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“Service with a Smile”

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Magic Island Dive Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Perth, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Service with a Smile”
Reviewed 23 June 2014 via mobile

5 days diveing here, what a great resort,the breakfast staff were amazing ,day 2 early morning checking out the view a girl turns up goodmorning here is your cup of Tea, a pleasure to stay here, super friendly staff a very relaxing enviorment

Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank VirgAl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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166 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Den Bosch, The Netherlands
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2014

I only spend 4 days at Magic Island as Island Hopping was the best way to see the Philippines. After 4 days we did not want to leave! We had not seen all the dive sites, we did not finish the menu card and for sure did not finish the cocktail card.
The Philippine staff is very friendly and talkative, something we really appreciated. It does not matter if you are in the bar or the dive center, everyone is nice to you. As I am not a very experienced diver, I expected that my husband could all dives but for me there would be a lot of reading as often happens in other places. No way! The dive crew took really care of me and I surprised myself with 3 dives a day!
With regret we left after 4 days, but for sure we come back!

Room Tip: The bungalows in the front have native windows which makes it prefect dark inside for sleeping
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Marionne66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2014

I was in Moal Boal in April 2014 and stayed in the Magic Island Dive Resort for a bit more than a week. The food is very good and the staff open and friendly, they know your first name after a day, which makes you feel quite familiar. The surroundings are very peaceful, in and out of the resort and there are beautiful landscapes! As a beginner (I did my first dives in Thailand and Egypt), I find there are great dive spots, an opinion shared with experienced divers I talked to. There are several beautiful big sea turtles, the sardine dive on Pescador Island is amazing, so as the trip to the whale sharks I snorkeled with, a must! But there is also a lot to discover staying at the housereef. The guides are friendly, funny, helpful and patient. I really couldn't complain about anything and will definetely come back, thanks to the crew for the warm welcoming :) Hope you're doing all fine! Greets from Luxembourg!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank valb13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 May 2014

We had been travelling around the Philippines for a while before arriving at Magic Island Resort. This was the seventh resort/hotel we had stayed at this stage of our trip. The resort is very clean with nice rooms. After dives we spent time on sun lounges looking out to the ocean watching other dive boats, fishing boats and Pescador Island in the distance, which was really pleasant. The complementary internet connection was good everywhere in the resort.

When we arrived we were asked what we would like to drink. I thought that was a really nice touch that we could choose our welcome drink, and asked for a coke and diet coke. My partner doesn't drink coke, but they didn't have any soft drinks, and thought it didn't matter because it was a welcome drink. The drinks were were flat and I was shocked when they appeared on our bill at the end of the night.

The water pressure in the shower was very low and was hard to rinse conditioner out of your hair. We mentioned it to the owners who said they would have it checked out, but it didn’t improve.

The meals are very expensive, especially compared to everywhere else we have stayed in the Philippines. A vegetarian burger cost AU$12 and wasn’t that large. They didn’t sell soft drink cans. You could buy Coke or Coke Light which had been poured from a bottle. Even when a new bottle was opened, it was flat straight away and was more expensive than Coke we had bought in cans at other resorts. Each night was a set menu which cost around AU$25. If you didn’t want the set menu you had to advise the kitchen by 4.00pm and what you would like to order for dinner. Most days we haven’t finished lunch by 3.00pm due to the morning dives and had no idea what we wanted for dinner. There were days we were asked before we had even ordered lunch what we were doing for dinner. For the prices they charged you should be able to make your choice at dinner time. We were told the reason they needed to know by 4.00pm was so they could defrost the tuna steak, etc. The fish wasn’t even catch of the day, even though we could see local fishermen everywhere. I ordered an egg sandwich a couple of days in a row for lunch and asked for ketchup on the sandwich instead of mayonnaise. The first day it came with mayonnaise, when I mentioned to the waitress, she bought me a bowl of ketchup, which wasn’t the point. I don’t like mayonnaise. The second day I tried to be very clear saying I didn’t want mayonnaise on the sandwich, but it still came with mayonnaise. And then again on the third day. We had read on Tripadvisor that the food was expensive, but didn’t mind because we thought it must be better quality, which it wasn’t.

We emailed the resort in advance saying we wanted to dive Pesador Island, see the sardines and do the Mandarin fish dive. We weren’t interested in the local dives. So we were shocked when the dive manager told us they didn’t go to Pesador island. That should have been something we were told before they accepted our booking and asked for payment in advance. We got to do one dive at Pesador island and the others were all on Moalboal Wall which were all very similar. Each dive we saw one really interesting thing like a frogfish, pygmy seahorse or ghost pipe fish, but compared to the other places we dived in the Philippines we were seeing something out of the ordinary every couple of minutes. Some of the coral garden beds were extremely beautiful. Others were much damaged. I had asked to do some dives left of the resort where there was some muck diving for some variety, but they never went there.

The dive boats are quite small so you get splashed by the waves and can’t get out of the wind, so I was very cold by the time we arrived at the dive sites even though I was zipped up in my 5mm wetsuit. If the sun wasn’t out during the surface interval I was freezing by the time we did the second dive. I suggest bringing a spray jacket if you get cold. Everywhere else we dived had bigger boats with toilets on board, so you could bring dry clothes.

