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Having just returned from two weeks at the Atlantis resorts...

Discussion in 'ScubaBoard Invasion 2016 Philippines' started by DeputyDan, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. DeputyDan

    DeputyDan Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    4,117
    435
    83
    I thought I would post some items that members going on the 2016 invasion might like to be aware of.
    (No particular order - bty)

    1) The Atlantis staff will have a pick up point to meet at somewhere in Manila. For our group it was at the Marriott located at the Manila Airport.
    2) If they choose the Marriott again - some things about the Marriott... It is very expensive by Philippine standards but it is nice (we stayed there). If you chose to stay there - prepay for breakfast. If you walk in its around $35 - $40 US Dollars each. There is a Shakey's pizza close by that is reasonable priced for dinner. You can also opt to stay some where else and have a taxi drop you off at the pick up location that morning. Two members of our group opted for a Holiday Inn.
    3) You need to specifically ask for a non-smoking room is that is an issue for you, other wise you may get a smoking room.
    4) Atlantis will handle all of the transfers. No need to tip anyone. When you check out at the end of the week you will be given a tip envelope which has places to tip various groups or an option to spread the tip out over everyone. One of the tip groups is the transfer baggage handlers. Another group on the tip envelope is the airport transfer people. When you transfer between locations they will walk you through the airport.
    5) VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE FEMALES ESPECIALLY. During the transfers, they will make a bathroom stop. You are expected to supply your own bath tissue in the Philippines. None will be in the public facilities. Plan accordingly!!!!
    6) Sign up and go the Verde Island. It's not to be missed.
    7) Expect the unexpected. One of our dives was a ship wreck at 95 feet called the Alma Jane. (For those that have been to Coco View think the Prince Albert but deeper). You go there mainly to see frog fish. The only frog fish I have ever seen would sit in the palm of my hand. The two we saw on this wreck were dinner plate size. I would not have known what they were without the DM because I could never have imagined any so large. With that being said, I found a frog fish at Dumaguete that was about 1/2 the size of the finger nail on my little finger.
    8) If you do the giant clam dive site (at PG) you will get a feel for muck diving and what much of Dumaguete is like.
    9) They dive with a pointer stick there. I had never used one before and must confess that I really like using one.
    10) Purchase and take a magnifying glass. You think you know how small pigmy sea horses are - but damn they are tiny!
    11) our transfer to Dumaguete was late in the day on Saturday so we were able to dive Friday morning and still have a 24 hour window. Also, we dove the afternoon that we arrived at Puerto Galera. We were there the first week and in Dumaguete the second week.
    12) The orientation dive is important to the DM's there. If gives them a change to access their group and to see who may need a closer watch.
    13) the PG dive masters will send a report on each diver to the DM's at Dumaguete and no you are not allowed to see it!
    14) Current - some of the dive sites in PG had very strong current. We were told what to expect before hitting the water.
    15) The PG boats do not have shade - they return to the dive shop after each dive. No boat ride (except Verde Island) was more that 20 minutes. In Dumaguete the boats have shade, there was very little current at the regular Dumaguete sites. We went to Apo Island twice. One trip had very little current and the second had wicked current.
    16) The small boat entries are back roll. The large boat entries are by giant stride. On returning to the boat you remove your BC in the water and the boat crewman handles it for you.
    17) The boat crew and tank guys are another group on the tip envelope.
    18) Meals at the restaurant - breakfast is off a fixed menu. Lunch and dinner is on a board and changes daily. We had vegans in our group and they were happy with the food. You will have a choice of a veggie meal, as well as a chicken, pork or fish meal. Very little beef. IMPORTANT TO NOTE - If you don't like something tell the restaurant manager ahead of time and they will fix you something else. What I did on two occasions was ask for something that we had had the day before - (I was assuming that they still had some on hand) Especially with dessert.
    19) When leaving, the airport exit tax was 550 pesos. It was recommended that we have the correct amount in Philippine pesos and not a different currency as this would make processing go much more smoothly.
    20) It looks like the inter-island flights are included in the invasion package. If so, that is a good deal since our cost was about $425 US dollars each for the round trip flight.
    21) The front desk at the resort will exchange currency and as far as I could tell at a favorable (fair) rate.
    22) We used the spa. Have never had a hand massage before - would recommend. You could get everything messaged but your privates and there were places (not at the resort but places) that would handle that if you were so inclined :)
    23) If you miss connections and do not make the group pick up. The Atlantis staff will still make all the alternative arrangements and get you to the resort - BUT THERE WILL BE AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE. Be aware of this.
    24) The resort caters to Americans and about 80% of their guests are American. So the food has more of an American slant with an Asian flavor thown in rather that the other way around. No one had Montezuma's revenge issues. They take great care in food preparation and in providing filtered water.
    25) And speaking of filtered water - take a water bottle to fill up in the restaurant to keep hydrated. Also, to take back to your room to use for brushing your teeth, etc.
    26) non dive excursions - If you choose to do any the choices in Dumaguete appeared to be much better.
    27) We did the whale shark thing on the non - dive day it was an extra $95. I would do again but it is a "tourist trap" type of event. Our DM said that essentially the fishermen had been convinced that it was better to feed the whale sharks for tourists than to kill them and sell the meat. Whatever on the environmental slant, I am a tourist and acted accordingly.

