Diving

pct-diving

Some of the Best

Scuba Diving in the Philippines

Here at Big Apple Dive Shop we offer best value extensive training programs aiming to make sure that you will really master the required skills to become SAFE in the water. We also take great pride in guiding our fun-divers in and around the 30 plus fantastic dive sites to be found in these temperate local waters diving in Puerto Galera.

Our PADI courses are aimed at providing you with the best possible understanding of this wonderful sport of scuba diving and the correct skills needed to overcome the challenges it presents us with. Our highly experienced Master Instructor, Peter, has been diving in Sabang since the early 90’s and his classes are both great fun and very in depth and informative.

Our dive guides enjoy looking after all your needs, from helping you with your gear set up, to giving advice and support with your diving skills and providing thorough briefings for all your scuba dives in Sabang. We strive hard to find all the small critters for your underwater photos too, exploring new areas and demonstrating the safest ways to navigate the most challenging dive sites.

Equipment & Facilities

pc-diving

All our scuba gear is top quality and regularly maintained and consists primarily of Aqua Lung BCDs,Regulators,3mm wetsuits, Mask and Fins. A variety of mask and Snorkel Sets are also available for customer use so there should be something to suit everyone. We try very hard to make sure that we have the right equipment for our divers and if ever we don’t have something, we will go and buy it whenever possible!

tritonia_lusitania_1935

Personal Gear

We will be happy to wash and hang your personal equipment for you and all our dive crew are very experienced with this.

We can also issue you a gear crate with your name on it and store your gear away properly after you have finished diving too.

At the end of the day we lock the shop up with steel gates and make it all secure.

Our Boat Dives

Our first dive boat, BA1, is a sturdy wooden native style Banka boat hewn from a single tree trunk at the keel, braced with ribs and balanced with bamboo outriggers that keep it very stable in the water. We regularly maintain the boat and are always making adjustments and improvements for the comfort of our divers.

We enter the water by back-rolling in with our tanks on and at the end of the dive we have ropes along both sides of the gunnels with a handy stainless steel ladder with flat treads and handrails for climbing back out of the water easily.

We always have oxygen on the boat on every dive, just in case. We also have life rings, a fire extinguisher, marine radio and running lights. There is 100m of rope in the keel of the boat in case we need to throw an extra long line into deep water in the unlikely event of a breakdown.

Our boat captains, Nik and Dennis have many years experience of the local dive sites and conditions and are very valuable assets to our shop.

p1000778_1-2
classroom2

Classroom

We are fortunate to have a separate classroom facility where our students can watch training videos and can study without being disturbed. All our books and videos are in multiple languages including English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, German and several European languages, along with gear racks, lockers, changing room and comfort room with shower.

Meet our Dive Staff

peter

Peter Wilson

Dive Instructor  (PADI # 49665)
55 yrs. old – Australian
13000+ dives
PADI Elite since 2008
26 years living in Sabang

26 years, master and specialty instructor, 3000+ Students. Was originally in Australian navy traveled the world and been in the Philippines puerto galera since 1990.Is a mad lover of Australian sports.

jeovani

Joevani Rafeal

Dive Master ( PADI # 19060)
38 yrs. old – Filipino
6000 Dives

Padi Divemaster 10 years, 6000 dives. A local guide born in Puerto Galera 38 years old, a family man with a love for photography fast bikes and basketball.

simon-profile-new

Simon Birtles

Dive Instructor (PADI #63693)
49 yrs. old – English
10000+ Dives

24 years teaching with old connections with the original tech diving community of the Philippines, involved in world breaking records in deepest ocean diver and deepest wreck diver, expedition diver to find now famous dive sites of the Philippines and commercial treasure hunter of 1000 year old Chinese wrecks. Lived in Puerto Galera since 1992, likes running and video games.

Dive Sites

Welcome to God's Garden

And creatures that we were never meant to see….

You may be thinking to yourself that that statement sounds a little far fetched, but in reality, it really isn’t far from the truth! There are so many wondrous sights to be found around the sloping reefs that line the cliffs and spread out across the bays of the peninsula of ‘Puerto de Galera’ that the mind just boggles. Indeed it seems limitless that the tremendous amount of life found here can have such diversity of species in such a small area of coastline. Dubbed the ‘center of marine biodiversity in the world’ the body of water called the Verde Island Passage that stretches between Puerto Galera and Verde Island is home to a huge variety of sea creatures of all shapes, colours and sizes.

The topography of the sea bed in this area forces the seawater into a deep channel (270m) between Isla Verde and the West Escarceo headland and it is this action which produces the strong flooding currents and ebbing tides that we experience here. In simple terms it’s akin to a bottle neck between two large bodies of seawater where the greater depths are over 1000m and the tides have to pass through this narrow channel at a shallower depth to flow naturally. See the channel and the sea bed for yourselves in Google Earth.

Puerto Galera Dive Sites

image-dive-sites

Below in the accordion dropdowns you will find detailed information on each Dive Site and also the Marine life you might encounter.Please have a look and find your next Dive.

BEGINNERS

A short distance past Batangas Channel lays a dozen or so Giant Clams, seeded by the University of Manila over a decade ago. Now flourishing and multiplying in number these clams are very interesting to examine with intricate details and colours in their mantle. Hard corals have taken root on their shells too and the clams are interesting to watch as their primitive eyes detect light and basic movement leading them to snap shut their gaping maw and push a strong jet of water out through their orifices!

Adjacent to these, some of the most diverse and healthy hard coral species can be found standing perpendicular to the current. Sea Horses, Moray Eels, Ghost Pipe Fish, Mantis Crabs and Sting Rays abound in this undisturbed treasure trove of rare marine creatures.

This natural channel forms a perfect westerly corridor between two Islands and is washed with flooding or ebbing current every six hours as the sea water rushes in and out again of Puerto Galera Harbour and its various small bays and inlets.

Green Sea Turtles and Rays often drift through the channel, idly following the current as they search for new feeding grounds. Up in the shallows on the interior of the Northern slopes can be found huge colonies of awesome hard corals and small reef fishes in schools and further out towards the open sea there are several ledges and overhead environs that support large Barrel Sponges, Gorgonian Fans, and Oyster Clams. A myriad of macro subjects are usually found on this dive. Currents are minimal.

