Atlantis Azores Malapascua - Cebu Trip
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“One Week on Land and One Week on Water”
Reviewed: September 2015
I spent an amazing two weeks on the Atlantis properties. The first week we lodged at the resort in Dumaguete and the second week aboard the Azores.
The Atlantis in Dumaguete has everything you need in a dive resort. When we arrive in Manila, the Atlantis staff greeted us in the international terminal and helped transfer us to the domestic terminal to Dumaguete. The staff was also waiting to collect us in Dumaguete and transferred us to the resort.
My room in Dumaguete was spacious, had 24/7 hot water shower, TV with local and English channels, and mini-refrigerator. Outside the room, there were 2 chairs, table and drying rack. The restaurant, which is situated on the beach, had tasty menu and fine selection of drinks.
The diving is great in Dumaguete is great especially if macro photography or video is your thing. The dive masters are very friendly and knowledgeable. The Atlantis has several boats to take divers to various sites. The dive shop is quite organized, upon arrival, you are assigned a large bin for to store your dive gear and hang your gear.
The spa on the resort was quite affordable and service was great for a post dive massage.
Aboard the Azores, the same level of service was delivered. The boat was very spacious with lots of areas to relax. The rooms were good for a liveaboard. The food varied and was tasty. Dive masters were quite friendly and helpful. There was ample space to charge photo and video gear plus an area to soak equipment in fresh water and air guns to help move sediments.
We did the Bohol tour, which was good. However, I was told the best tour is the seasonal Tubbbataha tour… just gives me another reason to return.
During the 2 weeks, I executed 44 enjoyable dives and would more than happily return to any Atlantis property.
Room Tip: Ask for an high floor ocean front room
Our exciting Malapascua – Cebu charter offers some of the best diving in the Philippines, including Sumilon Island, Pescador Island & Malapascua’s Gato Island, home of a sea crate protected breeding sanctuary. This charter includes another Malapascua favorite, Monad Shoal, known for frequent sightings of thresher sharks as well as manta rays. In addition to these pelagic species, the Malapascua area offers a wide variety of critter diving not to mention abundant reefs and wall diving. Leaving Malapascua, we head to Calanggaman Island, one of Philippines most beautiful islands. Next we head to Bohol for again a wide variety of reef, wall & critter diving as well as some land tour opportunities for those so inclined. As a Grand Finale we finish the itinerary on the dramatic walls of Balicasag, one of our favorite dives.
This itinerary is hard to beat if you want a wide variety of locations as well as incredible diving.
Dive Day Schedule
- Day 1: OSLOB AND SUMILON
- Day 2: MOALBOAL
- Day 3: PESCADOR ISLAND
- DAY 4 & 5: GATO ISLAND, MONAD SHOAL & MALAPASCUA
- DAY 6: MONAD SHOAL & CALANGGAMAN ISLAND
- DAY 7: BALICASAG
- DAY 8: PANGLAO
- DAY 9: HALF A DAY DIVING IN EITHER APO ISLAND/ SIQUIJOR
- DAY 10: DISEMBARKATION 8AM
Day 1: Oslob & Sumilon
We begin our journey snorkeling Oslob with the gentle giants, the Whale Sharks. We then spend the rest of the day diving around tranquil Sumilon Island, surrounded by crystal clear waters and pristine white sandy beaches. Look out for… exquisite coral gardens and drop-offs. ‘Might sees’ in this area include manta rays and sting rays, barracudas, sea turtles and snakes and very occasionally whale sharks and hammerheads.
Day 2: Moalboal
Impressive drop-offs and bottomless walls, divers enjoy the beautiful hard and soft corals. Look out for…. tropical reef fish, nudibranchs, turtles, and barracudas.
Day 3: Pescador Island
Rated as one of the Philippines top dive sites for many years this small island is just a couple of miles due west of Moalboal. The exhilarating scene is set by a small plateau that surrounds the island before it drops vertically into the abyss. The wall is literally teeming with life; frog fish, stonefish, barracuda and turtles are common but the real draw is the sardine run and a chance of a thresher! After diving, we cruise to Malapascua.
Day 4 & 5: Gato Island, Monad Shoal & Malapascua
A sanctuary and protected breeding location for the beautiful sea krait (sea snake) with its resident whitetip sharks, Gato is a great introduction to Malapascua and one of the Philippine’s most talked about dive locations. The island is alive with nudibranchs, harlequin ghost pipefish and pygmy seahorses; photographers will find it hard to choose between macro or wide angle. Malapascua’s reputation has grown due to the frequent close up encounters with thresher sharks & manta rays at Monad Shoal. These mesmerizing creatures are a highlight to any trip. Rather than having a pre-dawn start from area resorts, Azores will be parked right on top as you enjoy a morning coffee.
Day 6: Monad Shoal & Calanggaman Island
The perfect paradise island with its white beaches blue waters, Calanggaman offers beautiful wall diving with an abundance of small creatures, and the occasional rays and sharks. This is an excellent opportunity for a beach day, in which we offer a beach BBQ lunch.
Day 7: Balicasag
A flat island four kilometers southwest of the Duljo Point; the sandy coralline beach is a site to behold. Look out for… jacks, mackerel and barracudas often seen in abundance as well as large groupers, napoleon wrasses and snappers hiding in the over hangs of the dramatic multi-hundred foot vertical walls. Look out for… turtles, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, eagle & manta rays, schooling barracuda and trevally, frog fish, ghost pipe fish, pygmy and thorny seahorses, plus many different species of nudibranch, among dramatic walls and reefs.
Day 8: Panglao/Visit Bohol Chocolate Hills
Look out for turtles, barracuda and trevally, frogfish, ghost pipefish, pygmy and thorny seahorses, plus many different species of nudibranch along the reef. After two morning dives a land excursion to Bohol’s renowned Chocolate Hills. They look like giant mole hills covered with grass, turning to magnificent chocolate brown at the end of the dry season. We also visit the Tarsiers, the world’s smallest primate, and a unique butterfly farm. You can finish by walking down Alona Beach, famous for its white coral sand.
Day 9: Half a day diving in either Apo Island/Siquijor
We will dive either Apo Island or Siquijor based on conditions. Apo Island is one of the world’s best known community-organized marine sanctuaries. The island is home to over 650 documented species of fish and estimated to have over 400 species of corals.
Siquijor is called Isla del Fuego or the “Island of Fire” and look out for… superb hard and soft corals, fusiliers, many nudibranchs, clown fish, parrot fish, schools of juvenile barracuda and razor fish. Super pristine walls abound!