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Livin’ in Gangster’s Paradise

mogami maru wreck malapascua evolution divers resort

Four years ago a brash New Yorker strode in to Evolution and demanded to speak to someone in charge.  With great trepidation, David stepped forward to see what this brassy wiseguy wanted.  Joey G proceeded to shake down David with questions about why he should choose Evolution as his dive shop to complete his Divemaster training.  Fast forward 4 years and Joey G is now an annual visitor with a great DM under his belt but more importantly, he also graduated to the highest standards with TDI’s Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures, Extended Range, Trimix and Advanced Wreck.

Badabing! Joey’s a made guy!

technical diving in cebu evolution diving resort

This year Joey G was back for some great tech diving and made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.  With his very nice new GoPro5 set up with great video lights he set about documenting his dives with us.  Joey’s passion is for wrecks, so the Mogami Maru got the Scorcese treatment and the results are just great as you can see here for yourselves.  The Omertá on one of the best dives in the Visayas has been lifted.

The Mogami Maru is our very own Japanese WWII wreck, sunk by an aerial attack off Malapascua in 1944 and has been dived by Evolution over 500 times!  This video is just one of those dives on a glorious day in May.  Tell me about it!

The Mob diving with Joe included Don David and Julia ‘The Tooth’ and nearby with Don Matt were Mikey ‘Bagpipes’, brothers ‘Mini’ Martin and ‘Tiny’ Thomas being watched by Capo Andy and finally in there also were ‘Not so Fat’ Tony’ and adding some muscle was Dannie ‘The Plugger’ Holmstedt.  Hey, forget about it!

To learn more about cosa nostra here on Malapascua contact us on info@evolution.com.ph

Disclosure: Joey G is of Irish, English and German descent and was born in New Jersey but we just can’t help enjoying the whole NYC goombah thing every time we see him. 

World Ocean Day 2017 – Beach & Reef Cleanup

world ocean day 2017 ocean beach cleanup malapascua philippines

Every year, the 8th of June is World Ocean Day, when we all do a bit extra to give back to the ocean and the aquatic life living beneath the surface.

In Malapascua this year, 9 dive shops got together doing an underwater clean up. We therefore decided to share the sites out between us so not everyone shows up at the same area.

Today we went to Pipefish Bay. With 6 buddy teams we could very efficiently cover the whole dive site in one hour. After one hour all our volunteers came back and sorted out the trash. Today we collected 22 kg of it! The majority of the collection was, no surprise, plastic, rubber parts and loads of diapers.

In the afternoon when the tide was the lowest we then went for a land clean up. We cleaned the ally going inland towards Evolution, the beach in front of Evolution and the area just next to the resort. The area next to the resort is small fishing village and building area for boats, and therefore very prone to trash. In total on land we collected 39 kg of trash!

It was a great success, and we managed to collect a LOT of trash this year. With help from other dive shops on the island we managed to cover big and important areas of Malapascua, both underwater and on land.

As we owe our beautiful island cleanups more than once a year, we will continue to contribute to a clean ocean by doing cleanups as regularly as possible. or the past few years, our goal has been to do cleanups at least once a month – hopefully this will lead to clean dive sites around Malapascua and eventually we don’t have to do this at all.

Thanks to our amazing staff but also to our guests volunteers: Mike, Douglas, Carel, Theo, Ludvig and Terese.

Evolution keeps on Truking!

truk lagoon scuba diving trip evolution diving resort

We have just come back from our trip to the amazing World War II wrecks of Truk Lagoon in Micronesia and to say it was an amazing trip does not do it justice.

Hosted by The Odyssey Live Aboard, David and a coterie of Evolution guests spent a week diving unimaginable hunks of history, that all sank in Operation Hailstone in February 1944. Taken by surprise by American bombers, over 50 large wrecks met their demise, complete with crews and artifacts on board, allowing modern day divers to plan challenging dives steeped in history.

We visited wrecks such as the San Francisco Maru, complete with three Type 95 Ha Go tanks on the deck, 500kg aerial bombs in the hold and huge deck guns primed for defence. We also dived the sombre Aikoko Maru which saw 700 Japanese soldiers perish when the aerial bombs ignited the munitions in the hold and blew the ship in half, killing almost everyone on board.

truk lagoon scuba trip evolution dive resort

It was wreck after wreck after wreck, with complex engine room penetrations for those in the mood for tight spaces. And for those less inclined, we had amazing swims around the outside of wrecks, marveling at the marine life, like Grey Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays and fish galore.

Spending 7 nights on The Odyssey is like living in a five star hotel. The kitchen crew outshone themselves with fresh food coming at us non stop, and the highlight being the best steaks, BBQ’d on deck for our hungry divers.

truk lagoon scuba trip on the odyssey

The group was just perfect, with a great social aspect and everyone mixing each evening for a few beers or glasses of wine.

