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Reviews (241)
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All reviewsasia diversdive operationbarrel bardive sitespoolside roomrecommend elocean view rooms aregreat job guysgreat divingdiving tripwalk in closetbit worndiving shopexcellent tripsoft coralsceiling fanthe air conditioning
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Reviewed 22 October 2012

I brought a party of 10 of mixed nationalities and ages and everyone loved their week stay at El Galleon. Service was top notch and the food, view and location were perfect.
Asia Diver's was extremely professional and after seeing the other operations and speaking with other travelers, by far the best option for scuba divers. Our dive instructor Peter, was the "instructor of the year" in our book and a wonderful person and gifted teacher. He was so exceptional we are already planning another trip and further developing our dive qualifications with him.
Great hotel, great staff, great teachers.
Thank you El Galleon/Asia Divers for giving all of us a vacation we'll never forget!

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Leif R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 October 2012

This is an overdue review of El Galleon and Asia Divers, the attached dive shop, where I had the pleasure of diving on two different visits over the past few months. I came for the diving, and the dive operation is orderly and professional and really runs like clockwork. Four dives a day, good instructors/dive masters, plenty of equipment if you didn't bring your own gear, good boats and support staff, nitrox or regular air, and fantastic dive sites.

I have been based in Manila recently and this is a destination that is relatively easy to get to by ground transport and boat (the staff will help you arrange if you'd rather not use low cost options like the Sikap bus+ferry), 2-3 hrs each way, so it makes it entirely practical/plausible just to come for the weekend and get a few good dives in. But there's enough dive sites to make it a great week long+ place to spend a dive vacation.

The rooms are clean and nice, perfectly adequate if, like me, you are spending most of your time in the water. The chefs are top notch and I really enjoyed the food and a relatively diverse menu given the location. The bar on top of the dive shop is the place to be for happy hour.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled solo
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Thank N_bay_tk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 October 2012

I spent 19 hours on two planes, 2 hours by car in Manila and 1 hour by boat to get to this dive resort. I expected something that would be worth my while and it exceeded my expectation.

The resort is beautiful - right on the beach. The room is clean and comfortable. I had the basic room (no Ritz Carlton) but it worked just fine for me. The resort staff was pleasant and friendly. Everyone was happy to be working there. As soon as the boat docked, the staff grabbed my bags and took them to my room. Check-in took less than a minute. They were waiting for me. 

The food there was incredible. Great local food (pancit for one) and Indian food. They have a French chef that was wonderful. The meals were delicious and reasonably priced. The hotel has a bar that overlooks the water and the view was great.

The diving was very different from what you get in the Caribbean.

The dive operation is Asia Divers. The dive staff and the entire operation was top notch. They put most (actually all) dive operations in the Caribbean to shame. There is a dock that is the largest I have ever seen. It has storage spaces for up to 100 divers at any given time. There were no more than 20 divers when I was there. You handed the dive staff your gear and you don't have to worry about it for your entire stay. They haul it to the boat and clean it for you when you are done. For Nitrox divers, they even analyze the tanks in your presence and you sign off on it. Asia Divers is right next to the resort and it is the BEST run dive operations I have ever seen in my 40 years of diving. The dive masters (Josh, Eric, Alli, Ruben and Jamie) all know how to show divers macro sea life. Alli even dived with a magnifying glass to look for the really small stuff. You get a hot face towel after you surface and when you get to the dock, they hand you a warm towel. The boats were never too crowded and we did back flip entries in a highly organized manner. with the exception of Verde Island, all dive sites are close to the resort so you don't sit in the boat for a hour to get to the dive site.



What you see in the Philippines are very different from the Caribbean. You see very colorful feather soft corals, huge black frog fish (the size of a cat), eels, electric clams that buzz away at 70 feet underwater, gigantic clams, large cuttle fish, lots of nudibranchs and of course Nemo! I saw a juvenile sweetlips swimming like crazy to fend off potential predators. 

The visibility was not very good the week I was there due to some rough weather the week before. But as Jamie was saying, if you are shooting macros, you don't need much visibility. The currents at some sites could be tricky and unpredictable. You will find yourself swimming against the current more often than you are used to.

The dives at Verde Island is especially treacherous. It is definitely not for inexperienced divers. In fact, the dive masters will not take any newly certified divers to Verde Island. The current was extremely strong and could easily lift up or push down a diver 30 or 40 feet in a few seconds. At another dive (canyon wall), I had to abort after narrowly missed smashing my face against a huge coral reef with the current pushing me towards it at great speed. It pulled me down 30 feet in a split second and the viz was near zero and I lost all visual contact with my dive party. I aborted the dive. That's where training and experience came in handy. Several very experienced divers also came close to aborting their dives.



Some other dives were very smooth and tranquil. We were just drifting along with a slight current at 60 to 70 feet and seeing all that beautiful sea life passing by.



In sum, I cannot say enough good things about the resort and the dive operation. They are true professionals. You will also meet lots of people from Hong Kong, Australia and Asia.

Room Tip: I picked the pool side room. Not too many stairs to climb.
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank Norman W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2012

The hotel is basic. Clean, well equipped and well located. Staff are friendly and pleasant.

I completed the Discover Scuba course this morning and it was excellent. Pete is a friendly, professional instructor, and I really enjoyed the course. The ocean dive at the end of the program sealed the deal. I'll be back for more.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled solo
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Thank ChristopherDillon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2012

My second time in El Galleon and it dawned on me this time what is special about this combined resort & dive shop. Total relaxation mixed with total professionalism. It's like being one of the family when you're there and you are treated like it. No hassle, no pressure, go at your own pace and fantastic Asia Divers Dive Instructors. Thanks to Pete and Ian the Boat Crews, thanks to all the girls on reception and behind the bar and all the happy smiling waitresses each and every morning, and thanks to Alan (owner) for always having time to talk to the punters, in fact the whole team are so friendly and we just love it there. Can't wait to be back guys!! Beer at around £0:80, a main meal run at around £3:00, you can't go wrong. And the dive sites are fantastic and close to the resort.

Room Tip: Don't expect the Burj Al Arab, this is a Dive Resort and Asia Divers are part of the Set Up. Rooms are functional but clean and comfortable with air-con and mini-bar, but at local prices. in room safes, not that you need them. Go for a Sea View room with balcony. They're a bit of a climb but worth the view over the bay to the other islands. And don't be frightened to ask. Nothing here is too much trouble.
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Andy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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