Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year at Exotic Malapascua
Chinese New Year Buffet
Festive celebrations have been sweeping through Exotic over the last week or so with the arrival of the Chinese New Year. It’s a particularly busy period for us as people of Chinese descent as well as expats working in the region take advantage of their time off and join our other guests from all over the world. So as the year of the horse gallops away into the distance we welcome in the year of the goat. Or is it sheep or ram? There’s been some debate here as to which it is and whether they’re actually the same thing in this instance. Seems a great excuse for a vacation none the less! And what better place to be than here at Exotic enjoying our Chinese New Year buffet! Out of respect, goat/sheep/ram were not
on the menu.

New Open Water diver
New instructor with new Open Water diver
New PADI Advanced Open Water divers
Smiles all around
The Blog reported a few weeks back on the great success of our Instructor Development Course. Well, two of our successful graduates, Katarina and Ian, stayed on to participate in Exotic’s ‘Learn to Teach’ programme. To begin with both of them shadowed our team of experienced instructors as they taught various courses. Then, both of them began to teach elements of courses to build confidence until eventually, once deemed ready and under supervision, they taught their own students from start to finish. So this week the whole Exotic team were thrilled as both Katarina and Ian posed happily with their first students! Great work!

Exotic 2 relaunch
Looks hard work from this angle
The Blog was beside itself with excitement this week as one of our largest diving boats, Exotic 2, was relaunched after a recent refitting. It takes a lot of man power to shift one of these things in and out of the water but somehow about 150 men and five horses managed to do so. And what a beauty she is!
Exotic 2
What a beauty..
It certainly looked hard work from where the Blog was laying down, gin and tonic in hand. Well it was happy hour.

Huge nudibranch
Who ate all the pies?
Indeed, nudibranchs are small in contrast to Malapascua’s famous thresher shark. But not insignificant.  It’s reported that there are people who find these creatures boring. The Blog is having none of this talk. In fact, the Blog was recently doing its usual bed time reading and flicking through a book dedicated to these amazing sea slugs when it came across a fascinating photo story. The factual story began with one species of Nudi eating another species. Nothing unusual there.
Then a member of the same species to the one who was doing the eating appeared and started eating his family member. Well, the Nudi now in the middle spat out his lunch to defend himself but eventually gave up all hope of life and stopped struggling. A routine act of cannibalism you say? Get this, the third Nudi then spat his friend out and mated with him instead. The Blog declares this as far from boring. Eating…. Getting eaten…. Getting laid! Beat that for an adrenalin rush. 

Which brings us seamlessly onto nudibranch of the week which in terms of the competition was typically fierce this week. And what a little ripper we have for you this time thanks to Bruce from Australia.This Nudi has clearly had several helpings from the Chinese New Year buffet and was spotted for Bruce by Ronel, one of our Divemasters at a local dive site named Quilliano. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Whale Sharks on House Reef!

This week we begin with a new item titled 'Quote of the week'

House Reef concrete shark
Not a Whale Shark
Malapascua is well known for its Thresher Sharks. However, this week a large Whale Shark swam straight through Exotic's very own House Reef!! Close to the action was Rey, one of our instructors and his two Open Water students who were on their very first open water dive. Upon returning to the resort Rey was understandably excited and performing cartwheels through the restaurant as one of his students was heard to say,

'It was only a big fish'

Enough said and quote of the week!!!! A camera wasn't present to capture the memorable moment so here's a picture of a concrete shark which can be found on House Reef 365 days a year.

Exotic night time beach view
A shooting star passes Exotic
This image was recently captured from just outside the resort by Exotic's reservations manager, Mr.
Harold Pepito Felicano. Exotic is situated on what the Blog believes to be one of the most beautiful stretches of beach on the island and if you look carefully you'll see a shooting star...  What were the chances of that?! Make a wish.... More Whale Sharks on House Reef please!

Reservations team
It's freezing in this office
Speaking of Harold, yesterday the blog visited the reservations team in their office while they were hard at work replying to enquiries and dealing with the needs of our guests be they past, present or future. These guys love their music loud and their air con on maximum! Introducing from left to right.... Joy, Harold and Flor....

Nudibranch of the week
Another worthy winner

And finally, after a weeks break the much anticipated return Nudibranch of the week. The bar's been set high in previous weeks so congratulations to one of our guests, Chung Hong-won, for submitting this gathering which impressed the judging panel. The picture was taken at Gato Island, which is an hours ride from Malapascua.

Jay presenting a beer
A vintage year Sir..

 Not one, two, three, four, but five Nudi's for your peso this week. Chung wins a bottle of San Miguel beer courtesy of the Blog's shallow pockets. And here it is being presented by one of our bar tenders, Jay.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

IDC update

Exotic Island Dive Resort, Malapascua's premier and only PADI five star IDC resort is proud to announce that within the last few days all four of our IDC candidates successfully passed their examination and can now call themselves PADI instructors!

New PADI instructors receiving the good news
Have we passed?
Over the last three weeks our four young and not so young hopefuls have been developing and honing their teaching skills in preparation for the two day PADI examination and beyond. Here they are at the closing ceremony being given the great news by PADI examiner Mark Van Der Poel.

New Instructors Jumping For Joy
Who electrified the sand?!

With the pressure off them, Sarah, Ian, Katarina and Janine were finally able to celebrate by volunteering to test Exotic's new electrified sand security system. Another success!! But not really.

proud new instructors
We love our new t-shirts and sharks

After that shock, and as if things couldn't get any better, the guys were presented with their new Exotic instructor t-shirts and their hand carved thresher sharks.

So congratulations to all of them! And a pat on the back for the Exotic IDC team for doing a superb job! With a tear in the eye we say goodbye to Sarah and Janine who head out into the big wide world while Ian and Katarina are staying for longer to participate in Exotic's Learn To Teach Programme. However, wherever any of them are in the world they will always be part of the Exotic family :)

Returning next week...... Nudibranch of the week!!!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

PADI Instructors In The Making

We’re well into the first IDC (Instructor Development Course) of 2015 here at Exotic. Sarah, Ian, Katarina and Janine have been hard at it for over two weeks now so the blog thought it time to follow this multinational team of instructor candidates for a day during their Malapascua IDC. And here they are sponsored by Colgate... apart from Ian who appears to be modelling a wetsuit.

They say it's more fun in the Philippines! Well just ask these Zebra Damsel fish who looked on as our candidates practised their open water presentations under the watchful eye of our Course Director. Reports are that all of them are progressing very nicely and will be fully prepared for the two day PADI examination which starts in just a few days. Fingers crossed they'll join the illustrious list of Instructors who learned their trade here in Malapascua with Exotic and who now work all around the world. Good luck guys!!  Keep up the good work.

Dorid nudibranch at Malapascua Exotic
And by popular demand Nudibranch of the week returns this week. It wasn’t easy choosing a winner from our bulging post bag but after seconds of deliberation this week’s victor is….. Jasper for this great effort taken at Ubang Bato, one of Malapascua’s finest dive sights. This handsome slug is a Dorid Nudibranch although could easily be mistaken for a cat looking out of a window. See what I mean?! 

So while on the theme of things in the water pretending to be other things, here's a picture of one of Exotic's 2014 Divemaster graduates, Jessika, doing a convincing impersonation of the starship Enterprise while on the Thresher Shark dive.... Apologies to any scuba divers out there too young to remember Star Trek.

Sea, the final frontier......