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“Comfortable accomodation, Great Diving Center”

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Turtle Bay Dive Resort
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Moalboal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 4, 2012

We stayed at Turtle Bay Dive Resort for one week and enjoyed every moment here.
Rooms are simple but very clean and comfortable. Not sure it is worth the supplement for the seaview as, they are not really facing the sea. I would also not recommend room 1 + 2 (not sure of the number, this is the small house closer to the dive center) as it seems a bit older than the rest of the resort and very hot during the day.
Food was very good, family-like, and in one week we hardly ate twice the same dish. Albert was an excellent and very attentive waiter.
But the best was the dive and the dive masters. We have made several stays in diving resorts but never found guides as friendly and passionate in their job as in Turtle Bay. They never lost an occasion to show us something interesting under water and we spent hours in the afternoon with them, filling-in our log books and checking all details in their big book of fishes. On top, as were were beginners and with 2 children, we were always accompanied by 2 guides, which was very reassuring and nice from the dive center, even if diving conditions are quite easy in Moalboal.
Special thanks to Jhong Jhong and Benjim for those memorable moments underwater, your passion and patience !!

Room Tip: Would avoid the seaview house nearby the dive center All other rooms are nice, not sure it is worth...
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with family
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Thank SandraL21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 1, 2012

Down a bumpy lane away from town. Individual bungalows with porch, lovely 4 poster beds (a bit firm) with quilt, gorgeous floor, huge mirror, good storage and lighting, large shower area with clothes line and plenty of hot water. Soap and shampoo available. A/c works well. Kettle but tea and coffee are extra. Mini fridge with water only (not complimentary). Very quiet at night. Pool and indoor seating areas nice. Lots of books for exchange. Not much of a beach but does have a dock and dive shop. Apparently snorkelling off the beach is good.

Dinner is buffet if enough guests want it or you order off the menu. It seems most people go to town as food isn’t cheap here; but is good. Breakfast was okay but cold. Staff are very nice but a bit reserved compared to Malapascua. Albert, server, is very professional and does a great job. Diving was okay. Rubin is a great guide. Whale shark dive was over priced for a 2.5 drive and shore entry. The place was a circus - whale sharks are fed from boats so they stay on the surface so you can only see them from below. As well, there are too many divers, boats,and snorkellers. 9 of us went and none of us enjoyed it.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Gbonez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2012

We just returned from our second trip to the Turtle Bay.

The owners have been busy making improvements to the facilities, including the dive shop and a spa.

The trip was every bit as good as the first, if not better as this time we got to see the whale sharks on one of the dives.

Just a great place to go.

Room Tip: Ocean Views are worth the extra cost!
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Newdiver2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2012

It was unfortunate that I did not enjoy my stay at the resort. The staff were friendly and helpful and the freelance divemasters were great to dive with. Perhaps the resort is more geared towards small groups and is not used to dealing with bigger dive groups.

We were on a full board package which was perhaps convenient for a big group. However, the food was really disappointing. Firstly, they were mainly fusion food and I do not think I get to try out any local flavours. Soups were always scary as they come exceptionally salty for some strange reason. It is also the resort's policy that you cannot bring in snacks and drinks of your own. They relaxed the rule as we were not told before hand. So be prepared to pay more than double the market rates for your drinks, and yes, even mineral water in your room is chargeable. There was also confusion as to what meals were provided, so even though you may be on a full board package, it is good to clarify this.

If you are not on a full board package, be prepared that it is hard to get other food. Do note that the gift shop is also very expensive and you can easily get T-shirts at less than half the price at any local markets. The location of the resort is right at the end of a dirt road that cuts through the local village and it is hard to get out. Calling for transport is also expensive and it is appalling to know that the price I paid was almost double of what you can get along roadsides.

