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All reviews marine life boat crew dive resort flamboyant cuttlefish rinse tanks drying rack special meal requests before departure great manager drinking water spent a week pygmy seahorses cleaned daily in great condition other guests single bed great diving
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2 - 7 of 79 reviews
Reviewed 27 December 2018

my wife and I came to magic oceans for the first time in 2015. i reviewed this resort back then. some photos were posted. in 2015, there were not so many guests. the resort was pretty new to diving community.

coming here in at the end of 2018, I see that the resort has constant roll over of guests. it seems like the resort runs in almost full capacity. however, the operation is very smooth. the resort is still pretty quiet and relaxing.

I post some photos. the resort is very well kept. there are more professionals running the resort, especially the dive shop. our room is in perfect condition. food is always excellent.

I do recommend this resort and another magic resort.

Room tip: room 1, 2, 3 ocean front.
Date of stay: December 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank therealmro56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 12 November 2018

We spent a week at the resort in late October and it was spectacular. However I will caution that the resort is not for everyone. If you are seeking a place where you can partake in nightly entertainment, party, easy access to shops and stores and interact with lots of different people, this resort would not be for you.

For fellow travelers like us that are seeking an opportunity to get away, relax, unwind and dive it is absolutely perfect. I think overall this resort was the most relaxing trip we have had. The daily interaction with the owner and resort manager is nice as you know they are in tune with the resort as well as guest needs.

The resort is located roughly 2 hours from Tagbilraun (don’t judge based on distance as it took us two hours to reach the resort coming and going, though I believe it is only around 70 km). When one arrives you pick up your luggage and proceed outside where Magic Oceans staff had our names on a sign. We quickly loaded our luggage and were on the road in a very clean, comfortable and air conditioned resort vehicle. The arrivals in Tagbilraun airport was interesting. It is a very small arrivals area with a tiny conveyor belt. The woman’s washroom only has two toilet stalls and no seats on the toilets.

Be warned the last ½ km to the resort is on a rough gravel road that might have you wondering where you are headed, but rest assured there is an oasis at the end of the gravel road.

Upon arrival staff took our luggage to our room and we were met by the owner and staff. A lovely watermelon drink and home made chips awaited us at the bar where the ins and outs of the resort were reviewed and paper work was completed. Shortly into the trip all the staff knew us by name.

The resort including pool, bungalows, dining area, dive shop, etc. are extremely clean and well maintained both inside and out. The bungalow and resort pictures online are accurate. Free wifi is accessible throughout the resort including in the bungalows. Sometimes it was slow to load but overall was very reliable compared to many areas of the Philippines. I will go over a fair bit of detail in my review as I am a planner when it comes to travel so strive to answer questions that I had related to my trip for other travelers. If you opt to stop reading at this point rest assured the resort, staff, food and dive shop are fabulous and I struggled to identify negative aspects of the resort in order to offer what might be viewed as a balanced review.

The resort uses a great system of collective tip distribution. When you check out you leave whatever tip you feel is appropriate in the tip box located in the office and it is distributed between all the stay on a monthly basis. This enables everyone (grounds keepers included) to benefit from the tips. By splitting it up monthly it ensures income 12 months of the year.

Booking, arrival process and checkout

The response to my questions prior to booking online was very fast, thorough and helpful. Their booking confirmation was great and a week before travel we received an email with tips and tricks and information on the area.

Staff were waiting at the airport with our name on a placard and we were on our way quickly. Only recommendation would be to provide a bottle of water in the vehicle. We found that after a long overseas flight, making our way out of a hot arrivals area into extreme Philippine heat we were thirsty and found the 2 hour drive long when parched. We could have likely asked the driver to stop for a water but he was not talkative at all and in normal Canadian culture we did not want to impose.
Check out was very quick. The itemized receipt they provide is excellent and included the stay, diving, meals and drinks along with the massage we booked. You can pay with USD, PHP or credit card. Though there is a 5% Credit Card surcharge which we were notified of at the time of booking.

