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Dive Review of Arkipelago Divers/Punta Galera Beach and Dive Resort in
Philippines/Puerto Galera

Arkipelago Divers/Punta Galera Beach and Dive Resort: "Great Diver Shop in a Poor Location", Sep, 2017,

by Rose Mueller , TX, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 23 reports with 12 Helpful votes). Report 9796.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling 1 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments A former employee of Atlantis recommended Arkipelago Divers as most of their dive masters had gone there. It is operated by Pedro Magsino. He is a dive instructor and VERY knowledgeable about sea life and environmentalism. We paid for our private guide, Chris Robles, who likewise had been with Atlantis. We did not know the hotel was Chinese owned. It made for a difficult time. The design is poorly appointed. It is small. The Chinese smoke and smoke. Finally after much debate the owner agreed no smoking in the dining area. We came to have breakfast and they were smoking. In Chinese, I asked them to please not smoke. One became quite belligerent and confrontational. I was leary of a fight betweeen him and my husband. Security quickly arrived to dissipate the situation. One very responsible man tried to placate the other. Finally after 3 days no smoking signs were put in the area. They continued to smoke on the entire floor by the dive shop. The pool wasn't serviceable during the stay as it is tiny and they were giving dive courses along with swimming. It shocked the pool. There is salt water for bathing. The Filipino staff is excellent and caring but much is out of their hands. The food is subpar. Everything was greasy. There isn't the facility for cooking. The room is tiny with stairs to the bedroom which I manage to fall down one evening. On the other hand with Chris we saw species they had never seen. He found the Padddle Plap and Rynopia Scorpionfish. He found a juvenile bluebringed octopus the same day. There were several rare nudibranchs as well. To go this distance and not hire a professional guide would be foolish. They know the habitats, the peculiarities of the different species. We did 27 amazing dives. We even finished our 1500th while there. I would dive with Pedro and his staff but recommend staying somewhere else. We viewed the rooms at Out of the Blue and they are nice and very clean. The Veranda restaurant is excellent under the guidance of Rhendo also from Atlantis. It is in this hotel. I heard one loud American comment that there were no LARGE fish. I asked why he didn't go to Palau. This is a true haven for those who love macro photography. Indonesia is great, but considerably more expensive. If done properly, this is an excellent choice. This area is safe to Americans if done with thought. Pedro would facilitate transfers from the airport to a safe hotel in Manila. He also arranged the trip to Batangas and the boat to Puerto Galera. At this time there have been no kidnappings here. It was a trying trip, but I know better how to do it again.
Websites Arkipelago Divers   Punta Galera Beach and Dive Resort

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Most places it's warm
Closest Airport Manila Getting There We flew United on the last flight before the airport closed. We were directed to LA in lieu of Narita. We did go through Narita and then on ANA to Manila. We had to overnight in Manila

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 79-80°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 10-50 Ft/ 3-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Respect for the reef and the fish. I would imagine that they'd accommodate any reasonable request if the diver were competent and it were safe.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 3 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 5 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments They are very careful with the equipment and the dive sites are close so there is little need for a soak tank. They have a special tank to soak the cameras next to the dive shop. I did find one of the Chinese dunking his salt watered wet suit in this tank. It is too small to accommodate many photographers, but they'd figure out a way to rectify the situation with a bucket.
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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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