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“Experience of a life time! Best place to dive at Mabini.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Planet Dive

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Planet Dive
San Teodoro, Mabini, Luzon, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Hong Kong, China
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Experience of a life time! Best place to dive at Mabini.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2014

2 friends and i were here over Easter break. We only came here to dive (we stayed at a resort close by). The instructors were fantastic, the resort is well maintained, the staff are extremely friendly. A special thank you to Mr Bob Rivera. Since we dint have an underwater camera the resort was nice enough to let us borrow one for 800 Pesos.

Coming to the actual dive, most resorts that are build by the Mabini bay have fantastic snorkelling spots. However, plant dive is build right at a place which is a marine sanctuary. Needless to say, this makes the dive experience out of the world.

I would recommend you dive here even if you stay at any other place in Mabini!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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34 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Madison, Wisconsin
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2014

We chose Planet Dive for three reasons: we LOVE having access to a house reef were we can shore dive, we liked the option of having a boat all to ourselves (as opposed to going with a group of other divers, which sounds antisocial, but we tend to go more slowly than others and don't like the chaos of a big dive group), and it seemed like a good value for the money. We ended up being very happy on all three of those fronts, pleased with our choice overall, and very happy at Planet Dive during our 9-day stay. A few things to consider:

- This is not a very intensively managed resort, which was fine with us and gave it a relaxed feel but might not be for everyone. We arrived late at night and had no idea what to do the next morning, when breakfast was, where to put our gear, etc. We learned as we went along, but it would have been easier if someone had given us a general overview right from the beginning. It's definitely a "go with the flow" kind of place -- which on balance I prefer to dive resorts where you have to fill out a detailed form and pack your crate in a prescribed way every time you go diving!

- With the exception of one somewhat standoffish receptionist, the staff at the resort were great -- very friendly and warm and fun to talk to. The guys in charge of the dining room were especially great, as were the guys who drove the boat and hauled our scuba gear around.

- The house reef was simply wonderful. We dived it 4 or 5 times and saw many new critters every time. Planet Dive seems to take conservation very seriously, and that shows in the quality of the reef. We could have dived it 5 more times without getting bored.

- Herbert Almiro was our dive guide for most of our dives and he was simply amazing. He's a freelancer who gives priority to Planet Dive (meaning it's possible to hire him up even if you don't stay at PD) , and we feel lucky that he was available when we visited. Our other dive guide was a really nice guy, fun to talk with, but not nearly as talented at finding tiny critters.

- The food was pretty good, and there was always enough variety in the buffet that we could find a few things we liked. We love food and tend to be adventurous eaters, and so while the food was not the absolute highlight of our stay, we were satisfied with the quality and amount of it.

- We stayed in the lavender room, which was large and has a nice balcony and is set high up on the hill. The long and the short of it was that it was rustic and somewhat open-air but generally comfortable, with adequate AC and hot water. The bed in particular was a lot more comfortable than it looked! If you are the kind of person who can't tolerate geckos, spiders, incidental ants, or an occasional cockroach, however, I don't think this room is for you. I also felt that with about $100 worth of updates, repairs and improvements, the room could have been a lot nicer than it was.

- One final consideration, which is well-known to Anilao, is that things are quiet during the week and then explode during the weekend. Our stay also overlapped with a weeklong visit from a large diving club, who sort of took over the resort. We were able to work around them, but our stay would have been comfortable without the constant yelling across the dining room, clouds of cigarette smoke, and general shenanigans of a big group of twenty-somethings. That was just a little bit of bad luck on our part, and not any fault of the resort. In general I would just say that if you're looking for a quiet resort, try to visit during the week. On the other hand, the resort managers show up during the weekend, which did improve the organization and service somewhat.

In summary: Planet Dive is a great value and offers good food, decent rooms, and an excellent house reef IF you can deal with relaxed management and can rustic living.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seoul
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2014

Spent one night there on our trip to the Philippines. The room was basic but adequate. The food was good. The scenery both above and below the water was great. We only snorkeled but given the proximity to Twin Rocks that was sufficient.