The bungalows are non smoking which was greatly appreciated. The bungalows are great and extremely clean. We were in #12 and it was spacious and immaculate. The room contained a king sized bed which was surprisingly comfortable given the foam mattress and a single bed that doubles as a couch / belongings storage area. A good sized bar refrigerator, a tea kettle with two glass mugs and coffee / tea and fixings. Mini bar items are available at all cost the equivalent of $2USD (snacks, pop and beer). The electronic safe worked well but was too small for a laptop. However we never once worried about having the laptop out in our room. The end tables, desk and chair were great to have. The closet had around 10 hangers and lots of shelves for your belongings. The bathroom is spacious. Toiletries are provided and yes, there is on demand hot water. The balcony has great bamboo chairs with cushions, a table and most appreciated a drying rack and baskets for your diving gear. The key to the bungalow is on the same ring as the card that needs to be ever encountered and very effective. There is no television in the room but to be honest we didn’t even notice. We had no issues with bugs, ants, etc. The dark out curtains were definitely a bonus as were screens on the windows. A fillable water bottle is placed in the room and you can refill it at the bar, kitchen or dive shop. There was one bottle when we arrived and the next day cleaning staff left us an extra one which was ideal for two people. You are asked not to drink the tap water. Power is 220 but the plug ins accommodate both north American and 220 V plug types. The room had a good number of plugs in, something rarely found in other places we have visited. Beach towels are provided in the room and can be exchanged at the kitchen whenever you would like a new one.

The only negatives I could find for the bungalow and it is a stretch is the 4 steps leading into the bungalow are an extremely high step compared to what we are familiar with. It was fine, but for someone with knee issues I would suggest you ask for a bungalow that is at ground level, which there are many. Our view was more than worth the few high steps. Also there is only one small blanket (does not cover the width of the bed) so for someone like me I stole the whole blanket. My husband was fine with this but if both wanted to cover with a blanket then you would need ask for a second blanket. For some that may not have encountered before elsewhere in their travels, toilet paper is not to be flushed at the resort. Instead one is to place it in the wastebasket. This did not phase us as we have encountered it elsewhere but some guests may find this off putting.

The gated grounds are beautiful and because the resort is located off the highway and on a downward slope towards the ocean you hear absolutely no noise other than resort and wildlife sounds. The resort is small so you can see all aspects of the resort from any point on the resort. The walkways are well maintained and illuminated in the evening. There are steps down to the water. There is a beautiful sand terrace overlooking the ocean with chairs and umbrellas. We loved the unique sound of the geckos and trying to spot the bats that were eating the fruit and night and dropping the fruit pits around the resort. Mosquitoes were present in the evening but I didn’t once use bug repellant as staff had mosquito coils around the bar and restaurant area in the evenings. The pool is immaculate in both repair and cleanliness. It is deep and has a shower outside to rinse off. We are not pool people but found ourselves in it daily to get away from the heat and relax.

The bar is comfortable and informal. We are not much in the way of drinkers but my husband did enjoy the occasional bear and found the price very reasonable at around $2 USD. A couple of evenings the owner Peter gave a PowerPoint presentation on marine life. We enjoyed them and found them informative. The bar has fresh cocoanuts that you can purchase for the coconut milk as well as a hammock.

The Restaurant is open style no screens or doors but we had no trouble with birds, etc. There are couple of resident geckos but they don’t bother anyone. You can see staff preparing the meals. This area was immaculate as well. The menu selection was extensive for a resort with only 16 bungalows. I snapped photos of the menu so if you are interested just message me. For two of us meals averaged $20, not including alcoholic beverages. Water that is served is free and is filtered. We found the meals all to be good. Our package included breakfast (order from the menu) and dinner (a group meal is served from the menu they set for the day). For those that are not comfortable sharing food from a communal serving it can be a bit of an adjustment. Relax enjoy the company and know that you can ask for more food should you run short. I don’t eat fish / seafood and there were always options available for me in each menu provided. In instances when the appetizer contained seafood or fish the chef provided me with an alternate without the seafood / fish. The fresh fruit was excellent as was the bacon and pancakes (which are actually a large crepe). The restaurant also has a reading area with books you can borrow and some padded bamboo furniture. One evening there was live entertainment playing in the restaurant.