Drift diving along the coast line of long beach on a sunny day really makes it easy to see why this corner of Puerto Galera is such a fabulous success with all visiting divers. There are so many fantastic subjects for photography here, so much life and such vivid and vibrant colour that this dive really is quite unforgettable. The shallow depth and great visibility often make for excellent wide angle photography at this site.

The coral heads are often spaced quite far apart in places and there are some very interesting hiding places for fish and turtles to hang out in. There are several small openings in the reef where beautiful photos of hard corals against blue water can be taken and I often find myself spending a lot longer on the bottom at this dive site than many of the others. Nice relaxing dive with thousands of photo opportunities. A great example of Philippines reef eco systems.

Keep an eye out for a hard coral species that is totally unique to Puerto Galera, the Anacropora puertogalerae. Make sure you also visit this dive spot during November when the corals are spawning; usually around or during the full moon, which is a spectacular night dive.

Just under the surface of the waters in front of the rocky headland between Big La Laguna beach and Small La Laguna beach extends a small wall with a very healthy reef. Starting at 5m; the reef drops down to 12m where hard corals are found along a ridge that stretches back towards Sabang.

Dropping in Small La Laguna on an ebbing current and heading down to 20m the divers will find several small shipwrecks and some interesting coral heads that are homes to Mantis Shrimps and Lion Fish and sometimes a small colony of Striped Cat Fish hiding underneath the wrecks. Barramundi Cod have also been known to hide among the coral heads on this dive site.

Divers can also observe some steel pyramids that were placed here on the sea bed that often have Frog Fish sitting on them. The wrecks are mainly speed boats but are interesting all the same. There are many Crinoids clinging to them in the current. After the last of the wrecks, we head up to 12m and pick up the reef to drift around the headland with the current and finish the dive in the sandy area in Big La Laguna. Keep an eye out for schools of Rabbit Fish and Dusky Brown Groupers on this reef.

So named for the large passenger Banka boats that have their moorings at this spot; Fantasea Reef has grown rapidly due to the corals exposure to lots of sunlight in shallow waters. Many species of soft and hard corals thrive here and large colonies of Sea Anemone with various species of Anemone Fish can also be found here. Don’t forget to have your Divemaster carefully look under certain types of Anemone for Porcelain Crabs too.

Other creatures often observed in this area are Blue Spotted Stingrays, Garden Eels, Nudibranchs, Cuttlefish and Green Sea Turtles. Currents can sometimes be strong here if it is approaching a full moon and divers may well find themselves heading to Sabang Wrecks or Laguna point on a drifting tide.

These wooden wrecks lie in 18-20m and are home to friendly schools of Batfish, Butterfly Fish and Surgeon Fish. Look closely at the timbers and you may see a Scorpion Fish or a Frogfish patiently waiting for an easy meal to swim by! At night, these wrecks transform into a mesmerizing display of colours and many small crustaceans and other macro subjects can be seen scurrying around in the holes around the wreck. Buried in the sand can be found the rare Stargazer, sometimes very difficult to spot but a keen eye can see the telltale eyes and mouth just protruding from its sandy hideout. Lucky divers may also find the elusive Flying Gurnard close to this site at night time.

Swimming up the sandy slope from these wrecks to an area of sea grass in shallow water may reveal many exotic fish rarely seen in other areas such as the Short Finned Dragonet, the Harlequin Ghost Pipe Fish, Indian Walkman or even the Cockatoo Wasp Fish. Further West is a small part of the cockpit of a WW2 Zero fighter.

This area highlights more than any other area what makes diving in Puerto Galera so special. Many dive destinations have big fish, others beautiful coral and others great variety, but it is rare to find all three in one place, especially as these dive sites are literally just a few minutes off the beach.

Colourful corals and fish are to be found everywhere at this dive site. It is well worth a few minutes of bottom time to look for Pygmy Sea Horses in one of the many Gorgonian Fans in this area. Sometimes Robust Ghost Pipe Fish hide between the coral blocks on the sandy bottom. Leafy Scorpion Fish can also be seen here, as can many different kinds of Trigger Fish, and very large Puffer Fish.

Best dove at slack tide, this site offers chances to find all the things you haven’t seen yet. With a maximum depth of 22 meters and timed to avoid strong currents it is a very easy dive with plenty to look at. Keep an eye out for ‘Barnacle Bill’, the three finned Green Sea Turtle who hangs out here from time to time. Cuttle Fish may also be found up in the shallows on this dive.

In front of Monkey Beach is a sloping reef with many different kinds of hard and soft corals, Staghorn, Elkhorn, Tabletop corals and Basket Sponges can be found on the ridges, reefs and ledges that line the cliffs and make up this stunning dive site. A small wreck of a sailboat can be found at 20m and provides a home to many Crinoids who catch a hold of the steel hull in the drifting currents. Lion Fish and Rabbit Fish are also seen taking refuge here inside the shelter of the bulkheads.

A fine site for drift diving and best dove on an ebbing tide; care should be taken to avoid the strongest currents and avoid overshooting Sabang Point. Planned properly divers can cover a large area of reef on a single dive.

A beginners dive and the fish and coral are a mix of Dungon Wall and West Escarceo there is also a wrecked barge at a depth of 2m only on the rocks.

ADVANCED

This wall is located almost directly opposite the mouth of Manila Channel in slightly deeper water. The top of the wall is 28m and the bottom is 32m. It stretches along for about 40 or 50m in all. There are many Gorgonian Fans to check for Pygmy Seahorses as well as Sea Whips and Basket Sponges.

A variety of fish life can be found here and there are many hiding places on the wall for Moray Eels and Lion Fish. Don’t forget to keep an eye looking upwards as Spanish Mackerel, Barracuda and Trevally are also frequent visitors to this dive site.

The surrounding area is largely gravel and coral sand and stretches for a long way. Swimming up over the wall to shallower waters reveals many sponges and sea whips that give homes to a plethora of macro subjects. Best dove on the flood tide.

