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“Great Hotel, So/So Dive Center.”

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La Laguna Beach Club & Dive Centre
Ranked #24 of 53 Hotels in Puerto Galera
Reviewed 5 March 2014

I was torn between 3 and 4 star mainly due to the overly laid back dive center attitude. However, the hotel staff and room pushed it up to 4 stars.

I have been diving in PG for years and my normal hotel/dive center was fully booked, so I took a chance by staying at LLBC. I must admit the hotel beat my expectations.

I stayed in a sea view room, which had a great sea view (right on the water). It was actually a nicer room than my normal hotel. Bigger, brighter, better views. The hotel staff is very friendly and that makes a difference to me. Kudos to Mildred (front desk) who really was accommodating and helpful with my last minute booking, including private airport transfers from Manila to the hotel.

On the other hand, I found the dive center a bit too laid back for my liking. I had to ask repeatedly for a crate to store my kit. Which was then just left in the middle of dive center. I am a bit of a prima donna and perhaps spoiled from other dive resorts where your kit is setup and ready for you in the morning. I was surprised that the morning of my first dive ... my kit was just sitting in its crate still. Just not the level of service in general that I have become accustomed to.

I will def. be staying at LLBC again, the hotel is really a star in PG/Sabang. However, I will do my diving at my usual dive center where I can get the service I expect.

Room Tip: Def stay in a sea side/view room. It is well worth the extra money.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled solo
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Thank Kurt M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 July 2013

Through the years LLBC has provided comfort and a certain adventure, in varying degrees. Depending on the season, your state of mind and the years that have grown on you. Unlike a lot of the resorts in the country, this is a mid range resort that provides better care, excellent grub and sub zero beer...even for breakfast.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BCerv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2013

I was torn between 3-4 star just because of the poor service. I had stayed here once before in 2010. I was the first person to stay in the new Deluxe Beach Wing. I was in 401 at that time. It was the only finished room in the new wing. Other than the construction noise I thought it was awesome place. I was influenced though by
1) My first trip to the Philippines
2) It was July so I was the only one diving for 2 days of my 4 day stay. I had asked about the diving schedule. Their response, you are the only one, its your schedule...
3) The room was brand new

Come 2013. I had made a sudden decision to go to Manila to visit my GF the same day as my flight. I arrived in Manila with no plan during Holy Week. I only reserved a room at the Tune Hotel the first night. That next morning we decided to go to PG. Remembering my stay at LLBC, I called them at 9am inquired about a room that night for 6 nights. They told me they had 1 room left; 402 in the Deluxe Beach Wing for 4400php tax included. Said I got lucky as someone canceled. I agreed. I asked them to arrange car and private boat to take us from Manila. I was charged 6000php. The driver was at Tune hotel by 11am and boat was waiting for us when we arrived. Trip to LLBC was smooth.

Hotel Pros:
- Very Large room and large bathroom just as I remembered. My GF screamed she was so excited when seeing the room and its view. Was a bit worn compared to 2010 but it was not a complaint. Just an observation
- Fantastic View from room, upstairs bar and downstairs restaurant
- Large comfortable bed.
- I thought it was good value. I usually have a budget of 3000-4000php. Compared to what I have gotten in Alona Beach (3 times), Malapscua (2 times), and Batayan (1 time), it exceeded what I got for oceanfront rooms for the price. The view was just the best.

Hotel Cons:
- Its the largest resort on the beach so all the vendors stand around this resort. You are constantly asked to buy something. Even when you are at the downstairs restaurant they will come up to the table. Then when you say no they quietly stand at the steps blocking your view of the ocean.
- Swimming in front is great but so many boats. You have to time it when the dive boats go out. Than you got an hr before they all come back in and block the beach.

