My fiancee and I were looking forward to staying on Pandan for 4 nights to go diving offshore at the famous Apo Reef, but our trip turned sour as soon as we arrived. After staying just one night and day, we cut our trip completely and moved on to something much better. These were our areas of disappointment:
- The hotel sent us a van to pick us up from the airport for a whopping Php 4,000. That steep price would have only been justified by a really nice vehicle, not the ripped-up, raggedy, van they sent us with no air-conditioning when it was 95-degrees outside
- The drive from the airport to the resort in the above-described vehicle takes 2 1/2 hours drive over a very poor, rocky dirt road
- The staff at the resort was unprofessional. It was hard to locate them on the island whenever we needed something, i.e. food service, boat service, etc
- The water from the tap and the shower is salt water, and did not even work half of the time. The staff didn't seem to mind to fix it when we requested so.
- There is no electricity on the island except for a few solar-powered light bulbs.
- There are no fans in any of the rooms. This makes it impossible to sleep. It felt like 100+ degrees in our room all night, and we only fell asleep as the sun was coming up.
- The mosquitoes on the island are everywhere (I don't know what the other review is talking about). Expect a lot of bites, at least if you go in the summertime.
- The buffet dinner was actually pretty good. No complaints. Watch out for inconsistencies in listed prices vs. charged menu prices upon check-out.
- The Dive Shop requests an absurd amount of money to go diving to Apo Reef, compared to any other dive shop in the 15+ places we've been diving around the Philippines. They charge a shady "Environmental Fee" of Php 1,450 PER PERSON PER DAY, plus Php 1,500 per person per dive, plus Php 8,000 for the boat! We flat out refused to go after we learned of the crazy-expensive "environmental fee". That was pretty much the last straw, and we checked out soon after. We've never paid more than Php 100-200 for an environmental fee anywhere in the Philippines, and the fee is always good for the duration of your vacation at the island.
We give this resort two thumbs down. Don't waste your time or money. If you want to dive Apo Reef, consider going from a Live Aboard out of Coron, Busuanga instead. Be sure to ask about any "environmental fees". Happy trails!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pandan Island is a private island with a small resort on the West coast of Occidental Mindoro, Central Philippines.Since the island was 'discovered' and the resort established in 1986 by a French adventurer, this tropical island retreat has been voted time and again as one of the top resorts in the Philippines, not in terms of luxury (we do not have air-conditioned rooms, room service or cable television networks on the island) but for it's life close to nature and it's personalized atmosphere. Pandan Island is for people who like to spend time in tropical surroundings where you are woken up by the singing of colorful birds, where there is only a palm tree between you and the sea, where you still know your neighbors.All bungalows are built in native materials, like coconut lumber, bamboo, sawali, cogon grass to let them blend easily into their tropical surroundings. Care has been taken to provide a simple yet comfortable atmosphere with a maximum of privacy for all who need to get away from hectic life. Since all the electricity on the island is provide by a solar system our bungalows do not have air-con or fans.T he bungalows are built directly by the sea separated from the beach only by palm trees and / or bougainvillea bushes with the breeze from the sea providing for ventilation.Each house has its private gecko (lat. gecko gecko) that is believed to bring good luck to the house it inhabits.Besides spending your day in a hammock or exploring the few secluded beaches, we offer a wide range of activities to choose from. Scuba Diving in the coral gardens around Pandan or around the nearby Apo Reef is the most popular and exciting activity to engage in but we also offer you the possibility to explore the jungle rivers of nearby Mindoro by kayak or visit the small coastal town of Sablayan and meet its friendly inhabitants.However you choose to spend your vacation, our staff will do their utmost to make your stay on Pandan Island a relaxing or adventurous experience. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Pandan Island Hotel Pandan Island