Opposite Big La Laguna beach lays the dry dock dive site in 28m of seawater. The dry dock was designed for lifting small boats out of the water using its ballast tanks. The boats would sail in and the chambers were filled with air allowing the boat hulls to be cleaned and repaired. Once the job was done, the tanks were deflated slowly and the boats could sail away again.

This clever device was made with heavy structural steel beams and plywood construction but over time was getting worn out by the elements. La Laguna Beach Club sank this dock back in 1998 to make a reef habitat. On the way down to the bottom however, the dock overturned and landed upside down! What a bonus for us divers! In doing so it has created a brilliant habitat for many species of fish such that hide underneath and inside the now breeched hull. Soldier Fish, Harlequin Sweet Lips, Red Snappers, Bat Fish, Lion Fish, Pygmy Sea Horses, Frog Fish, Porcupine Fish and Leafy Scorpion Fish can be found easily all over this site.

There is also a school of resident Yellow-tail Barracuda that swim around the outside of the dry dock site and lucky divers may even get to see a Great Barracuda that stops in to see the dentist from time to time! (Give that fish plenty of room to maneuver…. It is over 6feet long and as thick as a palm tree!)

This wreck was sunk in March 2003 by the now defunct PGDA (Puerto Galera Dive Association) and sits upright in 30m of seawater. She was an inter-island freighter that was prepared especially to make a dive site and reef habitat. There have been several large holes cut into the deck and any hazardous items removed from the inside to make it ideal for penetration. The hull was originally constructed from plate steel and there are many bulkheads inside to hide Moray Eels and thousands of tiny Commensal and Cleaner Shrimps.

The upper decks were constructed from structural steel and timber but over the years all the timber has rotted away leaving the skeletal beams in place as a reminder of her deck lines. The helm of the vessel can be seen lying on the deck but the ships wheel is long gone. Towards the bow a mast stands proud and is clad now in Oyster Clams and hard corals. The beams of the main decks are also clad in hard and soft corals with several small Gorgonian fans and Sea Whips swaying in the current. At the stern a large cleat has a line buoyed to the surface.

A myriad of fish gather here at the wreck and call her their home, Trumpet Fish, Fusiliers, Rabbit Fish, Sweet Lips, Snappers and Bat Fish are all here in abundance. Strong surface currents are sometimes prevalent at this dive site; always descend with the buoy rope in sight whenever possible. Great for wide angle photography, this site is one of the signature dives of Puerto Galera and not to be missed.

Often with stronger current blowing through these beautiful coral laden trenches, this is one of the most exhilarating dive sites in Puerto Galera (and the entire Philippine archipelago?) The Canyons can sometimes challenge even the most experienced of divers so care must be taken to enjoy this awesome dive site in relative safety.

Drifting past the Hole in the Wall dive site on a flooding current, divers traverse along the sloping reef and enter a series of three bowls. In these, one can find many kinds of Sweet Lips hiding under overhanging ledges or around Gorgonian Fans. Master of camouflage, the Scorpion Fish takes a residence here amongst the vast carpet of soft corals so great care must be taken if one needs to grab onto a rock and hang on in the current!

Hump-back and Midnight Snappers, Red Bass, Long Nose Emperors, Blue Fin Trevally, Brassy and Snub-nose Drummers all gather here in schools and are an awesome sight! Overhead, Big Eyed Jacks and Giant Trevally dance about effortlessly in these turbulent waters, a wondrous reminder to us of the beauty of Mother Nature and the awesome power of the sea.

Resting on the reef after the third canyon is an age old iron anchor; an ancient relic leftover from the days of the Spanish traders that once controlled this area. This marks the point where divers should begin their ascent and end of a truly world class dive site.

TIP – The Canyons can also be dove on the ebb tide as a drift dive from the Shark Cave. This dive should be planned thoroughly before hand and tide tables checked thoroughly. Never dive the Canyons on an ebb tide greater than a 1.5m tidal change unless you are in buddy teams of expert divers with many years experience. Strong down currents can be prevalent at this site.

A short swim across the bowl in the sea floor that extends away from the Shark Caves dive site stands the monolithic ‘Atoll’; a huge boulder that must have laid there since the world began! As divers approach this slumbering giant and swim under the overhang that greets them one can’t help but feel a real sense of wonder at the age of this rock and all the marine life that has made a home here over the thousands of years.

This building sized boulder harbours many Moray eels, Lion Fish and Scorpion Fish. Red Toothed Trigger Fish hover above the corals and duck into holes at the slightest sign of danger. Underneath there lives a large Dusky Grouper and divers can often find Blue Fin Trevally and Long Nose Emperor Fish hunting in a pack on top of the atoll. Often schools of Jacks or Green Sea Turtles are also spotted here.

Swimming up to the top of the atoll and across the gulley to the nearby reef is a great way to multi-level this dive and extend dive time. The atoll dive must be done on the flood to get the most enjoyment out of it. Keep an eye out for Octopus that hide in holes in the reef as you swim across into Kilima bay.

INTERMEDIATE

Along the cliffs where the sheer rock face protrudes out into the current and forms an outcrop between Monkey Beach and Dungon Beach there are a number of ledges and boulders that form an interesting reef perpendicular to the current. The largest of these rocks has a cave at the base just big enough for a man to get inside (tight squeeze – not recommended – could be stingy things inside too!).

This cave used to be home to a large Dusky Grouper called Ernie, fed up with the neighbours; Ernie has regrettably moved on for a quieter neighbourhood. He has left us with a resident school of Copper Bellies however and this area is teaming with Sardines and Fusiliers that play in the current. Keep an eye out for Blue Spotted Stingrays and Mantis Shrimps at this site.

A great multi-level dive; Dungon Wall is home to many species of Moray Eels and Nudibranchs. The twin hulls of an old wooden catamaran can be found lying at the bottom of the wall in 27m of water. The wall rises up to 12m where it levels off and the seabed gently slopes up to the shallow waters of Dungon Bay.

