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Dive Review of Crystal Blue Resort in
Philippines/Anilao, Batangas

Crystal Blue Resort, Sep, 2011,

by Carl D Scott, TX, US (Contributor Contributor 16 reports). Report 6248.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Thailand, Palau, and various Caribbean destinations
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 81 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 30 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Good sense
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments This resort is very photographer-oriented, thus has a set of rinse tanks far away from the rest for cameras only. They were building a camera room during my visit, should be finished by now. Boat, however, only had a small shaded deck to place camera between dives.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 2 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 2 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Great macro, over-priced everything. First, the diving. Visibility was low, as a result of it being at the tail end of the rainy season. Sediment and algae was on all shoreline reefs, but they say it is consumed quickly, once the rains stop. Macro subject matter was outstanding. Logged no less than 28 different species of nudibrances in 8 dives, plus frogfish, weedy scorpionfish, mimic octopus, 3 different species of seahorse, and much more. Not that many tropicals, and big fish were pretty much non-existent. Corals were so-so, just scattered bommies, for the most part. Not a recommended destination for the type of diver who just loves to cruise and enjoy the scenery, but truly great for macro. Staff was great, guide very capable in all regards. However, at USD $53 per dive (averaged, with nitrox premium of $10 on 5 of 8 dives), it is anything but a bargain in this part of the world. Great diving can be had in other parts of the Phils for just a little more than half that. I might also mention that the boats are very basic, but typical of the Philippines. No shade for the divers, so what's with the luxury prices, anyway?

Now, for the resort. While the staff and their attitude were absolutely divine, the accommodations were spartan. At USD $86 per night, it's truly a rip-off. Equivalent or better accommodations with at least equivalent diving can be found in other areas and nearly half that price. Rooms are small, with a simple bed and small "armoire", what they might think is a small desk, and a small table with 2 chairs on the veranda. Bathrooms worked OK, but have what must be years of soap scum accumulated on shower walls and plumbing fixtures. My guess is that the staff simply was never shown by its Californian owner how to clean a bathroom. However, if you are on the 2nd floor, the ocean view, including a sunset view, is great. Another important consideration - all resorts in this area are on the side of a mountain, so be prepared to climb steps! I counted 68 steps from the dive center to the 1st level, 91 to the 2nd. Not easy for those who are not in top physical condition!

The restaurant - Food was good, prepared by a trained chef with a great attitude, always eager to please. However, this is not a place to diet! Food was served in great abundance, and calorie counting is not in their vocabulary. I was asked what I wanted for breakfast the first day, but each morning thereafter, I arrived to find the "breakfast of the day" waiting for me (had to tell them no Spam after it appeared on my plate!). Again, great attitude. Dessert is almost mandatory. In the restaurant, prices were much more reasonable, but they did nickel and dime you for every tea bag . . .

In summary, if the prices were in line with the local economy, this would be a place I'd return to, provided they learn to clean the bathrooms! Cannot say enough nice things about the staff, though. However, I think I'll be selecting another destination for my next visit to the Phils.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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