Note: except the 1 time we always ate and drank in the upstairs bar because of the vendors downstairs. Also we liked the view from up there

Bar/Restaurant Pros:
- View

Bar/Restaurant Cons:
- Over priced
- Some meals were good and others not so good. Menu Just got old after a few days though. We stuck to the resort the first few days.
- Service was terrible. The worst I experienced in the Philippines. Not once in the 6 nights did someone ask us for ANYTHING..drink..menu..to take our order. We always had to track someone down. This was my biggest complaint.
- I'm not sure how many owners; two I think. But the owners and their friends always gathered at the best spot in the bar with the great view. Yes, their friends are repeat customers but they took over the good seats overlooking the beach during EVERY happy hr. And before that gathered around the table watching rugby. I got there early to get the good seat and they would eventually gather around me. I just wanted quiet time with the GF. I dove with one of them and was the nicest guy I ever met. He later introduced me to everyone when they gathered around me during Happy Hr at the good spot. They were very nice. The owners later said good morning and good night to me by name which was a nice touch. It just seemed like their clubhouse and not so accommodating to other guests. This is my complaint. It just rubbed me the wrong way along with the wait staff in the bar giving all their attention to them.

Restaurant/Bar service gets 1 star

Dive Shop Pros:
- All around great experience. Very well organized and great DM's. They were so busy since it was during holy week and they managed it well. They brought in additional boats.
- I had planned to let my GF to the resort course then later decided to let her do the PADI Scuba Diver. After seeing how well she did she just continued to complete the OW course. Instruction was good considering they were so busy and many students. Even with how busy they were it was private instruction.
- Onsite pool for instruction.

Dive Shop Cons:
- Cannot think of any.

I gave it 4 starts because of the room, view, quite location, and dive shop incl instruction. I would have given it 5 stars if not for the poor service.

Room Tip: Pay the extra and stay in the Deluxe Beach Wing.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank travelpro69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2013

This is the most "luxurious" place to stay on Big LaLaguna Beach. It has little wrong with it, but for the peso equivalent of US$110 a night plus 12% VAT for a deluxe room, facilities should be much better. I particularly felt the lack of a private balcony.

I chose this resort for its purported quality, despite the price which is high for a three-star resort in the Philippines. I chose one of the "better" rooms on the second floor of the new beachfront wing. The room was large, but lacking in details. The bedside "reading lamp", only one of them next to the nice and firm king-sized bed, was more like a nightlight. The bed was very nice and firm. The room was very quiet despite the walkway outside the sliging glass door in front. The wardrobe was totally inadequate. The hanging space was divided in half crossways and the space allotted for hanging clothes was too short for a small-size man's sport coat. There would have been no room to hang a lady's sundress, for example. There were no chairs in the room. The bathroom was very large and had a wonderful shower, but as usual in a mid-range property in the Philippines, there was no air conditioning in it. However, the staff did not seem to clean the shower drain and I found it easier to spend a few seconds cleaning it myself, rather than report it to the hotel management. I would have appreciated a second bath towel, but it did not seem to readily obtainable. There was also no adequate place to privately dry wetsuits, etc. overnight, although there was a communal drying area. There was an electric safe in my room. There was state of the art air conditioning which I seldom needed. There were many TV channels in the room and a very large screen TV in the bar. There was wifi, but no computers available for guest use.

The most lacking feature was a private balcony. There was furniture in front of the room, but it was alongside a walkway which went to four other rooms. Only room 401 in this wing had anything approaching a private balcony. I can give you a tip; if you want to sit on your balcony in the evening and watch the sea or the stars if you can see any on a clear night, there is a switch on the side wall of your balcony section which switches off the high power overhear fluorescent lights. There are two sets of steps to this wing. Both are much steeper than I have encountered in any other hotel of hundreds around the world, with the possible exception of Amsterdam canal houses. Those that lead through the bar are not quite so steep as those nearer the room, but I would not recommend this wing to people with any problems in stair climbing.