The hard corals in Dungon Bay are particularly exposed to rough weather during typhoon season and the bad storms in 2006 destroyed most of the Tabletops and coral heads that were growing there at that time. The storm worked in a similar way to burning a field of old crops however and many new corals are growing in the bay already. There are scores of table top corals, Elk horn and Stag horn corals too, each about 18” across already.

It is surprising just how resilient our local coral reefs appear to be. Popular opinion suggests that the reasons for this are the large tidal changes and regular movement of the water here. Swirling eddies in the current bring all the goodness that the corals need to flourish.

Further along the cliffs from Dungon Beach the reef stretches along towards Escarceo Point. The currents can flow quite strongly along this reef and because of this, large schools of small fish like Antheas and Rainbow Runners gather in this area. This reef is washed with colder waters at this site and some of the best condition corals grow here among these ridges and ledges. The topography is very interesting and there are many critters to be found here at various depths.

In the shallows, Stone Fish, Frog Fish and Scorpion Fish can be found hiding under the Tabletops and at deeper depths Blue Fin Trevally team up with Long Nose Emperor Fish to hunt the reef in packs. It’s very exciting to watch these hunters in a feeding frenzy as the emperors poke their long snouts into small holes in the reef to gobble up the prey that they have trapped there. See them change colour from a dull silver to what looks like a speckled pattern as they flush with excitement and hastily devour their meal.

Just off Escarceo Point is the short swim-through known as ‘Hole in the Wall’. This natural tunnel through solid rock is an exciting dive and emerging from the hole is a great way to surprise the large schools of Drummer and Sweetlips that play in the current. Sheltering behind a coral wall, divers kneel on the sandy bottom allowing the fish to come ever closer. They seem unafraid of the divers as they tumble in and out of the current.

From time to time larger ocean going pelagic fishes such as Slate Sweetlips and Giant Trevally can be seen overhead. Huge schools of Jacks can be observed at this dive site as well as Octopus and the notorious Titan Trigger Fish. The current is quite strong at this site when the water is flooding hard. When the tidal changes are quite large (the difference in cm between low and high tide) care must be taken to dive this site in comfort. Always trust your Divemaster and follow his lead to get the most from this dive site.

This dive is so rich in marine life and as diverse in species as diving at Verde Island! Starting in shallow water, the dive site consists of gently sloping sand and gravel areas broken up by ridges or steps that go deeper as the slope stretches further out to sea. A long reef wall of about 3 or 4 meters in height starts in the shallows and heads out towards the Atoll dive site.

The reef on top of the wall is literally teaming with life; schools of Antheas, Surgeon Fish, Angel Fish, Butterfly fish, Parrot Fish all join the myriad of other species of reef fishes and create a sense of unspoiled serenity on this amazing reef. At around 14m a colony of bright blue and yellow Palette Surgeon Fish (made famous in the 2003 Disney-Pixar Film ‘Finding Nemo’) dance together in courtship rituals just a meter or so above the coral.

Moray Eels are very common here, and you will find one or two under most Tabletops, coral heads or Basket Sponges. Sometimes there are often more than one and possibly different species hiding in the same place. Frog Fish and Banded Sea Kraits, Green Sea Turtles and Octopus can often be found at this site too.

Starting up in the shallows, this wall drops away to a gravel seabed of more than 30m depth at the very base. Large boulders and rocky coral heads are strewn at the bottom and many fish are hiding between the rocks there. The site is most famous of course for its wide variety of Nudibranchs and colonies of small Yellow Sea Cucumber.

Lucky divers are sometimes treated to an occasional visit from Green Sea Turtles, Barracuda, Bump Head Parrot Fish or Spanish Mackerel. There are often Banded Sea Kraits at this site and Blue Spotted Stingrays buried in the gravel here too. This dive is great for macro photography and best done on a flooding tide to avoid getting swept away into Kilima bay.

In a secret location in Varadero Bay lies a small cave under a ledge in the reef. I first found this cave back in 2005 and have observed many residents there from White-tip Sharks and Black-tip Sharks to very large Dusky Groupers and Green Sea Turtles all taking residence in the cave.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this site is the regular appearance of Thresher Sharks. When the water is colder; in the months of January or February, this site is the best place to see these majestic and timid creatures. It takes a little patience (and my ‘shark calling’ secret!) to attract the Thresher Shark but when it comes around, it is truly a magnificent experience to behold!

These are the most timid of all shark species, give the shark some space and let it come to you in its own time. Typically it will either encircle the divers or drift slowly to and fro from the group, checking you and your buddies out! Have no fear; these sharks are inquisitive by nature in a similar way to an unfamiliar dog in a park. The encounter is always over too soon and leaves the divers wishing the shark would return!

Tip – flash photography, rattles and horns, tank bangers, flapping arms around wildly and pointing and squealing with excitement drives them away very quickly! When you see one, stay quite still and close to the bottom, DO NOT CHASE THE SHARK or it will flee and will not return for a long time…if at all!

In a secret location in Varadero Bay lies a small cave under a ledge in the reef. I first found this cave back in 2005 and have observed many residents there from Whitetip Reef Sharks and Black Tip Sharks to very large Dusky Groupers and Green Sea Turtles all taking residence in the cave.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this site is the regular appearance of Thresher Sharks. When the water is colder; in the months of January or February, this site is the best place to see these majestic and timid creatures. It takes a little patience (and my ‘shark calling’ secret!) to attract the Thresher Shark but when it comes around, it is truly a magnificent experience to behold!

These are the most timid of all shark species, give the shark some space and let it come to you in its own time. Typically it will either encircle the divers or drift slowly to and fro from the group, checking you and your buddies out! Have no fear; these sharks are inquisitive by nature in a similar way to an unfamiliar dog in a park. The encounter is always over too soon and leaves the divers wishing the shark would return!

Tip – flash photography, rattles and horns, tank bangers, flapping arms around wildly and pointing and squealing with excitement drives them away very quickly! When you see one, stay quite still and close to the bottom, DO NOT CHASE THE SHARK or it will flee and will not return for a long time…if at all!

Often underrated this site is one of the best macro photography sites on the map. I like to dive this site on the second or third dive of the day when the sun is high in the sky and brings out all the colours in the soft corals. Divers can observe many small reef fishes along the ridges in the reef at this site. The most beautiful part of this dive site is between 20 and 23 meters where a few large boulders rest and are home to many soft corals, crinoids and schools of reef fish.