Room Tip: Stayed in Brown 2 which had no issues ac and hot water worked.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nagoya, Japan
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2014

This review is for diving only. I tried to make a reservation for diving the morning of arrival. I didn't get confirmation during the day and hoped that my reservation for diving was received.

We had a long drive from Manila, as there was either highway construction or the mountain roads were narrow at points. When we arrived, the gate was closed, but knew this is typical and honked. The doors opened quickly and were led into the compound.

The person who met us at the gate guided us down a long flight of steep steps to the bottom where the *reception* and dive shop was. I was always met by friendly staff. Bob Rivera, who I think is the owner, greeted us and apologized for not replying to the email, as they were in meetings...I guess that was a long meeting for 8 hours.

We were able to make a single shore dive, as it was about 3:30pm when we arrived. We were not told the cost of diving till we asked. We assumed things were fine. I was just happy they were open for us for a dive, but since there were only two other divers at the place, they were not busy.

We were introduced to the dive master who would take our 1 friend on an intro dive. My other companion and I were told we would also get a dive master, but after suiting up found ourselves without a DM. My inexperienced friend didn't feel comfortable with us relying on her DM, as she was on the intro-dive and worried if she needed to end it quickly we would be without a DM, so a second DM was called in. We waited only a few minutes, and that was fine. He was very good, although not paying attention to our dive speed.

The *dive shop* was very disorganized with older gear. I was given a set of regulator without a second reg, and no depth gauge. I asked for another set and was given it without question.
I had to get all gear except a mask as I brought my own, and I didn't use a wet suit. My companion needed everything. After comparing bills on the way back to Manila, he was charged less than me!

There was a short briefing on the dive, which was good enough. There was no place close to the dive prep area to put my stuff. The individual water tubs for washing off gear were all empty. I didn't worry so much, as if that was the case, it wasn't my gear.

This was the first time in the Philippines that I had to carry my own BCD and tank into the water. There were some boys hanging around, but didn't get any help.

We were initially told the dinner was included in the diving, but found out later it was not. Nor was there any choice in menu. As a non-fish eater, I am picky about what I eat. When I was thinking we would order, we were told dinner was ready! What! And, since we had to pay 500 pesos with no menu choice, I felt I should have been told what was being served, and the price. The meal was mostly fish or veggies I don' eat. The chicken adobo was 90% bones. The rice was ok.

We were offered a couple of rooms at around 3200 pesos per person but included meals. I thought that was an ok price until I later realized there is no choice in meals. We did not stay and made the journey back to Manila because I thought the price to be too high for what I was seeing.

Although the staff were friendly and welcoming, I wouldn't rush back to this place unless I bring my own gear, have a choice of what I eat, and come for a full day of shore diving.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Takamatsu, Japan
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2014

Planet Dive trip advisor report

Why we chose this resort:
First and foremost, we enjoy doing shore dives on our own at the house reefs of resorts we visit. We are avid divers with about 300 dives to our name. For this reason, after researching on the Anilao dive sites and resorts, we chose this resort for its proximity to the Twin Rocks dive site.

Reservation:
We booked our room through Agoda. There was no problem with this process.

Email correspondence with the resort:
The booking through Agoda was only for the room. We contacted the resort to inquire about the airport transfer, meals, and diving. Initial response from the ‘marketing manager’ individual was prompt. However, follow-up responses were unpredictable and tardy. We did not get a good impression and wondered if we should go ahead with this resort.

Arrival at Manila Airport
We were advised by the marketing person to proceed to Bay 18 after coming out of the Arrival Hall in Terminal 3 at about 9:00 pm. We were in for our first surprise to find out that there was no Bay 18 at Terminal 3. We were told by the people at the airport that Bay 18 was at another terminal, and the distance between the terminals was too far to walk. So, we spent about one and half hours, wondering and searching around the premise, looking for the driver, and looking for a local public phone to call that marketing person. Through the help of some kind locals, we managed to get through the numbers he gave, but there was no response.

