I hit the wall while we were waiting in line for the flight to Manila. They do a second security check at each gate here. I had a middle seat although we thought we were all getting aisles. It was a longer flight then I expected. We were on the plane for 4 hours. There were two entry forms to fill out when you arrive in the Philippines. In Manila, things ran pretty smoothly and a guide and several drivers associated with the resort met us at the exit to customs.
We took the toll way to Bantagas to boat the banca boat to Puerto Galera. There were more toll stops on this road that I had ever seen. Labor is cheap here so it is easier to put in a manned stop and have anything automated. We made one comfort stop at Starbucks. Really? Starbucks? This is not why I came half way around the world. When we arrived at Bantagas, instead of going to the public pier when drove through town and were taken to a private dock where the large resort banca boat-outrigger canoe-met us. A stream of workers carried all our luggage onto the boat for us.
As a really nice touch, 2 or our 3 dive guides for the next 4 days met us at the pier and rode over to the resort with us. They are very friendly and willing to answer any questions we had. We pulled right up to the main entry point for Sabang beach and walked along the sand to the dive resort, Atlantis. The tide was out so we made it without getting our feet wet. There is really no beach to speak of the water line is at the edge of the development.
We walked into the bar that leads into the dive shop. (A diver will appreciate the placement.) From there we cross a pathway (about two persons wide) that is the main beachside artery for pedestrian traffic. From that point you enter the resort, additional dive shop facilities are on the right side along with the front desk. To the left is the open-air restaurant, Toko’s. All this area has a tropical bamboo feel. Next is the pool with a waterfall and marble bottom, lovely. There is a spa with 3 sides of glass that looks out on the pool. From there, a series of staircases takes you to your room. I am sure the intent was to have this look as if you were living in a coral reef under the water; I mean the resort name is Atlantis. Actually, the first impression is that you have entered Bedrock; there is a real Flintstones feel. I really like it.
Donna has stayed here before and requested a lower room. I came to appreciate this request later when I saw the multiple staircases you had to take to the upper rooms. After a resort orientation, cool towel, lemonades, and a complimentary shoulder massage, we were free to explore and check out our rooms. Like before, a stream of workers brought our bags over from the boat and up to our rooms. Fortunately, we will have our check-out dive tomorrow.
Donna and I made reservations for the spa. They offer a 15% discount if you book at least $100 in spa services. This might get you one or two services (or less) at home. Here I had to book 5 services, one for every night we were here to get to $100. We stayed up for a lovely dinner and then I had a neck, back, and shoulder massage and went straight to bed. It was perfect and worked out all the kinks of the travel. I will sleep well tonight.