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.
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- Also Known As:
- Planet Dive Batangas/Mabini, Philippines