I found a coffee shop with internet access and immediately sent an email to that marketing person, explaining about the situation. I did not get any reply (even to this day). It was nearly 11:00 pm, and we were dead tired. Just as we were about to decide if we should spend the night at a hotel nearby, the driver showed up in front of us, holding a placard with my name. The diver repeatedly apologized for the confusion and promptly took us to the resort, arriving at 1:30 am in the early morning.

The chalet
Consistent with previous reviews, the chalet was basic. We stayed for 11 nights at the Olive Green room, which was the room nearest to the water’s edge. It offered nice views of the sea. However, there was no facility inside the chalet to hang clothes. There were only four hangers for two persons. There was a simple shelf which was the only place to put the clothes, folded. We had to tie a rope (on the curtain hinges) inside the room to hang our clothes.

On the second night, we found a dead cockroach in the bathroom. We ignored it but when we saw ants coming after the carcass, we had to clear it ourselves. The following night, we witnessed another dead cockroach being swarmed by ants. We cleared that thing ourselves again. Ants also crawled up my bed and I had to deal with them myself too. The chalet was very hot in the afternoon, somewhat like an oven. The air-con unit was not functioning properly. It was ineffective, and the control knobs were broken. We had the staff fix the unit once, and we dared not touch the knobs again. We just plugged in and plugged out to operate the unit. Bathroom was ok, with warm water. The balcony was nice in the evenings, with the cool evening breeze. We could also watch the stars from the balcony.

Restaurant
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all cost 450 pesos each. Breakfast was usually bland and pretty miserable. Each day, it was the same old stuff of white bread, corn flakes... Guests can have eggs cooked to order. The local fare was a rotation of stuff such as chicken porridge, noodle soup, and rice with meats, rotating between beef and pork. Bacon was always there but we never touch it. We think 450 pesos for such breakfasts was too costly. Lunch and dinner were similar in format.

There would be a soup (mostly, some kind of cream soup, mushroom, corn, etc), two main courses of fish, chicken, beef, or pork, a fried noodle dish (pancit), one vegetable dish (often, mixed), and a sweet (sometimes local sweets, sometimes fruit). Dinner was sometimes served at the deck or boardwalk just beside the sea. We enjoyed this setting very much, as the breeze was really pleasant.

However, after a while, we cannot help but to notice that there did not seem to be any ‘resort manager’ around the premise. This resort seemed to run on ‘remote control’. Imagine if some accident or incident were to happen, we wondered who would be there to handle the situation.

Diving
Our primary intention was to dive Twin Rocks. The resort’s offer of unlimited self dives at this house reef was the main attraction for us. It was our first time to scuba dive in Philippines. We did 29 dives, out of which 19 were at Twin Rocks, and the rest were at Kinbeys Rock, Patok, Secret Bay, Cathedral, Coconut, Anilao Pier, Bethlehem, Layag-Layag, and Secret Garden.

We enjoyed diving Twin Rocks on our own and we found a painted frog fish, robust ghost pipefish, loads of nudibranches, octopus, monstrous giant lobsters, fan-tailed pipefish, blue ribbon eels, jawfish (one with eggs), a resident school of jacks, among others. Amazing marine life, I must say, and so accessible from the shore. At other sites, the dive guide showed us many small creatures, many of which were new to us. I could not believe how tiny the boxer crab was.

The night dives at Twin Rocks, Secret Bay, and Anilao Pier were most interesting in the creatures observed. Bobwit worms, mini-octopuses, loads of nudibranches… The dive guide indeed had a very good eye for these wonderful creatures. Plus, I have to add that the dives are generally long. Dives often stretched to over 60 or 70 minutes. Some of our dives were in the 80 minute range while two lasted over 90 minutes. I experienced two dives where I sucked my air completely empty (while de-gassing at around 5 meters), and was ‘forced’ to surface.

