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“A first class dive operation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort

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Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort
Sitio Looc, Barangay Bagalangit | Mabini, Mabini, Luzon 4202, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 13 Mabini B&B and Inns
Melbourne
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“A first class dive operation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2014

It was July 2014, when I lead a group of 33 travellers to Anilao, a rugged steep peninsula clad in lush rainforest. Well known to the locals, Anilao is usually overlooked by International Tourists and is a well-kept secret, guarded by a faithful following of underwater photographers. It is located about 150 kilometres south of Manilla, across the strait from Puerto Galera and is regarded as the centre of biodiversity in The Coral Triangle. My research had indicated that this destination offered us a great deal of interest with many rare and unusual creatures to be found. And we were not to be disappointed.
Our venue, Aiyanar Resort was located on a hillside with panoramic views of the superb sunsets across the Verde Strait. We settled in quickly and were soon introduced to one of the best diving operations we have ever seen, with a level of organisation and efficiency that was quite reassuring. It took little time to get into the routine of early morning breakfasts; checking and preparing gear; diving until lunchtime, then spending the afternoon by the pool or snorkelling the housereef. The occasional game of volleyball in the late afternoon tested us in the heat and humidity. The rooms were fine - not huge but well finished and stylish. The real star is the landscaping design of the resort - the gardens; the pool and the restaurant area are first class - with the best dive centre I have ever seen.
The water was 30° celsius and the diving was superb, with an amazing array of weird and interesting ‘critters’. In fact, every dive yielded new discoveries and that is a rare experience for me after over 2000 dives. Our dive guides were quite expert at finding these well hidden rarities and we soon learned to stick close and pay attention. Highlights included some very rare mimic nudibranchs (sea slugs), tiny pygmy seahorses the size of your pinky fingernail and laconic Sea Turtles grazing in the shallows. The diving was so varied that this destination offered something for everyone. A unique experience was our dive on the wreck of a “floating casino” (which obviously no longer floats!) that teemed with friendly fish of all shapes and sizes. Other favourite sites included Sombrero Island and Beatrice Rocks, only 20 minutes from the resort, which presented us with healthy coral reefs, colourful crinoids and masses of Butterfly and Angelfish. The density of life was quite something to behold – movement and colour were everywhere. Further afield, Verde Island lived up to its name as one of the best dive sites in The Philippines, with Giant Trevally contrasting with masses of bright yellow sun corals and whip corals flailing in the gentle current.
Anilao is a ‘serious’ diving destination, though we did manage one sidetrip which involved an expedition climbing a volcano at Lake Taal. Here we discovered a ‘world within a world’ as we ended up looking down into a crater lake after climbing a volcano inside a massive caldera ringed with yet more volcanoes.
Anilao really has it all, from tiny macro miniature delights to blue water coral reefs teeming with fish life. We will return to this lesser known region of The Philippines. Aiyanar is a fine dive resort, though there are a few minor rough edges that could be improved. The meals are buffet and good...sometimes very good. And there was always ample for the heartiest appetites in the group. But I guess they lacked a little 'wow' factor. Breakfasts were very good, though fresh orange juice would be better than powdered "Tang" (or whatever). These are very minor issues - my whole group would go back there in a heartbeat as the diving and the operation are so good. The camera room; the brilliant dive guides; and the superb sunsets all make this a very worthwhile destination.

Room Tip: I think the Casitas up the top are the best value rooms - they are larger and have double vanity bat...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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47 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    26
    12
    6
    3
    0
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Manila, Philippines
Top Contributor
182 reviews 182 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
110 helpful votes 110 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

On the plus side: Large, comfortable room and bathroom. Can snorkel off the dock. Only a couple of hours from Manila. And the negative: Buffet style and low quality food. Service hit and miss. Rocky beach and near sealife limited -- have to rent a boat and go elswhere. Summary: For a property considered one of the best in Batangas and at $300+/night, it's 50% more expensive than Phuket for 50% less quality -- wake up Philippines.

Room Tip: Front building rooms lower down the hill and is closer to services.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
San Francisco, California
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

Their photos on their website does not lie - Aiyanar is a beautiful resort:
-Great rooms with a view
-Food is good to excellent
-Very kind and helpful staff
-snorkeling and diving excursions abound

I suggest if you want some down time/quiet time go stay during the week when there is not a lot of people there. The weekends can be loud with lots of kids, if that's what you're trying to avoid.

Went snorkeling and diving and was very pleased with the experiences! I will come back here!

PS. There's no beach here, but that's fine with me.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
austin, TX
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

I was at Aiyanar for a photo workshop, in late April. I had booked through a US photo retailer, and was wondering if the "sales pitch" photos I had seen were anywhere close to actual reality.

