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“Calamitous Calypso” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Calypso Diving School

Calypso Diving School
Station 3 | White Beach, Aklan Province 5608, Philippines
+63 36 288 3206
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Owner description: Offering Diving & Land Safaris along with any activities you may wish to do during your stay on Boracay Island. We make trips to Monkey Island, Maniguin Islands, Panagan Cays & Apo Reef for Diving, Tibiao Waterfalls and Zip line over land. We can also organize any specials trips you may wish to do.
Oxford, United Kingdom
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3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Calamitous Calypso”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2012

I was unfortunate enough to have completed my divemaster course at Calypso Diving, Boracay. What a mistake, and I would strongly advise anybody thinking about diving with Calypso to think again, especially if you are thinking about taking up diving professionally (i.e Divemaster and Instructor courses).

Why I wouldn’t go diving with Calypso:
• None existent customer service, Calypso’s only goal is making money.
• Safety issues: Constantly take people diving beyond their certification.
• False advertising of Project AWARE & National Geographic status- they are not in the slightest concerned for the environment.
• Poor quality of training, especially at the professional levels.
• Poor divemasters, who in the words of a guest ‘guide dives like their driving a bus’.

For more examples look below (I apologise in advance for the essay!)…

I love diving, and becoming a divemaster was something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I wanted the best experience possible, somewhere I could gain lots of experience. This was not the case. Calypso care only about making money, customer satisfaction is none existent here.

The management are absolutely diabolical, they possess absolutely no people skills, and certainly no managerial qualities. They walk around Calypso looking completely miserable, yet criticise their staff for not having constant smiles on their faces.

From day one I was not impressed with Calypso, and my disappointment grew over the 2 months I spent here.
I find it ridiculous that the management at Calypso constantly reiterate about keeping to PADI standards and being a good role model, yet I had a concerned student approach me and ask if she should be concerned that her instructor turned up reeking of alcohol (the instructor being Andy, also a member of management).

There was one occasion; I was supposed to be shadowing a divemaster to gain experience. On this dive I was asked if I wanted to do some videography for Calypso, which I thought was a great opportunity, until I found out I had been buddied up with a guy who hadn’t dived for 7 or 8 years, and was quite nervous about getting back in the water. I was not told that this person hadn’t dived for such a long period of time, and I only found this out for myself by talking to him. Upon finding this out I went and spoke to management and expressed my concerns about diving with this guy (especially as I am not yet a qualified divemaster) and it wasn’t my responsibility to chaperone him. I suggested that I would still go along for the dive, but solely to ensure the customer was safe and comfortable, management were more bothered that I took video footage, rather than the safety of their customer. I find this absolutely disgraceful (not good role modeling!)

On another dive, I assisted Andy, half way through the dive the o-ring on my tank started leaking quite badly. I know from experience that a slight leak is insignificant, but this leak was unacceptable. I signaled to Andy that I was concerned, as was the other dive master trainee with me. Andy did nothing, but just gave me to O.K sign without any further explanation, and we carried on diving, I did not feel comfortable. If he had told me, that he didn’t have much air remaining in his tank, and the dive was nearly over (as was the case), my mind would have been easily put at rest. I only found out that he had 10 bar remaining upon surfacing. Again, is this good role modeling?!

The boats have no emergency oxygen on board, and there have been numerous dives, actually 4 consecutive dives where myself and customers have been left bobbing around on the surface for well over 30 minutes, with the amount of boat traffic around Boracay this was unprofessional and unsafe to say the least.


