• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Category Archives: News

Indonesian Airlines All Approved by European Union

Indonesian airlines approved by the European Union now include all those flying to Gorontalo. In fact, all Indonesia’s airlines now have EU approval. This is great news for travelers whom must take internal flights to reach their desired destination.

EU Approval Granted

Late last year, the International Civil Aviation Organisation evaluated Indonesian airlines. As a result it upgraded Indonesia’s safety ranking from 151 to 55. Following that evaluation, EU officials made an assessment visit to Indonesia in early 2018. As a result, the EU granted flying approval to all Indonesian airlines.

“I am particularly glad that after years of work, we are today able to clear all air carriers from Indonesia. It shows that hard work and close cooperation pay off,” said Violeta Bulc, EU’s Commissioner for Transport.

In turn, Indonesia’s Minister of Transport Budi Karya Sumadi welcomed EU’s assessment.

“I must thank all stakeholders for having followed the `rule of the game` to meet the international safety standards. It is a (matter of) pride in itself and makes it possible for them to market their products to attract more attention and boost their sales,” said Mr. Sumadi.

Travelers can verify for themselves that no Indonesian airlines appear on European Union website list of banned airlines.

A Decade of Improvement

In June 2007, the European Union blacklisted all domestic airlines in Indonesia. At that time, no Indonesian airlines actually flew in European airspace. Most of all, the European Union flight ban was a response to a series of high-profile aviation accidents. Jacques Barrot served as EU vice president in charge of transport. He announced the European Union flight ban. In clarification, he stated,“Once more, the EU blacklist will prove to be an essential tool, not only to prevent unsafe airlines from flying to Europe and to inform passengers traveling worldwide, but also to make sure that airlines and civil aviation authorities take appropriate actions to improve safety.”

The ban also required travel agents in Europe to inform those traveling to Indonesia. Most noteworthy, the EU ban had an immediate, negative impact on the tourism sector in Indonesia. This included dive operators in Sulawesi.

Indonesian Airlines Work Hard to Improve

indonesian airlines approved
Garuda Indonesia aircraft in Gorontalo

Two years later in July 2009 came the lifting of the European Union flight ban against Garuda Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia received its air safety certification from the International Air Travel Association the year before. Furthermore, IATA’s standards are very strict.

A year later in 2010, Indonesia Air Asia gained EU permission to fly there. Actually, this airline had not yet begun operating at the time of the original European Union flight ban.

In June 2016, the EU lifted its flight ban on three additional domestic carriers. Those were Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air.

Now, all of Indonesia’s airlines are approved by the European Union. Should you need flight information when coming to Gorontalo for your dive trip, please contact with us.

Hari Ketupat Festival Celebrated in Gorontalo

Hari Ketupat is an annual festival held throughout Gorontalo. It falls on the seventh day after Idhul Fitri, the religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadhan. Although the government usually does not recognize this festival, Gorontalo people celebrate it anyway. Few local people show up to work on Hari Ketupat!

A Record for Ketupat Broken

Ketupat is a cube of rice that lies within a casing. Someone will hand weave a casing from young palm leaves. Once stuffed with grains of white rice, she will boil the woven casing in water. The rice inside cooks and compresses, creating a cube. Then she cuts open the casing and dices the rice cube inside. It is now ready for eating.

In 2018 the Gorontalo provincial government decided to create extra interest in the Hari Ketupat Festival. The governor launched a drive to make an incredible number of ketupat. Officials from Indonesia’s Record Society (MURI) attended the festival to verify the number. Gorontalo people made a record-breaking 34,000 ketupat. Kampung Jawa in Gorontalo Regency is the traditional center of the Hari Ketupat Festival. So, the record breaking initiative took place there.

Hari Ketupat in Olele Village

coin pulling context
Ladies compete for coins

Coastal communities in Gorontalo avidly enjoy their own versions of the festival. This included villages where staff of Miguel’s Diving live. Olele Village, where a marine park is located, hosted a big event in 2018. Although villagers there did not participate in the record breaking ketupat contest,they did create their own merriment.

Fun activities included the traditional sack race. Contestants step inside an empty, fifty kilo rice sack. Then they hop down a designated track to the cheers and laughter of their friends. Another silly challenge is to pull out coins stuck in cuts on a coconut using only the teeth. The coconut is hung on a string. To complicate matters, the other end of the string is tied around the leg of the contestant. This forces him or her to raise one leg in order for the coconut to descend level with the face.

