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Magic Oceans Dive Resort, Bohol


Magic Oceans Dive Resort is situated on the more remote western side of Bohol Island, about 2 hours by road from Tagbilaran City. Tagbilaran City can be reached by OceanJet Ferry which sails out of Cebu City 13 times day with a transit time of 2 hours. In my opinion, the added transfer time is a good investment if you want to avoid the crowds and clouds of bubbles in the water. Not once while I was diving with Magic Oceans, were we joined by a boat full of scuba divers from another resort. This may, however, have been a function of some choppy sea conditions which did interfere with boarding and disembarking from the dive boat on several occasions while I was there, despite the fact that the resort keeps its own jetty.

Magic Oceans Resort is not a large resort with only 16 rooms and for this reason, it keeps its charm. The service from the resort staff felt genuine and they were friendly, attentive and nothing was too much trouble. I liked the way they remembered everyone’s names. You just can’t get that in larger resorts. The traditional style Cabana’s are modern, spacious, comfortable, well maintained and came with all the amenities that one might wish for. Coffee and tea making facilities, a safe box, writing desk and air conditioning. There was also a terrace outside the front door with 2 seats and a coffee table plus clothes drying rack. There was no television provided, but the internet worked very well in all parts of the resort, so streaming video to my iPad was not an issue. In my mind, one of the real highlights of the resort are the well established and lush gardens, with large trees and plenty of flowering shrubs and greenery everywhere you looked. I have included a photo of the resort from the seaside perspective to show how the foliage effectively hides most of the resort from the sea. The garden was obviously well maintained and I really enjoyed the secluded and private feel it promoted.

There was a significant difference between my expectations of muck diving in Bohol Sea and that which I actually experienced while scuba diving with Magic Oceans Dive Resort. When I read the diving information provided on the Magic Ocean website, it certainly mentioned diverse diving sites including muck diving, but all the sites, except one, that I visited during my 5 days of diving, featured drift dives along coral walls. There are macro subjects available but they are not as numerous and diverse as one might encounter in a more well known muck diving areas, such as Lembeh or Anilao for instance. So, if you are looking for real muck diving, then this area will probably not ring your bell too much. For hard and soft corals and drift diving along coral walls, then it is well worth a visit. The top of the reef, conveniently at a depth of 15 - 20 feet, was quite impressive with an abundance of diversely colored corals and quite a population of turtles. On one special day when I was doing a safety stop there, a Whale Shark cruised around us several times. Large marine life and Whale Shark sightings are not that common according to the staff at Magic Oceans, so I guess I just got lucky that day.

The dive facilities were good with plenty of room to wash and store your equipment. The dive facilities could accommodate up to 35 divers, but while I was there, there were never more than 10 divers on the boat on any given day. The 5 rinse tubs were large, re-filled generously everyday and were designated specific to equipment, including one for camera‘s only. There was no air conditioned camera room but there were 4 small work stations along one side of the wall of the shower / rinse tub room. Each had its own light and electrical sockets but the air guns did not work. While I was staying at the dive resort, there was only one other large camera in use so the limited number of stations was not an issue in itself. I think its more of a reflection of the fact that the resort does not often accommodate many serious underwater photographers with large camera systems, at any given time. The dive boat too, was large and comfortable and even featured a good sized table upon which the camera’s could be stored. There was no large rinse tub provided however, which again indicates that the resort is not used to dealing with large camera rigs.

The dive staff could have done more. They consistently gave good briefings and guided as best they could by pointing out subjects that they could, but there were just not enough macro subjects to point out. They did not want to seem to engage you in any way and kept to themselves on the dive boat and in the dive shop. I can not remember having a single one on one conversation with any of them about any part of my diving or photography, what my expectations were, or what I thought about a dive, or anything else for that matter. Also, they could have done more to help rig up and rig down equipment. The morning preparation involved every diver assembling their own BCD and Regulator on the tank which they then carried to the dive boat. It was the same thing after returning from diving, each diver was responsible for rigging down the kit and washing everything. I can’t remember the last time I had to do all of this and it is uncommon for diving resorts to work this way. They did their job, nothing more, nothing less. Because I felt like they did not go the extra mile for service, or go out of their way to help me in any way, I did not tip the dive staff. Sorry, but it was not earned. Also, the biggest team of divers that I had to dive with was 5 divers to one Dive Master. This was a little high and should be limited to 4 maximum in my opinion.

The food was excellent and some of the best I have tasted in the Philippines. I was on a half board deal so I expected that the food would be served buffet style. I was happy to be completely wrong. A breakfast menu was provided which had a choice of about 8 different things, catering for all tastes. It was always served with fruit and the local Mangoes were my favorite. The orange juice was freshly squeezed and the coffee was real. For dinner, there were three courses and they brought up to 5 individual dishes for the main course to the table, in generous quantities, as appropriate to the number of guests seated, and you just helped yourself. I never heard anyone ask for more and the food was delicious.

In summary, if you are looking for a cosy and comfortable diving vacation with a smaller travel camera, then Magic Oceans will no doubt suit you well. You will probably not need a wide angle lens because the diving is mainly drift diving along coral walls which will not disappoint you, but do not expect large marine life, beyond the size of turtles. The top of the reef is spectacular for diverse corals, color and small reef fish. You may want to do some homework on the weather conditions which prevail at the specific time of year in which you are planning to travel, especially with respect to sea condition. Magic Oceans Resort sits on the rugged coastline of the Bohol Sea, with little shelter from nearby outlying islands, so once the wind blows the cradle will rock. Magic Oceans have gone to the expense of installing a Jetty however, and I didn’t notice any other resorts out of Anda town, that had one as well. In this respect, they are probably better equipped to offer more diving comfort than other resorts in the local area.

Visited on 08/2018 - Submitted on 04/10/2020
Read all Magic Oceans Dive Resort, Bohol Dive Resort reviews


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