Calypso diving is affiliated with both National Geographic and Project Aware, two companies that do a lot for raising awareness and aiding the conservation of the marine environment. I would have expected Calypso to share the same ethos as these organisations. This was not the case. And really this was the nail in the coffin for me. Once a month, give or take, Calypso staff participate in a beach clean-up dive, which I loved being a part of. For me I find it really rewarding knowing you’ve made a difference, however small, to preserving the underwater world. Towards the end of our beach clean up dive, we stumbled upon a massive fishing net, stretching 50m over the reef, engulfing plants, corals, fish, crabs etc. As soon as we returned to Calypso we informed management and the rest of the staff about the net and that it needed to be removed before it caused further destruction. Nobody seemed that bothered, and Management once again showed their true colours, instead of being concerned for all the marine life dying in the nets, they was more irritated by the fact that we were asking them to do something about it i.e arranging extra pairs of hands to help us clean up the net. The next morning came, nothing had been arranged, and no extra staff members had been designated to help us. Three of us (including a guest, who spent one day of her holiday helping out) spent the best part of 4 hours cleaning up the net. I find it disgusting that the dive masters, instructors and management who are quite happy to make a living from diving, think its too much hassle when the ocean needs a little bit of help. Calypso, you really need to practice what you preach.

On a more positive note, I would like to say I had the best instructor, from who I have learnt so much from. Leo is an excellent instructor (who has since also come to his senses and left Calypso). The Philippino staff who work at Calypso are brilliant, it’s a shame management are so patronising towards them.

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CalypsoDivingBoracay, Manager at Calypso Diving School, responded to this review, August 13, 2012
Calypso would have very much liked to have had the opportunity to respond to these concerns during the guest’s stay, but concerns were not raised with us at that time. We have just been alerted to this comment after our online communications staff returned from vacation. We would now like to respond through this channel to each of the 5 bullet points:

Concern #1: None existent customer service, Calypso’s only goal is making money.
Calypso’s response: For our divers taking courses with us, the primary customer service provider is naturally their Instructor. Especially for PADI Pro level programs such as Divemaster, the Instructor who is mentoring the Divemaster-in-Training is their main source of information, advice and guidance. The comment praised the diver’s Instructor and mentor, and it is good to know that he provided great customer service and training. The comment also mentioned that the Instructor had now left Calypso, but what readers of the original comment probably are unaware of is that the trainee and Instructor are traveling together. Please note that the author of the original comment requested this Instructor for the course, and we do aim to meet the requests of our divers whenever possible. For balance, we additionally provide for Divemasters-in-Training other experienced Instructors as part of the course to give the broadest range of viewpoints as possible into the dive industry. We believe that we considered the diver’s training needs and we reviewed training progress with the Instructors and made suggestions. We are confident that that we provided a framework in which this diver could receive excellent Divemaster training at Calypso. Indeed the Divemaster training in this case included assisting on a huge range of courses and completing a large number of dives. Part of Divemaster training, especially in the latter parts, is for trainees to develop their decision-making abilities. The videography versus buddying situation referred to by the trainee in the original comment was such an occasion when the trainee was expected to formulate a decision under the guidance of our staff. We first point out that qualified divers are taught in training that they have a responsibility to request a refresher if they are not comfortable to go directly to a dive after a break from diving, and we always offer a review program if divers wish to refresh their skills – in this case the diver chose to go directly to a shallow dive in a small group to begin with. Even without the trainee present, there was still more than adequate supervision for all divers in the water, and so the trainee was not chaperoning the diver but was rather part of the group (also including qualified PADI Pros) and a buddy to a certified diver. After the dive we felt the trainee had made a good call in terms of erring on the side of caution and leaving the video-camera behind. The trainee had been given this decision to make, and we believed had learned a lot by being faced with this choice. Furthermore, part of Divemaster training is for pro-level candidates to be taken into the confidence of the team in which they are working and to see behind the scenes. The Management of Calypso shared with this trainee information about flexible course scheduling options, boat allocation options and much more to give the diver an understanding of decision-making and flexibility when working in a dive center. This is part of PADI DM training. These discussions with the trainee included, on occasion, information about some financial aspects of the diving industry. Since this was a pro-level, career-orientated course, we felt that providing such information was appropriate and would be beneficial to the candidate. Unfortunately the trainee seems to have taken this information not in the way it was intended – to give an insight into the industry – but rather to mean that ‘Calypso’s only goal is to make money’. This is in fact not the case: of course we are in business, yet our primary goal is safe and enjoyable diving.

