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Diving in Boracay

Discussion in 'Philippine Paradise Divers' started by ksporry, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. ksporry

    ksporry Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location:
    111
    5
    18
    So, I realised I never wrote a review about my first diving experiences, and since I usually ask for advice, I thought it was time to contribute to the knowledge bank myself...

    I am but a beginner with just over 10 dives on the counter. I was actually talked into diving by my travel companion. Boy, did she came to regret that...! :)
    So, went to a beach holiday on Boracay in February. We walked along the beach in the evening and I started contemplating an introductory dive of some sort. Some operators came up to me and explained the possibilities. They gave some discounts if I started the next day, but I was still in assessment-mode, so I told him I would make a decision the next day (I actually cannot remember the name of that outfit). I also checked out one of the few NatGeo Dive Resorts on Boracay called Calypso, and came back a second time for more info. The second time I walked up to them, I informed about prices, and when I said the day before another operator offered some discounts the guy immediately asked for the operator's name. Of course I did not remember, and then the guy explained to me that prices for diving on Boracay are mostly fixed, and anyone stunting with prices could count on a firm fine for each violation. So I decided to get my OW with these guys and started the next day.
    The next morning I was greeted by this huge Brit named Chris who introduced me to my other 2 classmates. Turns out everyone in this class were expats based in Shanghai. What are the odds?!?
    Chris is an excellent knowledgeable instructor. Very enthusiastic, professional, and social. Very patient too when we didn't get some of the exercises first time round, though his patience was challenged by the french guy who always disappeared 30 seconds before departure and stayed away 5-10 minutes (by the way, not only his patience was tested... heheh).
    During the dives Chris always made sure that we took our time doing our exercises and he always checked if we were ok, and never pushed us.
    At the end of the course Chris offered a T-shirt for the one who had a perfect score on his exam. Of course that was the only time I didn't have a perfect score, damnit!
    I enjoyed it so much that I got hooked, and I stayed in touch with Chris after I left.

    I went back a second time to Boracay in May (cheap trip on offer at the time). That time, I signed up for a couple of specialties, which Chris would be teaching. Because I did several specialties on top of my Advanced, I got a package deal. I even didn't need to hire an underwater camera for the DUP specialty (Chris lend me his compact...). Again Chris was very patient, but because we had become good mates he was more straight forward with me, which I do appreciate. The whole course went like a charm. Chris helped me buy my own regulator kit there as well and got me a great deal! During that dive I also got to know this German couple from Australia (yes, Ozz) who were always on the same boat as me. Lovely couple, whom I am still in touch with. They are very experienced and in fact, Claudia got her 500th dive, and celebrated it by drinking champagne under water! She also got a T-shirt from Calypso to commemorate her 500th dive there. Unfortunately right after I finished my AOW and specialties I got an ear infection, so I couldn't dive anymore the rest of that trip. I also missed the 500th dive of Claudia as a result. Again Chris gave me some advice for medication on the Island, and 2 days later (just before my 24 hour no-fly limit) I was much better.

    The owner of the place, Rene (Rene Buob Photography) takes awesome pics! He joined me on my last dive that trip. I also got to know some of the other guys there, and they are all nice and knowledgeable guys. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
    Will I go back again? Yes! That might sound strange considering I been there twice already, but there are a couple of dive sites I have not yet explored yet. One of which was my first dive on my second trip but I didn't feel great (seasick), but the reef was awesome! I was also told that another couple of sites are amazing there, so I want to try those out too. Another reason of course is to see the friends I made over there.

    I hope this review gives a good indication of what to expect when you go to Boracay. Pay them a visit, talk to the guys, and have fun!
     
    Joe Cool likes this.
  2. Joe Cool

    Joe Cool Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: GVRD, BC Canada
    360
    22
    18
    Cool! Thanks for the review. I also stayed with Calypso and dove with Rene and their dive staff a couple of years ago. Whenever I am in Boracay, I will stay and dive with them.
     
  3. clgsamson

    clgsamson Koya Kap

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manila, Philippines
    13,068
    63
    48
    Try the other sites in the Visayas region. e.g., Malapascua, Dumaguete (Dauin) and Sogod Bay.
     
  4. pughio83

    pughio83 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Nottingham
    481
    112
    43
    Calypso is very well ran and but rarely offer discounts, due to fixed pricing structure on the island. Chris Hewitt is an excellent instructor and lovely guy, as are all the staff incl rene, borek, jade, sue (now left), jeb, Roy, rainier etc I did my dim internship there when my friend was an instructor there, plus my EFR n rescue.

    ---------- Post added September 19th, 2013 at 01:44 PM ----------

    I highly recommend any trips to panagatan with these guys in mar-apr time for Pelagics.

    Also I hear there is a new site with a plane?

    OP what sites do u have left to dive?

    Remember that whilst Boracay is a great place, best of Philippine diving is elsewhere and would highly recommend Bohol and Sogod bay.
     
  5. String

    String Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Grand Cayman
    8,509
    365
    83
    It's worth mentioning the fixed pricing structure applies *only* to walk-in bookings NOT people who email or book off a website in advance so discounts are possible but not when in resort.
    BASS fixes the prices of courses (21,000 OW, 16,000 AOW etc with materials) and guided diving (1600 peso with kit) sometimes to completely idiotic levels (nitrox courses). There are heavy fines for operators who do not comply.
    So if someone does offer a discount other shops will be certainly interested in who that was as they're going against that regulation and undercutting something that should not be possible to undercut.

    It's not even possible to do things like give free or discounted t-shirts or anything at all.
     
  6. ksporry

    ksporry Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location:
    111
    5
    18
    I heard about the plane they are sinking at boracay. It would be something I'd like to check out. SItes I still need to check out are Crocodile Island, bat cave, and Yapak 4. There's one site I'd like to return to as at the time it wasn't going smooth at all, but it was a lovely place. It was close to where the ferries are.

    I'm going to check out Bohol/Alona beach next week. Hoping this sore throat will recover by then and not develop into a full blown cold as that would really f up my holiday! (If anyone knows of some remedies, please let me know!)
     
  7. clgsamson

    clgsamson Koya Kap

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manila, Philippines
    13,068
    63
    48
    Salabat...take it hot.
     
  8. String

    String Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Grand Cayman
    8,509
    365
    83
  9. pughio83

    pughio83 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Nottingham
    481
    112
    43
    The viz in that shot looks better than anything I have seen near camia! Looks interesting. Of anything like camia hopefully decent macro life will move in there!
     
  10. ksporry

    ksporry Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location:
    111
    5
    18
    definitely an awesome pic!
     

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