The gate to Magic Island Resort is right next to Turtle Bay Resort, so we were able to buy soft drink can from Turtle Bay and have dinner in their restaurant. Other than Turtle Bay Resort, there is nothing really within walking distance. He resort is also very small so it felt really clausaphobic.

The resort airport transfers were a lot more expensive that what we paid anywhere in Cebu and the rest of the Philippines, but would pay since we thought they would be the experts in knowing travelling times etc. We had a 10.00am flight and had shown our ticket to the office, because everywhere else we stayed wanted our flight details so they could double check there were no changes, so we were told our pick up time would be 7.00am. At 9.00am when we should have been checking in at the airport I was very nervous and asked the driver how far we were from the airport. He responded one hour away. He gave us his phone to call Magic Island. It was the only flight to our destination that day, so we couldn’t book on a later flight. We never received an apology or any follow up communication from Magic Island.

I had a massage and foot scrub. Anita, the foot scrub lady was amazing and took great pride in making my feet and toe nails look great. The massage wasn’t strong enough, even though I ask about three times for it to be stronger, so I was really frustrated, not relaxed by the end of it. The massage area wasn't very private.

The resort seemed really popular with Dutch, who did repeat trips there, but didn’t travel anywhere else.

Maybe if we hadn’t stayed at any other dive resorts in the Philippines and Asia this place might have seemed amazing. But knowing the quality of diving, cost of accommodation, cost and quality of food elsewhere it was disappointing. This was the only place we stayed in six weeks which didn’t have ocean views.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
7 Thank AusFrequentTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rockhampton, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2014

after an overnight flight we arrived to what looked like a fairly pleasant place, however our first encounter was with the so called dive supervisor, rude , stand offish and basically negative from word go, no clue how to deal with people and showed little to no respect for people who had extremely high qualifications and experience, fundamentally treated as brand new beginner divers. From this first meeting the trend with the expat staff continued and we felt as though we were unwelcome guests in a private house. The mattresses were so hard that the wooden floor became an attractive option after the third night of waking up with spasms i our lower back, the final two nights i actually slept better on the floor. The "divemasters" are actually not that even though they are advertised as being that, they are what appears to be hastily trained rescue divers, while as locals they were friendly and charming they lacked the education, experience and skill that comes with proper training, with 3 qualified instructors owning and operating the resort it was disappointing to learn the staff were not being afforded proper opportunity. The Dive briefings were basic and the picture on the board never changed just the name of the site, on one particular dive there is a cave that has a significant current leading into it, this was not mentioned during the brief, and the "dive master" did not even notice when i entered, a beginner diver would have ended up in serious trouble in the same situation. The diving generally was average, while there were a few interesting things, both the coral and marine critters can be seen elsewhere in better condition and more prolific. The food while being quite good was overpriced and undersized, the same meals 3 times the size for half the price can be found a ten minute tricycle ride in the main drag of town. The local staff were the only redeeming feature, friendly and charming they were a delight, but as far as management and operation go after 23 years diving, training and traveling, I have not seen one this bad.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank lattitude2027
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2014

I have the privilege of experiencing Magic Island Dive Resort from two different aspects, one as a diver/customer staying with and two as a dive shop owner bringing a group of divers to the resort. From the beginning it was clear to us Magic Island is the resort we wanted to visit. We narrowed our results to two operators in the Philippines. We met Arie and Desiree first, the owners of Magic Island, and that was it. We didn't even talk with the second. Later I found out the other operator we were considering is also excellent, but different.

As a group leader Magic Island is a dream. From working with Arie and Desiree to book the resort, to finalizing everything and the details along the way with Concheng, the resort manager or as we called here The Lady. Because we were a larger group (20), I had people arriving from different places at different times. Even when I was going mad keeping it all together, Concheng never missed a beat, was patient and extremely helpful. Needles to say, before even getting there, I was excited about the experience here from a service standpoint.

As a group leader I take pride in finding great places and resorts for my guests to enjoy. My customers' experience is my responsibility. Usually it is not a difficult task. We go to cool places with great people and we all love diving. Magic Island's staff, however, created something different. They took service to a different level, and most of the people on the trip expressed to me how this was the greatest dive experience and maybe vacation of their life.

We arrived at 4 am to the resort. They arranged picking us up at Cebu airport. It was pretty easy and straight forward. The drive to the resort is about 2.4 to 3 hours depending on when you arrive. We had no traffic at 2 am and the drive, I thought, was pretty cool. Upon arriving at the resort (12 of the 20 of us) there were maybe 10 staff members still awake and awaiting our arrival. You would think a couple people would check you in and then you would get some sleep. Not if you didn't want to. They had some amazing snacks for us prepped at 4 am and drinks. Each of the staff took the time to introduce themselves by name and learn our names. Imagine, they have about 34 or 37 staff members. By the second or third day each one of them knew most of the guests names, and the staff that interacted with us regularly, knew all 20 of our names. I love that!

