Overall good experience, but very uneven.
- wonderful local staff: the dive instructors, boat crew, housekeeping staff and staff from the bar / restaurant, all the local staff was really helpful and friendly. Special thanks to the fantastic instructors Jo and Alex. Both of them were extremely professional and soooo good at spotting interesting marine life. They really made the dive experience unforgettable.
- fantastic diving: while we obviously wanted to see the thresher sharks (which we did on both days we went to Monad Shoal), the other dive sites were equally interesting. Mating mandarin fish, blue ringed octopus, pygme seahorse, frogfish, spanish dancers, we saw it all. The visibility was great and the corals were beautiful.
- rooms: the rooms were very new and clean. Probably the nicest ones out of all the dive resorts we've stayed at. The bathroom was clean, the shower pressure decent and there was always hot water.
- management hospitality: we booked through a third party and did not get to interact with the management prior to our arrival. And we did not get to interact with them at the resort either....despite them being at the bar while we were at the restaurant, not once did they come to introduce themselves or ask us how things were. The only reason we knew of them was the countless diving certificates decorating each side of the office walls. They might be wonderful divers and instructors, but I was not at all impressed by their hospitality skills.
- hidden fees: part of the blame should probably go to the third party which booked the stay for not letting us know about the extras. However, we thought it was reasonable to assume that full board meant all drinks (excl. alcohol) and food was included. Having to pay for water was quite a nasty surprise. Most dive resorts offer free tea, coffee and after diving snack. Make sure you bring your wallet if you're the type who is ever thirsty or hungry between meals. To top it up, though the food was reasonably nice, prices, for the Philippines, were quite steep: PHP200 (~US$4-5) for a bowl of cereal, PHP100-110 for a fruit juice, PHP70 for a glass of coke, when the convenience store charge PHP7 (not a typo) for a glass bottle. "Hidden fees" also include an extra PHP650 per person for a day trip.
- equipment: we rented BCD and regulators. My first BCD didn't have a depth gauge (and i don't have a dive comp) and the spare reg was leaking, while my second BCD didn't deflate properly. Credit to the crew though for changing my first BCD after 2 dives. Couldn't be bothered changing it again, if it was to get another BCD with another faulty part.
Would I go back to Malapascua? Probably. Would i go back to Evolution diving? Not so sure if it wasn't for the great local staff, in particular the DMs.