Dive Shop
The dive shop is very clean and well equipped. There are rinse bins outside the dive shop for suits, cameras, equipment, etc. Showers with soap and shampoo are on site along with hanging areas for your equipment. Staff were great and I enjoyed the fact that I could join the dive boats on the shallow dives and snorkel while my husband dove. Each day the dive sites are posted for the next day. My husband did not fit the wet suits they had (he would be an XXL around 270 lbs, five foot 10 inches). However the water is so warm that it was not an issue as he dove in his bathing suit and water shirt. The first day out he forget his dive computer in the room and as luck would have it the depth gauge on his equipment was not working. Made for an annoying dive but the second dive the dive master lent him his spare dive computer. Overall my husband indicated the equipment condition was fine and he dove with confidence. The macro finds while diving were excellent. The variety and quantities of nudibranch was phenomenal, however compared to Roatan fish numbers were low and what they saw was mostly small fish. He loved the diving. The boats for diving were excellent. The design which enables the drop down of stairs to get in were excellent and the hanging hand grips were great. The boats are in good repair and clean. There was beverages and fresh fruit provided between the two morning dives. After we checked out a record of the dives was emailed to us. As the jetty was broken divers had to wade to and from the anchored dive boat. Staff looked after the hard work of hauling out the dive equipment. Snorkelers can accompany the divers at no cost but with the exception of the last dive site located in the fish sanctuary snorkeling was not great. The reef is down too deep for macro snorkeling and the marine life so limited that without marco snorkeling it is pretty boring.

House Reef
As a seasoned snorkeler this was the greatest let down. Based on reading the website and reviews on trip advisor I was looking forward to good if not great snorkeling. However this is not the case and in fact if I was not committed to snorkeling I would have found it difficult to remain entertained for the week. I did find a few new marine life but overall the bulk of the time scouring the house reef was disappointing. Marine life is limited and the reef is in rough shape so one can’t even compensate the limited marine life with enjoying the coral. I had the greatest success with finding a few interesting things in late afternoon (3 – 5:30 pm). Tides raise and drop the water significantly so I tried snorkeling during both high and low tide, the results were the same. Most days the water was relatively calm but there is for the most part always a current present. Tips: You absolutely have to have hard soled water shoes. The beautiful new Jetty was broken by mother nature in 2018 (though they were rebuilding it while we were there). As a result you have to walk over volcanic rock that has the most sea urchins I have seen in my life in virtually every crevice. That said I really enjoyed the variety of sea urchin colours.

Things to Do
As per my opening if you are looking for a party scene, access to stores and markets, etc. this resort is not for you. It is located at least 6 km from a town and with only 16 bungalows is very relaxed and quiet (perfect for us). Aside from diving, poor snorkeling, relaxing and visiting with other guests there is nothing to do. For us this was fabulous.

I hired a tricycle to take me to the market in the nearby community. As I was traveling on my own (13 km away) the round trip inclusive of the driver waiting for me was $10 USD. Very reasonable. Traveling in the tricycle was also part of the fun. If you are wanting to offset some of your meal costs then picking up snacks, etc. in the market may be of interest to you. But to be honest with how reasonably priced food at the restaurant is, I don’t see the point.

We booked a massage at the resort which was good and very low cost. The resort makes the arrangements and the masseuse come to your bungalow to give the massage. My husband and I had one hour massages at the same time (on our bed) and total cost for both of us was $35 CDN.

Taglibraun Airport
Chaos would be the best description. Filipinos did not follow the exit one row at a time concept that we are familiar with in Canada. Airport is very small, no air conditioning in the arrivals area and chaotic at best. There is a very tiny conveyor belt with people packed so tightly and close that it is hard to get to you luggage. Exit the airport and you will find ground transportation options. Woman’s bathroom only has two stalls and the one I used had no toilet seat.

Arrivals part of the airport. Upon entering it is very chaotic with people everywhere. We proceeded to the area that said online check in. Dropping off luggage and obtaining tickets was very quick, surprisingly given the set up. We then proceeded through security in the waiting area. The area is two levels with air conditioning. The upper level had a snack area but we did not realize it till just before departure so did not check it out. Seating is crowded on hard metal chairs. Bathroom once again only had two stalls and no toilet seats. Nothing fancy but it does what it needs to do, get you on your flight.

Room tip: All rooms are great.
Date of stay: October 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank SandyTrus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MagicOceans, General Manager at Magic Oceans Dive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2018

Wow! That's the most extensive review ever!
Thank you for your effort.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 17 October 2018

20 People from our dive club spent a week diving, relaxing and sightseeing at this resort. We had a fantastic time. The staff, food, and diving were excellent. We were well taken care of. We had massages, pedicures, a band with dancing which included the staff dancing with us. They made us feel like family. We were delayed in Cebu one night after the Ferry was canceled due to weather. They made calls and accommodations & transport to a hotel for us in Cebu then picked us up again the next day, A class operation you can't go wrong with.

