to make friends from all over the world.  Its more fun!

Q.  What is your most memorable moment underwater?

J.  I was guiding a night dive at Twin Peaks.  I spotted a fish that I had never seen befrore sitting in the corals.  I showed the divers, and everyone was really excited.  I found out later on the boat it was a frogfish.   

Q.  If you could go on a dive vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?

J.  I want to try Ice Diving.  I would love to have the chance to visit some of our friends from Russia and try diving under the ice. 

Q.  Not only are you an awsome divemaster, but the customers comeback raving about the lunch you prepared on the boat.  So, who taught you how to cook?

J.  Experience.  No one taught me.  I learned from experience.

Jason with some new dive friends

I guess there is truth to the old saying “Experience is the best teacher.”  Thank you Jason for taking a few minutes out of your busy morning to answer my questions, and for taking care of our guests with awesome dives and great lunches!

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ScubaEarth: A New Online Diver Network

PADI has launched SCUBAEARTH, a new online social network dedicated to divers.  It is easy to log, share, and research information about dive destinations all over the world.  Anyone can create an account and start sharing dive adventures, meeting new dive buddies, and learning about dive sites through the experiences of fellow divers.

SCUBAEARTH has a comprehensive list of dive sites around the world.  This makes it easy to gather information about depths, characteristics, and recent conditions, where ever diving takes you.

The online log book allows you to browse recent dive experiences of others at the sites you are planning to visit.  If you log all of your dives digitally, there is little need to carry a paper logbook.  This means you never have to worry about losing you logbook, getting it wet, or forgetting to bring it with you.  It is always there for you online.

Here at Neptune Dive Center, we log all of our dives on SCUBAEARTH.  All you have to do is join our crew and we will add you to the dive buddies list for the dives you made.

Join our Crew, and team up with Neptune Dive Center and SCUBAEARTH today!

Scuba Earth

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Staff Spotlight: Tan Tan

Last night I sat down with Christian Garcia, known to our guests as Tan Tan, and asked him some questions about his diving life.  Many of our quests will remember Tan Tan for his intimate knowledge of the wrecks and his ability to find some of the smallest macro life around.

Tan Tan giving a predive briefing

Question.  How long have you been diving?  And how many dives do you have?

Tan Tan.  6 years, (Tan Tan shakes his head back and forth) I have no idea how many dives.  Too many to count.

Q.  What is your favorite dive site and why?

T.  I love the Irako.  Its more challenging.  I have more fun there.

Q.  What do you like best about your job as a PADI Divemaster and your life diving?

T.  It’s a completely different world.  Underwater, everything is just so peaceful and quiet.

Q.  If you weren’t diving, what would you be doing?

T.  I don’t know.  I would want to be involved with an extreme sport of some kind.  I really like adventure.

Q.  What is your most memorable moment underwater?

T.  I was guiding at Tubataha Marine Park.  We had a 4 meter tiger shark swim up from behind the group. It passed within half a meter to me.  That is something I will never forget.

Q.  Now you are really great at finding small stuff for me and our guests.  How do you do it?

T.  I am just lucky.  It is one of those things. If I tell people in the briefing I will show them something, I won’t be able to find it.  If I don’t mention something it in the dive briefing than I just see it.

Q.  If you could go on a dive vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?

T.  Anywhere with wrecks.  Maybe Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon.  I like diving, I love reefs, but I got addicted to wrecks.

Tan Tan in Cathedral Cavern

I think many of our guests would agree with Tan Tan’s last statement.  I would like to thank Tan Tan for taking a few minutes to talk to me, and for always finding nice macro life for me to photograph.

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Ebook on Coron’s Dive Sites

Now available for download:  “Wrecks and Reefs” a guide to the dive sites of Coron, Palawan, Philippines.  Written by Neptune Dive Center, this 14 page ebook is filled with descriptions, data, and pictures of the most popular dive sites in Coron.  Whether you want to learn more about diving in Coron or you are planning your next dive vacation, “Wrecks and Reefs” has information you.  Best of all, once it is downloaded, you can view it anytime you want, regardless of internet availability.  “Wrecks and Reefs” is a 1.4mb PDF file that can be easily viewed on almost any electronic device.  Available only on our website, click the image below to be taken directly to the download page.


Click to download the Ebook here!

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More than just Wreck Diving

Most people come to Coron to see our World War II wrecks. Last week we had a welcome change from wreck diving with some guests that wanted to see our reefs. We do have some nice reefs here. Most people know that my passion is nudibranchs. I have lived here for 5 years and still find new critters that I have never seen before. The big surprise last week was a frog fish and an ornate ghost pipefish!

Frog Fish

A frog fish we spotted on a night dive!

Ornate Ghost Pipefish

Ornate Ghost Pipefish found at one of our reef training sites!

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