Over the last few years I've stayed at hundreds of resorts, hotels, hostels and B&B's. I normally don't review them on my blog, unless I think it's an exceptional place and I would naturally recommend it to my friends, like the Travellers Oasis in Cairns, Australia.
Ocean Vida Beach & Dive falls into this category as well. The resort is located right in front off the main beach in Malapascua Island in The Philippines. I loved it so much, I ended up extending my stay twice!
I had been planning to visit this tropical little island just off the coast of Cebu for a while. The main reason to go there is to go diving with the famous Thresher Shark. Malapascua is the only place in the world where you're almost guaranteed to see them!
Upon arrival I was greeted by Ollie, resort's manager. He offered me a drink of my choice at the beach bar and took the time to explain me everything I needed to know about the resort, the island and the diving that Malapascua is famous for. I really don't understand why so few resort managers do this. It makes guests feel welcome and comfortable from the start and really only takes ten minutes.
Staying at the resort felt like being part of a big family. All the staff members were super friendly and very attentive. I never had to wait for anything. Ollie checked in regularly to see if I was ok and I needed any assistance.
One of the best features of the resort surely is the seating area on the beach. Set within a range of palm trees, guests can choose between different seating options to enjoy an evening cocktail or dinner: regular chairs, bean bags or cabana-style couches. A few lights have been tastefully places on the tables and in the trees creating a great atmosphere.
The restaurant is well run, serving a variety of local, Thai and European dishes. You can eat where ever you want, at the bar, in the restaurant on the second level or on the beach. Must tries are the Chicken Adobo and the daily specials, like the oven-roasted chicken and the mixed seafood platter. The buffet breakfast is simple but good, with freshly made omelets and choice of fresh juices.
Every day from 4-6pm it's happy hour at the beach bar. But the best feature of the bar: electrical plugs are fitted on the outside of the bar. This is a travel bloggers dream and something that I haven't seen anywhere else. Combined with the fast Wifi this made the bar a perfect spot to work: internet, electricity, awesome view and an ice-cold, fresh mango juice.
A dive shop (Sea Explorers) is conveniently located in the resort. This is nice since pretty much all visitors of Malapascua are divers, as the island is famous for the presence of Thresher Sharks. The guys working for the shop are great, they take care of everything for you. All I needed to do is show up, all my gear was already setup and they even carry everything on and off-board.
The only problem so far with my stay so far is that these bloody Thresher Sharks haven't showed up yet. Last night I got up at 4.30am to go see them but we couldn't find them. Apparently, this is very rare. Anyway, I'm not leaving the island before I see them!