Meet the crew
liveaboard philippines Captain Ildefonso "Elde" Bruces
"Cap" Elde is 46 years old and has three children. He left his native island of Carnaza, Cebu (and a potential career as a fishermen like the rest of his family)
- at an early age, and worked in factories in Manila.
Always missing the sea though and after 12 years of factory work he had enough and decided to work on fishing vessels all over the Philippines. He worked his way up through the ranks and finally obtained his Captain's license in 2009. Working on a fishing vessel is a tough job though and you seldom see home, so when he heard that his close relative Divina was working with Ralph on Rags II he applied for a job and got it!
Together with Ben he will steer you safely to and from your dive destination.
1st Mate – Ben Lopez
Ben is a trained electrician and a proud father of three, but got a bit bored soldering wires together and since half his family was already plying the seas he decided to give it a try as well. What a good choice that was, because he really had found his calling! After many years on inter-island cargo vessels where he got to know many islands and ports of the Philippines he chose to get a bit closer to his native home at Puerto Galera and ran ferry boats across the Verde Island passage.
In 2010 Rags II had a job opening as a 1st Mate and Ben decided to join the team. He handles the boat perfectly and is always spot on to pick up our divers even in not so favorable conditions sometimes. In October 2011 he became a fully licensed Captain (Major Patron). Congratulations Ben! …and that good old soldering iron in his skillful hands still comes in quite handy on Rags II sometimes.
Chief Engineer Chris Castillo
Chris is a native from Big La Laguna, one of Puerto Galera's beautiful beaches, and started to work in the early 80's for the very first dive shop in the area "Reef Raiders." He learned everything from filling tanks, fixing compressors, boat engines and dive gear and also how to be a capable boatman. When Reef Raiders closed down he decided to become a Captain on the ferry boats from Puerto Galera to Batangas and did that for ten years. Andy Norman from Asia Divers noticed his mechanical skills and hired him eight years ago and Chris worked for him and Asia Divers for six years.Two years ago he decided he was missing the ocean and the adventure too much and started to work on Rags II. We are glad to have him onboard because Chris knows the boat inside out and keeps her in tip top shape!
Marine Engineer Meynardo Lopez
Meynardo is – at 60 years – our oldest and most experienced crew member. He has spent most of his life on the oceans of this planet and joined his first ship in 1968 after studying Marine Engineering. He is also a native of Puerto Galera and has three children. Sadly his wife died some years ago, so instead of spending time alone at home he decided to join the crew of Rags II where there is always good company and friendly people from all over the world.
Gomersindo "Gomer" Abit…(Oiler)
Divina's older brother lived a life of a humble fishermen on Carnaza Island, Cebu for many years, before he decided to try his luck abroad. Like so many Filipinos he became a seaman and sailed the oceans around Asia. He also learned how to cook and loves to help out Sonny in the kitchen whenever he can.He is 58 years old, has four children and is unbelievably strong. He will probably be the first crew member you will meet, because he also is our expert dinghy driver and will maneuver you safely to and from Rags II when needed.His official rank is an oiler, but he takes care of Rags II 24/7 almost 365 days a year and loves it !
Purser Divina Abit
Divina grew up on a tiny island between Cebu and Leyte and learned how to swim and fish before she could even walk. She loves the sea, but treats it with respect, because she lost two brothers to the ocean.
Funny thing is that she still gets seasick on almost every trip, despite working on a liveaboard before and cruising all over the Philippines for a long time. This malady doesn't slow her down one bit and everyone who has suffered from this condition – knows what an achievement this actually is. Divina loves cooking and helps out in the kitchen, serves the food and keeps cabins and bathrooms spick and span. She doesn't mind to lend a helping hand when divers come back from a dive and handles gear like a pro, because she also loves to dive herself and considers any chance to join a dive as a highlight of the trip!
Cook Sonny Lalongisip
Sonny was born in Abra de Ilog on the western side of Mindoro Island. He lives on Big La Laguna Beach now since eighteen years and decided that cooking is his passion thirteen years ago.
He learned to please every palate that passes through Puerto Galera, from typical European dishes to Korean, Chinese and even Siberian fish stews for our Russian guests.
Watch him preparing ten different kinds of breakfast in record time – simply amazing! You'd better diet before or after the trip, because you will surely not be losing weight during a week with Sonny!!
Joseph is an experienced Divemaster who grow up on the beautiful island of Bohol in the Visayas, but lives and dives in Puerto Galera since 1999. He also fell in love here and is married to Analea who serves delicious food at El Galleon restaurant.
He is not only an expert showing you the amazing macro life around the dive sites in Puerto Galera, but also became very familiar with the wrecks of Coron and the reefs in Apo Reef Marine Park since he started working on Rags II.
No shark or turtle escapes his eagle eyes and you better look around when you hear gentle "ting-a-ling" and see his finger pointing to some exciting marine creature!