Neco Marine is part of the Neco group of companies, including real estate, construction, bottled water, and Yamaha and Shell dealerships. Former Palau president Ngiratkel Etpison founded NECO (Ngiratkel Etpison Company) after WWII, when he started selling ice candy using scrapped generators. He also started the first tour bus company on Palau in the 1970s, and was the land owner and local partner for the Palau Pacific Resort until his son Shallum took over the businesses. Neco Marine was started by Shallum in a cargo container in 1984 with one small boat. When the Palau Pacific Resort opened in 1985, he started operating there, and hired Mandy as the first PADI instructor on the island. Today Neco's tourism-related businesses, aside from the Neco Marine operation, include Neco Tour, the Cliffside Hotel, the Etpison Museum, Splash, Palau Hana Tour, the Drop-Off Bar & Grill, the Palau Aggressor II, and the Tropic Dancer.
MEET OUR TEAM
The CEODespite Shallum Etpison's busy schedule and other business interests, he can be found around the dive shop and is always ready for a quick chat. Mention the word "fishing," and you'll have his undivided attention, but don't look for him on a Sunday; that's his fishing day. Shallum and the Neco Group are major sponsors of the Palau Conservation Society and the Micronesian Voyage Society, as well as most spo rting and community events that take place in Palau, including the annual Palau Boat Race and Fishing Derby. While Shallum has been the economic advisor to several presidents, acting Governor for Ngatpang State, and a presidentially-appointed board member on the Palau Visitors Authority and other task forces, he refuses to be lured into active politics. He is currently the Spanish Honorary Consul to Palau. His current project is trying to develop the aquaculture industry in Palau, which started with a pilot project in Ngatpang several years ago.
The TroubleshooterDutch-born Mandy Thijssen Etpison came to Palau in 1985 and has been married to Shallum since 1988. An accomplished wildlife photographer and artist, she runs the Etpison Museum, handles Shallum's paperwork, and generally troubleshoots for entire the Neco Group. She has authored and published six books on Palau and is currently the French Honorary Consul to Palau. Her two current projects are trying to photo ID the mantas in Palau and continuing the Palau Dugong Awareness Campaign. If the tide and weather are right, you'll find her on the Neco Marine dive boats with her camera.
Chipper Tellei, our General Manager, brings with him a very diverse background. Born in Palau, his experience in the local tourism industry began before college as a tour guide and boat operator. After college in Hawaii, he returned home to help manage a local company that was involved in several diverse industries: hotel, restaurant, boat charter, car rental, construction, automotive, and retail. He loves the water and enjoys fishing in his free time.
Karen Etpison is Shallum's sister and other right-hand woman. Normally found at the Neco Group's main office downtown, she is the only person aside from Shallum and Mandy who knows everything there is to know about Neco, which is why she's in charge when they are traveling.
Jennie Basco, our Assistant Manager, is in charge of daily scheduling and staff assignments. She's an expert at dealing with all the different nationalities of staff and tourists passing through Neco Marine, and always brings a smile to any interaction. Jennie's husband Eric is in charge of Shallum's aquaculture business .
Leticia Sanchis, our Marketing Manager, after travelling all around the world, has arrived in Palau and fulfilled her goal to work in the dive industry. She loves diving and whenever she gets the chance to, she jumps into a boat. She speaks Spanish, French and English.
Marllis Besong, our Boat Operations Manager, keeps all our boats and docks in shape. He has years of experience as a boat captain himself and is an accomplished dive guide and fisherman. If you can't find him on a boat, he'll be fixing things next door at Neco Yamaha. Marllis also helps out with the annual Palau Boat Race.
Fabio Esposito, our Italian IDC Staff Instructor with 12 years in the diving industry, arrived in Palau after drifting through the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Caribbean, and Indian Oceans. With the support of Etpison Museum, he started, along with Neco Marine, the Manta ID Palau Project, creating the website and writing the PADI Manta ID Specialty. Besides Italian, he speaks Spanish, French, and English.
Jenni Wilbourn, has dived all over the world, including Egypt, Thailand, Indonesia, and Mozambique. She is a keen free diver who loves to hold her breath as well as blowing bubbles. This always smiling English lady has been guiding and instructing for the last four years and has now fulfilled her lifelong ambition to work and dive in Palau!
Dale Goosen, grew up in Cape Town surrounded by the ocean and has had a love for the ocean from an early age. He has spent many years working in London and travelling around the world, both freediving and scuba diving. He is a qualified freediving instructor as well as scuba instructor. Always positive and friendly, but he is happiest when in or around the water.