We were there for the New Year celebration and paid USD50 for the dinner. It was a buffet with not that many dishes. Food was great but be prepared that only water comes with the package. All other beverages are chargeable. Only after some queries did we manage to get 2 beers on the house. Do not expect any professional local dances or performances. The owner's daughter and staff put up some dance items. This was followed by the highlight of our stay at the resort, the fireworks. Very unfortunately, due to the lack of safety measures, 2 of my friends were pretty badly burnt when the fireworks shot out from the sides instead of going to the skies. Everyone was running from the stray fireworks. I think one of my friends will suffer a permanent scar on her bums. My other friend is still nursing her 4 toes. The rest of us suffered minor burns and some holes in our clothes.

I do not agree that the owners were professional in their work. We got a public scolding in the restaurant from the lady boss when a private talk would suffice. She was concerned about wetting the floor at the outdoor dining area and made a huge fuss. It was both unnecessary and most importantly, it spoiled my holidays entirely. Do take note of puddles of water at the food serving area as the house dog do pee around the leg of the food table. I would think that she should spend her time disciplining the dog rather than her guests.

My advise is that this is a resort to go only during off peak season. We were often out of towels and water for bathing as the group is too big. if you are looking at a dive holidays and not leaving the resort, this might be the place for you. After 6 days in Cebu, I have no clues about the local culture and foodfare. Also remember to tell the driver picking you up from the airport you do not want fastfood if you are stopping over for lunch or dinner along the way.

I would definitely not be back again.

Room Tip: Request to view the room you are staying in and change immediately if you are not satisfied. I have...
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank panmylife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
turtlebaydiveresort, Owner at Turtle Bay Dive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded February 3, 2012

We are saddened when guests do not have a great time at our resort. We are used to catering to both small and large groups but our resort is more focused on divers aged 30+. I think that Boracay is more suitable for groups who want to party after diving.
Our special beach party dinners do NOT cost US$50.00 and, as advertised, we served beer or wine with the meal and champagne at midnight. Perhaps the writer did not notice as this group decided to bring all of their own beers and hard liquor.
The owners small dogs have been transferred to the owners private residence and are no longer at the resort.

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Reviewed December 2, 2011

Reservations were smooth and easy. The owner responded quickly and accurately which is very helpful. It is 2.5-3 hours from Cebu and the ride is not too bad. The arranged van was ok but, not particularly comfortable. Reception was easy and fast - the ladies there are very friendly but, not very knowledgable. For several questions, they would open the book and read the answer.

The rooms are very basic, no TV (which is probably a plus). There is a small refrigerator with a couple of bottles of water, which you can refill at the dining area. Wifi is available but only really in the dining area. There were mosquitoes in the room, most of the time. Each evening we would battle a few of them. The pool is very nice - good for a refeshing swim in the evening.

Food is ok but, nothing remarkable. Even though we had full board, we did ride to town a couple of times and thought there was much more variety and lower prices in town. I especially thought the drink prices were excessive at the resort.

Location is terrific for snorkeling and diving. You can easily snorkel out 100m from shore and see plenty of turtles. We usually snorkeled twice a day in the morning and afternoon. There is however no beach area - you walk straight off the pier into rocky area, in between dive boats.

Diving was ok. There are approximately 10 dive sites along the shoreline (they start to look the same after a few of them). Then, Pescador Island, which is the main attraction. Very simple summary here: http://www.moalboal.org.uk/diveshop/divesite.html
The dive operation is very simple in Turtle Bay. If diving is your prime motivation, you should consider the more professional dive shops in town.

Our feeling was that a week is too long to stay here. Probably good for 3-4 day Holiday. If you want a location that is very convenient for snorkeling, this is the place in Moalboal.

