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Dive Review of Easy Diving/Thalatta in
Philippines/Negros Oriental (Dumaguete)

Easy Diving/Thalatta, May, 2008,

by Carl Scott, TX, USA (Contributor Contributor 16 reports). Report 4155.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Indonesia (Bali, Bunaken, Lembeh), Philippines, Thailand, Palau, Costa Rica (Pacific), Colombia, Cozumel, Little Cayman, St. Croix, St. Vincent, Panama (Pacific), Belize
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 60 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None. Just come back to the boat alive. However, guides typically stayed above 80 ft.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 2 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Subject matter is phenomenal. Nudibranchs on every dive, some rare, lots of juvenile tropicals on reefs, along with some large fish, as well. Shore facilities were as good as one could ask for, separate rinse tank for every category of equipment. Boat facilities limited to a small bucket, but I never consider anything but shade and protection from accidents to be important to me. In that regard, the large boat is fine, but the 20' boat used for local dives provides nothing. Nevertheless, these dives are within 2-5 minutes, so shore facilities suffice.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Thallata is quiet, new, and very nice. Only 10 guest rooms, soon to be 12, which will be it. Restaurant has a moderate-sized menu; the food is very well prepared and mostly American style food. Staff is very friendly and helpful. Rooms are comfortable,, all have sea view from the veranda, built as duplex units. Bathrooms have good plumbing fixtures, even good showers. A/C works well, beds typical of Asian accommodations. Swimming pool is saltwater. As of my visit, breakfast was included, but limited to a certain amount (in pesos) daily per person, so there may be a small charge, if you want to pig out on something other than the small buffet of fruits and cold cereal. However, the cost to have something extra is minimal, and you can get some choices without exceeding their budget. The resort may be considering changing this policy somewhat, based upon guest feedback.

Diving operation is incorporated into the resort, though owned by a different person, it appears. Staff there is also very friendly and helpful. On important note: Though the resort's web site didn't mention it, and neither did they when I was there, trips to nearby Apo Island and Ducomi Pier require an extra fee (I think they were around $15 and $10, respectively), but it's well worth the extra charge, especially given the relatively cheap price of dives, to begin with. Dive times are very relaxed, and 80-90 minute dives were common for the more seasoned and fit divers. Briefings usually included the statement, "dive time is 60-80 minutes, depending on air". Very easy diving, indeed!

As for diving, it is some of the best I've ever experienced. Apo Island is worth 1-2 visits, because the reefs are extremely healthy, and it takes 2 days to see the majority of the sites, 3 to see them all. There is considerable variety, and your head will be spinning with the abundant marine life. Ducomi pier is, as one might suspect, rife with unsual marine life - frogfish are guaranteed, as are pipefish and many other interesting creatures. You could do half a dozen dives here before you (think you) saw it all. Local dives are typically a wonderful combination of muck diving and sometimes very vibrant reefs, depending on the site. Expect to find nurseries with lots of juvenile tropicals. Nudibranches were abundant and diverse during my visit, but this could vary from season to season. Not a lot of large animals (didn't see a single shark or manta), but an occasional large mackerel, or, in Apo, bumphead parrotfish or Napoleon wrasse is possible, with large sweetlips and trevally also common. You may think that skimming the top of sea grass beds at 15 feet deep is boring, but some of the most precious nudibranchs and juveniles were found there, not to mention an occasional anemone with panda anemonefish. Speaking of anemonefish, expect to see thousands, of at least 5 different species. Shore diving gets a 4 only because the only short dive done here lacks a natural reef and may be boring to some.

Regarding transportation to Dumaguete, the closest city, I do NOT recommend Air Philippines. Their flights are chronically 2+ hours late. Local transportation is available by taxi (20 minutes from the resort to Dumaguete, 30 minutes by Jeepney, which is dirt cheap at about USD $1 round trip, but not available after 10PM. If you like to mix with the friendly locals, I recommend taking a Jeepney to town one afternoon for the fun of it. I've read from many visitors to this area that the Wednesday Malatapai market is a must-see. I can only figure that the've never been on a farm or to a livestock auction before. You might pick up something interesting here, but, aside from some fresh fruit and roasted pig, I doubt that the average tourist would buy anything there. It might be fun, if you are alert enough to catch some interesting cultural snapshots, however.

This area (and this resort) is on my list of places to visit again, and I highly recommend it to all conscientious divers.
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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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