I am happy to say the pictures I had seen fell short of reality. Why? Reality was BETTER than the photos I had seen.

Aiyanar is a very, very new resort. Our group was a very large one, but the staff did an absolutely superb job of keeping everyone well fed, the rooms clean, the service exceptional. The dive staff, the waitstaff - everyone - did a remarkable job catering to the underwater photographers from the U.S., the UK, Europe, Australia, and more.

The buildings and grounds are spanking new, and the construction quality, and attention to detail is great. The scuba setup is excellent, along with the camera room for your gear. Great attention to detail is given, with the gates closed at night, with a night guard.

The house reef is pretty good, with Mandarin dives only a few kicks to the west. Plenty of clown fish and anemone to photograph right off the dock.

I would definitely put this resort on your trip list, if you want world-class macro diving, and then want to be taken care of between your dives. Next time I am diving in the Philippines, I will be back!

Room Tip: All of the rooms have ocean views!!! The lower room (numbers in the 100's) are closet to the din...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Doha
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2014

The place is very nice. Very relaxing. Yet if you really want to enjoy the beach this place is not for you. As the beach is very deep and only applicable for diving purposes. The rooms are nice and clean.

Service crew are very nice too. However the rooms were not available on the time of check in. The food that is included on the package is not that good also. It is delicious but not nothing special except for their desserts it is very good.

Also the service is quite to slow. We ordered snacks but it came at 6pm which is about time for dinner already. It is also very expensive for a food that is so ordinary.

Overall our stay is good and we had fun.

  • Stayed May 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2014

Stayed 5 nights with 4 days diving, awesome area for all things Macro. Muck diving is the best you will find anywhere. Our Dive Guide Ernan was amazing at finding the smallest creatures, even takes his magnifying glass down on some sites. Boats and crew were great too and we were allowed long dives. Resort is clean, comfortable and well set out, most rooms overlook the garden & pool. The infinity pool has a deep section for diver training and a shallower area for the kids. Dive facilities would rival those found anywhere with good change rooms, wash buckets that are even padded for u/w cameras, a great dedicated camera room and the best compressor/Nitrox set up I have seen. Restaurant is good, food is not fantastic but still quite good and plenty of it. Staff are great and very helpful, especially Ven who looks after the bar of an evening. Nothing like sundowners overlooking the water, what a great spot. Would recommend this to any divers that love all things small - sorry, no sharks etc in the area at all.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
245 reviews 245 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2014

Aiyanar Beach Resort is one of a dozen or more places that cater primarily to scuba divers. It's located on a bay that is one of the richest anywhere in the world for its diversity of marine life. Divers flock here. Most places that cater to them focus totally on diving. The land accommodations are basic or less than basic. Aiyanar, in contrast, is actually a really nice resort above the water. The accommodations are comfortable. Rooms are well appointed, clean and air conditioned. Towels are plentiful. The infinity pool is a great place to contemplate the bay and life in general. Very friendly and responsive staff. Aiyanar obviously hires good staff and holds them to high standards. The food, served buffet style, is acceptable. This is not a place you go for the cooking. The dining pavilion is pleasant. Overall, you could go to Aiyanar and never dive a foot and be very happy. Combine a visit with several dives a day and you will be in paradise.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort

Address: Sitio Looc, Barangay Bagalangit | Mabini, Mabini, Luzon 4202, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Luzon > Calabarzon Region > Batangas Province > Mabini
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 13 B&Bs / Inns in Mabini
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Stylish Beach and Dive Resort Nestled in one of the world's Best Macro Photography Destinations. Aiyanar was designed with the needs of serious Underwater Photographer's, Fun Divers and even non-diver's alike. With 24 well laid out Rooms, Aiyanar gives a Botique feel even as a Dive Resort. Fully equipped with all the amenities you would expect from a modern day Sea-Side Resort, like watercraft and Water Bourne Toys of all kinds; to Resort Details Like the Beautiful yet functional Infinity Pool which doubles as a Dive Training Pool. Non Diving guests will surely appreciate a vacation at this mostly diving destination. The defining amenities of Aiyanar are the amenities focused towards Scuba Diving Support and Underwater Photography support services. With a Dive shop that is hard to match around most of the Philippines and Even Asia, A Dive trip with Aiyanar is definitely a well organized affair. Efficient; while at the same time exuding with the warm service the Philippines is so known for. Its a place where the Diver and Non-Diver alike can come and do as much or as little as they want. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Aiyanar Beach And Dive Resort Batangas/Mabini, Philippines

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