The restaurant has a very unimaginative menu, though it is typical for this beach area. It is very heavy on carbohydrates and the limited choices of fish and seafood include some canned and apparently frozen items and are very small portions. The only good meal I had there was the delicious Saturday night BBQ. The adjacent resorts have similar menus. Campbell's Resort at the far west end of the beach had the quietest restaurant and included "Thai style" dishes. Low calorie soft drinks except for Coke Zero and soda water were not available at any restaurant whose menu I read. I was unable to look at the rooms at Campbell's, but they appeared to have more privacy and were less expensive.

The beach in front of the resorts from LaLaguna to the west has many local banca boats docked in front of it, but at the far west end in front of Campell's is a moderately good protected area for snorkeling. There is an adequate, but certainly not spectacular, beach for sunning to the east of LaLaguna. It is apparently a rather strenuous twenty-minute walk over a hill to much more developed and apparently polluted Sabang Beach which is farther east.

On two days I hired a banca to take me to the Coral Gardens which are about twenty minutes to the southwest. The snorkeling here is world class. It is apparently the only superb local snorkeling area. If you swim well, tell your boatman that you do not need to hire a smaller boat for the final leg to the gardens and swim five minutes from where your banca can anchor to the shallow part of the reef which is only two or three feet deep. Here you will have privacy from the majority of snorkelers who cannot swim and cling to the smaller boats while wearing life jackets. In the winter you will need a wet suit and the water will still not feel warm. However, in two hours I saw 95% of the marine species I expected to see while snorkeling in the Philippines. The shallow water is also somewhat warmer. My boatman was Eenan (sp.). I found a local to negotiate the local price with him, which was half what I expected to pay. I gave him a ten per cent tip and he was very happy. Bring your own beverages. I do not know if he charges a higher foreigner's price. He is usually quite knowledgeable about where to go and will respect the snorkeler's preferences. He has a very nice personality. I do not know how developed his English skills are as I took the local person with me to translate. If you need to hire a small boat at the destination, be sure to bring extra money for it. His boat is white and blue and called RJM. Most of the resort guest were divers from Russia. They kept to themselves and as divers were quiet and sober.

I found that five nights were enough as I had two days of sunny weather and the management courteously charged me only for five nights, although I had booked seven. Three nights would be enough in seasons with consistently sunny weather.

The least expensive and inconvenient way to reach the resort from Manila is the the Si-Kat bus-boat service which goes two hours by bus south to Batangas port. You may check bags at their Manila terminal at City State Tower Hotel in Ermita. They have a website. There advantage is the guaranteed direct connection between the boat and the bus. Depart the boat from the Batangas boat dock at Sabang and take a local banca for about 300 pesos to LaLaguna in ten minutes. Luggage porters are always available and fifty pesos total per passenger is a very adequate tip for all your porters at a particular port. You may book Si-Kat ahead, but that does not seem necessary except on high traffic days. They contract with FSL boat lines for seats in large bancas that seat over 100 passengers. I would consider these boats unsafe if the waves were much over two feet high. Their bus is very old and not too comfortable. The air conditioning did not work on my return to Manila and the driver drove back with the front door open for ventilation.
LaLaguna has an expensive private limo and banca transfer service from Manila, but I have the impression that they use smaller bancas which I would not trust on the hour-long open water crossing.

This resort area is a good base for superb snorkeling at Coral Gardens if you do not want to travel farther from Manila to resorts on more southerly islands. Three nights will be sufficient for snorkeling if there is good weather. PADI diving certification is also offered.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled solo
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6  Thank Wildwooder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2013

We've been to this dive resort now at least 4 times and it is refreshingly well run.
I think there's several expat owners and they are always make sure that broken things are fixed and that the food is hot & quite good (not the usual disgusting food and/or rip offs that one finds at typical mid range hotels here in Philippines).
The only thing is that the brewed coffee is roasted (read burnt) in Batangas and is quite undrinkable.
The view from the rooms in the front overlooking the sea are spectacular.
The waters in front of the hotel are nice if you do not scuba dive but if you go out on the right side (roped off from the boats) be sure to go during high tide otherwise you'll get cut up on the corals in the shallows. Or do like we did which was to cautiously go out in the outrigger boat section carefully (avoiding boats) and it's a better swim that way out to where the pretty fishies are.

