Enjoyed your report and photos - thanks for sharing them.
Kasai Village Dive & Spa Resort, Moalboal, The Philippines, April 2013
Pictures are at: https://plus.google.com/photos/10974...63316674195153
We are older (65/76) experienced (900+ dives each) divers with quite a bit of Tropical Pacific and Caribbean dive experience based in Scottsdale, Arizona. We find ourselves returning to Kasai Village Dive & Spa Resort (this was our fourth visit) for several reasons. First, and foremost, the diving is excellent; as is the resort – with great service, accommodations, and food. In addition, it is fairly easy and inexpensive for us (we travel on Philippine Air out of Los Angeles to Manila with a connection to Cebu). The resort is 57 miles south of Cebu City on the Tanon Strait. The trip takes about 2-1/2 hours by car on somewhat twisty road through the mountains that gives us a chance to see the Philippine countryside and several good-sized cities (e.g. Alcantara, Ronda, Dumanjug, Carcar).
We have used Ultimate Dive Travel (ultimatedivetravel.com) for our dive travel arrangements since 2005 and once again on our 12th trip with them, we are thrilled with our service.
We love the people we have gotten to know at Kasai. Naming names is dangerous as I know I will forget someone (and every one of them makes our trip wonderful); but this is a resort where staff tends to stay and we look forward to seeing familiar faces year after year. From Michael and Lydia (general managers/owners) and their darling children to groundskeepers, housekeepers and compressor room staff (thank you Allan and Lindall for your great service), we appreciate what you do to make our trip great. Of course, we interact more regularly with the dive team and the kitchen/restaurant/bar staff. Bebe, Rhanz, Lynda, Giselle, Eddie, Pablo, Hermes made our pre-dinner drinks and our meals special. They are one of the reasons we return year after year.
This was our third year of diving with Tata, Felix, and Alex. Felix has been our primary dive master for three of our four years at Kasai, what a treat to see him each year and know that he knows exactly how we like to dive and what we want to see. It was great to see Chris again for the second year and I am so happy for Allan who is making the move from compressor room to dive master. A great new addition to the dive staff is Robert (from Sweden).
The diving is a good mix of reefs, walls, and “muck” diving. Speaking of the muck diving, we have been to Lembeh and Dumaguete and have seen almost everything we saw at those locations in Moalboal also. Most of the dives are drifts – so even if the current is stronger than usual, we don’t fight it. For me, the treat at the end of each dive is the shallow reef – sunlight shimmers on the water and the fish are colorful and abundant.
We spent 9 full days at the resort and made 28 dives. Water temperature was typically 82° F and generally very calm. I love to find and identify fish and other reef creatures. My buddy loves to take pictures. This trip was good for both of us. While not new to us, I loved seeing so many ornate ghost pipe fish, pygmy seahorses, a peacock mantis, frogfish (warty and giant), and several squat lobsters. A new fish for me was the female black striped angelfish, as was the highfin coralfish. My buddy saw and photographed a female pinstriped angelfish for the first time. We were both enchanted by the small red frogfish, an unusual color. The titan triggerfish were nesting and a couple made menacing passes at us. We saw and photographed three electric fileclams together in a crevice. We saw lots of nudibranchs (thanks to Tata and Felix). I particularly liked a new one for us, the yellow-tipped phyllodesium.
Special memories of our 2013 trip:
First evening at the resort, I was sitting at a desk just inside the camera room sipping a glass of red wine and looking at the fish id books as I had already seen some “new” critters on our afternoon shore dive, when Robert came in, introduced himself and offered me a wonderful piece of Swiss dark chocolate. Heaven!
Diving with the nine young men and women from China. They spoke a little English, we do not speak Chinese, but we all managed to communicate and have a wonderful time. They were bright, fun-loving, fashionably-dressed, diving with excellent gear, and totally “hooked” to their electronic gear (phones, cameras, etc.)
The beach party with a great mix of guests including the Chinese and divers from US, Australia, Philippines (who were at the resort as a part of a Saving Philippine Reefs dive survey). We had great food, entertainment from the staff, music, and dancing.
The blessing of the newly-constructed shrine for Our Lady of Manoag on her Feast Day (April 17). We really enjoyed this special Feast Day celebration with Michael, Lydia, their children, extended family, and Moalboal priest.
We had a close connection in Manila from our flight from LAX to the flight to Cebu. We were looking at the times and worrying about whether we would make it as we left the plane. Imagine our delight when we exited the jetway and were met by a person holding up our name and telling us that she would escort us to the next flight. Great service from Philippine Air.
Unfortunately our baggage did not make it to Cebu. We are unsure if it was delayed in the transfer in LA or in Manila. Either way, the Philippine Air baggage staff in Cebu did an excellent job of taking information and explaining the process. But the real “thank yous” go to the Kasai Village staff. They took over calling the airport for information and made all the arrangements for picking up our bags when they picked up the Chinese guests on Sunday. In the meantime, they sent someone to town to pick up essentials for one of us: shorts, flip flops, and swim trunks and had a local vendor stop by with additional t-shirts, dresses, and shorts for our selection. The rental equipment was great and we didn’t miss a dive – although we were certainly excited to be able to use our own gear when it arrived.
Enjoyed your report and photos - thanks for sharing them.
Nice report. Great pix with the Powershot! The nudis, frogfish and ornate ghost pipefish are the bomb!
Makes me wanna go. Thanks.
Susan, would love to promote this on Scuba Diving magazine's Facebook wall, is that ok with you? In order to do so I would like to use one of Reid's pics (below), we'll preserve the watermark -- since that was posted on a link and not Forum, wanted to be sure to ask first? Let me know, will PM you also....
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean. — Arthur C. Clarke
Thanks, Susan. You're a long way from Warrington!! Best wishes out there in the Southwest.
Nice report and sounds like you had a really wonderful time. Sorry about the luggage, the same thing happened to me on my April 18th trip.
A CLEAR CONSCIENCE IS USUALLY THE SIGN OF A BAD MEMORY