Hari Ketupat boat race
Outrigger canoes race to the finish line

More serious contestants vie for big prizes. The signature event in coastal villages is the outrigger canoe race. Since several villages gathered at Olele for this year’s race, participants and spectators crowded the beach. The organizing committee placed a series of buoys in locations around the small Olele Bay. Boat captains must pass each buoy without hitting it and return to the starting point to finish. Only three boats at a time can run the circuit, so there are many preliminaries. The final winner received two new boat engines.

Guests of Miguel’s Diving typically dive the Olele Village Marine Park. For help with your dive trip to Gorontalo, please make a booking with us.

MIDE 2018 Welcomes Miguel’s Diving

MIDE 2018, the Malaysia International Dive Expo, welcomed back Miguel’s Diving. It has been four years since our staff have participated.

Malaysia International Dive Expo MIDE 2018

The 13th Malaysia International Dive Expo took place 4 – 6 May 2018. It is also called MIDE 2018. Malaysia’s famous Putra World Trade Centre or PWTC provided the venue. The Exhibition opened daily to the public at 10 a.m. It closed nightly at 7 p.m. This year featured 133 companies and around 2,000 visitors.

For more information, please visit the official MIDE 2018 website. The expo used Hall One of the PWTC complex. A large international book show used several other halls.

Miguel’s Diving @ Booth 219

MIDE 2018 for divers
Potential Malaysian divers learn about Gorontalo

MIDE 2018 marks the fourth appearance of Miguel’s Diving at this dive expo. Our booth was 219 and located at a strategic corner. The fascia board name was Miguel’s Diving Gorontalo. Our booth had a dramatic “Gorontalo: Hidden Paradise” layout. Our professional backdrops were designed by Ms. Galuh Riyadi of Jakarta. They featured underwater photo art by divers of Miguel’s Diving. These photographers come from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.

One panel featured photographs of Malaysian divers who have been diving with us recently. What great fun is was to look for friends in those photographs! Better yet was to make a selfie with your own photo in the background. Miguel’s Diving staff had a great time catching up with old friends and making many new ones.

Gorontalo for Malaysian Divers

Gorontalo is an excellent destination for Malaysian divers. Pristine dive destinations are often difficult to reach. Not so Gorontalo! Air Asia offers flights from KUL to Makassar (UPG) four times weekly. The connecting flight to Gorontalo lasts about one hour ten minutes. Daily flights via Jakarta are also easy for Malaysian divers to travel to Gorontalo in or out in one day.

Gorontalo diving season is the opposite of most peninsular Malaysian destinations. Our season runs mid October to mid May. Officially it is November to April. No reason to cry during monsoon-lah. Come dive in Gorontalo! For many Malaysians food can be an issue. Food in Gorontalo is halal.

Even if you did not see us at MIDE 2018, you can still href=”http://miguelsdiving.com/contact-us/” target=”_blank”> book your dive trip with us.

Lunar Eclipse of a Super Blue Moon in Gorontalo

Lunar eclipse of a super blue moon was an event not to be missed by anyone in Indonesia on 31 January 2018.

Triple Celestial Event

supermoon
Super moon rises at 1855 hrs

On 1 January 2018 a full moon appeared in the world’s night skies. A second full moon during the same month rose on 31 January. Astronomers call this rare occurrence a blue moon. Hence the expression in English of a rare event, “once in a blue moon.”

Usually, the moon is 384,400 kilometers from the Earth. However, its orbit is not uniform. Sometimes the moon can be merely 358,993 kilometers away. That means it is more than 25,000 kilometers closer. At that time, the moon appears up to 14 percent larger. Additionally, it can appear 30 percent brighter to the naked eye. This rare occurrence is a super moon. On 31 January 2018, the super moon coincided with the blue moon.

Moreover, on the same date, the blue super moon also turned red. This happened when it became a blood moon as it eclipsed.

Eclipse of a Rare Moon

lunar eclipse begins
Lunar eclipse begins: 2032 & 2047 hrs

A lunar eclipse happens when a full moon travels into the shadow of the Earth relative to the sun. During a lunar eclipse, the moon turns red. Hence the name blood moon. The red is actually the projection of all the sunrises and sunsets onto the surface of the moon.