Room Tip: Get the ones in the front overlooking the sea - you won't regret it.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank rendorseg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2013

We've spent the past year trying out dive resorts on both sides of the Verde Island channel (Anilao and Nasugbu and throughout Puerto Galera on Mindoro.) Big La Laguna is just right in terms of location, facilities, environment, and price. Location: just far enough from Sabang and Puerto Galera so that you CAN get there if you long for a honky-tonk tourist experience in the evening, but a peaceful and beautiful self-contained place in its own right. The dive shop is excellent: decently priced, well-staffed with responsible and friendly dive masters, and good quality rental gear. The pool is not large, but enough for a post-dive plunge and relaxing afternoon. The older part of the resort is not at all bad (clean, rooms in good working condition, though small.) Noisy AC is offset by wonderfully warm showers and comfortable foam beds. the new wing has overly-large rooms, with beds that are a little too hard and showers that are a little too cold - but wonderful views over the balcony. Minor complaints about the sliding glass room doors, sparse electrical outlets, and poor night lighting. None of these were atypical for the region though. Food (despite the poor reviews I've seen here) was universally fresh (over two visits) well-prepared, and served with a smile in all cases - an extensive menu of Western, Asian, and Philippine dishes. Good value for money, and much better than the alternatives in Sabang (we had dinner there one night and wished we'd stayed at the resort.) Price for meals, diving, hotel room, etc. was very reasonable and typical for the area. We'll be back!

Room Tip: Ask for the ocean view rooms in the new wing. Huge, spacious, great unobstructed views.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank michael b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 November 2012

What is definitely good that is diving part of this establishment. Spacious and comfortable this diving resort is what you need for excellent diving experience. Guides are excellent. Staff is helpful. Rental equipment is in decent condition. This dive center caters for divers of any level. They have sites for novice and tech as well.

The hotel is not so good. I don't need much from hotel. But in tropics you wish for silent and efficient air conditioning and bathroom equipment working. I had screeching air conditioner and shower that refused to drain water away. And the spring mattress was one of the worst I saw. Otherwise rooms are clean. Fridge was silent and clean. Hotel staff was very helpful. I can not thank enough hotel manager Harleen (if I spell her name correctly) for her help.

The worst part of this establishment is it's restaurant. It is the first place I got food poisoning in a four years of traveling in SEA. Overall cooking is plainly bad. Don't order fish - it will be spoiled. Don't expect of the breakfast much either.

So my recommendation is simple: if you can take seafront room to use sea breath and don't mind walking ten-fifteen minutes to another bay (Sabang) for diner, then this is a very good diving center.

Room Tip: Seafront rooms on the top floor (hotel has two levels, ground and top). You will be able to use sea...
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  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled solo
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2  Thank Shadowtramp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about La Laguna Beach Club & Dive Centre

Address: Big La Laguna Beach, Puerto Galera, Mindoro 5203, Philippines
Region: Philippines > Mindoro > Oriental Mindoro Province > Puerto Galera
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Galera
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Galera
Price Range: £38 - £69 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — La Laguna Beach Club & Dive Centre 3*
Number of rooms: 43
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the centre of beautiful Big La Laguna Bay where the sand is white, the water is crystal clear and alive with tropical fish and coral. With a variety of beachfront and poolside resort accommodation and PADI scuba diving and dive training facilities, La Laguna Beach Club is the place to stay to satisfy all your diving holiday and vacation requirements in Puerto Galera. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Laguna Beach Club & Dive Centre Hotel Puerto Galera
La Laguna Beach Club And Dive Centre

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