One of the closest dive destinations to Manila, Puerto Galera in the Philippines draws travellers with teeming reefs, steamy mangrove swamps and towering waterfalls. Join them with a stay in one of these hotels.
Unesco declared Puerto Galera a Biosphere Reserve in 1977, citing the wide biodiversity of its reefs and rainforests. Not only beautiful but convenient, most of its dive sites are but a 15-minute boat ride away. Island hopping is a popular pastime, too, with bamboo-rigged bangka boats pulling up at pristine, white sandbars and coral gardens ripe for snorkelling.
Get PADI certified at this dive resort overlooking the Batangas Channel – there’s a full roster of courses here. But this is far more than a post-dive crash pad – slick rooms have plush linens, air conditioning and a minibar, and certain suites have four-poster beds, rattan furniture sets or even a private courtyard. Wander the lush, landscaped gardens, get a hot stone massage on the outdoor veranda and dig into pork adobo confit at Mangroves Restaurant.
Enjoy a unique dining experience at this scalloped, coral-like hotel in Markoe Cove. Here, vegetables are grown organically on the rooftop of the restaurant and guests can even pick which ones they would like for dinner. Each of the 16 suites have similarly thoughtful touches, such as ornately carved hardwood furniture, romantic ocean-view balconies and well-stocked minibars. Spend days diving with sharks, sunbathing by the pool or taking advantage of the in-house manicure service.
With fabulous views over Batangas Bay, this three-star hotel near the Sabang ferry terminal is an excellent base between diving the teeming reefs of Puerto Galera. Indulge in a Japanese shiatsu massage or mani-pedi at the spa, tuck in to sizzling sisig – pork belly – in the restaurant, and chill by the pool with your dive buddies. Rooms come with air conditioning, a refrigerator and free wifi.
With bamboo swinging chairs, squashy bean bags and a lush, blossom-filled garden, Amami epitomises breezy seaside living. A fresh catch of fish, prawns and calamari are delivered daily to the restaurant, grilled and served alongside mangoes and tomatoes. Rooms come with an electric fan and orthopaedic mattress. Excursions can be arranged through resort partner Pacific Divers. With Talipanan Beach just steps away, there’s little else you need.
A short hop from Talipanan Beach and minutes from several quality dive shops, this design-forward resort comprises rooms, suites and villas, each with air conditioning and a minibar. Head to the spa for a signature Malasimbo massage with lemongrass and geranium oils, or just sink into the jacuzzi. The Brae restaurant serves everything from angus beef burgers to crispy pata.
This breezy two-star resort is right in front of Talipanan Beach, a peaceful stretch of fluffy white sand lined with palm trees and laid-back resorts. Rooms feature air conditioning, free wifi and a private bathroom, as well as a flat-screen TV and outdoor seating area. Enjoy massive servings of pancit noodles and sizzling beef in the restaurant and take a dip in the pool. Don’t leave without bathing under the stimulating waters of Talipanan Falls, an 11-minute walk away.
A five-minute walk from White Beach, this modest hotel covers all your needs for your beach or diving vacation. Fill up on tocilog – tocino with rice and egg – and freshly brewed coffee in the revamped restaurant, then plan your day using the free wifi. Return for a mid-afternoon siesta; air-conditioned rooms come with a flat-screen TV, kettle, bidet and free toiletries. Grab a round of ice-cold San Miguel beers from nearby Glen’s Bar in the evening.