Following my trip in the Philippines, a couple of resorts really stuck out to me as being the essence of what 'Dive in Style' is all about. In my previous blog, I mentioned a resort called Atmosphere Resort and Spa on Negros island but I wanted to expand on what I wrote there to explain exactly why this has become one of my favourite resorts in the Philippines.
From the moment I arrived, I could tell the atmosphere of this resort (no pun intended) was quite special. People relaxing by the pool with delicious drinks, divers gathering around the 'critter log' excitedly and comparing photos on an extraordinary array of photography equipment and then of course the managers and owners there to greet me with smiling faces.
The resort was built and still run by a charming English couple, Gaby and Matt Holder, who alongside a fantastic team have created a beautiful resort. The rooms are incredibly comfortable and spacious, with outdoor showers and daybeds both inside and out, without being overly luxurious in a gold taps, marble floors sort of way. All spread out in between lush tropical garden means that you never feel on top of any other guests and thus a feeling of space wherever you are. The restaurant is perfectly positioned just a few metres back from the black sand beach and the food is delicious with a wonderful variety.
One of my favourite spots was the bar and pool area. Large outdoor sofas and chairs make up the seating area of the bar where you can enjoy a cocktail or two at happy hour and sun loungers for during the day so you can flop in and out of the pool as you wish.
As if all this wasn't enough, the dive centre is in keeping with the rest of resort and offers a first class service, run like clock-work by dive-pro Adam. They offer up to four dives a day, either from the shores of Dauin for some of the best muck diving I have ever done or day trips out to Apo Island with beautiful coral reefs and excellent fish life. The divemasters and resident Marine Biologist, Daniel, will help you to find the most extraordinary critters, with frogfish being regular key players in every dive.
Whilst you would primarily come to this part of the world to dive (it is not somewhere you go for the beaches), there is still plenty for a non-diver to do. Relaxing by the pool is the obvious option or the spa offers some really excellent treatments. If you are up for something more adventurous then treks, waterfalls, kayaking can all be arranged. Atmosphere is also fantastic for families, Gaby and Matt having young kids of their own, with a fully functioning kids club and babysitting.
All in all, Atmosphere Resort and Spa is a fabulous place to stay with spectacular diving. Having been all over the Philippines visiting many different islands, I don't think there is another resort that perfectly balances the quality of the diving with the quality of the resort like Atmosphere does.
Have you ever been diving in the Philippines? If so, tell us about it. And do get in touch if you would like to learn more about Philippines diving.