Skip

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank SkipG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
turtlebaydiveresort, Owner at Turtle Bay Dive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded February 3, 2012

Thanks for the feedback. A couple of comments:
1. The owners are nearly always on site and welcome on the spot feedback on problems which we will do our best to fix. e.g. if we had known that mosquitoes were a problem for the guest we would have put a bug killer on their terrace or in their room.
2. To ensure, that our Dive centre standards are maintained as first class we recently hired a new British manager who is also a PADI instructor. Our Dive Centre is PADI registered, our safety arrangements are approved by DAN and our gear is in top condition as we are an Aqua Lung partner Center,
3. Our drink prices are normal resort prices plus we have a good selection of well priced wines that will not be found in the open air bars in Panagsama Beach

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Reviewed November 15, 2011

Any review of a dive lodge has to be divided into two: the diving side, and the accommodation. On both, Turtle Bay Dive Resort comes out pretty well.

ACCOMMODATION: First arrival is a bit scary, because the lodge is at the end of a loooong dirt road (hint: use the lodge's pickup service - taxis from Cebu can never find the place). Once you get inside though, the landscaping is absolutely immaculate. It feels like an extremely grand hotel, but it is actually very small, and only had 25 or so rooms.

It is a little bit rustic - no TV in rooms, and wireless is only at reception and in the main eating area (hesitate to call it a dining room). But everything is spotlessly clean and well maintained, and the staff are very friendly to the point of being perpetually apologetic. The dining area is communal, and most people elect the full board option, which means buffet style. The proprietors, Chris and Fei White, often sit with the guests and chat amiably through dinner.

The rooms are comfortable but not lavish. The pool was salt water which for some reason tends to bother me, but I get past it. No one else seemed to mind.

I met a Singaporean group who said that they thought the food wasn't very good, but I disagreed. It certainly wasn't overly fancy, but it tasted good and there was plenty of it. There was usually a wide enough selection that you can always find something that sounded good.

Overall, pretty good way to spend your time above water.

DIVING: The lodge's diving operation was also spotlessly clean and well maintained. I don't know why, but I am always impressed when the stickers on the nitrox tanks look like they have just been put on. It really gives me a sense that nothing is so small that repairing and replacing it would be overlooked. I had my own gear, so I can't comment on the quality of the stuff available for rent.

The guides were Filipino, and highly knowledgable. They took care of the newer divers without being overbearing. They had an amazing knack of spotting hidden fauna. The boats were typical SE Asian skiffs with outriggers, but were roomy and comfortable, with covered awnings for shade and cleverly designed steps which came down to assist you clambering back on board.

You can do up to three dives during the day and a night dive. I thought that was quite small for a dive lodge (I expected the usual five-a-day) but in the afternoons I was almost always the only one diving. Go figure.

The quality of diving in Moalboal was good but I wouldn't say spectacular (not like, say, Fiji or Palua). It is much more geared towards the macro stuff and turtles. Very little current, usually extremely good viz. If you like small colourful critters it is great. If like me, you prefer bigger stuff, it did get a little bit same-old same-old by dive number six or so (although there are turtles - lots and lots of turtles). It would be a very good place for newer divers though - not very challenging conditions (calm, clear, warm, no current) and impossible to get lost.

Overall, very well run dive operation. If I had two niggles it was (i) be nicer to do a bit more diving whilst on a dive vacation, and (ii) the diving generally is Moalboal seemed a bit too macro focused.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms #1 and #2. They are right down on the water, and whilst that sounds great, they face di...
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
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2  Thank Rhone_Man
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2011

My stay at this resort was for 3 weeks. I was uncertain about what the weather would be like as October is the tail end of the rainy season. With the exception of one day, however, the weather was very good to excellent.

Turtle Bay Dive Resort is family owned, hosted by Chris and Fe White. Located in the deep south of Moalboal, Cebu, it fosters a very intimate and relaxing environment, providing everything you need on site. The property is exquisitely maintained by very pleasant staff. There are many things to do at and outside the resort. Divers and snorkelers will be very pleased with the many dive sites. Pescador Island is nearby and frequented by the resort's onsite dive facility. This site will satisfy all divers and snorkeler's equally. Shore diving is very good as well and the resort's house reef is filled with a variety of life. Be aware that there are jellyfish in these waters, so its best to wear a full wetsuit whether you dive or snorkel. However, the jellyfish are not dangerous, only an irritant to the skin. If you are stung, the diveshop and their boats have plenty of vinegar onhand to alleviate any stings. Turtle Bay is a very fitting name for this resort. If you are looking for turtle encounters, you won't be disappointed. They are plentiful and used to divers so taking pictures/video is easy. Both Green and Hawksbill occupy these waters. While on Cebu, try to arrange a trip to Apo Island, south of Negros, which is next to Cebu. The diving is pristine, but advanced skills may be necessary for some sites, since currents can be strong and unpredictable. I did some outrigger canoeing on my last day at the resort and enjoyed it very much. They can't tip over, so ask to give one a try.

