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“A Gem”

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Blue Ribbon Dive Resort
Ranked #10 of 54 Hotels in Puerto Galera
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 May 2012

I just got back from the perfect six days in Puerto Galera at Blue Ribbon. I found it through these reviews on TA and they were on the money. All my diving experience has been in the Caribbean, and this blew that away. All my vacations lately have been at fancy resorts, with the kids, girlfriend, etc – this was at a comfortable, laid back, simple garden lodge and it was perfect. The rooms are simple, so if you’re looking for couches and comfy chairs and, well, fancy anything, that’s not Blue Ribbon. This place is clean, charming, affordable, welcoming, chill, with a nicely varied menu at the restaurant, friendly staff, and quality live music every night (at least every night I was there). Whenever I did walk around this seemed like the place to be in Sabang (it definitely helps that it is not IN Sabang). A bargain, a find, and a gem.

A word about the diving. First, the divemasters are all excellent, professional, and careful. That’s a great thing for anyone who’s not a total pro. I got my advanced cert for only around $200 extra, and learned some underwater photography techniques. Second, ask questions about the sites – they pride themselves on a variety of types of dives, and there are. There’s muck diving, funky wrecks, a big wreck (great but it’s deep), drifts, dives spitting distance from moored boats, floating bars, and town, and, best of all for me, amazingly prolific coral reef habitats a little away but still close with more fish than I’ve ever seen. But ask. The muck diving, for example, isn’t for everyone, you need patience while passing over lots of sand looking for a funny looking somethingorother – or a sea horse. Me, I was a little bored with that, and worried, until a guest told me about Hole in the Wall, and a couple of others – completely different and lit up my week. Make the dive shop tell you what your choices are, and they will.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled solo
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1  Thank David B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 May 2012

Blue Ribbon Dive Resort easily earns the top place among all the dive resorts I've ever stayed in. Its location isn't ideal if you're one for a nice walk along the beach--there's no beach left during high tides--but that is [1] not usually what you go to a dive resort for, [2] probably no fault of theirs, but of some lack of foresight in municipal planning years and years ago, [3] readily remedied by a nice dive around a reef, and [4] just about the only non-excellent thing I can say about the resort.

In every other aspect, BRDR wins. It's got a PayPal account, which makes bookings easy. Staff answers query and booking emails very quickly (mine was answered personally through my mobile in about an hour). The rooms--like the rest of the place--are very clean and simple and charming. Nothing fancy and pretentious. The people who run the place think of little conveniences, too, like a safe in every room, a mosquito repellant you can plug in whenever, strong wifi, and an out-of-sight clothesline on your own veranda so your wet stuff don't drip inside the room after a dive--gives the feeling that they would mind if the guests feel even slightly inconvenienced. Food is also delicious. I am not yet over the fact that one of the best marinara pizzas I've ever had is in the dive resort's bar. They also say everything in the menu is for 1 to 2 people; I don't know, maybe we are just 3 puny girls, but we could not even finish the pizza. Plus everything is so reasonably priced.

The dives are excellent. DMs are pros, and will ask about your diving background to guage which dive sites suit you best (and there are a dizzying many to choose from). My friends felt very relaxed during their first dive in 5 years, because DM Marco adjusted their weights without them noticing. The sites are also great. I used to think diving in Puerto Galera was overrated--never was I more mistaken nor happier to stand corrected. I have had a chance to dive in places like Pangasinan, Cebu, Batangas, and the more pristine Palawan, Apo Reef, Romblon, and marine protected areas in Zamboanga del Sur. In my opinion, dive sites in Puerto Galera are at par with the best of them. This is probably because PG sites are just minutes by boat away from Verde, which studies have confirmed to be the center of the center of marine shorefish biodiversity IN THE WORLD (yes, I did my homework). And yes, the resort offers dive trips to Verde (I was so heartsick over having had to leave a day before their Verde trip, so I'm def going back for that).

Probably the best thing about the resort are the people. They make you feel right at home. I don't think they even try for business' sake, they're just pleasant like that. After a spell you can't help getting acquainted with them a little--there's Julia the very helpful resort manager, an ex-army-looking man at the diveshop who is so gruff nice he could be your favorite bear of an uncle, a friendly guy you sometimes chat with (who turns out to be the proprietor), very professional DM Marco (who once had to stand down against a barracuda, hilarious), quiet but dependable-looking DM Ariel, and the very nice people at the bar. And of course Ryan The Baby, who bikes around the place inspecting the plants like a boss. He's probably that; runs a tight ship, too.

So in summary, BRDR is a no-frills but charming dive resort with clean, comfy and more-than-adequate accommodations, delicious food, access to probably some of the best reefs around, and great people. If I may suggest anything, though, it would be enriching the menu with a mean halo-halo. I firmly believe that every diver earns the right to gorge in halo-halo after a great day of diving, thank you.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Iris U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2012 via mobile

Firstly this is a good place to stay, nice staff good dive shop.so highly recommend it

Not their fault but. The diving in galera is overhyped and not very good and sabang is a seedy, smelly place . Worst I visited in two months diving round the Philippines.

  • Stayed: May 2012
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1  Thank Chris P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BlueRibb0n, Owner at Blue Ribbon Dive Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 18 May 2012

Hi

Thanks for your review and your nice comments about our resort.

If I think you are who I think you are, I don't think you gave the diving here as much of a chance as you could of. Sabang isn't the nicest of beachs, and is a bit seedy, yet we are on Small Lalaguna beach, which is a lot better.

I don't think you did that many dives, and maybe we took you to our favorite (muck diving sites) so you might not of been impressed by the lack of corals, as we were muck diving for critters, seahorses and the like.

Maybe we should of asked you what you wanted to see, and could of taken you to some of the coral walls, Canyons or Hole in the Wall for example, which are our top coral dives, where you see the bigger fish and so much more coral. This was probably a mistake on our part. I hope that maybe one day you give Puerto Galera another chance, and also try Verde Island, which in my opinion is one of the best dive sites in the world, that I have been too.

Thank you for your stay in Blue Ribbon, and wish you the best.

Jon

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2012 via mobile

Great food ,amazing people , amazing food and totally amazing diving. Stayed for 1 week the dive staff and hotel staff are very friendly . Once again amazing will be coming back

  • Stayed: May 2012
    • Value
    • Location
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Thank Chrisd1719
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2012

Friendly staff, comfortable rooms and great diving. Instructors were patient, very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. Will be back!

Stayed: April 2012
Thank vonhumperdink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Blue Ribbon Dive Resort

Address: Small Lalaguna, Puerto Galera, Mindoro 5203, Philippines
Region: Philippines > Mindoro > Oriental Mindoro Province > Puerto Galera
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 54 Hotels in Puerto Galera
Price Range: S$40 - S$49 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Blue Ribbon Dive Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Blue Ribbon Dive Resort is located on Small Lalaguna Beach, Puerto Galera, Philippines. We have 14 Bungalows and rooms located around a tranquil garden, on the beach front. We have a gym and a small diver training pool. We have a 24 hour reception, and housekeeping is included in the room charge. ... more   less 
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