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Anilao (Buceo Anilao) and Puerto Galera/Sabang Beach (South Sea Divers)

Discussion in 'Philippine Paradise Divers' started by dlofting, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. dlofting

    dlofting DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    We returned 2 weeks ago from almost three weeks in the Philippines, diving in Anilao and Puerto Galera (Sabang Beach). The Philippines are great…..wonderful people, tasty food and outstanding diving. Traveling around is a bit of a challenge though. I certainly wouldn’t rent or drive a car, which takes a special skill with the horn and brake that Filipino drivers have developed. We’d also leave at least 2 or our 3 rolling suitcases and home and take packsacks instead, to make boarding and disembarking the bangkas much easier. A pocketful of 50 and 100 php notes for tips for helpful porters would also be better than the 500 php bills that we carried.

    We spent 6 days (7 nights) in Anilao, staying and diving with Buceo Anilao. Transportation to the resort is by van and bangka, all arranged in advance by the helpful and friendly staff at the Buceo Anilao office.

    We did 18 dives over our six days, some muck dives and some “coral” dives. Maximum depth was 20-25 m. We would do two morning dives, with a surface interval on the boat or back at the resort, and then an afternoon dive. The bangkas that Buceo Anilao uses are remarkably stable in rough water. They are also easy to get back into when the dive is over, even when climbing the ladder with full gear. Divemasters are assigned a maximum of 4 divers, but we often dove with 3 or just the two of us. Our divemaster set a nice easy pace, knew the dive sites intimately and was adept at finding elusive critters. During the 18 dives we saw frog fish, eels, turtles, numerous nudibranchs, sea horses, stingrays, a blue ringed octopus, puffer fish, needle fish, cuttle fish, hog fish and many fish swimming around the coral.

    We’d booked the smallest room at Buceo Anilao and it was fine for us. There is plenty of common space at the pool, outside the office and near the restaurant. We ate our meals “a la carte” and were very happy with the quality and variety. Tea, coffee, milo and cookies are available all day. We’d definitely go back.

    We moved on to Sabang Beach (Puerto Galera) for 9 days (10 nights) staying at the Steps and Garden Resort and diving with South Sea Divers.

    We did 22 dives over the 9 days. Maximum depth was 30 m. The first dive usually left the shop around 9 am, the second at 11 or 1130 and the third around 2 pm. All of the dive sites are very close so surface intervals were back at the shop. We’d spend the time back at the resort (2 minutes away) or in the shop, drinking tea/milo and chatting with the owner, Sky, or Paul, Cherry, Amil or whoever happened to drop in….it’s a very friendly environment.

    There are 4 divemasters and South Sea, two of whom are also instructors. They all know the sites well and set a nice, easy pace (usually going with the current). We saw turtles, eels, sea snakes, frog fish, nudibranchs, sea horses, giant clams and swarms of colourful reef fish. In fact if one thing stood out on the Sabang Beach dives it was the abundance of fish and the vibrant colour of the reef.

    We did a 2 dive trip to Verde Island, which cost extra to pay for the rental of a large Bangka. The visibility was a bit better at Verde and the fish even more abundant….it felt like we were swimming through a huge school, except the fish were all different.

    We definitely got value for money with South Sea and ended up paying $18 US per dive with an extra charge for nitrox and the 100cf tank I used.

    We ate at a few different restaurants in Sabang Beach, all with similar menus of Filipino and Western food. There are also lots of small stores to buy snacks and water, several fruit/vegetable stands and even a “deli” if you want to make sandwiches. We ate breakfast at our resort even though it wasn’t included in the room price. The resort was very nice with a pool, small workout area and beautiful gardens.

    A couple of things for next time. All the divemasters and divers we were with had “bar” gauges rather than “psi”. I think we’ll buy “bar” gauges for our next trip as it’s easier than converting on the fly. Both shops also had convertible tanks which was nice as we didn’t have to use adapters with our DIN regulators.

    We plan to go back in 2019, and probably go to Caron and Apo Reef at the same time.
    Nettie-NZ likes this.
  2. MV Dive

    MV Dive Contributor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Philippines
    Sounds like you had a great time at both places, I would be interested to hear which place that you enjoyed the most. Please contact me if you would like to hear about our dive safaris to Coron and Apo Reef. 2019 is a little bit far away but I would be happy to give you some information for you to consider.

    Many thanks from Kris
  3. Freewillow

    Freewillow Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Brussels
    Interesting report. Thanks.

    When it comes to bar/psi gauges, the signs for 1/2 and reserve should be enough, no :)
  4. dlofting

    dlofting DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Yes, this worked most of the time, until the divemaster asked when we were both at 2000 psi. He thought we were at 20 bar so shot his SMB. :facepalm:
    Freewillow likes this.
  5. Freewillow

    Freewillow Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Brussels
    :D:confused::cool: :cheers:
  6. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    You can't go wrong with South Sea Divers in PG as Sky and his team know the place inside out. Paul is also from Canada(Montreal?) and Habs is in his heart. The view from Steps Garden's cottages is great but some divers find the steps a wee bit intimidating especially after diving or a late dinner.

    Apo Reef and Coron are nice but getting to the former is not easy.
    Instead of flying into Coron, ferry is a good alternative especially if you have heavy load. 20kg check in is the absolute max unless you don't mind to buy another ticket.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
    South Sea Divers and dlofting like this.

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