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Portulano Dive Resort
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Reviews (121)
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All reviewsdive resortget awayboat ridefishexcellent divingmangopool tablericedown to earthamazing placethe kitchen stafffood is excellentmanila airportsea lifesoupbad weatherlounge chairs
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Reviewed 26 June 2011

I stayed here during the Holy Week holidays in April and got the fan room. There are only 2 fan rooms at the resort and they're located below the owners' family home and it has a nice view of the water. It also lent to my feeling of being isolated (which was what I wanted) because even if there was a couple staying beside my room, we were far enough away that I didn't notice them. The electric fan in the room is angled perfectly so I didn't get hot during the night even though I closed all the windows and doors. There were ample pillows on the bed and the decor was perfect for the resort. The bathroom was adequate though I had an "eek" moment when I wanted to use the pail and out came all these black ants. The staff took care of it right away.

The owners made me feel right at home and unless you're asocial, their friendliness was what made my stay enjoyable. I dove with Carmella most of the time and she showed me lots of things, I especially liked the Bahura (?) dive site just off a little rock where another resort is perched. It was a wall dive with lots of soft corals, resident frog fish (biggest I've seen so far). Being photographers themselves, they were great to dive with since I'm also a photographer and they'll show you the things worth taking photos of. We also saw a sea turtle when I was there. I like the diving better at the Bauan side than the Anilao side because there are less resorts and hence less impact of divers on the reefs there.

The daily buffet was delicious and varied and dinner was always held down by the pier so guests can enjoy the breeze (can get a bit windy at times but it was great). The shakes were reasonably priced and came in big glasses, snacks were always served too.

The lounge area is just a big living room where you can surf the net, read up on the animals you've seen or just hang out. The best part of the resort is the balcony up stairs where they've put up bamboo lounges with hammocks and lots and lots of big pillows. I spent most of my surface time up there just enjoying the scenery and quiet.

The parking is at someone's house near the shore and the owner of the house (not the resort) charged me 100 pesos a day.

All in all I loved this place and will definitely return!

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank DeepSeaAddict
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2011

...because, reading further you’ll absolutely want to visit this place and then friends of you will follow and friends of colleagues of friends of nieces (really nasty people, these ones) of friends of mothers in law,… and before you know, Portulano will have turned into a crowded, noisy mass tourism destination with grumpy staff, disgusting food and lousy diving.
My boyfriend and I recently hibernated at Portulano for 3 months and we’ve had a real ZEN experience. Arriving late at night by boat, after 30 hours of travelling, smelling the silt air (despite of my stuffed airplane AC nose) and seeing the invitingly illuminated resort glued to the lush, green hill, we immediately had the feeling we had made the right choice. And indeed we had.
As we are both avid divers, a little something on the diving first.
Although the house reef is not world class diving, I never grew tired of it and I spent over 130 hours down there: (ghost) pipe fish, nudibranchs and other snails galore, shrimps and crabs, (bobtail)squid, several types of (host)anemones and guests, many different kinds of (sand)eels, turtles, only few soft corals but a vast array of hard corals,… I spent most of my time underwater on the house reef, but I did join boat dives occasionally and I did enjoy these dive sites too, especially the sites that were a bit further out. If you, the experienced diver, still remember what diving is actually all about, then you will enjoy diving at Portulano.
The staff is adorable and genuinely friendly. Don’t expect a flawless, cold hospitality machine here. The smiles you get come straight from the heart and you are dealing with real people. To Dory, Daisy, Nene, Elmer, Choy and Henry: We miss youououououou!!!! (sniff, sniff)
The resort also boasts of two massage goddesses: Sally and Jolalyne. The ladies will ask you how you would like your massage. Keep in mind that if you ask for force, force is what you will get. See the remains of that hole in the thatched roof of the rooftop massage parlor? That was me, shooting through the roof at the first forceful stroke of Jolalyne on my left calf.
Planning on losing a few kilo’s while on a holiday at Portulano? Just forget about that. The food is excellent and there’s a lot of it. They serve a nice mixture of local and western dishes. There’s meat, fish and veggie, soup, fresh fruits and a divine mango or banana float for desert. Mind you though, this is not the place for a burger and French fries. If you want to eat that kind of crap, you’ll have to go somewhere else. Free Batangas coffee, tea and water all day long.
The rooms are spacious, airy (full front windows that you can open all the way), full of light and creatively decorated. No box spring beds (remember, you are not staying at a 5* hotel), but a sturdy foam mattress on a concrete underground. Your back will love it and I’m not being ironical here!!!!
Imagine yourself dozing off with the surge of the ocean as a soundtrack and waking up with a view to kill for. On top of all that the rooms have their own private terrace facing the ocean.
Of course, Portulano wouldn’t be Portulano without the never ending efforts of its owners Arnel and Carmella. Two great people who created a, not surprisingly, great little place. Keep it as it is, guys. It’s perfect.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank sylvialaflamande
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2011

