The owners of Magic Island Dive Resort have created a small, friendly resort with such a congenial atmosphere, guests will find themselves wanting to return again and again. The resort has only 10 double bungalows and is nestled on the water’s edge with a magnificent view across the ocean to the south.
The restaurant and communal area are within a building created in the same local style of timbers and woven bamboo panels. The sides are open to the sea breeze, with views over the ocean to the south.
In the restaurant, tables are arranged in rows, as guests tend to congregate rather than separate, even if they are not within a larger group.
All meals, including breakfast, are ordered à la carte from a variety of traditional Philippine cuisine and European dishes, with extensive vegetarian options. Orders are taken by the friendly staff, with whom you will be on first name terms by the end of your stay.
For groups, lunch will be a buffet, whereas individuals order à la carte, but are requested to pre-order lunches so that their meals can be ready on their return from their morning dives.
Nestled within the resort is a pool, an alfresco bar area, and numerous little enclaves with seats and sofas and low tables where you can listen to the sound of the sea or relax with a book between dives.
The bar serves Philippine San Miguel beer, wines from around the world, fabulous cocktails and fresh fruit shakes.
The communal area also has comfortable seating and a small library of marine reference books and assorted fiction. The whole resort has WIFI, with the best signal not surprisingly in the communal area. You can also fill your water bottle here with cool, filtered water.
There is a spa room overlooking the ocean. Various massage styles and spa treatments are offered.
Magic Island Resort has been instrumental in establishing protected marine areas around the reef that runs up the coast. Working with the municipal and fishing associations, the local dive operators have come to an agreement to protect this particular section of reef from anchors and any kind of net fishing. Buoys have been installed and are used by all boats in the area. There is a substantial penalty for dropping an anchor along the reef and divers and fishermen keep each other honest in observing the ban. A Marine Park Fee of 100 pesos is levied per diver per day, which goes towards the maintenance and upkeep of the buoys, and the 24-hour guards which patrol the area.
As well as Magic Island Dive Resort, the owners Desiree and Arie, have opened Magic Oceans Dive Resort in Anda on the adjacent island of Bohol. It is now possible to book a two-centre dive holiday, with a dive safari trip from the one resort to the other! (You dive your way across, your luggage finds its own way: no flying – no missing a day’s diving!).
Magic Island Dive Resort is located on the southern tip of Basdiot ‘peninsula’ west of Moalboal. Transfers can be arranged from Cebu airport.
All rooms are equipped with air conditioning and ensuite bathroom with hot and cold showers. Each little bungalow has its own private veranda with seating and a view to either the sea or the pool.
Five of the bungalows can accommodate an extra bed. So that the resort can accommodate up to 25 guests at any time.
The Magic Island Dive Resort is laid out particular logically with the dive centre at the water’s edge. It is accessible via stairs just behind the communal area. Within the dive centre each guest has a rack and a basket with their name on it. Their dive gear can stay there for the duration of their holiday.
If the resort is full the dive departures are phased at 30-minute intervals, which ensures that there is no bottleneck either at breakfast or in the dive centre with too many people trying to kit up at the same time.
Each diver is handed the tank for the first dive; once set up tank it’s taken to the boat for you. You simply need to remember your basics and your dive computer. Having said that it’s such a compact resort that it’s only a one minute round trip back to your room if you happen to forget something.
Guests who are diving Nitrox are invited to check their mix personally for both the first and second dives in the dive centre. The percentages are also logged and guests are required to sign. Their tanks are then individually labeled with their names.
The dive brief follows around the dive briefing board in the dive centre, covering the location, terrain, current and critters to look out for.
There are three different sized boats which carry between six and a dozen guests each. All boats are in the ‘bangka’ style – that of the original Philippine fishing boats – except that they have outboards.
The boats were constructed by staff members at the Magic Island Dive Resort with plywood panels on a local timber frame. The outriggers are bamboo for flexibility.
The tanks and gear sit in the forward section, and the guests in the rear area under the shade cloth. The broad edge of the boat is cushioned and the ride is comfortable. The outriggers ensure that there is no roll or pitch; it is unlikely that even the most timid sailor could get seasick in such a boat.
The boats are moored in the shallows just offshore and guests wade out to the boat and climb the broad stairway that is hooked over the bow. The trip to the dive site is between 5 and 35 minutes but will seem like no time at all as you skim above the aquamarine waters with the warm breeze in your hair.
Once at the dive site the boat is moored and the dive master will assess the direction of the current. The gear is passed from the front of the boat and the tank is sat on the broad edge of the boat making it easy to kit up and then backward-roll into the water. Along most of the reef the reef top is at 5m so guests have an opportunity to sort out their buoyancy before they hop over the edge of the wall and onto the start of the dive proper. Likewise, on the return, there is a pleasant 5m reef usually in full sunlight to enjoy whilst you complete the safety stop.
In most cases, there is a small amount of current along the reef edge so the dive progresses from one buoy to the next or even a second or third. The boat will come over to the divers and pick them up. There are ropes running inside the outriggers so guests can hold onto these whilst they approach the stairs de-fin and climb into the boat. Some guests may prefer to remove their BCD whilst in the water before climbing the ladder.
For the morning double dive the boat will then anchor in a secluded bay and refreshments will be served. Guests may also take the opportunity to go for a short snorkel during this time on the reef top.
The boat crew change tanks and the second dive proceeds very much as the first. After the second dive the boat skipper (quietly radios the resort to get the lunch orders ready, and) motors steadily back. The wash down tubs are just inside the entrance to the dive centre, and guests can be showered, changed and enjoying lunch within 10 minutes of arrival back at the resort.
After lunch, guests have the option for another boat dive. There is also the option of a shore dive on the House Reef. This can be done as an afternoon dive, a dusk dive to see the local mandarinfish – which has been adopted as the resort’s emblem or even a night dive.
For guests wishing to swim with the whale sharks at Oslob, a trip can also be arranged.
Pricing for Magic Island Resort
|Valid for 01 April 2023 - 30 September 2024||AUD||USD|
|7 Nights Superior Deluxe Cottage (double/twin-share) with 10 dives including breakfast||1246||USD|||||1246|
|7 Nights Superior Deluxe Cottage (single occupancy) with 10 dives including breakfast||1662||USD|||||1662|
|7 Nights Superior Deluxe Cottage (double/twin-share) with 10 dives including all meals||1617||USD|||||1617|
|7 Nights Superior Deluxe Cottage (single occupancy) with 10 dives including all meals||2033||USD|||||2033|
|This resort's prices are in USD. The AUD prices shown are based on the current exchange rate. The price paid in AUD will be based on the actual exchange rate at the time any payments are made.|
|Various different dive packages and meal packages are available. Transfers from Cebu airport are available from USD 134, and from Magic Oceans Resort from USD 243.|
|The per person pricing above is indicative only: we show 7 night with 10/12 dive packages singles & doubles for the purposes of comparison. We can give you a price (and availability) for any combination of nights/dives you wish to undertake, which will include any discounts due to you as part of that package, and any exclusions, or items payable at the resort. Please use the [Enquire Now] tab to give us your exact requirements and we'll give you the best deal we can.|