Within a short time, they knew what we liked to drink, eat, etc. The best part of getting up in the morning is coming down to the water and not even being asked how I would like my coffee, it just came to me the way I loved it every morning. I heard that from many people in my group. The food and drinks at this place are incredible. The meals prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner blew my taste buds away. If you have a dietary limitation, they will do their best to make sure you still eat well. We had a few vegetarians in the group who claimed it was the best vegetarian food ever. Gluten free was a struggle at first, but they were determined to get it down and they did.

So we have ridiculously good food, unimaginable service and we have not even started diving. The first day, as all my dive trips seem to go, was a bit of chaos as we learned their system. The best thing is, they just let us be in our chaos and were always there to answer questions, assist with gear, tanks or anything you wanted. I'm pretty sure if I asked, they would have had someone kick my legs for me while diving. Which bring me to the diving and their way of running the dive operation.

This trip was my first trip diving east Asia. I found the diving to be indescribable. I very much love the big, pelagic animals of the Socorro Islands and was worried about 10 days of macro diving. I have to tell you, i was hooked after day 1. Every single dive I would come up having seen something I have never seen before. Every dive. And I would listen to the other divers and see their pictures. I realized when I left it would be a miracle if I saw .01% of the critters they have all within 3 to 20 minute boat rides. The guides all take their time and make it a point to point out things and wait for everyone to see. Ok granted, our photographers and non photographers butted heads a few times as to who really is the king of the ocean, but all is squared away and everyone is a photographer ;) On the boats they always had coffee, bananas and fresh mango for us. The mangoes are spectacular. The crew is fun and joke with us. By the end of the trip, I really felt we were visiting family and friends and going diving. The best part, you literally can dive 24/7. We did early dawn dives, late night dives. It doesn't matter. We just let them know, and they make it happen. My favorite sites FYI are Gobi Point and Pescador Island at night. Gobi just rocks.

Besides the diving, they arranged a day of snorkeling with Whale Sharks for us. It was a great experience to be with them, but a bit overcrowded and . . . That said, not Magic Island's control. The day they took us there they even brought fruit, coffee, towels. Everything they do is above and beyond. One day we hiked the Kawasan Falls. An awesome, awesome, awesome trip. Make sure you can handle starting at level 6 if you decide to do it. Our entire group decided to do level 6. With each other's help and mainly the guides, we did it. Again, at the end, you are at this beautiful waterfall and they prepare an impressive BBQ for you. You hike back to the jeepnies and back at the resort for more diving.

I get it. Like any place, I could sit here and say they could do this, or do that, but what do I know. I spent 10 days there and would go back and spend another 100 if they let me. As a customer, I felt treated like royalty. In the world of service, they would get 7 out of 5 stars. The accommodations are perfect! The rooms are clean, elegant and simple. No TVs in the room, which is great. I didn't spend much time in there anyway. I found the beds very comfy. For me, the rooms had everything I needed, nothing more and nothing less. The arrangement of the resort is excellent. It's a smaller cozy place, but it is easy to get away from the group if you like. I force my guests to be together 24/7 so that didn't matter ;).

If all the resort's ammenities are not enough, no problem. Want a massage. Great. They will arrange it for you whenever you want and the masseur comes to the resort and rejuvenates your dive tired body. Want a mani or pedi cure, no problem. Want to rent a motorcycle for the day, great they will arrange it. They really are there for you to have an unforgettable experience. I never heard the words "No Problem" so often in my life when making requests. As you can see, as a group leader, this was easy for me. My guests were so well take care of, I could have slept the 10 days I was there, and they still would have felt I put together a gem of a trip.

So to Arie, Desiree, Concheng, Joe and the entire team. Thank you! you deserve more than 5 dots filled in, but if represents maximum spectacularism, you earned it.Hope to see you soon.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank ScubaRami
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nieuwendijk, The Netherlands
Level 6 Contributor
437 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 198 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 April 2014

We have stayed here several times. This resort is beautifully situated on the shore at Moalboal on the island of Cebu. It is small but well maintained, decorated with many flowers, a beautiful pool and an excellent restaurant. Both the (Dutch) owners and the staff are friendly on all fronts. The food is sometimes simple but always delicious, with lots of fresh produce, and both the menu and the daily special offer sufficient possibilities.
The cabins are cozy and the beds are good. However, you sometimes startled awake as the Tokay Geckos make noise at night, but it never lasts long and it's a beautiful sound (we still miss).
The resort is patronized mostly by Dutch guests.
The resort is a great dive. The trips by boat are well organized and the diving is superb. There is also a beautiful house reef.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Fedor-and-Rivka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Magic Island Dive Resort

Property: Magic Island Dive Resort
Address: Tongo, Basdiot, Moalboal 6032, Philippines
Region: Philippines > Visayas > Cebu Island > Moalboal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 35 Speciality Lodging in Moalboal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Magic Island Dive Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Away from the masses, you'll have a wonderful stay in one of our ten cottages. Enjoy a great dinner in our restaurant or have a drink on our terrace with its magnificent view of Pescador Island. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Magic Island Dive Hotel Moalboal
Magic Island Dive Resort Moalboal, Philippines - Cebu Island

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