Gorontalo’s Total Lunar Eclipse

blood to super moon
From Blood to Super moon: 2212 & 2232 & 2333 hrs

In Gorontalo, the super moon appeared over the mountains at 1855 hours local time (WITA). Miguel’s Diving enjoyed night diving under the full moon. After the divers surfaced, the lunar eclipse began. The first photo sequence shows the view of the night sky at 2032 and 2047 hours. The total eclipse lasted for over an hour. The second photo sequence shows the blood moon at 2212 hours. When the moon is in eclipse, it is indeed red! At 2232 the moon began to emerge from the shadow. By 2333 hours the super moon had returned. The last time there occurred an eclipse of a super blue moon was 152 years ago.

Don’t wait until the next super blue lunar eclipse to dive in Gorontalo. We encourage you to book your dive trip with us before then!

PADI Divemaster Staff in Gorontalo only with Miguel’s

PADI divemaster staff in Gorontalo can only be found at Miguel’s Diving.

Trained, Skilled & Certified

PADI divemaster Gorontalo
PADI divemasters of Miguel’s Diving

Miguel’s Diving is not only Gorontalo’s pioneer dive center. We are also the only dive operator in the area to have PADI divemaster staff. Actually, five of our full time staff are PADI divemasters. Our only international staff member has been a PADI divemaster for almost 20 years now. Our Gorontalo staff all recently completed their PADI training. As a result, guests of Miguel’s Diving feel safe with our trained, skilled and certified staff.

PADI Divemaster Training

Becoming a PADI divemaster requires successful course completion. Water skills are an important component of the course. Naturally, our four candidates loved this part of the course. They are all long time dive guides.

Classroom sessions require different skills. Included in this part of the course are important topics. These include supervising diving activities, assisting student divers and diver safety. A PADI divesmaster candidate will also study risk management and environmental awareness. Moreover, participants must pass both water skills and theory components of the course.

Special Opportunity

PADI certification cards
PADI divemaster certificaton cards

Our dive staff received an invitation from Mr. Frans Rattu to complete their PADI divemaster training. PADI Asia Pacific and Politeknik Negri Manado teamed up to offer a special opportunity. Only long time dive guides in the area received an invitation. Also, they must already be certified Rescue Divers. Additionally, candidates must have Emergency Response training or update within two years. All of our staff already had these PADI certifications.

They enjoyed the two weeks in Manado and the study time with friends in the dive industry there. Fortunately, one of their wives came along and helped keep everyone fed. During the required reef cleanup exercise, they found a sun hat accidentally discarded by a visitor. It had a decorative band around it. On the band was some writing in Chinese that said “blue ocean, beautiful day.” So, they decided it would be a great souvenir to bring back to Gorontalo for Miguel’s senior PADI divemaster. All it needed was a quick wash in fresh water!

To make arrangements to dive with our certified PADI divemaster staff, please book your dive trip with us.

Citilink Gorontalo Makassar Flights Available

Citilink Gorontalo Makassar flights are now available.

Gorontalo Welcomes Citilink Flights

citilink aircraft
A Citilink flight arrives at Gorontalo airport

Gorontalo’s new terminal welcomes yet another airline with the arrival of Citilink. Flights from Gorontalo depart at 1100, arriving in Makassar at 1230. Also, flights from Makassar depart at 0845, arriving in Gorontalo at 1015. This is the present schedule. Divers should always refer to Citilink’s official website for current flight times and options. This new flight began in mid 2017.

Divers will also want to note that this airline provides for a free bag of dive gear. The limit is up to 20 kilos. This is addition to its normal free baggage of 20 kilos to economy passengers.

The ticketing code is QG. The code for Makassar is UPG, reflecting its previous name, Ujung Pandang. Gorontalo remains GTO.

A Low Cost Airline

Garuda Indonesia established a low-cost subsidiary in 2001, naming it Citilink. Its main purpose is to offer shuttle services within Indonesia. If travelers need more than the Gorontalo-Makassar flight, they can check connections on-line or with an agent.

Additionally, this airline uses mainly Airbus A320s.

International Safety Standards

In June 2016, the European Union lifted its ban against Citilink flying in its airspaces. Although the airline does not fly there, the vote of confidence from the EU gives European citizens and others peace of mind. The decision recognizes that the airline operates according to international standards for safety and management.