Occasionally, Cuttlefish and Banded Sea Kraits are seen here as well as many types of trigger fish – Red tooth, Clown, Picasso, Queen and Titan too. The site is often visited by larger pelagics such as Giant Trevally, Eagle Rays and Turtles.

There are also a few Gorgonian Fans in the area where Pygmy Sea Horses can be found. Buried in the gravel are often Blue Spotted Stingrays so keep an eye out for the tell tale signs, black and white bands around the tail or the outline of the ray in the fine gravel or sand.

Just across from the sleepy fishing village of Sinandigan on the way into Varadero Bay lie several slumbering giants. Over the centuries huge boulders have peeled away from the cliff face and have laid to rest at its base. The upper surfaces of these boulders are bathed in sunlight and blankets of soft coral coat the tops of them all.

Sporadic pockets of tabletop coral and trees of black coral spread to catch the sun’s rays and provide a home for many shrimps, crabs, nudibranchs and small reef fishes. Under almost every boulder divers can find any number of exotic creatures hiding and a series of small caves make this dive site very interesting.

The Ribbon Eel can sometimes be found in the largest cave here sharing a home with a school of Copper bellies. Some lucky divers may even spot a large Dusky Grouper before it slopes off into one of the many holes in the reef at this site. Green Sea Turtles often pay a visit and occasionally, larger rays are spotted here too. Schools of Fusiliers can be found swimming amongst the safety of some of the smaller boulders and a resident school of Razor Fish has colonized the top of the largest boulder.

EXPERT

Just across the waters of the Verde Island passage lay some of the best dive sites in the Philippines. Luckily for us, it only takes a Banka boat 45 minutes to get to the drop off site from our resort here in Sabang! We like to do day trips with diving and a barbeque on the beach there as often as we can.

The drop off is basically a large underwater pinnacle with a sheer wall on the Southern side and a gradual slope on the Northern side. The wall drops off 60m to a shelf and then slopes gradually off for a short distance before it drops again to 80m a little further out. Swirling currents attract so many fish in schools of all different types and quite often larger pelagics can be seen here too. A variety of sharks, turtles, rays, dolphins and even whale sharks have been seen here many times.

The visibility can be as much as 50m sometimes and the corals at this site are simply breathtaking. This site must always be treated with great respect as the currents here can be fierce. We like to drop in on the North side and assemble the group at 10-12m on the bottom then head around through the schools of fish to sling shot around the pinnacle onto the sheer face of the wall. Verde Island Drop Off is a truly awesome dive site with so many species of fish, crustaceans and invertebrates that there are just too many to list. We have a sensible policy of not taking any novice divers to this site unless the currents are at an absolute minimum strength.

In the deeper waters near the boulders dive site lie the remains of a Japanese patrol boat from the Second World War. The story goes that it was attacked by an American airplane whilst it was carrying a resupply of munitions to Japanese troops stationed on Verde Island. When it was bombed, it exploded with such force that the majority of the vessel was blown to pieces.

In the gravel, at a little over 41m, there lay a few steel plates and a large engine block and transmission. A long prop shaft and brass prop extend out from these and are all that remains of this vessel. The anchor can be found adjacent to the wreck site in some other debris.

Oriental and Harlequin Sweet Lips are common here in small schools along with Rabbit Fish and Cuttle Fish. Inside the Engine block are two Giant Moray Eels. The very short bottom time on this dive means that although diving this is possible, it’s best done as a nitrox or tech dive.

Fish bowl is probably the most challenging dive this side of the Verde island passage and should only be attempted at slack water.

Swim out and down from the first canyon to the top of this dive site which is at 41m. As you descend deeper a large ridge can be found in a kind of bowl shape. The reef there is covered in soft corals. At about 45m the reef stops and opens up to a huge bowl shape opening which continues down to the gravel sea bed below.

Huge schools of fish gather here sometimes; Jacks, Snappers, Red Bass, Trevally, and even the occasional Barracuda take shelter from the current in this area. Keep an eye out for large Dusky Groupers here also.

If the current allows, the dive group may be able to ascend from here into the Canyons rather than ascending in blue water. This is one of the better dive sites but should be planned for properly by divers with a lot of experience as some decompression stops may be needed to dive this site safely, chasing a NDL on a dive computer is not a safe way to dive at this site.

Horse head reef is further East past the fishbowl and can also be reached after swimming away from the canyons down past the old anchor. Sat at 36m the reef is in the shape of a horse’s head when viewed from the Northern side. There are many small Gorgonian Fans in this area and basket sponges with Sea Whips covered in crinoids.

Hiding behind these baskets and fans we find large Bat Fish and Groupers. Occasionally other very large fish and sharks can be seen here. The strong currents and deep depths make this site difficult to dive but if the conditions are correct and the group is able, it can be a great place to see larger fish. Schools of Giant Trevally are often seen here. This site must be dived on the flood or at slack water.

Swimming down and away from the bottom of Sinandigan Wall we pass a couple of smaller boulders and then approach a very large boulder resting in 45 meters of seawater. Turtle Rock is a great dive site for divers with deep diving experience. The rock is healthy with marine life, and is home to many species of Lion Fish; it also has many Gorgonian fans, Basket sponges and Whip corals.

Sweetlips are common, as are unusual Nudibranchs and Emperor Angel Fish. Lucky divers may also spot a Thresher Shark at this location. This site is best dived on a flood tide, and because of the short bottom time, we recommend that the group multi level back up to Sinandigan Wall and finish shallow, to make it a nice, long and relaxed dive.

This is not a dive to be taken lightly, and a dive that our guides conduct only on very rare occasions and then only with the most experienced divers. This is a strong current drift dive with current speeds that can reach up to 12 knots. The strongest currents and fastest drifts occur when the ebbing tide is at its largest tidal change, usually in April. The dive can be kept shallow or made deeper depending on the tack you take through the bay. The depth however has no bearing on the difficulty; in fact the shallower option is the faster current usually. It is possible to end up passing over the Canyons and heading out into Verde Island Passage (1mile) in as short a time as 10 minutes so be warned! There may be strong down-currents on this dive.

