One of our two favorite dive locations, the Capone islands (shown in the background) are only about a 20 minute drive from the former Subic naval base, on the west coast of Luzon. As the destruction of dynamite fishing took its toll, we visited less frequently, and began to travel the longer distance to Batangas for scuba diving.

Shown here are my dive buddy and good friend Bob Wolfe (3rd from left) with two of our favorite Filipino
banceros Efren (far left) and his dad Ernie (4th from left, next to me). Ernie named the banca after his daughter.

The Philippines archipelago refers to over 7000 islands located in the Pacific ocean about 3 1/2 hours southeast of Japan and 4 hours west of Guam by jet airplane. The main island is Luzon, where the capitol of Manila is located.

This boat is typical of the
bancas used in the Philippines-- a simple outrigger boat with a small (about 5 horsepower) motor, with the propeller connected directly to the shaft (no transmission). Bob and I struck a deal with Ernie when we first arrived in the P.I.-- we paid him for the boat, he supplied the motor, and we dove for "free" as often as we wished-- though we always gave him a generous tip. The dives Bob and I made there at the Capone islands numbered in the hundreds over a five year period.

See a bird's eye view of one of the Capone islands.