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“Great International Dive Resort in Moalbaol”

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Magic Island Dive Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Colorado
Level Contributor
167 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 275 helpful votes
“Great International Dive Resort in Moalbaol”
Reviewed November 9, 2011

This is a very nice Dive Resort on the southern end of the Moalboal peninsula. It is only 10 rooms with a pool, bar, good food and great dive shop. It was built and is run by a Dutch couple, Arie and Desiree and until recently visited by mostly Europeans but is now reaching out to the American market. We really enjoyed the international atmosphere. It seems that they will customize a package for each guest but we recommend the Full meal plan and if you are a serious diver, at least a couple of days of unlimited diving.

There are about 10 choices for breakfast but they will try to make something special if you ask. We did not see a tradition Filipino breakfast on the menu so we asked and they made it for us. Lunch is from the menu which has a reasonable number of choices. The Dinner menu changes daily and is posted on the board at lunch. This includes a starter, 2 main entrees, sides and dessert. If you don't like it you can also request something from the lunch/dinner menu. Dinner is served "Family Style". Guests sit at 2 large tables and serving plates of each dish for 4-5 people are brought to the table. It's not quite sit-down but nicer than a buffet.

The staff are young, enthusiastic Filipinos and Arie and Desiree have done an excellent job training them. The rooms are spacious. They are not opulent but do have good AC and hot water. There are also massage tables and if you request a massage, they bring someone in from town.

But if you have read our other reviews, you know we are divers and the diving operation is paramount to our Holidays. This is one of the best dive operations we have seen. The gear room is spacious and each guest gets his own box, pegs and hanger. The compressor is far enough away from the fill room that you don't hear it. The floor is pea gravel embedded in concrete so any sand that is tracked into the room before it is swept out settles between the small stones so it does not get picked up on your wetsuit of booties. There are separate rinse tanks that vary in cleanliness from Cameras to Regulators to BCs to Wetsuits and booties.

Dives were scheduled for a 2 tank dive in the morning and one tank in the afternoon. Mandarin fish (twilight) and night dives are scheduled on request. There is a good dive briefing in the shop before the dive. The tanks are full and there is spare gear on the boats. The banca ties up to a mooring and after the divers drop in, the boat moves to another mooring. Divers go with the light current . It is typically about 50 minutes to the next mooring which works well for the planned 60 minute dives. When they are up north, the boat goes into White Beach for the surface interval. Otherwise you stay on the boat and have bananas, mango and water. The afternoon dives are scheduled to allow time for lunch.

The house reef is Magic Point. You can dive west to Tonga Point. It is about a 6 minute swim (almost a walk at low tide) to this wall. You can request tanks for a shore dive almost any time. Normally currents run North and South but because of its location, the wall runs east/west and there are practically no currents for the shore dive. There are about 30 dive sites along Moalboal. Most of them are different parts of the same wall but there are at least 3 sites besides the wall that are worth going to. They are Pescador Island where you will see sardines, Goby Point which is a shallow sandy bottom with interesting critters and Compton Point which has a airplane wreck but also a sandy bottom with lots of marine life. Along the wall and especially at the top during your safety stop you will see magnificent corral and numerous large Green Turtles. The divemasters will also find frogfish and lots of small stuff.

And as a final note, be prepared for a diving fee of 112 pesos (100 php plus 12% VAT) PER dive that Moalboal charges (much of which is used for payment to the collectors and subsidies for fishermen). At the end of our 11 day stay, it was almost $100 per person. Generally we do not object to these fees but these are extremely high and fishermen are still allowed to line fish along in the dive sites so there are no large fish.

Room Tip: The resort is quiet and all the rooms are nice
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank 2skidivers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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159 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Saint Louis, Missouri
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2011

This is one place you can't miss!
Great staff, took care of every need. The food was GREAT!!!!!!
Diving was awesome! And I plan on returning in 2013

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank Cruzer911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Groningen, The Netherlands
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2011

Magic Island is a small resort. We loved it! It's nice and quiet.
The suite was really clean. Housekeeping is cleaning the room and making up the bed every day.
The food is also very good. A day-team and a evening-team will serve you what ever you want (if it's on the menu). There's also a cocktail-bar with plenty of choice!
The resort is for relaxing, diving, site-seeing a good choice. The diving especially. The world under water is very beautyfull and the dive's are easy and relaxed!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Randy N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tielt
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed August 3, 2011

