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Dive Review of Sea Explorers Philippines/Pura Vida in
Philippines/Malapascua, Negros, Bohol

Sea Explorers Philippines/Pura Vida : "Diving the Philipines with Sea Explorers", Aug, 2017,

by Margo Peyton, SC, US ( 1 report with 3 Helpful votes). Report 9711 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments [ link]
There is much fear out there about traveling to the Philippines these days, but I have to say I felt extremely safe with Sea Explorers. They have someone meet you in MNL and guide you all the way to Dumaguete and in my case, we flew into Manila then to Cebu and we headed 3.5hrs to Malapascua for 3 days to dive with the Thresher sharks. This excursion adds much time and travel to the schedule, but well worth it. I had waited my whole life to dive with Thresher Sharks and the fact that there is no feeding is incredible. I stayed at Ocean Vida resort on Malapascua Island. The ocean front rooms are the best. They are right on the beach and spacious. The upstairs rooms have better views and are quiet. I would avoid the garden rooms. They are noisy and overlook a sand lot. The restaurant was excellent and the dive shop is full service. It was a 12hr transfer from Malapascua to Dumaguete. Via a 45 min boat ride + 4hr car ride back to Cebu then a 5 hr private van that Sea Explorers arranges. Then another boat trip 1 via boat to Dumaguete and then a 1 hr car ride. You can also take a 30min Helicopter for $900 if you prefer the shorter route as some of my companions did. Sea Explorers arranges that to. Payment for the helicopter is wire transfer only.

Once I arrived in Dumaguete it was amazing. Pura Vida Resort and Pura Vida Homes are available. We chose the homes that are 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms and perfect for a family. Great views, nice pool, awesome gym with everything you can think of. Wedding Chapel and Tom and I made use of that and renewed our vows. Owner Chris Heim even gave me away and Dive shop owner Biggs stepped in as my Maid of Honor. The homes have full kitchens, huge verandas, everything you can think of. Vida Homes also has 2 penthouses that are quite large, a king bedroom, and second bedroom with 2 beds, an extremely large living area, and kitchen all with one large balcony extending the length of the penthouses, both ocean front. The Pura Vide resort rooms have nice clean rooms, some ocean views some garden view. The only thing I would say is if you love coffee like I do, bring a press and your own coffee. They use that instant packaged coffee with everything and I was craving some real coffee the entire trip.

I really don't have anything negative to say and no other warnings. The food was amazing and my husband is a vegan and could not say enough about how they catered to his dietary needs. The dive boats are huge and in excellent shape. They offer hot face towels when you come up from your dives. They totally cater to photographers. State of the art photo center and rinse tanks. They have plenty of charging stations and they carry all your equipment with the best of care. The boats have really easy ladders on both sizes of the boat, so no waiting to get in or out. Every dive is a min of an hour. You tell them what you want to see and they will show it to you. The muck diving was crazy cool right off the shore. In case you don't know what muck diving is, it's diving on a muck bottom and it's filled with the miniature world of underwater critters. At Pura Vida Resort which is located on Negros Island Dumaguete is the main city, the diving from here I feel is the best in the Philippines. Your excursions to Apo Island with pristine reefs, sea snakes and turtles galore is only a short boat trip from the resort. Also from that location, we dove Oslob with the whale sharks and Balakazar. That trip is about 1.5hrs. Well worth it if you want a guarantee of whale sharks. The dive is much better than the snorkel because the viz is better below 10ft. Go on a wed or Tues it's less crowded.

I stayed in Malapascua 3 nights, 7 in Dumaguete and then Sea Explorers sailed us over to Cabilao to Ocean Vida Cabilao for another 7 nights. We made 3 dives and lunch on the way. The transfer was fun and I truly enjoyed the diving. We arrived at Cabilao about 3:30 in the afternoon, checked in to our beach room and enjoyed another exceptional week of diving. Ocean Vida Cabilao has Hill ocean view rooms, that are very nice for a family of 3 or a couple. They overlook the ocean and are in a two story building. All with AC and TV and free wifi. There are also 2 suites which are the corner units these are perfect or a family of 4 with smaller kids. The Beach suite is the most amazing. It's really honeymoon quality. The Sea Explorers dive shop and operation is top notch. All new rental equipment well maintained. The boats are comfortable and kept it like new condition. Soft seat cushions, shaded places. The service and food is over the top. I have a bad back and they provided small size 63 Nitrox tanks for me and big 100's for Tom. I did not have to climb up a ladder with my gear and was able to take my gear off in the water. They do the changeover, rinse and pack your gear and have it waiting for you ready to go the next day. I was amazed at the photo rooms in all of their locations, with fresh towels, air tanks for blowing out camera parts, charging stations etc. The dive team was very knowledgeable in the marine life and I was impressed on how much emphasis they put on good buoyancy, marine life protection, and safety. We had some windy days, but they were well aware of tides, conditions and made sure to get us out every day no matter what in a location that was perfect to dive. We had some big wind on a few days and they moved the boats and put us in a van to travel around the island to get to where we could enjoy diving for the day.

Its very important to go with an operator that has good connections with hospital, airlift and emergency services and you should ask about all of that as there is no 911 in the Philippines. Your dive operator is it. Also, some of over land trips can be long and bumpy so if you get motion sickness take your medication before your travel. The marine life here was outstanding and this dive crew will show you things you did not even know existed. Their tag line is "dive with a smile". I can say they accomplished that with me. I also have to say, if you have a family with kids, they offer SASY, Seal Team, and Jr, Open Water. Parents can go diving while kids are learning and well cared for. Diving as a family with certified kids age 10 and up, not an issue. They are very happy to give your kids their own private dive guide and i highly recommend you request that. Thumbs up for family, to this dive operation and their Pura Vida, Ocean Vida Resorts.

Websites Sea Explorers Philippines   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Wakatobi Indonesia, Cayman Is, Galapagos, Costa Rica, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Bonaire, Curacao, Palau, Yap, Socorro, Sea of Cortez, Jamaica, Belize, Mexico, Australia, Roatan, Utila, St.Thomas, Tortola, St.Kitz, Cape Cod, Florida.
Closest Airport DMG- Dumaguette Getting There Direct non stop to MNL then connection to DMG. You can also fly into Cebu or TAG airports. Its best to fly Philippine air, as there is no additional baggage cost on the domestic portion. Also its the same terminal in MNL. Otherwise you have a 2 hr transfer in MNL from International to domestic terminal.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 84-86°F / 29-30°C Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 60-100 Ft/ 18-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 1 hr dives, computers a must. Guided shore dives. Not allowed on your own.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments There is not much you will need that they don't already provide. A great place for macro, that is the best offered. Wide angle with the Whale sharks and NO flash is allowed with the Thresher sharks, so video is better for that dive. There are dry areas on the boats, so when you're doing 3 tank 1hr dives, there are places to change out batteries etc. They prefer you take 3 or 4 shots max with the use of flash when shooting macro. Pointer sticks are able to be used there and the guides make great spotters, so use them to your advantage. Have a list of what you want to see and they will show it to you. The water is very warm, so 2m or even 1.5 m wetsuits are fine.
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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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