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

Polaris Beach and Dive resort, Dec, 2008,

by Jennifer Widom, CA, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 4601.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather cloudy Seas calm
Water Temp 81 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions reasonable freedom
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments (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 delivered.

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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