Listen to your dive briefing thoroughly and get a good understanding for how the ocean will be moving. There is such a large body of water rushing around the headland of Escarceo Point to meet the waters of the Verde Island Passage that a great tidal eddy is created in Kilima Bay. As you traverse across the bay you will notice the water wanting first to pull you deeper down the gravel slope and at about halfway will try and push you shallower back up it. You will need to angle your body and the direction of your fin kicks against these currents to stay on the right track for the direction that you wish to travel. Tracking Below 18m will take you deeper and across the Canyons and beyond into the stronger down currents. Staying above 14m will take you shallower and towards the back of Hole in the Wall where the current eventually drops off completely.

Be aware of what’s going on, since the down currents can be pretty fierce on a deeper track. Finning steadily against down currents is usually enough to stay in control but occasionally some extra inflation of your BCD’s might be required to aid your ascent. This must be done very carefully and is best avoided if possible. The best and safest way to dive the deeper track is to have a signal tube on the surface. Your guide will signal you to use one if needed.

You will see some very large fish swimming in the current, totally awesome! This dive is one memory that you will never forget and arguably one of the most exhilarating dives in the Philippines.

TIP – To enjoy a long drift, the group has to start way back at Sinandigan Wall. It is recommended that every diver in the group (and groups should be small) carries a signal tube.

Courses

Here at Big Apple

Not only do we offer extensive training programs aiming to make sure that you will really master the required skills to become SAFE in the water but we also take great pride in guiding our qualified fun divers in and around the 30 something fantastic dive sites found in these temperate local waters of the Philippines.

Our training programs are aimed at providing you with the best possible understanding of this wonderful sport and the correct skills needed to overcome the challenges it presents us with. Our highly experienced Master Instructor Peter, has been teaching scuba diving in Puerto Galera since the early 90’s and his classes are both great fun and very in depth and informative.

Bunny is our primary dive guide and enjoys looking after all your needs, from helping you with your gear set up, to giving advice and support with your diving skills, providing thorough briefings for your dives, finding all the small critters for all you budding photographers, exploring new areas and demonstrating the safest ways to navigate the most challenging dive sites.padielearn_4corigvertlogos_07i-1_1PADI eLearning with interactive diver education on the Internet. Whether you’re on the go or want to take it slow, now you can complete the knowledge development portion of the PADI Open Water Diver course online with PADI eLearning. It’s a great match for your active schedule.

Price List

Fun Dive/boat dives

w/ Professional dive guide

No extra charge for equipment P1,100, Do 5 dives or more P1,000.
For night dives add extra P300 or P200 with own flash light.
Dive with Nitrox add extra P250 per dive.

Day trip to verde islanD

2 dives including boat/guide/drinks & fruit

Divers P3,300 w/ BBQ P3,800
Non Divers P1,000 w/ BBQ P1,500
min pax 5 divers.

PADI Courses:

Discover Scuba 3 hours P2,350
PADI Scuba Diver 2 days P12,500
 PADI Scuba Tune Up 2 hours P2,200
 PADI Open water 3-4 days P17,000
 PADI Advanced Open Water 2-3 days P12,500
 PADI EFR+Rescue 3-4 days P20,500
 PADI EFR 1 day P7,500
 PADI Rescue 2-3 days P15,000

Professional Course:
PADI Dive Master 5-30 days P42,650

PADI SPECIALTY Courses:

Group 1 (each) 1/2 days P9,750
Enriched Air Nitrox (EANx) / Drift / Multilevel Computer diver 

Group 2 (each) 2 days P11,850
Wreck, Deep / Night / Under Water Navigator

Group 3 (each) 1/2 days P7,550
Peak Performance Buoyancy / AWARE coral reef Conservation / Project AWARE

Learn in your native tongue!

cgc-multi-lang

Quick Course Guide

cgc-recreational
CGC-discover-scuba

Discover Scuba Diving

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to breathe underwater? If you want to find out but aren’t quite ready to take the plunge into a certification course, Discover Scuba Diving will let you try scuba to see if you like it.

Big Apple’s dive facility offers a version of this program, in our swimming pool and on the reef out front of the resort. You can try it while you’re on vacation, just talk to us about it and we will help you arrange the experience.

While not an actual scuba certification, during the Discover Scuba Diving experience you’ll learn how to use scuba equipment in shallow water and get a quick and easy introduction to what it takes to explore the underwater world.

Course Information

Price: 2,350php

MINIMUM AGE: 10

CLASS: 1 academic

Water Training: 1 pool session

DIves: 1 Open Water Beach DIve

TIME: 2-3 hours

cgc-padi-scuba-diver

PADI SCUBA Diver

Thinking of getting certified for an upcoming vacation, but don’t have the time to put into a full Open Water course? Now there’s a quick and easy program designed especially for you! This is your chance to slap on some fins, strap on a mask and Learn PADI Scuba Diver, qualifying you to dive to 12m under the supervision of a PADI PRO.

COURSE INFORMATION

PRICE: 12,500PHP

MINIMUM AGE: 15  / 10 (Junior)

CLASS: 3 ACADEMIC

WATER TRAINING: 3 POOL SESSION

DIVES: 2 OPEN WATER BEACH DIVE

TIME: 2 Days

cgc-scuba-tune-up

PADI Scuba TUNE-UP

Time to brush up your skills if you have not dived for a while. Have a Padi Instructor go through the open-water skills with you in our swimming pool, then answer a quick review on basic dive safety rules and go off the beach and take an easy dive on the beautiful house reef to gain some confidence back after not diving for a few years.

couRSE INFORMATION

PRICE: 2200PHP

MINimum Age: 15

CLASS: 1 ACADEMIC

WATER TRAINING: 1 POOL SESSION

DIVES: 1 OPEN WATER BEACH DIVE

TIME: 2-3 HOURS

CGC-PADI-open-water

PADI OPEN WATER DIVER

Considering taking the plunge? Then the PADI Open Water diver course is for you! If you are between 10 and 70 years old, have a basic swimming ability and want to discover the beauty of nature’s coral reefs and underwater life forms then read on. The Open Water course is a great way to learn new skills, make new friends and see ‘first hand’ the wonders of the deep oceans all around us on these amazing Philippine islands.

