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Dive Review of Polaris Beach and Dive resort in
Philippines/Cabilao near Bohol

December, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Jennifer Widom, CA, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 4601
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
81   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
reasonable freedom  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
(Same review submitted to tripadvisor)

We stayed at Polaris for a week in late December 2008. We're a family of
four, all divers. We had a great time and recommend Polaris highly.

At the reasonable price of $1850 for the four of us we had a week-long
package that included boat transfers from the closest point on Bohol, a
spacious two-story air-conditioned "family room", daily
breakfast, and 11 dives each. While Maria (the wife half of the owner
couple) is wonderful in person, she was minimally communicative when we
were booking by email. There were some surprises on the bill, including the
price charged for the considerable number of extra dives we did, and
surcharges for night dives and certain dive sites. The owners were gracious
in modifying the bill due to the misunderstandings. If you book, we suggest
you set out the costs very clearly before your stay.

The resort grounds are extensive considering the (relatively few) number of
rooms. Everything has been developed with good taste and is maintained with
care. The swimming pool is large, clean, and nicely landscaped. There's a
pool table, badminton court, soccer area, massage gazebo, and so forth.
Nicest of all is a large grassy area with hammocks and lounge chairs,
adjacent to the open-air bar overlooking the ocean.

The restaurant menu is extensive -- although not every item was available
every day, most were, and the food was consistently good. On Christmas eve
an elaborate party was thrown for the guests and staff alike.

Our room was at the upper end of the cost spectrum and was not fancy, but
it was clean and pleasant, and perfect for a family of four: a king-size
bed downstairs and two single beds upstairs. We didn't see inside any of
the smaller and more budget rooms, or the treehouses (which are more like
rooms on stilts than actual treehouses).

Outside of the resort it's fun to walk around the interior of the island to
see the villages and friendly people, and there's a nearby lake with good
bird-watching. The resort offers a few tours to keep the non-divers busy.

The dive operation was run very efficiently and competently. Our family was
assigned a dive guide just for us for the entire stay. Boat dives were
available throughout the day, usually two of them in the morning, one in
the afternoon, and one at night. They had two comfortable speedboats and
did a good job coordinating the diving needs of the various groups.  They
may use their bigger "bangka" (outrigger) boat for diving at
times, but not while we were there. Dive sites are 2 to 10 minutes away.
The dive staff will set up and manage all of your gear -- true pampering.

Don't expect to see pelagics or even large numbers of fish at Cabilao, but
the macro and interesting critters are exceptional. There are dive sites
surrounding the entire island, but we (and other divers) thought the
"house reef" on the doorstep of the resort was one of the best!
Much of the island has a vertical wall lush with hard and soft corals.
Although our children are experienced divers we picked Cabilao in part
because it promised relatively shallow and low-current diving, and it

Overall, Polaris offers a pleasant, spacious resort with thoughtful owners,
attentive and friendly staff, good food, and excellent, convenient, easy
diving. We've only been to one other dive resort in the Philippines
(Peter's in Southern Leyte; see our separate review) so we can't compare
extensively, but we are well-traveled divers and we certainly recommend
Cabilao and Polaris.
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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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