Outside of diving, we enjoyed a couple of trips to Kawasan Falls. Its about a half hour to 45 minute drive south. The resort can make all the arrangements for you. There is a nice 20 minute to half an hour walk to the first level of the falls upon arrival. There is a well defined walking path and all around is lush jungle. The first level of the falls is nice, but its best to walk up the path leading to the upper falls. Make sure to ask your tourguide about this, as there are less people. The water in the falls is chilly, and the falling water comes down HARD, so be ready. The ambient temperature will warm you up nicely afterwards, however. We also visited the orchard, in the town of Moalboal, which has a variety of flora to enjoy, as well as some caged monkeys and birds. The Horn Bill birds are fascinating. A visit to the rice fields was educational and fun. There you'll see how they irrigate the land to water the rice, and all around are the local Carabao, a type of ox, used to work the fields. Getting there is a bit of a bumpy ride, as the fields are up in the mountains. The town of Moalboal is about half hour walk from the resort. In the town are pharmacies, fruit stands, restaurants, police, schools, government buildings, etc.

The resort itself has plenty to offer to the diver and non-diver alike. They have a games room, a double swimming pool, a gift shop, massage therapy, a two level restaurant with living areas, complete with a large TV, DVD's, WiFi, books, magazines, water dispensers, washrooms, and a computer, if you need one (its really for office use, so probably best to bring your own, if possible). The layout of the eating/living areas is inviting, done in a Filippino/ Indonesian theme. The landscaping is intricate and garden-like, with a myriad of plants and trees (even grass) with pathways by which to enjoy them. There is an nice area for sunning yourself near the sea, but no beach per se. If you would like to lay and play on a white sand beach, Panagsama Beach is a 15 minute drive away. The food was delicious and always different, especially at lunch and dinner, with large portions, variety and fresh ingredients being the norm. If you have a food preference, they will provide it, and the fish is always wonderful. When dining, Chris and or Fe would join us and the other guests, which we all enjoyed.

The rooms are colonial style and very clean, comfortable and beautifully decorated, with AC, fans, fridges, etc. They provide bottled water in the room fridges everyday. The cleaning staff is thorough and friendly. Rooms are available for families, couples and singles. I stayed in a seaside room with a lovely view. There are garden rooms available as well if you prefer.

Overall, the staff at this resort really works closely with Chris and Fe, to ensure that the guests are always taken care of. I've stayed at many resorts over the years, but this one is exceptional and in a class by itself.

Room Tip: Rooms next to the dive facility may be noisy since they open early and run a compressor for the air...
  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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4  Thank beenthere_10_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Turtle Bay Dive Resort

Address: Tongo, Moalboal 6000, Philippines
Phone Number:
Location: Philippines > Visayas > Cebu Island > Moalboal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Moalboal
Price Range: $80 - $126 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Turtle Bay Dive Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Boutique family run hotel and dive resort with 27 well equipped air-conditioned rooms. Choice of villa room of 2-story hotel block. Set in landscaped tropical grounds giving onto the shore front. Reclaimed beach and great coral house reef. Easy access to over 20 dive sites. Restaurant serves buffet meals and a la carte snacks and meals. Food comes highly recommended by guests. Free Breakfast and Free WiFi. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Turtle Bay Dive Hotel Moalboal
Turtle Bay Dive Resort Moalboal, Cebu Island

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