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History of Homan: Part 2

The Nuestra Senora de la Vida

storm 35 °C
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It was going on day three of this nightmarish, cyclonic, torrential downpour, however it seems to be just peetering out. Clearly diving was not an option so I have spent today getting acquainted with my new pad; 'The Dog House.' It is a not only a family sized room; WITH a lounge room and air conditioning, of course but is actually the remnants of one if Brian's old ships! The floor is slightly angled in, the walls are all the original ship's thick heavy timber and there are gorgeous big windows looking out onto an amazing view of the bay. I am just a little bit spoiled and it is just a little bit schmick.... My New Home!

Part of becoming a dive master is learning how to service your own equipment; an excellent skill if you hate paying for someone else to do it for you. Alternatively you can now pay ME to do it for you! Jayson and I sat down with a really old and dodgy regulator and proceeded to pull the whole thing apart. Needless to say, we made a mess!

Needless to say, we made a mess!

And do not discount the ever-present and necessary cup of coffee!

Fortunately Brian knows how to distract me in a tense situation. He salvaged a box of treasures from the deep of a shelf by an open window of the restaurant which was rescued just in time since the rain beating in had disintegrated the box; leaving musket balls, coins, porcelain, human teeth (arrgh), a hazelnut shell and Spanish coins all over the window sill.
100_0980.jpgBrian's necklace contains a gold Spanish coin he salvaged and a blue Sapphire from his mining days

Brian's necklace contains a gold Spanish coin he salvaged and a blue Sapphire from his mining days

Treasures From The de la Vida

A History:

These treasures were all salvaged from the 18th Century Manila Galleon the 'Nuestra Senora de la Vida' on it's voyage bound for Central America. While the only existing Manila Galleon keel was discovered sometime in the 70's, it wasn't until 1984 that it was salvaged properly by Brian and his team of divers while exploring the northern end of Busuanga. History has documented the sinking of the 'Nuestra Senora de la Vida,' in 1620 as the result of a grave miscalculation by the ship's pilot, and biting a reef. The angry passengers, among whom were probably owners of the valuable cargo, hanged the hapless pilot as the ship was sinking.

The Spanish Pieces of Eight, from the Nuestra Senora de la Vida:

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 14:29 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving resort wreck service equipment treasure subic repair subic_bay salvage subic_dive_centre regulator dive_centre vasco's Comments (0)

Subic Isn't ALL About Wreck Diving....

To silence the critics who say Subic has nothing to offer except a couple of WWII wrecks!

semi-overcast 34 °C
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Brian took me to another of his 'secret spots,' surprising me with the sheer quality of what he calls the 'Coral Garden.' There he is above, in his most appropriate seafaring get-up.
I am clearly loving life....P1010031.jpg and so are the girls!

This blog needs no more details really. Check out some of the videos and photos below if you don't believe me!

These are my two favourite photos!!!


Some particularly beautiful soft coral I found along the way
These were taken on a day of not the greatest visibility, at least that's my excuse for some dodgy amateur photography!

On the ascent....

Just in case you forgot who it is I am diving with!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 12:21 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay tour scuba dive wreck subic vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre Comments (2)

The Possibility of Drowning

A Tropical Cyclone Has Blown Into Subic

storm 28 °C
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Check out YouTube for my videos (Darn Traveller's Point and crappy internet arrrgh!!!!!!)
Rain on Mother's Day

Since this video it has literally been 30 hours of non-stop torrential rain. A tropical cyclone has reared it's head just off the coast and I am still worried about the possibility of drowning.

To think Gianne and I were scared in the dark last night with no power and a strange tapping noise outside- this is what we woke up to this morning.....
Trouble in Paradise

One and half hours and $70 later, Olongapo City Immigration has officially allowed me to stay in the Philippines for another 6 weeks! Woo hoo! Got my visa!!!

Got my visa!!!

Of course what better way to spend a day which would have otherwise been spend holed up inside hoping the cyclone will blow away?

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 17:48 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats rain diving philippines bay tropical tour scuba dive wreck subic torrential cyclone vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre Comments (1)

Sunday Boxing

also Mother's Day but that seems to have been forgotten today....

overcast 29 °C
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Diving has been called off today for a far more important engagement:
Manny Pacquiao just defeated Shane Mosley in the Welterweight Boxing World Championship. He is a national hero here in the Philippines and dare I say it, they are all a little bit excited today!