Should you need suggestions on flights for your upcoming dive trip to Gorontalo, please contact with us.

Certificate of Excellence 2017 for Miguel’s Diving

Certificate of Excellence 2017 for Miguel’s Diving Gorontalo was just announced by TripAdvisor®.

Certificate of Excellence 2017

TripAdvisor celebrates achievements of hospitality businesses. Its coveted Certificate of Excellence is awarded to those that earn great travel reviews on its website. TripAdvisor has been doing so for seven years now. Certificate of Excellence 2017 recipients are not only dive centers. They include accommodations, eateries and attractions. Locations are all over the world. Recipients must continually deliver quality customer experience.

Certificate of Excellence 2017
TripAdvisor recognizes Miguel’s Diving

“We are truly thankful for the great support from our guests. They are the ones who take time to send their impressions to TripAdvisor. We are delighted to receive this recognition from TripAdvisor. Actually, this marks the third year in a row for us to receive this recognition” says Rantje Allen. He is marketing consultant for Miguel’s Diving.

High Service Standards

“With the Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor honors hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travelers,” said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition helps travelers identify and book properties that regularly deliver great service. TripAdvisor is proud to play this integral role in helping travelers feel more confident in their booking decisions.”

The Certificate of Excellence 2017 accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews. Travelers submit their reviews to TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, there are several measurements. A business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five. Also, it must have a minimum number of reviews. Additionally, its TripAdvisor listing must run for at least 12 months. #CertificateofExcellence

About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site. This is according to comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, February 2016. It enables travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers advice from millions of travelers. Also, it has a wide variety of travel choices and planning features. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world. Its sites reach 340 million unique monthly visitors. This is according to TripAdvisor log files, Q1 2016. It has 350 million reviews and opinions. These cover 6.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 48 markets worldwide.

For your chance to enjoy excellent service, please book your dive trip with Miguel’s Diving.

European Union Flight Ban Lifted

European Union flight ban against all Indonesian airlines no longer applies to seven national carriers. This is great news for international travelers wishing to dive in Gorontalo. Additionally, divers residing in Indonesia can have greater confidence to fly on certain airlines.

Approved Indonesian Airlines

Currently, airlines certified as meeting international safety and management standards are Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Ekspres Transportasi Antarbenua, Indonesia Air Asia, Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air. The European Union website contains the official list.

Garuda Indonesia, Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air fly to Gorontalo’s Djalaluddin Airport (GTO).

History of European Union Flight Ban

In June 2007, the European Union blacklisted all domestic airlines in Indonesia. At that time, no Indonesian airlines actually flew in European airspace. Most of all, the European Union flight ban was a response to a series of high-profile aviation accidents. Jacques Barrot served as EU vice president in charge of transport. He announced the European Union flight ban. In clarification, he stated,

“Once more, the EU blacklist will prove to be an essential tool, not only to prevent unsafe airlines from flying to Europe and to inform passengers traveling worldwide, but also to make sure that airlines and civil aviation authorities take appropriate actions to improve safety.”

The ban also required travel agents in Europe to inform those traveling to Indonesia. Most noteworthy, the EU ban had an immediate, negative impact on the tourism sector in Indonesia. This included dive operators in Sulawesi.

Indonesian Airlines Work Hard to Improve

european union flight ban
Garuda Indonesia parks in Gorontalo

Two years later in July 2009 came the lifting of the European Union flight ban against Garuda Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia received its air safety certification from the International Air Travel Association the year before. Furthermore, IATA’s standards are very strict.

A year later in 2010, Indonesia Air Asia gained EU permission to fly there. Actually, this airline had not yet begun operating at the time of the original European Union flight ban.

In June 2016, the EU lifted its flight ban on three additional domestic carriers. Those were Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air.

Strict International Standards

In order to pass an IATA Operational Safety Audit, each airline must fulfill numerous technical and safety standards. The check list totals more than one thousand items. The audit itself takes about three months to complete with on-site inspectors. Issues include organizational and management systems, departure flights, aircraft and engine maintenance, cabin procedures, ground handling, cargo and operational safety.

EU’s commissioner for transportation Violeta Bluc announced lifting the travel ban against Lion Air and Batik Air. She said, “We are pleased to improve the air safety level for EU citizens and the world. We are also pleased to expand flights worldwide.” As a result, those approved Indonesian airlines are looking at expanding internationally.

