Not just for Divers, a Nature Reserve for all types of people ..
Following touchdown at Buswanga airport, the transfer in the van to the boat was fairly seamless. It was only a short ride in a very nice vessel to the resort.
Where do I start….. Surprised I was when we arrived at Sangat Island dive resort. I had looked at the photos on the website, and as nice as they are they just didn’t prepare me for just how beautiful the place really is. I had wondered if all of the reviews were genuine because almost every one raved so much about the place, and I quickly got my answer. There are rave-reviews because the place is just awesome.
Upon arrival we were were served with tasty coconut drinks straight out the coconuts. I enjoyed that but really couldn’t wait to see the room. I was initially worried because I knew the rooms were not air-conditioned (and without realising the price included food), and I had first thought they were expensive. We first went into a beach-front chalet and oh it was charming, see the photo.
I wanted drinks on our balcony and had been fumbling around carrying ice and drinks from the restaurant not realising how well prepared the rooms were. I found a refrigerator full with a selection of cold beer oh yes! .. red and white wine, and even ice in the freezer compartment. We settled into absolute beachfront sun-down surrounded by palm trees, clean white sand, turquoise water and lovely breezes.
We headed to the restaurant for dinner and found a buffet with big crabs, a chicken and a fish dish… all delicious, and all included in the room price. After dinner I tried one of the many hammocks around the resort, and I uncharacteristically fell to sleep…! I am a very light sleeper, so the charm of Sangat had already begun to get a grasp on me. My fiancé found me and woke me up, back to the room and.. Sangat is also a very romantic place to be!
The beds are not sprung mattresses but foam, however surprisingly very comfortable. Nice firm pillows, fairly good sheets and very nice towels. The sheets smell clean unlike some other island-resorts like Dos Palmas make their own laundry detergent that leaves an unpleasant scent like canvas. We slept very well.. the breeze passed through the room and it was very cool and comfortable. You would be nuts to want to close windows and turn on air conditioning, no thanks!
Being primarily a scuba dive resort in the Philippines, Sangat seemed environmentally conscious and responsible. The water, including for drinking is Desalinated in the Solar Powered plant on the island. I wouldn’t say it tastes great .. it was fine cold, but not nice warm. There was also a filtered rainwater station in the restaurant and bottled water from the bar. All of the electricity is generated by solar panels on the roof of the main operations building. Everything appears to be completely sustainable. The fruit and vegetables are grown on the island, also the seafood is local. Apparently the meat is also farmed on the island, so it is very much organic food, three nice choices served three times a day. I think everything on the island is from the island, and not much has been taken away from there either. We did go Island Hopping, but didn’t find any better places. One day we spotted two Palawan Hornbill birds that are featured on the Sangat logo.
In the morning a breakfast buffet was served. We had the typical fruits, bacon, choice of eggs and a sausage casserole dish. We quickly became very fond if the food inclusion system because it removed the feeling of a business transaction altogether. It was so nice to not have to worry about carrying money or EFT cards, room-number for charging, no signing the slip for everything, or relentlessly deciding on a tip or service charge every morning noon and night. ‘The Rock Bar’ is fantastic in the evenings.. we head over after dinner each night and hit the cocktails or wine.
Divers are friendly. We all talk openly like a friends type environment, giving you the option of sitting up at one of the big tables for a chat about the dive you just did or want, or you can take one of the smaller tables if you want some privacy or just being with your own family or friends. You can leave your phone anywhere, computer… no one is worried about crime. The rooms don’t even have keys.. it is that kind of relaxed and friendly place.
After a couple of days we moved around into ‘The Villa’ that had became available for us. It is around the rocky point on a completely private beach. Wow, this place is like a cross between a mystical luxury tree-house and a cave. Like all of the buildings in the resort, it was very well constructed and maintained… not even a squeaky floorboard.
We now had our very own white sands full of a huge variety of coloured shells. We enjoyed collecting up the shells and admiring them, taking photos and then returning them to the beach for the next guests to enjoy. The beach had so many clam shells and coral laying everywhere. Items that would normally have been taken long ago by visitors as souvenirs. The fact that they were still there made it feel so un-spoilt. It felt like we were among the first people there. The staff sent around big white bean-bags that float in the in the ocean. It was super relaxing, the water goes right through them so we took them out and lay on them on the grass into the evening, then swung in hammocks drinking wine.
There was pro’s and cons about the Villa, it was quite a long walk around the point and back to the restaurant. It wouldn’t have mattered if there was some form of communication back to the reception or restaurant so we didn’t need to run all the way back for things we needed.
The dive shop I can see is highly organised and has all new equipment. None of the typical Asian dive shop ripped old wetsuits and clunky old regulars here. The Instructors and Dive-Masters are English, German, Filipino and American. My Fiancé Angie completed her Open Water Licence and we all went and dived some of the terrific wrecks just off the shores of Sangat. We also went jet skiing one day and that was fun of course.
The only negative I can note is the lack of internet was frustrating. I don’t want to be on-line all the way through my holiday, but I do need to be somewhat contactable, and check messages, transfer money etcetera occasionally.
There is only one bad review on Sangat. Whoever that person is complaining about bugs and stupid things, I feel sorry for him. He would be someone who is unable to find happiness anywhere. I inspected that persons own profile and confirmed so many of his reviews are similarly negative. A reflection of a miserable person.
Sangat is not just for divers, It is for anyone that likes quality accomodation, adventure and relaxation, sustainably interwoven with nature. From beach bums to billionaires, I think almost everyone would love this place. There were some very wealthy people among us staying in the resort who were not obvious at all, they interacted so comfortably with other divers who may have saved-up money all year for the holiday. I liked the resort so much I didn’t really mind if we didn’t go diving very often.