    I welcome others that have visited to add to the list....
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
    KCrofoot, drrich2, Oldbear and 12 others like this.
  2. Scubaschne

    Scubaschne Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Temecula Ca
    54
    24
    0
    Excellent post!! I will add that when going thru security at the airport, they have separate lines for women and men, I kept forgetting this and couldnt figure out why the kept loudly pointing that out to me,lol. Of course, I was just looking to get in the shortest line and didn't pay attention.
    'There is a pharmacy in PG a short walk away from Atlantis. There are no ATM's if I recall correclty, and you needed to bring cash with you.
    The 50 50 bar out front of resort is a great place for a local beer with a great bartender.
    Try the Ube ice cream its addictive, no wait, dont try it, more for me!! Made out of purple yams, we saw it go by a few nights and wondered what it was, waiter suggested we try it with a scoop of mango ice cream too , wow, we had it every night after that.
    In PG, in between dives they came out with a tray of ensaymadas, again, addictive,,,,,,I had to stop having them they are just too good!
     
    Colin Gray, cardzard and pubert like this.
  3. mselenaous

    mselenaous Island girl ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Key Largo, FL... Dive Capital of the World
    5,107
    1,938
    113
    WOW thanks for all the great info!
    Sounds like you had an amazing time. Please share pictures!
    I'm getting so excited!
     
    cardzard likes this.
  4. DeputyDan

    DeputyDan Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    4,117
    435
    83
  5. DeputyDan

    DeputyDan Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    4,117
    435
    83
  6. DeputyDan

    DeputyDan Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    4,117
    435
    83
    dive camera 369.jpg dive camera 402.jpg dive camera 379.jpg dive camera 422.jpg

    The little fishes....


    I am not a photographer and only took a camera with me to try and capture a few whale shark pictures...
     
    cardzard and mselenaous like this.
  7. Colin Gray

    Colin Gray Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lombard, Illinois
    413
    745
    93
    Deputy Dan,

    Thanks for all the info on Atlantis:). Really looking forward to this bucket list trip in 2016. Had a chuckle about needing toilet paper!
     
  8. DeputyDan

    DeputyDan Great White

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Carolina
    4,117
    435
    83
    It was a big deal to my wife :D
     
  9. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    36,349
    13,587
    0
    Just to add -- the restaurant at PG has a wonderful Mongolian grill type option. You can put together a great stir-fry with all the seasonings and hot sauces you want. I loved that. The restaurant at Dumaguete will do a stir-fry for you if you ask.

    The house reef at Dumaguete is not to be sneered at. Do the night dives in both places -- I thought they were fabulous.
     
    mselenaous, Colin Gray and cardzard like this.
  10. Audsred

    Audsred Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boynton Beach, FL
    324
    371
    63
    I've only been to Dumaguete - but the camera room was wonderful, fantastic food, nice room, great staff & DMs and gear room was nicely organized. The critters are amazing! So is the spa.

    I did a 7 day on the Azores - and that was top notch as well - they split the passengers into two groups and take you out on small boats (see pic below) each with DMs that take you to the dive site - this was the first time I didn't dive directly off the main boat. The food and staff was excellent as well. By the time we got from the Azores to Dumaguete they already knew our names - how much weight we used etc.

    One negative is the smaller airline that flies out of Manila weighs every item you have and enforces weight restrictions!! I bought the extra allowance and was fine - the only thing I didn't like was I couldn't carry-on my camera equipment - I had to check it. The flight from LAX to Manila gave you the 2 checked bags but weighed your carry-on too - I did manage to convince them to let me take my 'carry-on' with camera gear on the plane even though it was over the carry-on limit - they probably allowed it since I only had one checked bag. Azores dive boat.jpg
     

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