Should you need flight information when coming to Gorontalo for your dive trip, please contact with us.

Unterwasser Magazine Discovers Gorontalo

Unterwasser magazine discovers a new dive destination in its March 2017 edition.

Unknown Diving Locations of Sulawesi

The leading dive destinations in Sulawesi have long been located in the Manado area. The Indonesian government established Bunaken National Marine Park in 1991. Muck diving was born in 1994 with the exposure of Lembeh Strait. These two locations have become international hot spots for divers in the know.

Unterwasser Magazine double page
Imran Ahmad’s double-page spread

Although Miguel’s Diving opened diving here in 2003, many international divers have yet to hear of Gorontalo. To many, it remains a hidden paradise. Now is the time for Gorontalo’s wider exposure. Hence, the article in Unterwasser magazine by Imran Ahmad in its March 2017 edition.

The editor of Unterwasser magazine mentions, “Our author has set off for the unknown places in North Sulawesi’s diving paradise and still found untouched underwater worlds.” Gorontalo has gained fame among Indonesian and Asian divers for its surreal Salvador Dali sponges, incredibly dense hard corals and, more recently, whale sharks.

Imran Ahmad, World-Class Photographer

unterwasser magazine with Imran
Imran Ahmad with his annual calendar

The author of the article in Unterwasser magazine is Imran Ahmad. His first, rushed visit to Gorontalo was over a decade ago. He is much sought after as an underwater photographer and journalist. His work assignments range from Asia to Mauritius to Iceland. Recently, his busy schedule allowed for several weeks in Gorontalo. Some of his many photos from Gorontalo appear in the eight-page spread in Unterwasser magazine.

In his article, he writes, “The underwater world in Gorontalo impresses you with its unique sponges, sometimes in surreal forms. Colors appear before your mask and add to them soft corals, overhangs and countless marine life forms – impressive.”

Unterwasser Magazine

This magazine has long been a leading voice in marine sports for the German-speaking market. It has been published monthly since 1995. Its typical length is about 170 pages. Articles in it feature underwater photographs and travel reports on international dive destinations.

Miguel’s Diving provides a web page for German speakers. Any diver can book your dive trip to Gorontalo with us. Please contact with us for a dive package booking.

BOOT 2017 Features Gorontalo

BOOT 2017 in Dusseldorf, Germany, included a large delegation sponsored by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism.

Destination Gorontalo

BOOT 2017 with Indonesia
Wonderful Indonesia delegation

The booth for the tourism ministry at BOOT 2017 proclaimed the theme “Wonderful Indonesia.” Marine tourism operators from all over the country accepted the invitation to promote their various destinations. Miguel’s Diving exposed visitors to Gorontalo, Indonesia’s hidden paradise. A large map of major dive destinations nationwide covered a third of the back wall. The biggest hit with visitors was the coffee shop, specializing in fine Indonesian coffees. Made with a flare by a professional Indonesian barista, all coffees and teas were free.

 

In addition to the ministry booth, three international underwater photographers displayed their photos from Gorontalo. Imran Ahmad promoted Gorontalo exclusively at two photo lectures at the Underwater World stage in Hall 4. Patrick Neumann included his stop in Gorontalo in his travelogue of several Indonesian dive destinations.

Finally, Dusseldorf resident Volker Lonz created a dramatic and beautiful short film. This film ran continuously at the Gorontalo table during BOOT 2017. For those who did not get a chance to see it, please access video below. The resolution is low because it is on Youtube.

BOOT 2017 – an International Marine Expo

BOOT is the famous boat show of Europe. Mega yachts and ships take up the largest hall. Also included in the expo are dive destinations. They were located in Hall 3. For BOOT 2017, a myriad of destinations world-wide packed into the large hall. The expo stands as the longest one in Europe. This year the dates were 20 to 29 January 2017. As usual, the location was MESSE in Dusseldorf, Germany. Exhibition floor space totaled 22,000 square meters.

BOOT 2017 marked the 48st year. The theme “Play Now!” could be seen throughout the halls. Sailing and motor yachts celebrated 70 world primeres. Exhibitors numbered over 1,800 and came from 70 countries. That included the great dive destinations found in Indonesia. In addition to scuba diving, fishing and holidays on the water plus trend sports enjoyed dedicated spaces in various halls.

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