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“Excellent base for the scuba diver” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Busuanga Seadive Resort

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Busuanga Seadive Resort
Seadive Resort Pier, Palawan Island 5316, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Coron
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Excellent base for the scuba diver”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2011

Caveat: this isn't The Marriott. In fact, I don't think there's anything Marriott-like on the entire island. Accommodations will, then, be varying degrees of basic, wherever you might decide to stay. Also, I'm a diver, and was here for the diving. These things said --

I stayed at Seadive for a bit more than a week during a month-long scuba diving trip. Seadive is primarily a resort centering on ocean activities, supporting diving and snorkeling, though there is also an island hoping option, I believe. With regard to the diving, there were three dives each day, usually, but not always, to the different WWII shipwrecks in Coron Bay.

The majority of the divemasters there are Filipino. Their photos are on the wall in the dive shop, each indicating total number of dives. Toto, the one I was with most of the time, had somewhere over 7,000 dives. Others had 14-15,000 dives (I am also a divemaster, but with "only" 400-500 dives total). I'm guessing they know their stuff, and watching them under water seemed to confirm this detail. It is worth noting that these fellows invariably worked their butts off, each day, dawn to well after dusk, doing things I typically do not expect. The divemasters and boat crew carried everyone's gear to the boat each morning, along with all the tanks required. They also carried it all back on return, and even washed all the gear. I am definitely NOT accustomed to having someone else wash my own personal gear for me each day. But they did.

Dive conditions were quite good while I was there, with decent visibility most of the time (certainly better than in Subic Bay!). First dive each day was usually to around 40 meters, with the next to 20-30 meters or so, and the last anywhere from 10-25 meters. Nitrox is available, and I typically used that for the first two dives, and ordinary air for the last. Each of the wrecks was interesting in different ways, and each of the wreck dives were penetration dives, meaning that one gets to go inside the wrecks to varying degrees, depending on skill levels, and such. (Several of the wrecks are rather "open," such that even those with less skill can "swim inside" -- large cargo holds, for example, where the remains of automobiles might be seen. Other parts of different wrecks might involve a few tighter squeezes, and those uncomfortable with that can say no. Indeed, should one be uncomfortable with going inside a wreck, it's completely optional.)

The room I had was NOT great! But I think that's at my own request... When emailing Patrick, the divemaster who sorta seems to run the dive shop, before going, I was quoted one price or another for a room. Ever after the bargain, I asked if there wasn't a lower priced room available, and there was. I took it. It turned out to be situated in the back between the bar and the resort's office, as well as under the stairs. I did save about $6-7 (250 pesos) per day with this room, I think. Very kind of them to provide it to me. But it was also very, very noisy! Fortunately, the place quieted down about 10:30PM, and I was out each morning by 7AM, so no worries. So... Does the fact that they provided me with a very noisy room at an extra discount warrant that I rate them as a five star outfit? Or does the noise drop it to four stars? Hard to say... I did get what I asked for!

Food in the restaurant: inconsistent, but always good enough to eat. Free, brewed coffee each morning (what a bonus!). Their "classic" breakfast (bacon, eggs and toast) invariably came with a big pile of bacon, but the one cooking the eggs seemed not to understand that "over easy" doesn't mean "hard fried." :) Note also that the resort is on an island. This means that there can be shortages of this and that, from one day to the next. They had no bread for toast one morning, for example, so provided a small pancake instead. (Coron City is not a city at all! It's a sleepy little town that mostly =does= seem to go to sleep each afternoon.)

Jim Goll, the owner, is originally from Montana, and remains an incorrigible character at age 75+ years. Spend a bit of time with him if you can. Patrick, who does a lot to run the dive shop, is also quite a nice guy. I believe his fiance will be successful in becoming a divemaster. And everyone takes an interest in you, doing what they can to make sure your stay is a good one.

Complaints: First, I thought their 5% surcharge for use of a credit card a bit excessive, though it's common to encounter surcharges of 3-3.5%. Not every shop will add a surcharge, but expect it in SE Asia. Second, their connection to the internet is horribly slow, and subject to overloading in the evenings! That said, please keep in mind that they =did= have working wifi, however slow it might be. Don't even try to watch anything on youtube. You're on a far away island, after all. Electricity comes and goes.

Summary: "excellent base for the scuba diver," as I said in the title. Their onsite hyperbaric chamber is unfortunately kept far too busy by the local "hooka divers" (underwater workers who breathe air through a long tube connected to a compressor on the boat above).

No one here "jerked me around" at all. Seadive treated every diver with respect. (Why is this important? Because I was just coming from Johan's Beach Resort in Subic Bay, where I felt the owner himself treated me rather badly; read my review of Johan's if you want to know more).

Finally, the divemasters and boat crews =do= work their butts off, all in support of you. I left a 1,500 peso tip for everyone with Patrick, to be shared, most allocated to divemaster Toto, who was with me on almost all my dives, but a good amount to the boat crew as well. Patrick was grateful, and indicated that most people don't tip at all. That's a real shame... The Filipino crew there is far from wealthy, I'm sure. I really didn't feel that 1,500 pesos was enough, but it was all I had. If you dive there, please recognize all that the workers there do to make your trip one of the best you'll ever have, and tip them accordingly..