Concern #2: Safety issues: Constantly take people diving beyond their certification
The Calypso Management and Instructors are 100% committed to following PADI Standards, and that includes enforcing depth limits for PADI training dives. We do NOT take students beyond the allowable depth limits. For qualified leisure divers, the diver has the ultimate responsibility to dive within their limitations, as per point #6 on the Safe Diving Practices Statement of Understanding. The Calypso Team are available to provide dive site information and general dive planning suggestions prior to the dive (the briefing) as well as assistance if needed during the dive. At Calypso, some of the dive sites require a certain level of additional training (e.g. Advanced) if divers wish to visit them: this is so that we may prevent divers diving to depths that are inappropriate for their experience level. On the shallower sloping wall sites, the divers will receive guidance from staff if they are descending too much down the slope, but the qualified diver does take responsibility for their exact profile, as is perfectly appropriate for divers that have a license to dive. On the issue of the instance of the long pick-up time, this was on a day when nature conspired to give stronger than expected currents with a downpour of rain that obstructed the boat crew’s visibility for a short time. There were 5 other dive centers’ boats on that site and they also had the same unexpected challenge of a tricky pick-up. Since our staff are required to carry a surface signalling device they were picked up by the boat crew, as were the divers from the other centers (the crews all worked together to spot the various dive groups). Although spending some time waiting for a pick-up is not ideal, nature does sometimes present these challenges and so we train divers to deal with them. On the issue of the dive with o-ring and remaining air buffer concerns, our records show that this comment appears to relate to search and recovery training conducted at 5 - 6 meter depth as a shore-dive off the beach in front of Calypso. The Instructor actually surfaced after the moderately long dive with 40 bar (not 10 bar as stated in the comment). The Instructor does not recall observing a serious leak from any o-ring. The trainee could at any time have indicated the need for an ascent simply by using the ‘up’ signal, as all divers are trained to do in their first diving course. Additionally, the Divemaster trainees were right in front of the dive center and could have easily changed equipment.

Concern #3: False advertising of Project AWARE & National Geographic status - they are not in the slightest concerned for the environment
We would like to refute this statement: Calypso do care deeply about the environment. As the original comment noted, we do voluntarily engage in regular Dive-Against-Debris events where we remove harmful trash from the water so that marine life may not be injured by it. Furthermore, we also fund-raise for the environment non-profit organization we actively support – Project AWARE. Last season we raised over $2,000 with our Big Shark Shout Out, and we also donate further on a monthly basis to the organization through our 100% AWARE certification card project. We also run a range of AWARE and National Geographic Specialty programs to educate more people about what we can all do to protect the marine environment. That the diver commenting feels that this is not adequate is a shame, but on a positive note hopefully it means that the diver will take even greater actions that will help to protect the environment – and we will support and applaud the diver in doing this. Regarding the specific comment about the fishing net, we did send members of staff who were not engaged in teaching activities to remove the net, and we also alerted other dive centers to the issue so that they may also dive the reef to check for problems. Although it would be great for everyone to drop everything and go straight to the water in these instances, in reality planning is often required, including the important issue to continue to provide good customer services to other guests (e.g. beginners learning to dive) during environmental actions. The trainee may recall the dive on which she remained with her mentor and student to do training, while Calypso managers themselves removed hooks and lines from a reef. To say that we do nothing in such situations is inaccurate.

Concern #4: Poor quality of training, especially at the professional levels
Please note that the diver making this comment also said about her Divemaster professional level training that ‘I would like to say I had the best instructor, from who I have learnt so much from.’ This and the original comment seem incompatible. We also refer back to point #1 with further details of added value to this diver’s professional training.

