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“The most relaxing place I've been to” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mangrove Oriental Resort

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Mangrove Oriental Resort
Ranked #11 of 13 Hotels in Malapascua Island
Isle of Wight
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“The most relaxing place I've been to”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 February 2009

We - myself, my wife and our fourteen year old son visited Malapascua in March/April 2008. Malapascua is a small island situated about a 40 minute boat ride off the northern tip of Cebu.
I have to say it's a trek and a half to get there - flights to Cebu via HK, a 5 hour drive up to the northernmost tip then a half hours boat ride. You'll feel pretty wrung out by the time you arrive but if you stay in the right place, it's worth every second of the trip. We did our own thing, booking our own flights & car transfer but some firms offer packages. These will probably take longer on the travel side.

We stayed at The Mangrove Oriental Resort, tucked away on the East side of the Island far enough away from the main beach but not so far as it was impracticle to reach the dive centres etc. We dived with Thresher Shark Divers, a British run outfit. Standard PADI stuff with great local guides & boatmen.

Returning to Mangrove, the word "Resort" I think ,could possibly put you off. This place is not a resort in the traditional sense. The owner, Josephine, bought the land some ten years ago or so, against the advice of all the locals who said she was mad. It was a hillside plot with a small rocky beach. Over the years she cleared the beach of all rubbish to leave a crescent shaped totally secluded private cove & built the ten or so rooms into the hillside plus a few on the sand. What's now here is, in my opinion, the most perfect hideaway you could wish for. Meals can be taken in the dining room, often accompanied by Josephine herself. There is no set menu. If you wish to eat in, ask her what's on offer that day. If you have a preference she'll do her best to accomodate it. The walk to the nearby restaurants takes about 15 minutes if you want to try elswhere. Power on the Island is sporadic, most places - Mangrove no exception - have their own generators and if you go to the main beach area you'll need a torch to get back at night. The stroll through the village, past children playing pool & the inevitable karaoke, tethered pigs and inquisitive locals was, to me, one of the highlights of the trip.
No roads here so no cars. Mopeds are about but even they may be phased out if the council has it's way. Despite the village being dirt poor the most magnificent Catholic church takes pride of place in the village centre. Aways lights burning bright here late into the night despite the villagers being in candlelight!

There's no getting around the fact that Mangrove is probably the most expensive place to stay on the island but it's all relative. We had a house on the beach with nothing between us and the sea some 15 metres away. It was huge, sleeping three of us with ease. If you're a backpacker on a budget stay elsewhere. Wouldn't want you shattering the peace anyway!
Josephine was in the throes of building a new restaurant at the top of hill which may, in this travellers opinion, spoil some of the charm it had during our stay. Mealtimes always felt like we were dining with a friend in her house but in the larger new facilities this may not be so. Time will tell.
My purpose for this visit was the shark diving. I always dive solidly on my dive trips. Not here. After a few dives, very good I must say, I found laying in a hammock with a good book listening to the water lapping at the shore & the Palms swaying above me was more then enough to keep me out of the water. No contest really. Truly idyllic. This traveller has never been so relaxed or read so many books on a trip in his lfe!
If you like the idea contact Josephine directly - google Mangrove Oriental for the web site. Be aware that as of the date of this review communications to Malapascua are still very slow. Internet is patchy since there is no standard phone service on the island, only mobiles. To counteract the reliability problems Josephine relies on her daughter in Hong Kong to receive all emails then relays them in phone calls to her mum. This will mean delays to your enquiries. If you have the patience to do this she can arrange all transfers from Cebu city and back.


Most of the dive centres can arrange the transfers and accomodation in most of the resorts on the island but be aware they will take a commision from the chosen resort as their fee. They will offer you a package - diving , transfers & accomodation but I reckon doing it yourself gives more flexibility and possible savings. Josephine tells me if you book direct with her she pays no commision so will pass that saving on to you!

Just do me favour. If you like it, don't go telling others. Lets keep it to ourself!

Helpful?
5 Thank NitroxMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Helsinki. Finland
Level Contributor
34 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 February 2008

We stayed in Mangrove for 6 nights and were more than happy with the resort. We had the family cottage 40m from the sea by the beach and were capable of enjoying the fantastic sunsets from our terrace every night.

The cottage was comfortable, functioning and beautiful. Who comes to location like this cannot expect power showers and such because of the lack of fresh water. The cottage was clean and was maintained every day when you let the staff know by giving them the key. They also did our laundry for a minimal fee, I would say. What I was missing was an info sheet or folder about the various services(massage etc.) they are offering when asked.

Restaurant up in the hill was very cosy and welcoming. Everything happened slowly probably due to the poor kitchen facilities but hey, you are on vacation! The owner, lovely lady Josephine is building a new big house with a breakfast room/restaurant which should be opening later this year. The waiting staff were smiley and polite consistently. Yes, the menu was boring after a few days but there are several restaurants(La Dolce Vita was the best in our minds) in the Bounty Beach area to explore for lunch and dinner, so no problems. The Philippines is not Thailand when it comes to culinary experiences so go the restaurants without great expectations and you might be pleasantly surprised at least once in a while : )

I cannot recommend this resort enough. After every day and night when we walked back from the Bounty Beach area we counted our blessings that we chose this location since it was quiet, beautiful and safe compared to the more condensed resort area in the south side of the isle.

We snorkeled and some of us dived but I was mainly just happy about the relaxing atmosphere of the island so I understand why people would go there just to do nothing at all! : )

  • Liked — The tranquil and beautiful environment.
  • Disliked — The monotonous menu in the restaurant.
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Mioluu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 February 2008

Fake hospitality and hidden costs!!! Do not stay at the Mangrove Oriental!!!!!!!

