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“Superb quality and service”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Apo Reef Club

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Apo Reef Club
Sutton, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
37 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Superb quality and service”
Reviewed May 19, 2013

Michael and his staff go out of their way to make you trip a life time memory. Armando was fantastic, good cook and always there to assist. The resort is a piece of paradise with really nice rooms. They go steps above other dive resorts.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Wayne057
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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40 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    17
    13
    5
    5
    0
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8
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
38 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed April 16, 2013

Excellent dive experience, Apo Reeef may be compared someway to Koror the area in Palau Republic, Micronesia, for the abundancy of fish. Excellent the service and the assistance, some more attention to meals on board, during the two or three days out of the resort. The final price, once paid the dive safari and the crazy marine park fees, comes out pretty high but, I repeat, the dive experiende is really good. Thanks Michael, Barbara, Ramil, Fiona and all the staff. Luigi.

Room Tip: All suest rooms are confortable and absolutely higher than the expected Filipino standard, both beac...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SvenRm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2013

Lovely staff who go to the extra effort of making you feel at home and welcome. Rooms were clean and basic but had everything you needed. Everything was well organised, and they greeted us with our own mugs (with our names on it) and really tried to tailor everything to our needs. immense attention to detail. We spent 2 days on the reef and one night on the boat. We slept out on the deck but was really lovely. The diving on the reef was amazing, saw lots of big fish (giant trevally, sharks, turtles, Napolean Wrasses, Schools of bumperheads, jacks).
I have been to both Palau and Sipidan and would say its right up there!

We were lucky enought to see manta's also on day one just off the shroeline

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Karweng N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
29 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2013

We stayed at the backpackers room for 2 nights before a bungalow was available. The backpackers room has 2 single beds. When we were there there were no curtains.

The bungalow is very nice. Comfortable bed, attention to detail (umbrellas, torch, safe, plenty of towels, washing line outside).

An area where they could really improve in is the food. It mainly serves filipino food which is a bit boring when you are vegetarian. The place is remote and the local market does not have a huge variety in vegetables. But we have stayed in similar paces in the Philippines (for example Takatuka, Negros) where they manage to have much more variety in vegetables, cheese/nuts and the choice on the menu.

We hiked up Mt Iglit and bought sandwiches to take with us for 2 days as we did not know if we could cook at the ranger stations and did not have cooking equipment with us. The price P250 for white bread (nice, from breadmachine) or white buns with processed cheese was extortionate, especially considering our guide was only asking for P500/day.

We did not need airport transfers but I agree with previous reviewers that it is overpriced for the distance travelled.

We did a diving trip to Apo with 2 other guests. Plenty of room on the boat that caters for 6 guests. Dive master was very attentive and thorough. Equipment was of very good quality.
We did not dive nearby the resort but other guests did and said it was nothing special, not great visibility. At Apo reef we had great visibility and saw lots of reef sharks and a nurse shark but a group going 4 days earlier did not have good visibility. I guess you have to be lucky. The cook made wonderful food and they had nice snacks. Water in bottles you have to pay for but you can get free water from a dispenser.

Nonetheless, if you forget about the costs, the resort is comfortable, nice relaxing area to sit and read. Sunbed in front of our room with mattrass. Staff try to assist you as best they can.

We wrote all down on their feedback sheet as well so hopefully some issues will have been addressed by now.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank B M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Makati, Philippines
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed November 25, 2012

I am an european expatriate living in Manila for almost 5 years and I have been in resorts of all kinds throughout the Philippines. There is a variety of amazing places for diving or not: El Nido, Coron, the whale sharks in Donsol, Malapascua Island and its thresher sharks, Boracay, Bohol, etc.
Apo Reef, while not as spectacular as the nearby Tubbataha reef, is also a very nice place for diving. The only problem is its isolation. And this, paired with the lack of other resorts competition in the area, is the opportunity that the people of apo reef club take advantage of.
For starters, they offered us an overpriced transfer from the airport (1500PHP = almost 30€ per pax). Considering how remote the place is, and the fact that we knew nothing about the area, we had no option but to accept and pay, even though is a mere 30 min car ride, which we did in a 4x4 that was cramped with other guests.
The place is nice, they have a pool, the diving equipment was fine, and the filipino staff who went with us on the boat was also very friendly. And the boat itself was complete, comfortable and well equipped.
The problem came when, after paying 5500PHP (over 100€) per pax for a "full boarding" boat trip overnight, we were told that drinking water was NOT included in the price, thus we had to pay for all the bottled water we wanted to consume, and which -of course also grossly overpriced- they had readily available to prevent our certain demise. The food was pretty lousy too, because when you pay what we paid, being in the middle of the sea you expect to eat some fresh fish, not tons of bland pasta salad and pork barbeque. They told us that, apparently, in San Jose they don't eat fish because all goes to Manila. It's very expensive to buy it they said. 7107 islands in the Philippines, but almost all the fish from San Jose is urgently needed to feed Manila, the very little left is super expensive, they told us.
When we got back to the resort we complained (a lot) and asked to talk to the swiss management that runs the place. They did not even confront us and the filipina girl who they sent dealt with us as best as she could, considering how pissed off we were. Before we left on the boat, one of my friends had been offered a diving computer/watch without him even asking for it, all in a very friendly manner since they said its a spare one that he can use. Yes, they also tried to charge us for that, to which we strongly opposed and didn't pay.

