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“Rustic resort, basic amenities but GREAT service!”

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Aqua Venture Reef Club
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Mabini
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
90 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
“Rustic resort, basic amenities but GREAT service!”
Reviewed 2 November 2009

We stayed with Aqua Venture in late October, arriving on a Saturday and stayed till Thursday. The resort gets crowded during the weekends as the locals in Manila usually drive to Anilao (3-4 hour drive depending on traffic) for a weekend of diving. On Monday everyone in the resort was gone except for the four of us!

The rooms are rustic and basic. Only towels and hand soap are provided. The aircon was rattling very loudly but after a day of diving I was too tired to care. I encountered a cockroach and several millipedes in the room during my stay but since I was hanging at the porch next to the sea I didn't really mind.

Where Aqua Venture really shines is the service. Everyone from the cleaner to the chef to the manager is friendly and always smiling. When we had the whole resort to ourselves we received even more attention from them! The food buffet was great with a large variety. When it was just the four of us left, they served the dishes to our table directly, and what a feast we had. Every meal there is at least four different dishes and we got the occasional whole fish - steamed or fried.

There is free Wi-Fi which you get the strongest signal at the dining area but you can also get a relatively strong signal at the porch/bar area and also in the rooms, depending on how far you are.

The swimming pool is very well-maintained and I had a dip there when it got too hot to sun bathe. The snorkeling off the resort isn't fantastic as it tends to be rocky but we still spotted pretty awesome stuff like lionfish, pipefish, plenty of reef fish - wrasse, damsel, anthias, butterfly fish, moorish idol, etc and even the occasional moray eel.

The diving was not too bad. I was very concerned that the boats anchor directly on the reef, killing corals as a result but it seems it is the practice in Anilao. Our dive master gave me a shock when he steps on corals whenever he wants to - no respect for the underwater world whatsoever. I did give the feedback to the diving manager and hopefully something will be done. Otherwise, the corals are healthy and fish plentiful.

In summary, it's a great place for a few days' getaway and definitely great for scuba-divers who want to chalk up dives and gain confidence and experience. Just don't expect the big pelagics although whale sharks were once seen in this area.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank greenflubber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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51 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Horn Lake
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 28 June 2009

The staff and the level of service are what make this hotel such a pleasure. The rooms are kept clean, but very basic with no frills - no TV or phone in the room - very rustic feel to the place. Amenities are few at the resort - there is a lounge area with white dry-erase type board used for scuba classes, small TV, and WiFi (you may pick it up in your room depending on the proximity). There are also some kayaks (the assistant manager Alphi escorted my daughter kayaking and snorkling one afternoon), and I believe some board games and VHS movies. The location is remote so the electricity is not too reliable - the generator kicks on shortly after power is lost, but in the rainy season power seemed to fail almost daily when the heavy rain and strong winds picked up.

The dining and diving is where the staff really shines. The buffet is good with a variety of selections even for a picky eater like myself. Our stay was basically in the beginning of the off season so occupancy was very light on weekdays - weekends has locals from Manila. Weekdays, instead of setting up the buffet, I was just brought plates of food - enough for 3 people it seemed - instead of setting up the buffet. The chef will adjust the menu to your liking and the food was fresh and well prepared. This may be the first place I've gained weight in the Philippines.

The diving is a real treat - your gear is set up once with the staff so they know how you like it, after that is rinsed after the dives, and then set up and loaded for the next dive trip. I'm a new diver (55 dives total) and would call the dives we did beginner to intermediate. Dives with our Divemaster (Abet) were typically with a slight current, max depth about 60-70' (we did 93' once), natural navigation, with at least 60' of visibility. The dive master will check out your comfort level, the weather and sea conditions, and recommend the dive sites accordingly. I'm sure if you had some specifics on what you want to see, they would be more than willing to try to accommodate. Bring a camera. My daughter's dive computer flooded on her first day of diving - the staff took care of locating a replacement battery and replacing her battery & o-ring. She did not dive the next day so the divemaster asked & used her computer to make sure it was OK before returning it to her gear.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank T2scuba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gilroy, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 May 2008

Located quite nearer. Beachfront is full of motorized boats used by scuba divers as a take-off point so there is no beachfront area for swimming and snorkelling. Beds squeek... great buffet food and service anyway.

  • Liked — Food
  • Disliked — No beachfront for swimming and snorkelling
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank FilipinoMaleTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Ga
Level Contributor
27 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2008

Nice hotel with good food. They use local contractors for all diving. Diving is the only thing to do here. The hotel is not close to town, so all meals will be at the hotel. The meals are all buffet and expensive. When we went to check out, the price doubled on the room. We refused to pay the double rate and eventually just left.

  • Liked — The diving
  • Disliked — Them attempting to overcharge me
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 5166narda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Aqua Venture Reef Club

Property: Aqua Venture Reef Club
Address: Anilao, Mabini, Luzon, Philippines
Region: Philippines > Luzon > Calabarzon Region > Batangas Province > Mabini
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Hotels in Mabini
Number of rooms: 145
Also Known As:
Aqua Venture Reef Club Batangas, Philippines - Mabini

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