Room Tip: Pay more than I wanted to!
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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173 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
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Manila
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2011

Stayed for 4nights last June 2011. for a price of 1400pesos, the room with aircon was not bad. Bed was not as comfy as it looks but worked for us. Staffs were nice and very accommodating. The bar/ resto was great.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Makati City
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2011

This is a nice place to stay if you don't want to feel the hassle of searching for island tour and scuba package. Plus it is located in the heart of the city so every thing is accessible. In case you don't have enough time to roam around and search for some seafood craving or just want to have a meal, their restaurant will answer for your craving.

We occupied one superior air-con room for 25USD. The room is spacious and clean. It's also WIFI free.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Turin, Italy
Top Contributor
133 reviews 133 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
130 helpful votes 130 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2011

Maybe the place is mostly known as a resort and dive center but if you're in Coron it deserves a visit also for dining. The place is nice and you can eat just in front of the bay in a relaxed atmosphere. The food it's ok, we've been twice and we tried several dishes like calamares, ginger crab, sizzling spicy squid (good!), beef steak tagalong, lapu-lapu ginger oyster sauce (very good). All fish are good and also the pizza was acceptable (minimum 25 minutes waiting). The staff is made by girls, they're quick and nice. Prices are fair, you'll spend around 600 pesos (€10) for 2 Dishes each and a beer. Wi-Fi it's free but sometimes very slow. Most of the tourists in Coron we'll be here for dinner but the atmosphere remains quiet and relaxed

  • Stayed June 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2011

Nice to have combo restaurant, dive shop and hotel that you could put on one bill. Rooms were basic, bathrooms had hot water showers which was nice but were mildewy. Food in the restaurant was spectacular (the toast even, totally amazing) though ask for your shakes without sugar. Coffee, tea and water were free and available 24 hours. Views from the roof were great and the hammocks were comfortable.

The dive guys will take you anywhere. We had a private boat (large enough for 20 divers one day) for 2 out our 3 days of diving. Wrecks are deep and visibility is poor so recommend doing some of the closer reef dives, especially Seven Island

Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
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gabr0088
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2011

Truly! Amazing Staff, great food, amazing diving, and much much more!

Sitting on the water, the resort has everything you need for a relaxing tropical vacation. Great food, realxing atmosphere, cool breeze, and cold frosty beverages. The staff are extraordinary- super friendly and super fun. Everyone is always smiling, which makes the atmosphere at sea dive relaxing and enjoyable. - the girls at the front desk in particular, are an absolute riot!

The wreck diving is world class, with outstanding guides and instructors and a plethora of amazing things to see. The instructors are first class (many with 5000+ dives) and make learning scuba fun and enjoyable. Advanced classes and training are available. I highly highly recommend going diving with these guys- Truly outstanding! My favorite site- Baracuda Lake- this is a once in a life time dive experience that brings out the giddy little child in all of us. I found myself pumping my fists in total ecstasy at the end of both trips to this hidden gem.

The island hopping is world class, with "otherworldly" status when it comes to the views and landscapes available for exploration. Best comparison I can think of- Lord of the Rings. The sheer cliffs and turquoise waters are out of this world!

Perhaps the best thing about Coron and Coron town (besides what i have already mentioned) is its "off the grid" feeling. No pushy crowds or hecklers, no long lines or outrageous prices. This place has that "authentic" feeling that all travelers long for.

Thank you see dive for an amazing, once in a life time vacation!

Room Tip: get a room on the 2-4 floors with aircon. It gets a bit warm in the morning.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malaysia
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2011

Location is closer to center of this small town, so easier access to other restaurants. It's own restaurant is quite popular with a good selection on the menu, food is quite good too; but the best part of the restaurant was the nice sea breeze all day long.

The resort is sitting right on the water, so if you dive with them it's very convenient. They have several sizes of dive boats to cater to number of divers. But note that these are basic outrigger-type dive boats with no storage space for your stuff so be prepared to get wet ... well you get wet anyways diving.

Back to the resort rooms, we're thankful for the reviews about the condition of air con room, we took up fan room on the 2nd floor for 800 pesos only. When the electricity is on and with the nice sea breeze, it's really not that hot at all. When no electricity, the 2nd floor fan room is simply a few steps out to the terrace where you can enjoy nice sea breeze and you can sleep on the lounge chairs or hammock. BTW, the fourth floor rooftop also has hammocks good for night time.

Hot water was promised but we never got any. When in Coron, bring a flashlight, there are probably about 4-5 black outs a night. Usually not long, may be 5mins may be 20 mins.

Room Tip: room 208 is bright and has windows on two sides, not much noise from morning dive trip or night tim...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Busuanga Seadive Resort

Address: Seadive Resort Pier, Palawan Island 5316, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > Coron
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Coron
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 13
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Also Known As:
Busuanga Seadive Resort Coron, Palawan Island

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