Date of stay: November 2017
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Miles1AnnArbor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MagicOceans, General Manager at Magic Oceans Dive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2018

Thanks for your great review!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 September 2018

I struggle with my review score, but I think the positives did outweigh the negatives. The resort takes a long time to get to once you are in the country. The resort is small so that's very nice. It has great bungalows, decent internet, its clean and the restaurant menu is very nice. The food is good, the fresh fruits are fantastic, and they have a pretty full bar. The drinks are very inexpensive. You can also get duty free at the airport if you like having a special drink in your room.
I love the open dining area and how nice it is that you can sit with others at the resort and get to know people on a daily basis.
The diving is good, lots to see. But there are some things that they need to improve on. The boats are NOT equipped with any medical supplies, oxygen, first aid, defibrillator, etc. You have to tote your gear through the iron shore onto these wooden boats, that is if the weather has been bad and they have taken apart the jetty. Otherwise, you can use the jetty to get on and off the boat. If you have to get on the boat in another location, it is a long ride in a small open truck to the dive site. It's hot and uncomfortable.
They do not wash your gear for you, they do not label the tanks, they do not even check the tanks very well to make sure the tanks are filled. They charge $8.00 a tank for Nitrox because they do not have their own mixer. They do not keep the wash bins rinsed out and filled with fresh water. So you have to either do that yourself or you have to ask them to drain and fill the bins.
The equipment in the dive locker is rusted so there are some things you cannot use, like the hoses to wash off your camera gear.
There seemed to be a whole lot of people standing around doing nothing most days when they could have been doing even small things to make the dive experience a bit better.
There was one day when things went a bit south on a dive and the boat crew seemed less than concerned about helping the divers. So, fortunately, there were some experienced divers in the group making sure things ended well for everyone.
All in all the trip was good, the staff really nice and helpful. But they certainly need to tighten their diving crew and the way they manage the dive gear, safety, and equipment on the boat etc.

Room tip: The bungalows 14-10 near the pool are the best
Date of stay: August 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank Angelawr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MagicOceans, General Manager at Magic Oceans Dive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 13 September 2018

Thanks for your review.

Like Tripadvisor states, reviews are personal opinions and in general we respect opinions of our guests and try to learn from the reviews.
But every now and then there are things written down that are factually incorrect, and we feel the need to correct the information given in the review.

- There is absolutely without a doubt, ALWAYS first aid, medical supplies and emergency oxygen on board.
- We mix our own nitrox from medical oxygen tanks.
- All nitrox tanks are labelled, normal air is not.
- Every single tank is checked for pressure before it's taken out of the filling area.

We studied the rest of your review and we will evaluate it with the staff to improve our service.


Magic Oceans Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 July 2018

We loved our stay here. We were here for 7 nights in april 2018. The concept of eating all together at a large table, creates a very relaxed atmosphere. The meals were excellent and the cabins are more than big and comfortable enough. Big bonus was that everey cabins has it's own Wifi. The staff is committed and very helpful. I'm always impressed that everybodu immediately knows your name.

The diving was excellent. The dive centre is well equipped and it's staff is very helpful. We are spoiled divers who like diving in groups of max 4 persons. And that was the only minus: a few days we dived in groups of 6. And 1 or 2 diveguides had a very strict diveplan in their head. Even after we said we wanted to go slowly, slowly and needed time to take pictures, the guide stuck to his diveplan. So we let him and did our own thing.

If you like macro and muck, this is one of the better places to go to. If you like big fish, we haven't seen any. But we love macro so we had a great time and can recommend this to anyone.

Date of stay: April 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Ronald m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MagicOceans, General Manager at Magic Oceans Dive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 17 August 2018

We are a dive resort by, and for divers. Sharing experiences at the dinner table is one of the things we and most of our guests really appreciate. It makes it also easy for solo travelers to mingle.
For the people who require a bit more privacy we will of course always set up a private table if desired.

Regarding the dives and the guides, i think you made the right decision. The guides really like to show you all the specials of that dive site, but sometimes people like to spend more time at a specific spot.

Regards and warm greetings from the team!

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