TRIP REPORT, PHILIPPINES, APRIL 2012
My dive buddy (husband) and I took our third scuba diving trip to the Philippines in April 2012. We spent one week at Kasai Village Beach Resort, Moalboal, on the island of Cebu. The second week we stayed at Atlantis Resort, Dumaguete on the island of Negros Oriental. Our travel was not as direct as usual as we wanted to fly with a Delta partner to take advantage of certain Skymiles perks. We flew Korean Air from LAX to Incheon Airport (Seoul, Korea) then on to Cebu City. We transferred from Kasai Village Beach Resort to the Atlantis Resort via ferry. For our return trip we flew on Philippine Air from Dumaguete to Cebu City (through Manila). From Cebu City we returned to LAX on Korean Air. Incheon Airport is fabulous, in my opinion it rivals the fantastic Changi Airport in Singapore. We had twenty-some hours of layovers on the return trip – so while the use of the various premier lounges was nice, I’m not sure it was worth it. Luckily our total time underwater (just over 37 hours each) was greater than our layovers. We will probably fly on Philippine Air (LAX-MNL-CEB) next trip.
KASAI VILLAGE BEACH RESORT, MOALBOAL, CEBU, THE PHILIPPINES
APRIL 11-18, 2012
Pictures can be viewed at http://www.picasaweb.google.com. Search “Best of Kasai, the Philippines”. Photos are by Reid McBride. Click on his name and the albums come up.
This was our third scuba diving trip to Kasai Village Beach Resort (www.kasaivillage.com). Our first trip to Kasai was in 2009 and second in 2011. We have been diving for eleven years and have over 850 dives each. We take several dive trips a year and have been to the Caribbean often. We have quite a few trips to Tropical Pacific areas as well. We are young (at heart – as chronological age puts us in the 60’s and 70’s). As with our other Asian/Tropical Pacific travel, we used Ultimate Dive Travel (www.ultimatedivetravel.com) as our travel agent. For the most part, we arrange our own travel in the Caribbean, but really appreciate having Ultimate Dive Travel taking care of the many details for our more exotic travel. They do a great job for us and we have never ended up in a resort or day room that wasn’t good.
Kasai Village Beach Resort is just outside of the town of Moalboal on the southwestern end of Cebu Island on the Tanon Strait. We flew into Cebu and took a three hour drive over the mountains to the resort where we were met with mango smoothies (yum!). Within 2-3 hours of arrival we were diving on the incredible reef in front of the resort. The entire shoreline in this area has beautiful sloping walls that start in shallow water (18-20 feet) and have the most amazing creatures and growth. This area is considered part of the famed coral triangle. “The Coral Triangle spans coastal and marine areas of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. The Coral Triangle is considered by scientists to be the global epicenter of marine diversity and a major center of coral evolution. A full 76 percent of known coral species are found here and 37 percent of reef fish species.” (www.coraltrianglecenter.org)
A typical day at Kasai starts with breakfast, then the morning 2-tank dive. Each dive is planned for 60 minutes with a 60 minute surface interval. We get back to the resort in time to dry off and eat lunch and take a brief siesta before the afternoon 1-tank dive. If you’re not totally worn out after three hours underwater (we are!), you can dive the house reef in the late afternoon or take a night dive. The house reef is available all day and some people prefer to dive there instead of doing the boat dives.
In our week at Kasai Village, we made 19 dives. Water temperature was 82° F. This is the same as it was for our February 2009 trip and our April 2011 trip. I get cold easily and was comfortable in my 3 ml wetsuit; my husband dove in a 1 ml. Visibility was about the same as on previous trips 40-50 feet depending on dive site. There were more particles in the water and this was attributed to the earthquake that struck the area in early February.
With so many wonderful places to dive, why do we keep going back to Kasai Village Beach Resort is a question we are often asked. Diving is our first concern and Kasai provides consistently great diving, with safety conscious dive guides who really know the area and can find all kinds of great creatures (Felix has been our guide for the last two trips, but Tata, the dive manager, Alex, and Chris also do a great job), helpful staff (from boat crew to Allan in the compressor room providing us with chairs in the shade to analyze nitrox tanks). They handled our gear (except wetsuits, masks, computers) – from transporting to the boat to cleaning after the dives. Some of the amazing things we saw include dragon sea moth, solar boxfish, map puffer, mushroom coral pipefish, ornate ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, and frogfish. Turtles were abundant! On many dives we saw 5 or more (and one dive, we saw all 5 at once – so we weren’t seeing 1 turtle 5 times) .
Even though we spend most of the day underwater or getting ready to go underwater or cleaning up from being underwater, we do appreciate the rest of the resort staff who make us feel so welcome and take care of us so well. We love to stop at the bar on the way to dinner and chat with Pablo while we enjoy the ocean breezes and sunset. The restaurant/bar is well-managed by Ceto and restaurant staff (from chef Bebe and her helpers to servers Edz, Hermes, Rhanz, and Linda) prepare wonderful meals and go out of their way to remember what we like and how we like it. Owners Michael and Lydia Pettersson live on the property and oversee every aspect of the resort.
Finally the beautiful location is well worth several visits. The resort is small (12 rooms), but the rooms are large and very comfortable. Most have a view of the ocean; others are near the pristine pool. Ocean view rooms are oriented so that guests have a lot of privacy on their porches (with comfortable seating). Improvements are always underway at the resort. The pier (about 600 feet since it’s so shallow) will be finished soon. We were able to use the new stairs in April and they are really easy to climb – even with gear on. This makes shore diving so much easier. For boat diving, the banca boats can pull up to the pier and guests can step off and on without getting wet. When the end of the pier is finished, there will be a covered seating area. And speaking of banca boats, they commissioned a new, much larger boat that was almost finished when we were there and is probably already in the water. It has been designed with divers in mind. I am looking forward to diving from it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The resort is perfectly suited for diving and other water sporting activities. On exciting excursions with jungle trips, cave exploring, motorcycle riding in the mountains, hill walking to the waterfalls and hot springs and much more, you will get to know the diversity of the amazing Island of Cebu. Alternatively, Kasai Village Resort is equally suited for romantics and those who just want to relax. We believe that YOU deserve to have a great and relaxing vacation with your family or friends. The friendly and luxurious atmosphere of the resort gives you the chance to get away from the everyday stress and get into island time. We will make our best to give you the holiday you deserve and dream of. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Kasai Village Dive And Spa Resort
- Kasai Village Dive Hotel Moalboal
- Kasai Village Dive & Spa Resort Moalboal, Philippines - Cebu Island