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Dive Review of Magic Island Dive Resort/same in

Magic Island Dive Resort/same, Nov, 2013,

by Patricia A. Sinclair, LA, US (Top Contributor Top Contributor 31 reports with 10 Helpful votes). Report 7408 has 1 Helpful vote.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments My Philippines Adventure – 4/18/2013 to 4/28/2013

The Trip to the Philippines
On Thursday, April 18th at 3:00 AM, I awoke and prepared to head to the airport for my long anticipated trip to the Philippines. Not only was this to be my first trip to the Philippines, but it was my first trip ever to the Pacific for diving. I was excited and more than ready to go.

I arrived at the airport (after driving to the park and fly, ensuring that I had locked my van and catching the bus) at 4:30 AM. My LAX flight (first class, all on points) was to leave at 6:20AM, and I like to be way ahead of time.

I did my check in at the counter, where they went ahead and checked my bags all the way through to Cebu (my final destination in the Philippines) but not me. Wonderful, I thought – no bag drag through LAX! I would rue that courtesy in coming days.

I made the mistake of trying to find some coffee…nothing was open at NOLA (MSY). I ran around the airport and concourse looking for anything that looked like it was open or about to open. I found one that was readying to open and decided to wait until they opened at 5:30AM. With the growing line, I am glad I stuck around, otherwise the wait in line would have been well over 30 minutes. Got my coffee and headed back to Gate 1, sat down, got out the iPad and did a check in, checked my email, checked Facebook and then went back to reading the novel I had.

Plane left on time…a surprise because many times, even with the first flight out, something happens to delay the flight. Arrived in Houston without issue, and then it was the run across the airport to my next flight. Sure enough it was delayed for an hour, but I had built in a lot of time to my schedule so that I would arrive in plenty of time to catch my Philippine Air flight to Manila.

Arrived in LAX and found I had to switch terminals, so after asking around, I caught the bus between terminals and headed to the International Terminal. Got there and had to walk through the most atrocious noxious fumes and pollution I have ever encountered, I gagged and my eyes started watering and it continued until I got inside. The International terminal looked old and dirty to me and the signs were few, and people to help you were almost non-existent. I looked around for Philippine Air…nothing – no signs, no windows. Asked around and was told it was in the third set of check-in counters but found nothing there. Finally asked a person at a check-in counter for another airline where the Philippine Air check-in’s were and was informed they did not open until 4:30PM. So, it was now around 11:30AM, LAX time and I decided to head upstairs and get something to eat. Also, I wanted to take the time to call my mother and let her know I had made it that far safely and to use the iPad for Facebook check-in and retrieving emails. I will say that the area for the restaurants was clean and looked very nice. After eating I was told that I could only access the Wi-Fi from two areas there – when I went to them, seating was extremely limited and the few (and by that I mean one in each area) plugins for charging your devices were totally full and I was never able to charge my stuff. I gave up, just found a seat (after a 30 minute wait) and read until 4:00PM. I then headed downstairs to the Philippine Air check-in counters. The line was so long already when I got there, it looked to be at least a 1 to 1.5 hour wait to get through to a counter. Turned out that my guess was right. I finally get to a check-in counter and get informed that I need to pay another 25.00 for the “extra wide” seat I was assigned on my itinerary. That took another half hour, then back to the counter to show that I paid and get my boarding passes. I headed on upstairs to the gate. The gate seating area is narrow, cramped and dirty/grey looking. I have always heard so many nice comments about LAX and I can tell you I was surprised at how outdated and dinghy it was. Long wait until that 10:30PM flight (now it is 12:30 my normal time and I have been up since 3:00AM), but we finally board and settle into our seats, which if those were “extra wide” I will eat my hat. I was told by someone that I should head back to see what the normal seats were like – I did that later on during the flight and they indeed were much narrower and you could not move them as far back as the ones in which I was sitting.

It was a long, long flight through the night to Manila. I have had a DVT in the past, so my Doctor gave me Xiralta to take before the long flight to Manila, which I did, that and compression socks - joy! I had to wear jeans and tennis shoes the whole trip.

We were told, depending on winds and weight and so on that there was the possibility of landing in Guam to refuel. As it turned out, the flight was not even close to full and we went straight to Manila. I am not one to sleep on planes, but I finally managed to grab a 2 to 3 hour nap. We land in Manila and head over to the Domestic terminal and find our gate. And we wait for 4 hours until we can board and fly to Cebu.

The arrival
We arrive in Cebu on Saturday morning (10 something AM), I am just glad that the plane rides are over for now! We go to get our luggage, and I wait and I wait and I wait – no luggage. I have only the bag with my camera and one pair of underwear, pjs and an extra t-shirt (no shorts) and 1 bathing suit. I did have my meds as well, so I was ok for that. Off we go to the missing luggage area (there are 5 of us, all of us had bags checked through from MSY to Cebu) and they start trying to locate our bags. The couple with two children was in far worse case than I was, their 5 bags were missing and they had no clothes for themselves or the children. Just in case you are wondering, the people whose luggage was missing had used 3 different (American, United and Delta) airlines when leaving MSY to LAX and all 3 had checked our bags all the way through at 3 different times of the day on Thursday the 18th. It was found later on, that everyone else had done the bag drag at LAX to the International terminal, and that is why their luggage made it. In my case there was a 12 hour layover, so why did it not make it? No one has ever given me an answer to that question. Conclusion and my Solution, ALWAYS do the bag drag in LAX. Anyway, they locate all our bags, they are still in LAX, never loaded onto the plane for Manila. They assured us they would get them on the next plane out of LAX to Manila and then to Cebu. They then told us we would need to sign a release for them to release the luggage to a driver from the resort to pick up the luggage once it arrived. I told them, I would sign it at the resort and give it to the driver when he left for the airport, the others said the same thing.