Now, we must say a word about the diving operations. While the dive guide was good, we were not impressed by the unorganized setting. There are probably worse set-ups than this, but perhaps we have been diving too much at the dive resorts off the east coast of Sabah where the dive operations are quite well designed and maintained. Anilao is very close by to Manila.

During the weekends, big crowds come in for the day and/or for the weekend. There were many divers among them. Being local, they bring their gear in large plastic boxes and they lay these boxes at the kit-up area. For us, non-local divers, we are left to our own devices, with our gear left hanging here and there.

No one briefed us on how to use the facility, where we can put our gear, how we can wash our gear, or whether it is safe to leave the gear overnight out in the open. There were signs above the water containers saying ‘BC’, ‘wet suits’, ‘camera’, etc… but it was haphazard and no one seemed to be following those arrangements. My observation was, except for the camera, divers wash whatever they like on whatever containers they wanted. So, you see booties, regulators, wet suits, fins, etc, being washed everywhere.

What we found to be more confusing and bewildering was how the boat diving was arranged and charged. It seemed to us that dive guides do not cooperate among themselves to coordinate the boat dives for the convenience of guests.

We suspected that the dive guides were on freelance, operating off the resort. So, guests are left on their own to arrange their dives with the guides. We find this to be very daunting and somewhat ridiculous.

To confuse matters more, they charge different dive rates according to the number of divers in a boat. So, the more divers there are in a boat, the less the costs for each diver. While this sounds logical in one sense, the calculation for the dives after 11 days was, as expected, incorrect. Somehow, somewhere along the line, communication between the dive guide and the office staff who did the calculation went astray.

Expecting that this would happen, we kept a record of our dives, the number of divers in the boat, and the number of days we did our shore dives. We had to spend a considerable amount of time thrashing the account out with the, friendly no doubt, office staff.

Our feeling was, as with the resort management, the dive operation seemed to be on ‘remote control’. We did not see anyone around who appeared to be the person running the dive operation.

The return trip by van to Manila
The resort booked us a van with a driver who could not communicate well in English. This is not so much of a problem by itself, but the problem came up when he stopped several times to ask people about the directions to go to the hotel. We tried to explain to him and we could not understand each other. It was indeed a puzzling experience to have a driver who did not know the roads. We were nevertheless thankful that after a prolonged time on the road, he finally found a policeman to show him the way to our hotel.

Last words
Finally, I would like to say that it was a good experience to have dived at Anilao. The diving was good, very good, I may add. Staff members (restaurant, boat, diving, and support) were very friendly and a joy to talk to.

And would I recommend this to my scuba diving friends? Yes, for Anilao diving, but probably ‘no’ for the resort.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

I changed USD 300 to pesos and only my Pesos were stolen in my room. I did not check or count my money everyday as shopping wasn't part of my to-do list. i only realized my cash was stolen on the last day after my dive when i packed all my belongings. There is nothing much I can do as hotel did offer their safe to the guest. And I did let my guard down as I could see the guest who stays at this place would leave their expensive cameras around, lap top on the table etc. why would I even bother to think of my belongings in my own room unsafe?

The house reef is one of the nicest reef I have seen. Our guide was very helpful and friendly. All our dives were great except that I did not like Coconut dive.

I thought the food tasted great. Tasted like home cook food. I do not have complaints about food.

Room Tip: Ask for the room nearest to dining area or u end up climbing up stairs. Keep your Valuables in their...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stavanger, Norway
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

I was quite relaxed about the service but do not expect anything beyond 1 of 5 )) Rooms are simple not to say poor, aircon hardly ever working, staff is not bad but just indifferent to your needs. And the price is twice as higher than some of the neighbouring dive centers. The diving is ok, but the equipment is as old as risky, and the divemasters we had were a bit unprofessional, just as if they got they status yesterday.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Planet Dive

Address: San Teodoro, Mabini, Luzon, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Luzon > Calabarzon Region > Batangas Province > Mabini
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Mabini
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 17
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Agoda so you can book your Planet Dive reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Planet Dive Batangas/Mabini, Philippines

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