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kieran

Philippines Advice & Recommendations

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Hey Folks,

 

A group of 7 of us are taking a well deserved break in the Philippines for Christmas.

 

We would like to hear any suggestions on areas to stay in either Peurto Galera or Anilao, (Mabini?)

 

Some of us dive, all of us snorkel, so we are looking for somewhere laid back and not too resorty/touristy but good for diving but are not fussy about being close to dive shops.

 

Thoughts please!

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For Puerto Galera, I like Marco Vincent, nice pool with dive shop next door with its own instructional pool.

 

For Anilao, Acacia is great. On ocean with great view, pool, camera room and dive facilities. Another place on the ocean but without a pool is Crystal Blue that is good.

Edited by eyu

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Planet Dive (Mabini) is a laid-back dive operation with a good house reef and unlimited diving packages, so both divers and snorkelers can hit the water and find interesting stuff starting just meters from the shore. There are also daily boat dives to all the regular sites. They have a lot of local divers so you don't feel you are in a 'tourist isolation zone', like in many resorts. Food and accommodations are rather basic but that helps keep cost down. I spend two weeks there last May and expect to be back in the future.

 

Bart

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Anilao whatever resort u pick you'l be restricted to the resort only , there's more to do in Puerto Galera ( also take care the diveshops are in Sabang not Puerto Galera )

Frank

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Xmas in PG is pretty loud. They have parties all night throughout xmas and new year, including fireworks and gunfire! I don't find the diving interesting enough to suffer PG personally. Verde island is a good diving place but the resort on the island are very basic and there are only so many drift dives on a wall sites, so if your stay is short, it's great.

Anilao is much quieter. Do a search and you'll find plenty of suggestions for places.

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I second Drew's advice. My only visit to PG was at Christmas / New Year and it was also my last. I find the resort area obnoxious, full of pushy beach vendors, beggars, loud parties, girlie bars and their "handlers" soliciting business, and a lot of people who are their for those activities first and diving (if at all) second. There are serious divers and operators there of course, but the overall atmosphere is one that I can do without

 

I am biased toward Anilao, but then I like a quiet beach, a community of divers and not much else, and the diversity of dive sites there

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I should add that Anilao does get taken over on weekends by the Manila crowd. And since this is xmas week, it'd be pretty crowded so make your bookings soon!

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Fair point - being resident in Manila I should also confess to being guilty as charged . . .

 

As for places in Anilao with good dive operations and that are comfortable for non-divers, I would suggest Eagle Point (large pool deck, plus private picnic island with BBQ), Acacia (pool, quiet, photog friendly), and Dive Solana (no pool, but very nice common areas). Two others that are comfortable but do not have dedicated dive operations are Casita Ysabel (no pool but good spa) and Vivere Azure (also comfortable and a nice beach). Another new place gaining popularity that hasn't yet made the news is El Pinoy (small pool, recently refurbished). There are many others, these are just the ones I know

 

One key fact to bear in mind is that it is super easy to arrange a boat and DM and gear, even if your resort does not have a shop, as they are all freelancers anyway. In fact I would never go with the resort boat as it is so much nicer to have your own private arrangements and the extra cost is negligible

Edited by troporobo

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No offense meant. If I were a Manilanite, I'd be bitching about the damn tourists crowding the local dive sites! :)

 

Personally, I still prefer being on Twin Rocks. It's perfect for snorkeling and non-stop diving. No need to take a boat. I avoid Eagle Point because of the sharks in the reef pool.

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I second the recommendation at Dive Solana. Owners are usually on site or a mobile call away. Was there in June, will be back in May. They just upgraded the rooms, kitchen facilities and should have wifi available throughout the resort. Solana is also very close to Twin Rocks.

 

EP is nice (aside from the sharks) though some of the rooms are a bit of a hike away from the pools and beach access.

 

Drew, the local term for someone from Manila is "Manileño" :)

 

S.

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I know Stu, but I like Manilanite more... less spanish colonial! :)

 

As for Solana's proximity to Twin Rocks, from my memory, it's at least 800m away, not really snorkeling distance for typical tourists.

 

Kieran

Having been to quite a few of the resorts, including the aforementioned ones, and the fact you aren't too fussed about accommodation as long as the diving is good, I suggest you choose the resort closest to a good site, so that the non-divers can enjoy without a boat. Twin Rocks is my favorite shore dive site and a good site for snorkelers, especially when the trevally stay shallow It's not the fishiest site but it's a cool site with the rocks somehow attracting things like turtles etc. 2 resorts sit on the site, Balai and Planet Dive. Planet Dive has the nicer rooms and dive center and sits directly on Twin Rocks.

A better site for snorkelers is Cathedral, because it's relatively shallow ( I think the top is like 6m) and very fishy (although they are mostly damsel fish). Dive 7000 is within swimming distance (2-300m). It's a nice resort and quite laid back but no real beach to speak of.

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once again thank you all for your thoughts. We leave in 3 weeks very excited. My fix s100 housing is en route as i type and i am thoroughly looking forward to taking my first underwater images.

 

cheers

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Kieran, where did you finally choose to go? Have a great time and update us on conditions and the resort please.

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If you can get reservations I would go to the Portifino on little Sabang Beach. The loud-all night action in Sabang is concentrated on Big Sabang Beach which is walking distance from Little Sabang Beach. However, snorkling off either beach is problematic due to boat traffic. One should take a boat to a better snorkling spot.

 

Regards,

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Portofino is off Small La Laguna Beach, Sabang town is located on Big La Laguna beach. I avoid Sabang at all costs.

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If you can get reservations I would go to the Portifino on little Sabang Beach.

 

My description above was from spending the week between Christmas and New Year's at Portofino. It is a nice enough resort, but the rest of the experience wasn't good at all.

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Yes I can confirm that the X'mas and Holy Week celebrations isn't the usual Sabang bars and clubs but even extra partying by locals. It's fun and exciting for the first day but gets old once you try to sleep and the music is pounding non-stop from the concerts and dance parties. Beaches are also super crowded. This is pretty much all over PI but obviously the more secluded resort areas like Anilao don't have this issue as much.

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