To better illustrate the business mentality of this place, I noticed they had some flyers from the Department of Tourism of the Philippines in their diving shop, and also some maps of "Mall of Asia" in Manila. And yes, they also had a price tag: 80 pesos for something you can get in the mall front desk, and the same for an official DOT leaflet who is definitely not supposed to be sold.

In conclusion, as bitter as I sound, it's not because of the price we paid, which we agreed beforehand. The real problem is that we felt that apo reef management was taking us for complete idiots, trying to rip us off every chance they got. If you are dying to see Apo Reef I would suggest to try the pandan island resort instead, which unfortunately is not so convenient since its farther from San Jose airport. Otherwise, you have a ton of nice things to see in the Philippines before exposing yourself to the kind of treatment we suffered.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank IvanPintor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2012

My wife and I stayed with Apo Reef Club for 3 nights total. The first night was on the boat during a scuba trip, and last two were at the resort.

The trip was generally very well organized. We arrived at the airport (please bear in mind that all flights between San Jose and Manila are very inconveniently timed at 5 or 6 in the morning!) and were taken in an SUV straight to the resort. We were fitted for rental dive equipment and went straight out on the boat, which in turn took us to a second boat already out on the reef.

The dives were well set up, with interesting locations and great opportunities to see the beautiful marine life. There were 7 dives total in two days -- a nice packed schedule. The underwater scene was quite lovely -- I have heard anecdotally that Tubbataha is a bit nicer, but aside from the remarkable Belize this is some of the best diving I've done in my not-terribly-long career. We saw reef sharks, turtles, a fair number of big fish such as humphead parrotfish, a large group of barracuda, among lots of other cool stuff (trevally, sweetlips, weird crabs...). The reef is not bleached out, as you find in some other places.

The food on the boat was decent and occasionally good, but everything tastes better after a dive anyway. They are well supplied with cold drinks, snacks, etc. at reasonable rates. As far as sleeping, the setup was extremely simple -- a row of padded cots on the top floor of the boat. A few people snored all night, so I didn't get a full night's sleep, but after 3 dives you're more willing to sleep through such things.

Our dive master skipped a few of our dives, but it was mostly OK because we accompanied another group, whose dive master was quite good.

When we got back to the shore, the food was decent-to-good, the rooms were quite nice (the AC was very appreciated!) and the location right on the beach was also lovely. We hopped in the water at the beach, but there are lots of rocks under the water so it's a little tricky to find a comfortable spot.

So, basically everything was very nice and we'd do it again. As for the negatives, the primary thing was that there was a LOT of confusion over our bill. We were initially overcharged by over a hundred USD. We took a closer look and found some discrepancies and surprises, which I will number below:

1) There was one night too many listed in the bill.
2) We learned only after we got the bill at the end, that the "all-inclusive" package rate for the weekend only includes **5** dives at Apo. However, **7** dives were possible on our boat trip (on some trips 8 are possible). We were never told this, but any dive after 5 incurs an a-la-carte per-dive rate! So, our "all-inclusive" rate was not truly all inclusive, and they were not up front about the cost of our dives. This struck us as at least careless and possibly dishonest pricing.
3) Even putting these issues aside, I could not get the math of the bill to add up properly, even given the costs they provided.
4) Later they came back and said there was an extra charge, to travel on the first boat which took us out to the reef! This was never mentioned anywhere and was not included in the "all-inclusive" package fee, nor was it ever referred to as a necessary non-included charge. After we complained again, this charge mysteriously disappeared.
5) After a few rounds with the staff, we were able to get a bill where the math added up, and all charges (except for the unexpected extra dive charges) were as we expected.
6) Much less of a big deal, but the bill from our boat orders (drinks and snacks) was also all screwed up, and included things we did not order on the boat. However, we think that the overall bill charged us the correct amount, and things were just not marked down properly, so we were initially confused.

Overall, like I said, mostly a good experience. Just be sure you **carefully** scrutinize all charges, add up all numbers yourself, ask persistently about all discrepancies, and be aware of the "extra" dive fees they charge. If you have any questions about their pricing ask ahead of time.

I would urge the resort to be more upfront and careful about its pricing. It was the one real flaw in an otherwise enjoyable trip.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank mkayser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frankfurt
Level Contributor
51 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2012

When looking for a resort to dive app reef we happened across this little resort.
The rooms are basic but nice and comfortable. No TV though but you have the view of the sea instead.
Food buffet was good and the pool as well.
The pool area is lively.
In term of diving, you can either visit the nearby sites, or do a two day trip to Apo Reef with a big banca. The trip is well organized and will take you to a great dive site.
The banca is very basic though, don't expect a 4* accommodation.
I would recommend the resort for divers, snorkelers and for a short vacation if you want to visit southern Mindoro.

Room Tip: Take a beachfront cottage/room for the view
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank qbfly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Apo Reef Club

Property: Apo Reef Club
Address: Calintaan, San Jose, Mindoro, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mindoro > Occidental Mindoro Province > San Jose
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in San Jose
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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Also Known As:
Apo Reef Club San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, Philippines

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