Aki Ogawa, an instructor with his lovely wife Miwa, Aki San is one of our longest serving dive guides. "Enjoy diving with us. Slowly, safely, and relaxed - that's my policy."
Miwa Ogawa, part of an instructor team with her husband Aki, Miwa looks after all our Japanese guests. Miwa is also one of our long term guides.
Mar Nerves has been working for NECO Marine for a long time. At first as a fuel attendant and boat operator and now as a dive master. No one at NECO has bigger heart than Mar, he is always smiling, even at 5 am! His sixth sense is most definitely his "dive sense" when, more often than not, he is the smartest person on the dive deck (and yes, that includes the guides)! We love the guy!
Edwin Maidesil has been trained in the dive industry by NECO Marine since he was young. He knows Palau's underwater like the back of his hand and has seen most of all the rarest pelagic that we can find in Palau, like a bryde's whale! You will always find him joking around with anyone either in the dock or in the shop.
The Boat Captains
Innis Worswick is one of the oldest boat operators at Neco Marine. If the water gets very rough, you will be in very good hands!
Nick Halishluw is from Yap and has been a boat captain in the dive industry in Palau for more than 5 years so wherever you are in the surface, he will find you!
Charlie Ngiralmau is always keen to talk and enjoys speaking about Palau. He is also a senior boat operator.
Ricky Adelbai is extremely experienced around the Rock Islands of Palau, Ricky is the best guy to look after you in all weather conditions. He will take care of your every need from the moment you step onto his boat. He is also a Dolphin Master! He always manages to find dolphins on the high seas.
Spyce Koshiba, our youngest boat operator but doesn't mean he is less experienced! He always brings with him a smile and always happy to help you.
Mers Arurang, another native Palauan, is our Dolphin Pacific Captain. Should you decide to visit Dolphin Pacific during your stay, you will be in good hands with Mers.
Stein Rengiil, after living in Hawaii and the mainland US for some time working in construction, is happy to be back home in Palau. Stein is truly a man of many talents and is a very creative artist. You may see him anywhere, from the water to the airport. If you are in trouble in Palau, this is the guy you need on your side, because there's no one who messes with Stein!
Shelluis Dolmers, Malas, loves to joke around but doesn't mean he doesn't have his job done! He is also one of our senior boat operators.
Logan Ngiriou big and beautiful guy with a million dollar smile and kindness to match. He knows his way around the Rock Islands like his own back yard. As well as driving you too and from the dive-site he will treat you to a boat ride par excellence!
Roger Domingo, one of our filipino bus drivers, but he is nearly palauan since he has been working for Neco Marine over 14 years.
Rey Maribao is not only a bus driver, you will see him all around Neco helping next door at Yamaha and Drop off.
Judy Duenas, you will mostly see him at the airport welcoming you to Palau.
Back at base, but not the least important!
Ius - Eclectus Parrot
Salsa - Eclectus Parrot
Sadiemae Blodak, our counter girl, is always pleased to greet and help you in the dive shop with her lovely smile.
RJ Panganiban doesn't talk much, but he does a lot. If he's not in the gear room, you can find him on Demul helping out with the fishing trips.
Felix Malijan is in charge of filling your tanks with fresh, clean air and nitrox each day. Felix was an actor of 'Tom Cruise' proportions back in the Philippines, but even the bright lights of Hollywood can't draw him away from Palau.
Mukhter Hossain, from Pakistan, our gas attendant. You will always see him at the dock either pumping the fuel or cleaning Shallum's boats.
Sagar Paudel is trained in the special martial arts of Nepal. If he weren't our security guard at NECO, he would surely be a cage fighter! He makes sure that nobody and nothing comes close to our facility at night!
Ius - Eclectus Parrot was born in the Rock Islands, but thinks he's human. Among his many talents, the one that stands out the most is his ability to swear in 3 different languages. He is particularly fond of a few people, including Joe and Stein. Unfortunately, Ius never learned the saying "don't bite the hand that feeds you!"
Salsa-Eclectus Parrot, is Ius' sweet heart and takes advantage of it since she is always trying to steal his food!
Neco Marine believes in training, which is why we have started early with these three: Iked, Keriik and Edwin at 16, 15 and 15 respectively. They are already PADI Rescue Divers with several years experience and over 500 dives each. All three want to be Divemasters, and they can be found on our boats almost every weekend as well as whenever school is out. These guys know Palau's dive sites as well as any guide! They have modeled underwater for Mandy and have already dived with tiger sharks. Iked is Mandy and Shallum's youngest, Keriik is Marllis' son, and Edwin is Karen's son, so they've been around diving their whole lives.