Evolution would like to thank all those who came and got wrecked with us – Julia, Joey G, Big Mike, Sidemount Mike, Larry, Donna, Jethro, Tobias, Martin,Thomas and Jan as well as Lenny and the amazing crew of this amazing boat.

We will have a video soon to tantalise our readers for our 2019 trip. To join us in Truk Lagoon aboard the Odyssey in 2019 email us at info@evolution.com.ph

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What makes Malapascua so incredibly special?

malapascua island cebu philippines

Work getting you down? Politics grinding your gears? The bland weather back home not quite satisfying you? Well if you’re in need of a tropical get away, here’s some reasons why Malapascua should be a top contender!

The sheer beauty of this sandy, little tropical island cannot disappoint. With beautiful white sandy beaches and sheltered small bays (which you can sometimes have all to yourself), it all makes for a perfect beach holiday. For the majority of the year the water is the crystal clear kind you see on postcards, with palm trees, cliffs and a serene atmosphere you want for a relaxing holiday. In short,  Malapascua has it all. 

malapascua island beach resort philippines

The locals totally make the island what it is. The smiley, cheeky locals make Malapascua a welcoming and never boring place. Always happy to help, have a beer or get their Videoke on, you can only have love for the people that live here. Besides being a particularly quiet island for a majority of the time, Saturday is when you can see a basketball court by day, turn in to a disco at night, and that’s where it all hits the fan 😉

evolution diving resort staff malapascua island

It goes without saying that the diving on Malapascua is a big attraction of the island, with sites ranging in suitability from complete novices, all the way up to the most hardcore technical divers. Many local dive sites within just a 15 minute boat ride from Evolution will satisfy any cravings for soft corals, and many sites being a heaven for macro lovers. Day trips to other locations can tick boxes for the wall dive enthusiasts at Kalanggaman island, wreck divers to a particular favourite at the Doña Marilyn, or for a non-stop jaw dropping dive at Gato Island which even has a 45m long tunnel for advanced divers. Oh, and how can we forget these guys…

thresher sharks malapascua island philippines

One of the only places you get a chance to see the Pelagic Thresher Shark on a near enough daily basis just a 25 minute boat ride from Evolution’s doorstep. Am I missing anything?

The Evolution of Monad Shoal

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I have been diving Monad Shoal for the last 4 years, logging hundreds of dives on this looming seamount. During this time I have seen many changes – both positive and negative – on Malapascuas (and indeed, one of the Philippines’) most famous dive sites.

Typhoon Yolanda most certainly made an impact back in 2013, shifting literally tonnes of sand from one side of Monad to the other, exposing a lot of rocky nooks and crannies on the Eastern side (where the thresher cleaning stations are located) for the more vulnerable reef dwellers to hide. This change, coupled with increased protection measures on the Shoal, has dramatically increased both population and diversity of life on Monad Shoal.

Species that were rarely, if ever seen here are now thriving – schools of redtooth triggerfish swarming the plateau, scribbled filefish and batfish in abundance, barracuda cruising the reef and even the occassional sighting of a monstrous green turtle! Clown triggerfish, chunky reef octopuses, eagle and devil rays also spotted on recent excursions.

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In a bid to collect data and monitor this biomass increase Evolution is teaming up with People and the Sea, an NGO working with local dive industry and community, to survey key areas of Monad and collect information on various species and analyse any changes that might be occurring to different populations. We will keep you updated as this project unfolds.

There has never been a better time to explore Monad Shoal, not only to spot the majestic threshers, but to observe an abundant and diverse ecosystem right on our doorstep! Next time you visit Evolution, ask us about some of our favourite spots on this towering shoal, and we can share with you some of Monads secret treasures!

malapascua scuba diving sites monad shoal

Hot Chocolate

chocolate island malapascua

It is almost the first thing you see after you leave Maya Harbour, before you even reach Malapascua, a ‘bump in the sea’ called Chocolate Island. It may not seem like much above water, just another rock covered with trees, but underneath the surface it’s a completely different world!

With a mix of walls, slopes and boulders, Chocolate Island has got a bit of everything.  Start in the rubble amongst cuttlefish, so many nudibraches and flat worms, that you will soon loose track of the number, and the possibility of seeing a seahorse or even a frogfish or two if you are really lucky! Finish off the dive at 5 meters, closer to the island, where the walls and slopes are covered with soft corals, where a moray eel might hang out with a cleaning shrimp in a hole, or a lionfish resting and waiting for sunset and hunting time. So to put it simply, focus is on the small stuff and make sure to bring your macro lens!

nudibranch scuba diving malapascua philippines

With a max depth of around 16 meters the dives become long and without much focus needed on the no-deco limit, unless it is your third dive of the day of course!

There might not be candy at Chocolate Island, but the diving is still pretty sweet.  We are very ‘fondant’ of this treat just waiting to be unwrapped!

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