Our first trip to the Philippines got us all jittery and nervous as we didn’t know what to expect. Of course this meant we took a lot more effort in doing extensive research into the culture and environment and most importantly, our accommodation. As our main purpose for our trip was to dive, we eventually chose Cebu (check out our trip here!) and started looking for the best dive resort to stay at. There were a number of areas we could stay at including White Beach and Pangasama Beach but we eventually chose to stay at Asian Belgian Dive Resort, a PADI dive resort, which was slightly secluded but the best dive resort we have ever stayed at.
We flew into Cebu via Mactan International Airport and booked the transport with the resort to have us picked up. It took us a very long 3.5 hrs (make sure you get a trip to the bathroom and pick up some delicious Filipino snacks before getting on!) through the windy and bumpy roads passing through villages in order to reach Moalboal. Be prepared to face congestion along the way as the narrow roads and road works are a common sight here. For those of you who are prone to motion sickness, make sure to get yourself ready by checking out our post on motion sickness remedies here! External factors aside, our driver was mostly quiet and professional, delivering us safely to the resort. The car itself was new and clean, making it a comfortable ride. The ride to the resort cost us 2,600 php but we had no regrets booking the transport as the Asian Belgian Dive Resort was located away from the main road in a more secluded location.
Our time spent here was nothing short of excellent food that kept us full and fat throughout our stay. On our first night we arrived at 8.30 pm in the evening and we were basically starving as our last meal was an early lunch. We ordered 2 dishes, a Tuna Steak with fries and a Pork Tenderloin with rice. The tuna steak came as a huge portion and was delicious however, the fries at the side were cold and soggy. The pork tenderloin was also really delicious and tender, although it was a tad too saltish for me. It would probably be perfect coupled with some white rice, however, we found the rice too soft and clumpy which wasn’t very appealing to us. Maybe we were there late hence the food was not as stellar as we had hoped (and seen reviews on) but rest assured, for the rest of the days the food well exceeded our expectations and is probably one of the reasons we would be returning real soon!
The next morning, we had breakfast in the resort again at 7.30 am as we were going for an early dive. The breakfast was definitely more impressive than the dinner we had the night before and we were actually pleasantly surprised. The coffee that came with it was strong and full-bodied as well which complemented the breakfast we were having. We got the Ham & Cheese (our fav!) omelette and the American breakfast, both came with toast and the most delicious mango jam I have ever tasted.
We went on our morning dive and returned to the resort in the afternoon for lunch. We were starving (diving turns you into a hungry monster) and got the Hamburger and Club Sandwich which once again impressed us. By this point we were wondering was it the same place we were eating at the night before as lunch was also delicious (like REALLY DELICIOUS) beyond expectations. The burger came with a really sesame headed bun that was so crispy and delicious while the beef patty was so thick and juicy. The club sandwich was just as delicious with the well-toasted crispy baguette that we ordered it again for dinner the following night. I’m not sure is it the fact that I am a real cheesey person but the cherry on top was really the generous amount of melting gooey and oozing cheese that basically just did it for me. JUST LOOK AT THAT OOZING CHEESE WILL YA???
For our next dinner we had the club sandwich again and we tried their Spaghetti Bolognese and it was SO FREAKING GOOD. The sauce was the best pasta sauce I had ever tasted, even better than what I had in Italy mind you, with plenty of tender minced meat, button mushrooms and of course, delicious tomato sauce that was neither too saltish or too sour. The plating doesn’t do the dish much justice but trust me, your first bite will change your mind! We also decided to try their Mango Shake as we had tried it earlier when we were in town and it was so good we decided to give the resort a chance to impress us with their version of it. By this point it was, as expected, deliciously cold, well-blended and Filipino-mango-sweet 😉
For our last breakfast, we got the Ham & Cheese Omelette one last time and tried their Belgian Pancake with Bananas. The pancakes were more of like a slightly thicker crepe wrapped around a banana which was a perfect combination when drizzled with some cinnamon maple syrup or our fav mango jam 😉
There are 3 types of rooms available at the Asian Belgian Dive Resort namely; Native Cottage, Sea View Room and Dolphin Watch Room. We chose to stay at the Native Cottage as it was the most value for money and found that it was clean, the air-con was cool (or extremely cold if you want it to be) and it had all the necessities we needed to make our stay comfortable. The Native Cottage can stay up to 3 people with 1 single bed and 1 queen sized bed available in the room. The mattress was not the thickest fluffiest one but was sufficient for a good night’s rest. The only issue I had with the room was the water pressure which was quite weak and the water was barely hot, at most warm, which was quite a bummer for me as I was often shivering after a dive. Also, it was nice to have a little porch outside with a nice bench and table to relax (if you aren’t terrified of frogs and lizards) or to dry your wet stuff.
4. Dive Shop
Adjacent to the resort is the dive shop where the dive and snorkel equipment are kept. This is also where you will report to if you are diving with them! The equipment are all kept really neatly and are well maintained by the staff there. Gear rental over here is charged per day regardless of the number of dives you do as opposed to many other dive shops that charge per dive. We have included more comprehensive prices in our $500 budget Moalboal article over here for more information! The Dive Masters and the Dive Manager/Instructor, Steve, are really knowledgeable and experienced divers who can promise you a safe and enjoyable dive regardless of your level of experience. As a newly certified Open Water Diver on my first leisure dive, I definitely felt safe under their care and would recommend this dive shop for their safe, affordable and enjoyable dives 😉
5. Other activities
Apart from diving, which is the main activity here, you can snorkel at the house reef just right in front of the resort. White beach is also just a 5 mins kayak (you can rent it from them for free) during high tide or a short stroll away (you can rent water shoes from them for free too) during low tide. There is also a hammock and a sea front beach chair for you to chill and relax on. On rainy days there isn’t much to do but there are books you can borrow at the restaurant or enjoy a friendly competition of pool with other guests at the pool table by the bar. During our stay we also took a tricycle, just ask the reception to help you call one in, for 150 php to Pangasama and to town to explore the area 🙂
This little staircase from the resort leads straight into the sea!
6. The People (and dog)
It’s the people that make a place and the best part of Asian Belgian Dive Resort is essentially the people. Right from the very beginning when we contacted them, we were always responded to promptly and they were always kind and understanding towards us from booking of the rooms, our endless questions on diving and even booking of the transport. They were very transparent with their pricing and were more than ready to give us discounts. On our stay, we were always greeted by the hospitable staff at the restaurant/reception and everyone was so easy to chat with. As this is a family run resort, we always felt like we were friends visiting and never once felt a tinge of hostility from them. During your stay, you will be lucky enough to meet Jackie, the resort’s dog who is the gentlest and most loving dog who will accompany you during your meals (or clean up after any fallen bits).
With little Sophia and Jackie the dog trying to join in the photo 😉
Overall, this dive resort is not a fancy resort, it has the most basic facilities and is catered mainly to divers. However, the service and quality of food exceeds my expectations of any 3-star accommodation 😉
Head over to their website for more information and book direct for more discounts!
Room – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
Food – 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Service – 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Shower power – 2/5 ⭐⭐
Facilities – 3/5 ⭐⭐⭐
Overall: 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