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Dive Review of Sangat Island/Sangat Island + Cashe Grove in
Philippines/Busuanga Coron

Sangat Island/Sangat Island + Cashe Grove, May, 2014,

by Mike-y, Kehl, DE (Top Contributor Top Contributor 39 reports with 24 Helpful votes). Report 7599.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Coron Sangat Island + Cashew Grove, Busuanga, Phillippines

The Philippines had suffered heavily in last years taifun, so I thought it a good idea to support the tourism with a diving vacation this year. The “other Truk” = Coron had for a while already been on my mind, as I love wreck diving and a bit of penetration there, plus Apo Reef is not too far away, another tempting spot. On the dive show “Boot” in Duesseldorf Germany I met Dugong Divers, who talked me into one week at Sangat Island near Coron for the wrecks, one week on the other side of Busuanga for the chance to see Dungongs and trips to Apo. I couldn´t find direct flights to Manila from Europe, so for the first time I went with China Southern via Guangzhou near Honkong. The domestic flight I chose with Cebu Pacific. I learned later, this airline in Europe is on a black list and not allowed to fly into, as the maintenance of their planes could not meet European standards. Paris – Guangzhow took aproximatlly 11 h, another 2.5 h got me into Manila. From international I had to take a shuttle to the domestic airport, which is no fun at all. Manila airport is hell, organization and management nil. A whole group of tourist were waiting for ¾ h for the shuttle bus. Some employees directing traffic definitely saw us waiting, I guess no one decided to do something . A small bus came, everyone had huge luggage, we tried to squeeze in but not all managed to join that trip. Why not send a bigger bus?! At the domestic airport it got worse, crowds everywhere, the flight was ½ h delayed, another ½ h we spent with running engines on the taxiway. We couldn´t take off due to “traffic congestion” they told us. From Coron Airport it took another ½ h to reach the harbor of the town, plus ½ h to reach Sangat Island Resort by boat. It was a wouh moment to see the place for the first time. Bungalows right next to the beach, lush tropical jungle steeply rising behind. Had a lovely beach cottage all for myself. Diving in warm 28 to 30 degrees of water was like siting in your tub at home. Sometimes I felt, a bit of a refreshment in a bit colder water would have been good, as it was hot and humid every day. Visibility was not that good, the first few days only 5 to 10 meter, inside the wrecks a bit better. However during my stay it slowly improved. They offer a dive at 9, 11, 2 o´clock and more if you wish for. Nitrox is available. Most dive sites are wrecks which you reach in between 10 to 30 minutes by boat. My stay of a bit more than one whole week got me most of the wrecks and even some of the reef dives Some wrecks like the Iroko Maru I dove 3 times on, every time visiting new places inside, the last dive the guide took me through the propeller shaft, which was a bit narrow. They swim and guide you through nearly all accessible parts of the whole boat, sometimes tight space, often a wide corridor. For me compared to Truk I felt, there is less coral growth on the wrecks here, I thought most places however showed less silt inside and for me it was less adventurous with no ammunition or parts of planes or tanks to find. Compared to the few reefs I saw around Coron, on the wrecks you found much more fish life, it looked like a huge kindergarten for many species and offering shelter from predators and man, we sometimes found 6 lion fish around one Gorgonia and were happy to spot 3 crocodile fish in one place together, catfish and razor fish groups you could find again and again. The reef had a good number and quality of hard coral, soft coral seemed to have been wiped out after the taifun, fish life around rather poor. We were a small group of 5 divers, I buddied up with a Canadian couple with the same experience and exercise level, so most times we could use all our air and time to make the most of it, which was fun. We talked about the way some dive centers buddy you up with someone, who is just not that experienced and fit as you are. Then you play some sort of watchdog or part time dive guide , which often brings you to the surface much sooner than you yourself would have done because of the air consumption of the other guy. This is not fair as it does not give you the pleasure you expected to have and is not value for the money you pay. Sometimes I even took buddies onto my octopus to make sure I can at least stay in the water for 40 min. Some dare to ask the dive center for a different buddy. Often from them you will hear, well it´s a group thing we do, so the weakest linkin the chain is the one we have to follow observe and consider on the whole. This is a difficult issue sometimes when you have to surface with the group far too early with still 110 bar in your tank. One day when we just swam out of the wreck, I heard a noise behind my back. I turned around looked up to the surface and saw a bigger amount of bubbles passing by my head. This I pointed out to the dive guide, it must have been a leaky o ring. I expected him to give me the signal for a controlled emergency ascent. He however felt, the air I lost was not that much, maybe only double the amount I normally breath, so we continued our dive all over the deck part but he kept his octopus ready just in case. The Canadians had been to Tubbatha Reef on a live aboard before coming to Sangat. They still missed the whale shark and we hoped for the best. One day 6 juvenile little yellow striped trevally followed me for a while. These guys you often find on pictures of whale sharks, which they use as some kind of carrier and host swimming around their mouth. We looked around all the time but the big guy never came close if ever he or she was around. They ask you to stay inside the limits of no decompression time and not go deeper than 40 m, as it´s a long way to the next decompression chamber. One afternoon we went to Barrakuda Lake, a freshwater dive near Coron. The dive guide told us to dive without wetsuit, as it is a warm former volcano crater. The lake is surrounded by steep rock formation which seems to have been cut into vertical slices and glued together again which gives an eerie weird and awesome picture continuing under water with single rock needles pointing up to the surface, vis is endless. The guide watched me, when I passed fifteen meter. Above my computer showed 30 degrees C. Then I guess my eyes nearly popped out of it sockets, when I noticed, I´m diving through thermoclines into a hot tub, the computer went up to 38 C, woouuh. Some tiny fish + shrimps hurried along the sandy bottom and algae packages floated around us. It was a picture out of some science fiction scenery on some far away planet, what we saw here. There is a wooden walkway and some steps and ladders to climb to reach the lake on sea level behind boulders, easy to reach with gear in less than 3 minutes. All together I did 15 dives for which they charged 600 € including park fee nitrox and boat, which I found a bit steep and proved to be one of the more costly dive vacations. Meals on Sangat were buffet style. I enjoyed the fresh fruit each morning especially the mango which I can´t get enough of. Most times it was a mixture of fish meat vegies always served with rice, where I just need a bit of sauce coming with it to help it going down. Once in a while we got fresh sushi and some typical not too spicy Philippine dishes. In the middle of the afternoon Sangat sits in shadow as the sun is going behind the bay around a smaller hill. Then you find nature showing an amazing display of colours, where the sea in front of you is darkish already, the surrounding jungle still being illuminated by the sun. The rainy season seems to come, the place was not fully booked.
Websites Sangat Island   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving worlwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 28-31°C / 82-88°F Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 5-20 M / 16-66 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 40 m max. and no deco dive
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales > 2
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 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]
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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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