I stayed at Kontiki Resort and did 8 dives with Kontiki Maribago Beach in July 2011.
I flew into Cebu from Manila on Cebu Pacific. There are ATMs and a few shops at Mactan International Airport so make sure you have some local currency as I didn't find an ATM near the resort. You don’t need cash on the resort, everything is charged to the room or your dive account and both accepted Visa. There are abundant ATMs in the malls.
Getting to the resort from Mactan airport is a snap, the traffic director writes a slip in local language for the driver (most filipinos can speak English), tells you the fare and off you go via a road that circumnavigates the island. Cebu traffic seems crazy but it works and I am sure that the car horns must only last about 12 months before they wear out. The little jeepneys crammed full of people are amazing, though they are not as gaudily decorated as they are in Manila.
From the Circumferential Rd a left turn into Pajac-Maribago Road, then a right into a lane about 600 metres down sees you on the resort's doorstep. That final road to the resort is actually about 300 metres of an un-named laneway off Pajac-Maribago Road) and it is pretty rough. I wondered where the heck I was going when I arrived so some care when walking it is warranted as it is potholed and stony in places. The roads and lane are clearly visible in Google maps. Kontiki sits behind a fancy resort called The Imperial Palace. As with all cities, you do need to be aware of your personal safety and I am not sure that I would venture out down those last 2 streets late night (nor is there any reason to do that) but during the day and in the early evening there were plenty of people around and the little shopfronts selling household wares along Pajac-Maribago Rd were interesting. Be aware that cock fighting is still a pastime in Philippines and you will see some roosters in pens in a couple of the houses in and around the laneway.
The PADI dive shop team were helpful through the booking and my stay there. We set the scene on the first night when I took a few beers over after sunset and had a chat to some of the crew. I dived with Rex (now at Kontiki Moalboal) and Julian but thanks also go to centre manager Greg and Albert in the office along with the rest of the guys.
Divers wade/swim out to the banca (as the boats are called) from the boat ramp. This isn't an issue given the warm water which is waist to chest deep normally. I dived in a t-shirt and shorts but I am a big unit and slightly-built divers might want a "rashy" or a 2 mm shorty during the warm season that I was there. The 2 mm steamer I took was not used at all.
Unfortunately I didn’t see any thresher sharks over at Tingo (depth ~40m) but the hand grenades going off in the distance were an eerie and sad reminder of the way fishing ought not be done. The Marigondon Cave (32m) was interesting as was the dive over at the plane wreck (20m) and the drift dive across the other side of the channel at Olangi Island (10m). Even the shore dive at the house reef was good (15m) and who can argue about 32 degree water? These depths are all approximate, check with the crew for actuals. Rex's eagle eyes spotted a pygmy pipefish right under my nose but my camera batteries went flat just as I lined up on it - yep I had forgotten the power point adapter for the ni-cads.
There is no beach at the resort which is on a seawall (see the photos) but there is snorkelling right out front with access downt the steps or via the boat ramp. Watching the sunrise, an early morning swim with the locals followed up with a chat to Vicky and her partner over coffee in the restaurant was a nice start to the day's diving. There are very few people up at 7 am I found!
Nothing is more than 30 metres away from anything else at the resort; dive shop, boat ramp, resort dining room/bar and the rooms are a few steps. The dive shop has plenty of hire gear, they even had a weight belt that reached around me - just!
My queen room was simple & neat. A calm natural sandy (colour) and light blue decor made it cool to look at. A couple of chairs and a small table along with a wardrobe completed the room. Floors were finished in pebbled concrete with a rug here and there, which was fine given the climate. The air conditioning, en-suite bathroom and in-room fridge were welcome additions given the humidity there in July and there was also an old-style TV with a few local channels. There's no radio or music, so bring your iPod or similar.
Housekeeping kept the room spotless during my stay, the rest of the grounds were similarly well maintained.
There was a myriad of little crabs residing around the stairs to the water and a resident tuko. If you are lucky you might spot him up in the rafters in the open-air restaurant and you will certainly hear him occasionally. When you do, you will know why they call them tukos.
Resort food and drinks are ridiculously inexpensive by Aussie standards, three or four dollars was more than enough for a nicely cooked, if simple meal. The BBQ pork was awesome. Filipino food is nowhere near as exotic or spicy as that from other nearby Asian countries can be. Their cuisines can be found easily enough if you are looking for the spicier dishes from Malaysia, Thailand or India. The local San Miguel beer was cheap and there are a few basic spirits as well as soft drinks. Give a local Tanduay Rhum and coke a try. The house staff were all relaxed and friendly, in particular Vicky.
There was free wireless internet at both the dive centre and restaurant and the resort office will get a cab for you if needed or you can walk up to the simply named Mactan Circumferential Road and one of the local guys will fall over himself hailing a passing cab for you. The driver gives him a few peso and like goes on.
Don’t forget to bring your AC power point adapters for cameras, phones, tablets etc. as there are none available at the resort.
There is a small supermarket about 10 minutes walk away for odds and ends (eg beer, icecream, sunscrean) along with a pharmacy (eg beer antidotes). There are also a few bakeries and inexpensive restaurants and a fruit market in that area.
A taxi to say Ayala Mall or SM City in Cebu City for costs about P400 each way, maybe US$8.
I had a fantastic relaxing week @ Kontiki. Diving in the morning and chilling out over a few beers talking to who-ever was around each afternoon.
It must have been good as I am heading back there again next week!
PS Dont forget to give a few tips to the crew and resort staff when you go, their smiles make it well worth the few dollars and filipino wages are borderline poverty.