The PADI Open Water Diver course is the world’s most popular scuba course, and has introduced millions of people to the adventurous diving lifestyle.

WHAT YOU LEARN

The PADI Open Water Diver course consists of three main phases:

  • Knowledge Development (online, home study or in a classroom ) to understand basic principles of scuba diving
  • Confined Water Dives to learn basic scuba skills
  • Open Water Dives to review your skills and explore!

COURSE INFORMATION

PRICE: 17,000PHP

MINimum age: 15 / 10 (Junior)

CLASS/S: 5 ACADEMIC

WATER TRAINING: 5 POOL SESSIONs

DIVES: 2 OPEN WATER BEACH / 2 Open water boat

TIME: 3-4 days

CGC-PADI-Advanced-open-water

PADI ADVANCED OPEN WATER COURSE

Want to go deeper? Then the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course is for you! Now that you have learnt to dive and have seen some of the wondrous dive sites we have to offer, why not train for some more advanced diving?

The Advanced Open Water course is a great way to polish up your dive skills and add some new ones! Advanced divers see more and can visit a wider variety of dive sites so get kitted up! In as little as two days you can get this license and see more dive sites!

WHAT YOU LEARN

This course builds on what you’ve learned and develops new capabilities by introducing you to new activities and new ways to have fun scuba diving.

You complete five adventure dives introducing you to:

  • Underwater Navigation
  • Deeper water diving (typically anywhere from 18-30 metres/ 60-100 feet)
  • A sampler of three more Adventure Dives of your choice
  • The ‘AOW’ course is primarily focused on diving safely in challenging environments as well as carrying out tasks successfully underwater. With the
  • extra knowledge gained in these five training sessions the novice diver learns how it feels to dive safely to 30m and how to use an underwater compass.

COURSE INFORMATION

PRICE: 12,500PHP

MINimum AGE: 15 / 12 (Junior)

DIVES: 1 OPEN WATER BEACH / 4 OPEN WATER BOAT

TIME: 2-3 DAYS

CGC-PADI-Rescue-Diver

PADI RESCUE DIVER COURSE

The PADI Rescue Diver course is the most challenging course yet, next to PADI Divemaster. Building upon what you’ve already learned, this course expands on what you already know about how to prevent problems, and how to manage them if they occur.

The fun part about this course is rising to challenges and mastering them. Most divers find this course both demanding and rewarding, and at the end, say it’s the best course they’ve ever taken.

WHAT YOU LEARN
  • Self rescue
  • Recognizing and managing stress in other divers
  • Emergency management and equipment
  • Rescuing panicked divers
  • Rescuing unresponsive divers
  • The Scuba Gear You Use

COURSE INFORMATION

PRICE: 14,000PHP

MINIMUM AGE: 15 / 12 (JUNIOR)

Class: 1 Academic / 10 Exercises

DIVES:  2 Scenarios / 1  OPEN WATER BOAT

TIME: 2-3 DAYS

CGC-EFR

EMERGENCY FIRST RESPONSE PRIMARY CARE (CPR)

Prepare yourself for an emergency medical situation in readiness for the PADI Rescue Diver course with a comprehensive Emergency First Response program.

As one of the foremost international CPR and first aid training companies, Emergency First Response gives you the confidence to respond to medical emergencies — not just in the diving world, but in your every day world with your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers too.

WHAT YOU LEARN

Emergency First Response courses encompass:

Emergency First Response Primary Care (CPR) teaches participants how to respond to life-threatening emergencies. The course focuses on primary care through a combination of knowledge development, skill development and realistic scenario practice to make sure participants have the confidence in their ability to provide care when emergency situations arise. Primary Care (CPR) skills taught in this course:

  • CPR
  • Scene Safety Assessment Universal Precautions
  • Communicable Disease Protection, including barrier use
  • Primary Assessment Rescue Breathing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Conscious and Unconscious Obstructed Airway Management
  • Serious Bleeding Management
  • Shock Management
  • Spinal Injury Management
  • Recommended Skills:
  • Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training
  • Emergency Oxygen Use Orientation

COURSE INFORMATION

PRICE: 7000PHP

MINIMUM AGE: No Minimum

CLASS/S: 1 ACADEMIC

TIME: 4-6 Hours

CGC-PADI-Dive-master

PADI DIVE MASTER

Looking for the first step in working with scuba as a career? Your adventure into the professional levels of recreational scuba diving begins with the PADI Divemaster program. Working closely with our professional dive team at Big Apple Dive Resort, you will expand your dive knowledge and hone your skills to the professional level in this program.

PADI Divemaster training develops your leadership abilities, qualifying you to supervise dive activities and assist instructors with student divers. PADI Divemaster is the prerequisite certification for both the PADI Assistant Instructor and PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certifications.

WHAT YOU CAN TEACH

After becoming certified as a PADI Divemaster you will be authorized to:

  • Supervise both training and non-training-related activities by planning, organizing and directing dives
  • Assist a PADI Instructor during the training sessions for any PADI Diver course
  • Conduct the PADI Skin Diver course and PADI Discover Snorkeling program
  • Conduct the PADI Discover Local Diving experience
  • Conduct the PADI Scuba Review program
  • If qualified as a Discover Scuba Diving Leader, independently conduct the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program.
  • Earn the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty Instructor rating to be able to teach the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer specialty.
  • Independently guide Open Water Diver course students on the tour portion of Open Water Diver course Training Dives 2, 3 and 4 at a ratio of two student divers per certified divemaster.
  • Accompany Open Water Diver students under the indirect supervision of a PADI Instructor during:
    • surface swims to and from the entry/exit point and during navigational exercises
    • when the instructor conducts a skill, such as an ascent or descent, a Divemaster can remain with other student divers (with an individual student or buddy team)
  • Accompany student divers during Adventure Dives or Specialty training dives under the indirect supervision of a PADI Instructor.
  • Conduct the PADI Seal Team Skin Diver Specialist AquaMission
  • Conduct subsequent dives under an instructor’s indirect supervision for Discover Scuba Diving participants after participants have satisfactorily completed the first dive with a PADI Instructor.
  • Teach Emergency First Response courses after successfully completing an Emergency First Response Instructor course.

