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Dive Review of Halo Dive Resort in
Philippines/Anilao

Halo Dive Resort: "Excellent Choice for an Anilao Resort", Dec, 2014,

by Lynn Phillips, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 8 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 8082.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments For macro muck divers and photographers, Anilao is iconic. It rivals Lembeh and Ambon and is so much easier to get to (non-stop from LAX to Manila on Philippine Airlines arrives around 5:00 am and departs at 9:00 pm--so you can dive the whole day you arrive, if you like and all of your last dive day). It's a 2 1/2 to 4 hour drive from Manila airport to the resort, depending on traffic. The resort accommodated my early check-in and check out; but I'm sure this has to do with how full they are. But they would make you comfortable, give you a temporary place to put your things, and help you dive even if your own room wasn't available until the usual time.

Halo Dive Resort is a small, boutique resort which doesn't require trekking up and down 60-100 steps from your room to any of the facilities, something difficult to find in Anilao. Halo has about 10 rooms and from the well located ones it is only 12 steps to the dining area and another 13 to the dive area. They are good, wide, cement steps with very good hand railings.

If you don't stay in the lobby rooms or the big penthouse at the top near the street, you can avail yourself of these short hikes. Rooms I, J, K, L, M, are the best. N is a good location, but smaller than the others (2 small twin beds) whereas I-M all have a minimum of 2 queen beds (J and K have a third twin bed). Rooms P and O are similar but up an additional 12 step spiral staircase. O has a small private outdoor balcony, but only one queen bed and P is all interior space. Rooms S and R are even further down the stairs, on the same level as the dining area. They are smaller and the outdoor space is only partially covered.

All rooms have very good bathrooms, big showers, good hot water. There are no uneven, unexpected levels anywhere, so no tripping hazards. The rooms all have ceiling fans, ceiling lighting, good AC and lots of electrical outlets which makes up for not having a camera room. The staff is happy to bring a good sized table into your room so you can set up your own camera area. There is plenty of room for this in I-M. Again, there are at least 6 electrical outlets all over the rooms. I-N have nice, large, covered outdoor verandas with seating.

The food is very good, tending toward Asian, as a lot of the clientele is from Hong Kong. Depending on the number of people, it is either buffet or more or less made to order. If you are a vegetarian or have certain things you like to eat let them know. There are several lovely dining areas near the pool and with an ocean view. Also, the staff will deliver your meals to your room at no extra cost. They will give you a big pitcher of filtered water for your room, and keep it filled when they notice it's empty. Lots of nice, considerate touches from a happy, pleasant staff.

The dive area is large and well laid out, just a few steps from the small rock beach and boats. There are good places to hang all your gear, etc. All small bits and pieces are kept in a crate which is carried for you to and from the boat. By the way, included in the ordinary duties of your divemaster/spotter is rinsing all of your gear after dives and actually hanging all of it up to dry. So you can just drop your wetsuit and it gets rinsed and hung up for you. The dive shop is PADI certified, and unlike some other dive operations in the area, actually asked for my certification and made copies of it, and also required me to analyze my nitrox tanks (and kept a written log). There are four outdoor "sunken" hot showers with a bench to sit on, take your suit off, etc. out of the wind. There are also 5 indoor, private hot showers with bench, curtain, etc, These are in the same area as a toilet, located in the dive area as well. There are multiple good rinse tanks, separate ones for cameras.

For one person, diving is expensive, but for two or more, it's probably comparable to other resorts in Anilao. You can get an "a la carte" price and just pay for the diving you actually did at the end of the trip. You can also book a package, but if you miss many dives, you have paid a lot for something you didn't do. For example, the typhoon came through when I was there, so absolutely no diving for the last two days. I'm glad I hadn't prepaid for this. They only take cash at this time (US$ or Philippine Pesos). You can work with the management to wire a deposit, and pay when you leave. The room rate includes food and the airport/hotel transportation.

Diving itself is in the usual local wood outrigger boat which can take up to 4 divers plus divemaster/spotter and two crew. They will not combine you with other random people who happen to be there. You might be able to work this out on your own, sharing with strangers, when you arrive, thus dividing the cost of the boat and maybe the divemaster (unless they have their own too); but you cannot count on it. If you are a solo diver (like me) they will reserve your own boat and divemaster. There are two dives in the morning, returning for lunch, and an afternoon dive (if you want it). Night dives can be arranged. No shore diving is available.

There are no limits imposed on the dives. None were less that 75 minutes and some were 120 minutes. Your divemaster/spotter is used to working with photographers and will find almost anything you ask for. Really the best time to go to Anilao is late March to early May. I've been there three times during the first week of December and sometimes this works out weather wise. The water is still 79'F-81'F and the air temperature is the same.

Contacts at Halo are:
Chelle Saludaga, Sales Manager chelle.saludaga@halodiveresort.com
Jason, General Manager jeb0823@yahoo.com
Websites Halo Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Almost everywhere
Closest Airport Manila Getting There Non Stop from LAX on Philippine Airlines is the best choice.

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 79-81°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 4
Water Visibility 40-75 Ft/ 12-23 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions None. Just air and/or computer limits.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 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 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments Even though there isn't a camera room, it's easy to take your camera to your room and set it up on your "informally set up camera area". If you like, the staff will carefully handle your camera, taking it to and from the boat, handing it to you and taking it from you in the water. I'm sure someone would even take it to and from your room if you didn't want to handle it on the stairs. A camera room on the dive level and rinse bucket on the boats would make this operation a perfect 5!
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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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