first it looks really a simple place but it really rock our company rented the place for april 09 2011 to april 10 2011 just so we can relaxed and be ourselves just for a day or two....and best of all is the service of the staff they are really nice to us..and specially the FOODS.....over all PORTULANO is a place that already left a mark on our minds.....by the way the owner he is really nice simple.....

  • Stayed: April 2011
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2  Thank BenchBOOZE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2010

Initial correspondance with Portulano was easy and Carmela was prompt and complete in her replies. The room was nice, but a little "plainer" than the pictures would suggest. The overhead fan was broken, but a floor fan was provided. Thank goodness because the small window air conditioner was way too small for the room. In other words, it ran 24 hrs, day and night, but the room was really never....cool. It was also quite loud! The beds were remarkably comfortable for being just a pad on top of a concrete slab. Honestly, I slept very comfortably.

Be aware that beyond scuba diving, there is really nothing else to do but relax, read a book, sun, snorkel or watch a DVD. The beach is rocky (no fun in the sand here), but I understand there is opportunity for trekking, but I do not know where. If you are into scuba diving then this is more catered towards you. They have a so-so house dive in front of the resort and some nearby dive sights (3-5 minutes) by boat called Pinnacle and Cavern that are nice. The best dive for me was around Sombrero Island (dive site Beatrice), which takes about 15-20 by speedboat or 40 minutes by outrigger. One negative was the divemaster never asked where we would like to go, so some dives were not at what I would call "pristine or popular dive sites". My advice is to speak up. Boat dives 3 minutes from the resort are the same price as the ones 30-40 minutes away, so research before you come and hit the sites that YOU want. Overall the diving was good (7.0/10) compared to other sites I have dove in the Philippines (Malapascau Island - Cebu (8.0/10) and Balicasag Island - Bohol (8.5/10). The helpers were always friendly and on the spot to get the heavy gear off your back. Conrad, the dive master was quite good at pointing out special sights of interest. The equipment area was very spacious and clean.

The food was plentiful and good. Not 5 star, but good local food. They have a local home made salad dressing to die for!! As diving can take longer than expected, many times the food was waiting for us upon our return, but it was usually cold. They did have one night where they BBQ'd and that was great. The service was great and they would cater to special requests. They always informed us before they closed the kitchen in the evening, which was nice.

Overall it was a good visit, so give it a try in the future.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank LuvToScuba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ArnelS, Owner at Portulano Dive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 13 January 2011

Thank you for this review, you'd be glad to know that with a little bit more budget we are upgrading ceiling fans (quite expensive but much nicer ones not just in terms of design but resistance to salt water corrosion, having the entire front of the room open up to the ocean has its advantages and costs as we realize) this includes air-conditioners as well.

Please do check out our website and FB fan page for updates as there is always something new at Portulano in terms of making things better... just like a work of art, it is never truly finished.

We will also remind our divemasters to alway ensure divers are made aware of what to expect, muck sites for example don't offer much to those who are not interested in critters.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2010

We stayed at Portulano Dive Resort in January, as the last part of our trip through the Philippines. It was a 3-hour drive from Manila and definitely worth it. After looking up other hotels in the area, the initial impression was excellent: emails were answered promptly, clearly and pricing was also no-nonsense and fair. In fact, there were no unpleasant surprises when booking or paying.

Funnily, my husband and I were the only guests at the time of our stay. We had the whole place to ourselves and Arnel (the owner) spent a lot of time with us both leading us on dives and at the resort. He is a great host and has made the resort comfortable, tranquil, and pretty much everything you could want.

The rooms are clean and beautifully decorated, the dive equipment was all in good condition and they now have a fast powerboat to take people on dives. Diving in the area was great; we saw many varieties of fish, schools of jacks, and even turtles. The food was wonderful and abundant (no buffet, so everything was prepared just for the two us, and nothing was wasted).

I'd highly recommend Portulano Dive Resort to anyone looking for a beautiful place to get away, to relax, to dive, and to enjoy.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank AdaPia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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