  • Liked — The garden
  • Disliked — The owner
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Yonica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Malapascua Island hotels

New York City, New York
Level Contributor
51 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 191 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2008

Malapascua Island is quite remote, and if you’re going there it’s probably to dive. The island has a small village (be prepared for huts/shacks plus a church), a few dive ‘resorts’ (use this term loosely) on the beach (generally appearing to be backpacker standard), a passable Italian restaurant (the only place to eat outside of the hotels), and one hotel on the hill on the far side of the village – that would be the Mangrove Oriental Resort.

We stayed at the Mangrove Oriental for 3 nights – December 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. After driving ~3 hours on rutted roads from Cebu airport and then crossing over to Malapascua Island on a small boat (which took a half hour or so), we landed on the resort’s beach. It was after dark, and that was the only time we saw the beach, because it was down the other side of the hill. (From that point on we only went down the hillside toward the village, we had no reason or desire to go down the hillside that led back to that beach). So I can’t rate the beach, only the accommodation and restaurant atop the hill.

We stayed in the Banyan cottage. It was attractively decorated and had a modern bathroom (shower only, no tub), although the water pressure was very weak. The room was clean, no bugs, and we had a nice veranda with an ocean view. No television or telephone. There was an air conditioner that worked almost too well – at night, the only options were freezing or off. At first we had only a sheet on the bed, we were given a thin blanket upon request, but what we needed was a big thick duvet. The power (and AC) goes off for ~6 hours every afternoon, as it does throughout the island. (Some hotels might have backup generators that prevent this daily blackout; the Italian restaurant does). Our room was cleaned and made up after our first night, but not after the second.

Breakfast was included in the rate but we never ate it there because we had to head off to dive (more on this hike later). We did have one lunch at the Mangrove Oriental, a simple sandwich, and it was OK. You’re not going to find fine dining anywhere on Malapascua, but the food is passable, and you’re there for the diving. (If you’re not a diver, I’m not sure why you’d be there). We also were able to buy drinks and some snacks from the restaurant. The staff was generally friendly, if a bit difficult to find at times.

The grounds of the Mangrove Oriental are pretty, with many flowering trees and bushes. They also keep chickens in a coop, and the chickens would start making quite a lot of noise around 4:30 am every morning. This then set off the packs of feral dogs. There are so many chickens and feral dogs on the island that I don’t think you could escape this early morning symphony no matter where you stayed. And we had to be up about that early anyway…

The signature dive on Malapascua Island is the thresher shark dive. It takes place at 5:30 am. To get to the dive shops from the Mangrove Oriental, you have to walk down the hill, through the village, and then along the beach. It takes 15-20 minutes. So we had to leave the resort at 5:00 am every morning and make this hike in the pitch black. Quite an adventure! Unfortunately, the thresher sharks did not put in an appearance during our stay, and the diving in general was a disappointment. No pretty corals, so-so visibility, and overall the fish life wasn’t that impressive.

Another downside to the location is that we had to pay porters to help us carry our luggage up the hillside to our cottage when we arrived, carry our dive gear from the resort to the dive shop the next morning, and then carry the rest of our luggage from the resort to the dive shop (on the main beach) the morning we left because at that time of day the tide was too low to allow the boat to pick us up from the beach at the Mangrove Oriental.

One true upside to the location of the Mangrove Oriental (other than the great exercise of all that hill climbing!) is that we walked through the village several times every day. The locals were really friendly and it was a great experience to be able to interact with them. They let us pet their pigs, play volleyball, and join in the Christmas Eve disco in the churchyard. Rather than being sheltered and isolated as we would have been at a real resort, we got to see a little more of the local life.

We had an interesting experience on Malapascua Island and, despite its less convenient location, we had no big complaints about the Mangrove Oriental. (I’m evaluating our experience there taking into consideration the remoteness of the island and the basic standard of the other hotels and facilities we saw). I would only advise that you understand what you’re getting into – with the hotel, the island, and the diving – and make sure this is a trip you really want to make.

Stayed December 2007
Helpful?
3 Thank frangipani7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shanghai
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2007

After staying at the fantastic Exotic Resort on the Eastern coast of
Malapascua Island we were sadly disappointed with our final two nights at Mangrove. The host at mangrove gives guests a vibe that is almost condescending and has an aire which makes visitors/costumers feel like an unwelcome burden.
The lodges are cute and easy with the most up-to-date and westernized design on the island. However, the "resort's" location lacks a beach and is a long (15-20) minute walk to the village (which has a beach) and a 30-40 minute walk to the majority of the dive shops. The management often seems untrustworthy of staff which creates painfully slow meals. Although my partner and I still dream about the cooking, the disorganization of the establishment, the repetitive set menu and the lackadaisical approach about when dinner will be prepared is too frustrating to warrant a return trip.
We love Malapscua and will most likely dive there again. However, next time we'll book early at The Exotic Resort and Dive Shop and simply visit the Mangrove for a special dinner.

  • Liked — The food
  • Disliked — Location, No Beach, Service, Island transfer, the price
  • Stayed February 2007, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank ryanmal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mangrove Oriental Resort

Property: Mangrove Oriental Resort
Address: Daanbantayan, 6013, Philippines
Region: Philippines > Visayas > Cebu Island > Malapascua Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Malapascua Island
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Malapascua Island
Price range (per night): $46 - $102
Hotel Class:3 star — Mangrove Oriental Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 21
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Mangrove Oriental Hotel Malapascua Island
Mangrove Oriental Resort Malapascua Island, Cebu Island

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