COURSE INFORMATION

PRICE: 42,650PHP

MINIMUM AGE: 18

CLASS/S: 2 ACADEMIC EXAMS

WATER TRAINING: MULTIPLE POOL SESSIONS

DIVES: 10 OPEN WATER BEACH / 30 OPEN WATER BOAT
(40 Dives to start)

TIME: 5-30 DAYS

CGC-specialty-group1

NITROX (EANX), DRIFT & MULTILEVEL

SCUBA DIVING WITH ENRICHED AIR NITROX

The PADI Enriched Air Diver course is PADI’s most popular specialty scuba diving course, and it’s easy to see why. Scuba diving with enriched air nitrox gives you more no decompression dive time. This means more time underwater, especially on repetitive scuba dives.

THE PADI DRIFT DIVER

The PADI Drift Diver Specialty course introduces you to the coolest magic carpet ride you’ll ever experience. This course shows you how to enjoy rivers and ocean currents by ‘going with the flow’, staying with your dive partner, communicating with the dive boat and knowing where you are the whole time.

THE PADI MULTILEVEL DIVER COURSE

Maximize your dive time so you can explore more! In this course, you learn how to plan dives that extend your bottom time by crediting you for slower nitrogen absorption when you ascend to a shallower depth. That’s the way you really dive, after all.

Course Information

Price: 9,750php / Course

MINIMUM AGE: 12

DIves: 2 Open Water Boat DIve / Course

TIME: 1/2 DAY / Course

CGC-specialty-group2

WRECK, DEEP, NIGHT & NAVIGATOR

PADI WRECK DIVER SPECIALTY COURSE

Whether sunk on purpose as an artificial reef or the result of mishap, wrecks open fascinating windows to the past. Most divers find wrecked ships, airplanes and even automobiles nearly irresistible because they’re intriguing to explore, exciting avenues of discovery, and usually teeming with aquatic life. The PADI Wreck Diver course teaches you the ins and outs of rewarding, responsible wreck diving.

The fun part of the PADI Wreck Diver course is visiting wrecks, unlocking mysteries and starting to gain the knowledge and experience that allows you to see things that others overlook. Sometimes, only the trained, experienced eye recognizes that a small hole or open door likely caused the vessel’s demise.

PADI DEEP DIVER SPECIALTY COURSE          

After your first few scuba dives, you soon want to explore a bit deeper. There’s something exciting and mysterious about the depth that attracts divers. The fun part about this course is the opportunity to explore the deep. It’s memorable and exhilarating.

PADI NIGHT DIVER SPECIALTY COURSE         

As the sun sets, you don your dive gear, slip on your scuba mask and bite down on your dive regulator. A deep breath and you step off the boat – into the underwater night. Although you’ve seen this reef many times before, this time you drop into a whole new world and watch it come to life under the glow of your dive light.

Introduce yourself to the whole new cast of critters that comes out after the sun goes down. See your favorite dive sites from a whole new perspective at night.

THE PADI UNDERWATER NAVIGATOR COURSE

Be the diver everyone wants to follow and make your sense of direction legendary with the PADI Underwater Navigator Specialty course. Finding your way is not a matter of luck! When everyone’s buzzing about a reef or checking out a shipwreck, they’re having a great time – until it’s time to go. Then they turn to you, because as a PADI Underwater Navigator, you know the way back to the boat.

COURSE INFORMATION

PRICE: 11,850PHP / Course

MINIMUM AGE: 15 Wreck / Deep, 12 Night, 10 Navigator

DIVES: 4 OPEN WATER Boat DIVE – Wreck / Deep, 3 Night / Nav

TIME: 2-3 DAYS Wreck / Deep / Night, 1-2 Days Nav

CGC-specialty-group3

PEAK PERFORMANCE BUOYANCY, AWARE CORAL REEF CONSERVATION, PROJECT AWARE

PADI PEAK PERFORMANCE BUOYANCY SPECIALTY COURSE

What is neutral buoyancy? Scuba divers like to be neutrally buoyant so they neither sink nor float. It can be a tricky thing.

Divers who’ve mastered the highest performance levels in buoyancy stand apart. You’ve seen them underwater. They glide effortlessly, use less air and ascend, descend or hover, almost as if by thought. They interact gently with aquatic life and affect their surroundings minimally. The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course refines the basic skills you learned as a PADI Open Water Diver and elevates them to the next level. The fun part of this course is giving your dive skills a polish you may not have thought possible.

PROJECT AWARE CORAL REEF CONSERVATION COURSE

The AWARE Coral Reef Conservation Specialty course is designed to inform you about the world’s coral reefs. As a scuba diver, the health of aquatic ecosystems is often what makes a good dive. Become aware of the frailness of coral reefs and how you can help preserve them.

The AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation Specialty course teaches you about the vital role of coral reefs in the marine environment. The course also familiarizes you with the current state of the world’s coral reefs and how you can help.

PROJECT AWARE SPECIALTY COURSE

The underwater world needs heroes. You can be one of them by championing the causes of the world’s most fragile and important aquatic ecosystems. You can make a difference. Learn about some of the most pressing problems facing these vulnerable environments and everyday actions you can take to help conserve them. It’s informative, interesting and most importantly, you learn how to make a difference.

Project AWARE Foundation is the scuba diving industry’s leading nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to conserving the aquatic environment through education, advocacy and action. Besides completing the Project AWARE Specialty course, you can become a partner in the efforts to preserve the underwater environment.

couRSE INFORMATION

PRICE: 7,550PHP / Course

MINimum AGe: 10 Peak / AWARE FIsh, No min AWARE Coral

CLASS: 1 ACADEMIC – AWARE CORAL

DIVES: 2 OPEN WATER Boat DIVE – Peak / AWARE Fish

TIME: 1/2 Day