Saturday afternoon – Magic Island Resort, Moalboal
Two and half hour ride to the resort from the airport. HARROWING!!! The streets are narrow, snake like turns abound and I saw no stop signs or traffic lights. Wires were hanging everywhere from the “utility” poles. The driver would swing around bikes and “tricycles” and small buses (beautifully painted, by the way) and barely miss them all by inches. Never so frightened in my life!!!

We get to the resort intact, thank goodness! I had planned to buy a pair of shorts from their dive shop, but they had none, they also did not have a t-shirt in my size (large). I am hot, tired, dirty and have nothing clean to change into – this is not a picture of a happy Pat. While it is only 2:30PM and everyone else is taking off to do an afternoon dive, I take a shower, get into the pjs and go to sleep. I slept until 6AM (their time) the next morning.

Sunday morning - I go to breakfast in my spare t-shirt and everyone loves it (it is my dive-slut t-shirt, “anywhere, anytime and any buddy”.) So, my attire is the talk of the group, OH, the JOY! (that by the way is sarcasm) The rest of the group heads on out to the morning dive, and I walk around the resort looking at the flowers, taking some pictures of them and try to relax. I worry when my stuff goes missing, it is hard for a control freak like I am to accept and adjust to it and move on easily. The group comes back talking about everything they saw and what all I missed seeing – great! They head out on the 2nd dive of the day and I go to the room and take a nap. Lunch time rolls around and I head to the restaurant to eat. Also I check with the Resort owner if they have any news on the bags. They did – it appears that all the bags were at the Cebu airport and the driver was picking them up (there were 13 bags – that covered all 5 people who claimed the bags…the family and 4 other individuals.) I ate lunch in a better frame of mind.

All the bags arrived after lunch, and before the 3PM dive, so I rush to the room, get the dive gear out, jump into my Dive Goddess skin (I only took 4 for the trip) and head to the dive shop to get a tank analyzed and set up the gear for the DM to take out to the boat.

Just so you know – the group was large, 30 people, that came to 5 boats of 6 per boat. Magic Island only had 4 boats, so they had to rent a boat from another resort to accommodate us. The group I was in got to be in the rented boat (as well as the boat captain and the DM from that resort.)

It was a wonderful dive – so much colour!!! So many things I have never seen before. I was turning my head this way and that, it was for me, sensory overload. Fantastic!!! Magical!!! There was current at Magic Island, and so we were picked up after an hour by the boat which had followed our bubble trail. I geared off in the water and then climbed up the (to me) steep ladder. I really wanted to just jump back in with another tank and see even more things. We go back to the resort and upon arrival at the docks, a guy from one of the other boats approached me wanting to know if I would do a night dive with him. Since I had missed two dives the morning, I said sure. We delayed going to dinner until after the dive and once my SI reached 50 minutes we signed out on the board and we headed out to the drop off. Wedon (his real name) did not have a dive light with him, but I did, so when it started getting dark, I turned it on. We were out for 55 minutes when my light went out (I guess it was not fully charged after all) and we head back in the dark to the dock. Took us about 5 minutes to make it back to the dock. We geared off, rinsed off our gear, left the tanks on the sea wall (we were told to do that) signed in on the board and went to clean up for dinner.

The next 5 days went as follows – breakfast, analyze 3 tanks for the day, morning dive #1 (usually 60+ minutes) SI at “White Beach” or if close, head back to the resort, maybe eat a snack, morning dive #2 and then back to the resort for lunch. Dive crew handles your gear, so you can clean up for lunch and go eat lunch. At 3PM head out for the afternoon dive (usually 60+ minutes as well) and then head back to resort. If you are doing a night dive, then you analyze a tank and set your gear up. Except for one boat night dive, all night dives are shore dives. With the tide going out and leaving more and more sand and reef exposed, I opted to do a night boat dive and not do the shore dives. It got to where, coming back from the afternoon dive, you had to get off the boat and walk over the reef to get to shore. The tide was so low they could not get the boats to the dock. Just as an FYI – coral hurts if you step on it in your stocking feet…you should have your boat shoes on before walking from boat to shore. I used a lot of foul language when we had to walk back from the last afternoon dive. After dropping us in the water the boat had headed back to the resort, with my boat shoes on the board. Had they told us about this, I would have stuck them in a pocket of my BCD.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 80-85°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions an hour per dive - doing 3 to 4 dives a day
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 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 3 stars
UW Photo Comments great subjuect matter, but no camera room and nothing on the boats for camera storage dring the trips
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