Went there during easter holiday 2011. Our first visit to Azië. The resort comes and picks you up at the airport (a 3 hour drive), and this is free of charge! When you arrive they make you feel welcome and make you feel this way during your whole stay. For lunch you can choose from the menu, we were there for 2 weeks and the variety of the menu lets you eat something diferent every day. For dinner they prepare 2 kinds of meat or fish with vegetables and/or potatoes or fries/ rice! The diving there is magnificent. Every morning you can go on to one of the 3 boats (depending on skill level, certification and preference) to one of the many beautyfull dive sites wich are full of very diverse marine life. The divemasters and boatcrew do everything for you, you only prepare yourself for the dive, leave the gear and all the rest to them. When the vacation comes to an end you can not leave without having the resort owners coming to say goodbye.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank roxydogTielt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2011

The owners and atmosphere of Magic Island were quite nice. The resort itself was clean and idyllic, as were the rooms. The dive shop was operated very professionally and the diving itself was world-class, as the other reviews point out.

However, there were a few quirks that made the experience somewhat disappointing. First, the resort was expensive, compared to the quality. Not only the accommodation, but also the food and services. Even mayonnaise and ketchup had a price on the menu! There were no restaurants (or anything actually) nearby, so for instance when the weather was rainy, we were more or less limited to staying in the resort's restaurant, which wasn't all that great, although not terrible either. Further, the staff insisted we know beforehand if we were going to stay for the buffet dinner, and if not, what were we going to order from the menu. The default was that we have to stay in, and if not, we had to go and announce this to the staff separately. This was very frustrating. Thus, we had to decide by 4 PM what and where we were going to eat each night.

They also had a laundry service, but they priced it randomly, just by looking at the amount of clothes, instead of using a scale. We ended up paying double than what our friends did, for the same amount of laundry. They also had a WiFi, but needless to stay, it also cost quite a bit, whereas it seemed to be complimentary in every single place we went to in the Philippines. Also, there was no mini bar or anything to keep drinks cold, only a single plastic bottle of water, which could be refilled on request.

All in all, I got the feeling that the owners, although nice people, were trying to be cheap in places where they simply shouldn't have. Even though we're not talking about huge sums of money here, it left us feeling awkward for not wanting to stay in the resort every night to eat and pay for freaking ketchup.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank jasinb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2011

Magic Island is a small delightful resort in Moalboal, a couple of hours from Cebu. The diving, particulary the macro life is excellent and a few turtles, a large bait ball at Pescador Island, and the possibility of a whale shark sighting provide large animal excitement. In addition to 3 boat dives per day shore diving is excellent. The dive guides are local and expert at pointing out the resident wildlife. An unusual experience is a twilight Mandarin Fish dive where one can see Mandarin pairs rise from the coral to mate

The resort is compact with everything conviently located. There are only 10 cabins, all located near the bar, restaurant, small pool and dive shop. The cabins are well appointed with ample size. The food is good but not gormet.

In general the Philippines is a bargain for divers and Magic Island is no exception. The resort provides great diving and accommodations for a reasonable price.

From the US the simplest way to get there is Philippine Airlines which flys from several west coast cities to Cebu stopping in Manila. Connections from the entire US to Philippine Airlines flights are available on several US carriers.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank TomR1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2010

I had a superb time at Magic Island Dive Resort. The resort is functional, clean and has very warm athmosphere. The area is small and nicely arranged and it's easy to find peace and quiet if you like. Or you can just be social and talk with the staff or the other guests.

Staff is friendly and well trained. Everyone smiles and surprisingly remembers guests names. Food is mostly good and the menu has a lot of choise.

Dive center is well mainteined and the rental equipment is in good condition. Dive sites are fairly close and it is possible to influence the day's programme. Tailored diving course was not a problem which was a huge bonus. Only minus is the lack of toilet on the boats.

For a non-diver not much activities apart from reading a book by the pool or having a massage. And definately not a place for small kids since there is lots of stairs and not much to keep kids entertained - after all it is a dive resort. As close as it gets to paradise in this price range for a diver. I really did enjoy my time there.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tuplae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Magic Island Dive Resort

Property: Magic Island Dive Resort
Address: Tongo, Basdiot, Moalboal 6032, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Visayas > Cebu Island > Moalboal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 32 Specialty Lodging in Moalboal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Magic Island Dive Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Away from the masses, you'll have a wonderful stay in one of our ten cottages. Enjoy a great dinner in our restaurant or have a drink on our terrace with its magnificent view of Pescador Island. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Magic Island Dive Hotel Moalboal
Magic Island Dive Resort Moalboal, Cebu Island

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