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“Be an experienced, self-sufficient diver”
Review of Dive Cal

Dive Cal
Paisley, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Be an experienced, self-sufficient diver”
Reviewed August 12, 2013

Price-wise, this was the only real option for me and my buddy to do a liveaboard to Apo Reef. The accommodation is very basic but adequate. We went in July and it is hot and sticky but the diving makes up for this. (Watch out for bedbugs in the mattresses despite the sweaty plastic covering, but sheets were clean. Pillows were incredibly lumpy so use a rolled up fleece instead).
Our dive guide was a real problem and we had no confidence in him. He ran out of air after 30 minutes dive time each dive and struggled to deploy his SMB each time. Nor did he check with us during the dive or point out much. He assured us he was freelance. I recommend that DiveCal train or find someone reliable.
The diving itself is just like Sipidan, and we were the only divers there (three plus the guide). Great vis. Turtles and whitetips on every dive. Lovely corals and smaller stuff on the safety stops. Usually currents (not a problem except our 'guide' finned hard into every current and even finned hard when going with the current. See above for other comments on the guide..)

The food was absolutely amazing - crab, lobster, pork, tastiest curries imaginable and plentiful rice and veg, with fresh fruit at every meal, too. Pre-breakfast before first dive, cooked breakfast after it, and generous lunch and dinner. In fact, this was the best food I had in the Philippines and it's hard to believe it was produced in the tiniest galley with just basic resources available. Plenty drinking water. Boat staff were great.
I would recommend checking the credentials of your guide before you dive (is it a wreck guide or do they know the reef?) Is there an oxygen tank on-board and have you seen it? Be a self-reliant diver and ensure that either you or your buddy has diver first-aid knowledge as you are 6 hours away from help. The diving is great, though.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Lorna S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trevor S, Owner at Dive Cal, responded to this review, September 22, 2013
The insects were not bed bugs, but ants. Alsp annoying. but at least they do not suck blood! The cabin has been treated with special Ant powder and I will make sure it is carefully checked before each trip

The booked guide could not go at the last minute. We did check the certification of the reserve. We also checked that he had experience of APO reef. Unfortunately it later transpires that he rather over-emphasid this. I am sorry for the inconvenience he caused. I will not book him again.

I am pleased that you enjoyed the diving and the food. I have told the cook, Manang, about your comments.

A plea to all divers. Please tell us on your return if there are any problems. Then I can take action at once and not wait for a comment on Trip Adviisor.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Thieves who will steal your money”
Reviewed June 10, 2013 via mobile

I was excited to see that dive cal offered a four day apo reef trip while I was to be in coron. After a couple of emails with the proprietor, Trevor, I paypalled the deposit to him. I asked him over email three days prior to departure for more information about when he would could confirm the trip as we were still waiting on others. He insisted he'd let me know if and when the trip was going based on others confirmation. When i did not get an email from him before the departure date I emailed him asking for a refund. He said I was a no-show because I never showed up to a trip I didn't know was departing because he never contacted me. After further email correspondence he continues to refuse to refund my money over new rules he's adding to the terms. These people run a shady business. DO NOT DIVE WITH THEM. DO NOT GIVE THEM MONEY!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Hikenj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trevor S, Owner at Dive Cal, responded to this review, September 22, 2013
I emailed Natasha until the day before she left for Coron. I do not after that as I am not sure that she would be online. But most importantly that our Terms require a diver to report to the Dive shop in person before the Safari, We have to check Cert, fit kit etc.

This she did not do. We waited until 1pm the day of her Safari for her, She did not come. We had to disappoint another diver because minimum numbers not reached.

I carefully checked when she asked for the return of her deposit only to find that she had been in town at least 2 days before and had not bothered to report. Coron is a small town and that is easy to do. So I refused. It was obvious from the evasive way she replied to my emails that she had just decided not to do the Safari So no refund!

We err on the side of the oiver when deciding on refunds. Such as a diver reporting in genuinely sick. So what would you have done?
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Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Great 10 Day's Dive Trip”
Reviewed June 5, 2013

Cheapest diving in Coron.
The resident DM, Ron Edmonds is a top guy who guided our small group around all of the wrecks with the expertise and knowledge of a pro.
Went on the Apo Reef safari also(4D/3N), and this was also a great trip.
The food was amazing and plentiful and always waiting for us at the end of each dive.
Highly recommend Divecal to anyone.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank IanKay2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trevor S, Owner at Dive Cal, responded to this review, September 22, 2013
Thanks for your review, I passed your comments on the the staff concerned. They all said oit was a pleasure to dive with you!
Trevor
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United States
Level 5 Contributor
29 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“had a great time”
Reviewed May 15, 2013

my husband and i signed for wreck diving and found out about divecal through their website. in coron we were met divecal's german divemaster/instructor arnom. was able to say a few german words with him : ). he is a real experienced diver: he went around the world diving, treasure hunting, salvaging..making more than 7,000 dives and still counting. my husband is a certified diver and it was just my second "discovery or fun" dive. arnom suggested to go to the lusong wreck because it is not that deep so i can join my husband and there is big diversity in corals and fish there. so off we went to lusong. arnom is a very good teacher and very clear in his instructions and gave us a lot of tips. it was my first time to wear a wetsuit and found it uncomfortable and the gear so heavy but he said everything will be fine once i get in the water. he assisted me every step of the way which resulted in a very exhilirating experience. our first dive lasted 41 minutes at 25 feet and i enjoyed it so much we dived again. we went around the wreck several times and other areas to see more corals and fish. i wanted to touch everything but he told me to be careful and when i got the urge to touch something, he puts my hand away because it is not safe. but once a coral is ok to touch, he showed me. our second dive was 54 minutes at 25 feet. i think at some point he let go of me so i can move on my own. after the dive, arnom highly recommend that i get certified because im a natural (ahem). since my husband was also following us, i never felt scared and it was like floating in (underwater) heaven amidst God's beautiful creations. I highly recommend lusong wreck dive and divecal. you will get much more than you paid for.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Vinroy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Excellent Diving, excellent guide!”
Reviewed April 25, 2013

Dive Cal is one of only two dive centres in Coron that have any evidence of professionalism. The other was Rock Steady who I also had the opportunity to dive with.
The outfit is small but highly recommended. Just quite simply, fantastic.
We were very lucky to be able to go on an APO REEF trip with Dive Cal. What an amazing experience. This is not a luxury vessel, this is a Pinoy boat with character and adventure.
The dive guide, RONALDO, was bonkers and brilliant. Very enthusiastic and very knowledgeable.
The diving was first class, the food was first class. The only slight complaint was that they ran out of BEER! However, I don't think anyone could have expected nor appreciated the volume of beer that was drunk - Deco Juice!
Can't wait to go again with Dive Cal!
If you can't get to go all the way to Apo Reef then RONALDO also dive guides the wrecks of Coron. The man is a must for all divers, experienced or newbies this man will have you in fits of laughter and makes you feel totally at ease, above and below the water.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank BillieBlack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trevor S, Owner at Dive Cal, responded to this review, September 22, 2013
Hi! Ronaldo still with us and currently working out what new kit we need to buy in preparation for the new season. He and the other staff say 'Hi!' and thanks.
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