Vasco's restaurant has been jam-packed since 9 o'clock this morning


Brian has set up no less than FIVE televisions around the restaurant and has hooked the sound system up to broadcast around the entire resort!


And I have the BEST seat in the house!

A last shout out to all the Mothers, whose special day it is today. Especially my Mum, I love you and I can't wait to see you in June! xox

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 12:57 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay tour scuba dive wreck subic vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre Comments (1)

History of Homan: Part 1

The first discovery in 1983

sunny 35 °C
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Breakfast of Champions:
Brian was a little concerned the other day that he had a doctor's appointment at 8 in the morning. Probably the worst of this was the fact that he had to stop drinking at 8 the night before so they could perform some tests.
At 11am today I finally got out of bed, it being my day off, and ventured down to Vasco's for breakfast. Brian came over to show me the magazine that signifies the peak of his colourful career; a feature in a Dutch 'girly' magazine.

I said I assumed the test results had come back ok and he said "Of course! I've had two drinks already!"

I told Brian he must have a secret to finding so many wrecks throughout his illustrious career. He said it is partly a matter of luck, partly a matter of knowing your history. Brian has made a point of documenting where the ancient trading ports were; such as Manilla, Malacca and Puerto Galera; the location for his first wreck discovery. Determining the direction of prevailing winds in these locations as well as significant headlands and the depth and location of shallow reefs nearby, it is a relatively straightforward process of scanning the ocean within a 6-7km radius of these points for anything 'unusual.' By unusual he means shapes that are not created naturally; for instance a perfect circle or a straight line, an unnatural rise in the sea bed which could signify a buried pot or vase. Whatever the trick may be, it is true that Brian's expeditions have led to the discoveries of several valuable and historically significant maritime wreck sites, and the recovery of many marine artifacts.

"As always, the wonders of the underwater world encompassed me as soon as the waves were a few feet above my head.... I wasn't looking for anything in particular, when I spotted a circle in the golden sand of the sea bed... The excitement within me was now so intense I could hardly breathe into my regulator. Currents slowly cleared the water and there, shining golden a few centimeters in front of my face, was the curling, clawing be-fanged emblem of the Dragon Throne of Imperial China."


In the passage of Puerto Galera, off Mindoro, which here proves to be a 'Port of Galleons,' Brian first fell in love with, and began his life in the Philippines with his then-wife and business partner Alin at Captain Gregg's under the coconut palms of Sabang Beach. This is where he made his first in what was to become a career and lifelong obsession with wreck salvaging. The discovery was of a 15th Century 'Balanghai,' or Malay-edge dowelled sailing vessel, containing hundreds of pieces of blue and white Ming Dynasty pottery resting in the sands of the Philippine sea floor. The find has been conservatively estimated to have originated in 1500 AD. What has caused such insurmountable interest among experts here in the Philippines is not only the unique and historically priceless value of the cargo, but also the ship that carried it. Investigations have concluded that it was made of South East Asian black teak (found in areas of the Philippines but not China), indicating that big Chinese junks carried trade goods down to the Philippines and then cargoes were loaded on to local vessels for distribution. This would indicate a much more sophisticated trade pattern than previously imagined.


"But out there, somewhere amid the twisting channels and countless waterways, through the passages and lagoons that separate the Philippines Islands, I believe there is a lot more to discover that can bring us closer to an unrecorded past."


Homan, B. (2011), 'Looking For Lobster,' Active Boating and Watersports magazine, March, Vol. 11, Iss. 1

Some of the treasures from Brian's first discovery....

'Taking a Plunge Into History,' South China Post, June 9, 1984


Sinclair, K. (1984), 'Riches of the Incredible Hulks,' Sunday Telegraph, July 22, 1984


Lammoglia, Umberto (1988), 'Brian Homan is Capt'n Gregg,' Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sunday, July 17, 1988 (also my birthday woohoo!!!!)


Sinclair, Kevin (1984), 'Treasure Island,' Discovery magazine, September, Vol. 12, No. 9


Posted by VascoDiveMaster 16:00 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches birds boats diving philippines bay tour scuba dive wreck subic vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre Comments (1)

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