Concern #5: Poor divemasters, who in the words of a guest ‘guide dives like their driving a bus’
We are unsure what this comment means. From our experience, bus drivers navigate a vehicle with multiple passengers around the roads safely and effectively. Our Divemaster guides are locals, and the diver making the original comment also stated that ‘The Philippino staff who work at Calypso are brilliant’. Once again, this and the original (first part of the) comment seem incompatible.

Please refer to Calypso’s many positive reviews that talk of smiling staff, fun and safe diving, and great courses. We would also like to say that we enjoyed many happy moments with this diver, including reviewing beautiful underwater photos after the dives. We wish this diver the best of success with her diving career and with her positive actions towards the environment in the future. Thanks for reading our response. The Calypso Team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Great experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

I have just returned from the Philippines having completed two diving courses at Calypso Diving. I must report that the whole process was a great experience and Calypso and my instructor Leo did a fantastic job. I initially completed the Open Water Course and then booked to do the Advanced Open Water course, I could only complete three dives before some dodgy Filipino food meant that going out in a boat and wearing a wetsuit may have been a little too adventurous. So in the end I had to settle for an Adventure Diver certification. I went from zero meters to thirty meters in about five days and it was great. I had individual tuition from Leo throughout, this will not always be the case but many of the dive schools along the beach appeared to have up to six in a group that cannot make for such a good experience.
Calypso also have their own pool which is unusual along the beach, this makes the non-open water part of the course far more pleasant as the alternative is a walk down to the sea.
I had four active days in total and in that time I gained the Open Water Certification, did a deep dive, a drift dive and a night dive. I am fifty-one so it is not just a sport for the kids as I had no problems at all.
You will find dive shops offering courses for maybe 10% less that Calypso and I am sure that may of them will do an equal or, for all I know, a better job. I can only report that the extra thirty quid or so that I spent at Calypso was a bargain.
Thanks to Leo and the lovely Jenna who joined us as part of her Divermaster course.

Visited May 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Professional Instructors with a Laid Back Fun Attitude!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2012

It says March 2012 but this is a long overdue review from March 2010.

With the numerous dive shops on the island it was hard to know which to go with. I spent the first couple of nights running into different dive shop instructors/owners at some of the bars. They all pitched a great sale for me to dive with them but what ultimately drew me to Calypso was the overall feel of the shop and talking with one of the visitors who just recently dove with them that gave a glowing review. Although a bit more expensive than some have mentioned, they excelled with their personal attention to the diver and equipment maintenance. I first dove with Calypso in December of 2009 for a week for fun and found the group there very personable and fun that I went back a few months later to get my advanced open water certification with them. Sue was my Dive Instructor for this certification and she took as much time as I needed to adequately get adjusted and learn the skills needed to pass the course. She was also very helpful in answering questions not related to the dive and just shooting the breeze at times to make me feel more comfortable which is much appreciated.

Sometimes a good thing is wrong the extra price and when I get time again, I'll surely return to dive with Calypso.

Visited March 2012
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Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Helpful - easy - professional”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2012

I went on two fun dives with Calypso in April 2012.
The staff here are very helpful about the different dive sites.
The whole process was professional and easy.
Facilities are clean and well organised.
Prices were a bit higher than some other places but only a little bit.
Highly recommended.

Visited April 2012
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Hong Kong, China
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2012

I did a Discover Scuba 1 day with them 1.5 years ago. I was highly impressed with Calypso then so there really wasn't any other choices when we went back. To my surprise, Jade was our instructor (he was my dive master on my Discover Scuba dive). With me was my 12 yo and 10 yo girls. Jade was patient and provided outstanding instruction. When my 12 yo got scared and didn't want to dive from the boat, he offered to do only beach dives with her so she could still get certified and have fun. If we go back to Boracay, I won't be choosing any other dive shop; Calypso was that good.

Visited April 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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