Early this year, I got an invite for an overnight stay at Summer Cruise Resort in San Luis, Batangas. Summer Cruise offers affordable diving and freediving packages.
I came here with my friend Say, a freediving coach whom I’ve met in my past visit to Apo Reef in Mindoro. We came just days after the resort had re-opened following the Taal eruption in 2020.
Here’s our experience at Summer Cruise Resort in Batangas!
Our stay at Summer Cruise Resort
My friend and I met in Alabang and we commuted for over 3 hours before reaching San Luis.
We reached the parking area that is used as jump-off point for boat transfers to various resorts nearby. Unfortunately, the boat service wasn’t available so we just walked to the resort. Honestly we didn’t mind since it was close (around 100 meters), but the route was off the main road and you will be passing some narrow alleyways so it’s really best to ask someone to come get you, as we did.
Summer Cruise Resort is humble, but we agree that it’s underrated. The resort uses native bamboo as materials, painted in lively colors. There are hammocks and lounges facing the ocean. It has a certain quirky feel and every corner can be turned into an IG spot!
It has a small restaurant with alfresco tables so you can eat while enjoying the ocean breeze or enjoy a hot cup of coffee after a swim or dive. It also has a dive shop where you can rent snorkeling or diving gears, a pool for practicing scuba, and a tide pool. The tide pool has shallow water, which is supposedly designed for kids but take note that the floor is covered with smooth rocks so you have to wear something durable and be careful if you’re going to take a dip here.
We checked in at our room, which was located in the second floor. It has 2 single beds and a private restroom. I love how spacious and airy it is! We also have a balcony with an ocean view. The room has an electric fan but we never needed to use it because it was cool — in fact, we needed extra sheets at night!
Afterwards, we ordered lunch at their restaurant. They offer Filipino and Japanese food for P150-200 per meal.
As I said above, the resort had just re-opened, so their food stock was limited. We had adjusted our expectations so we were surprised that the food was good. In fact, we liked everything that we ate for the duration of our stay in Summer Cruise. The food is tasty and serving is generous. I recommend the ramen, beef gyudon, and chicken karaage with vegetables.
Our dive instructor informed us our boat dive was scheduled the morning after, so Say and I decided to snorkel in front of the resort instead. There is a coral drop in front of the resort where you can see various types of fishes and even sea turtles. I can’t help but compare it to the last trip I’ve taken (Moalboal and Malapascua in Cebu) where there are signs of bleaching — here the corals are alive and colorful. There was a particularly red brain coral that captured my attention.
I was really impressed with the snorkeling area here. It’s one of the best ones I’ve visited in Batangas as of yet.
We enjoyed their unlimited coffee afterwards. Oh, and the sunset view here is amazing!
The morning after, we took the Introduction to Scuba Diving course. The course consists of 30 minutes lecture and 25 minutes diving practice. First, we watched a short instructional video and then we put on our diving wetsuits. Then we boarded the boat to Binukbok which is about 10 minutes away via boat.
Binukbok is actually quite popular especially among freedivers because schools of jack fish roam the area. It’s also home to sea turtles. This is also where Binukbok Viewpoint and Camp Raya resorts are located.
This is actually the second time I have tried the intro course. The first was only weeks ago in a dive resort in Malapascua. In comparison, my prior course was more comprehensive and professional while this one offered by Summer Cruise seems more like an assisted fun dive rather than an introduction to diving. I admit that I found this more beginner friendly and enjoyable, which is fitting for those who really just want to try out what it’s like to dive.
Here are some differences I noticed. We were taught the basic skills in diving (breathing, equalizing underwater, pushing out the water from the mask) but in my opinion it wasn’t enough to know that we can actually do it underwater. During the dive, we were not asked to control our own buoyancy valve (which is used to go down or up the water), which means a guide was always on our side or back to control it. I was also surprised that I was allowed to hold my gopro throughout the dive, whereas in my prior course I was advised to focus on learning how to dive properly first.
I asked our guide about it and he told me that the training is more detailed in the proper open water certification course.
Anyway, at the start of our dive, we swam from the shore for a few meters and then encountered a school of colorful fishes, who were not shy at humans. We took photos here. It was actually challenging to get a decent screen grab because of all the fishes surrounding us and our faces. At one point I laughed in joy and then quickly caught myself.
We then swam around a huge underwater rock filled with different types of corals. Say and his guide were ahead of us, in the deep, and my guide gave a hand signal that we were going to follow. I don’t know how to do a hand signal for “I don’t want to”, so there we went. It was scary at first, but again the fear was immediately replaced with amazement.
We paused in particularly spots as our guides pointed us eels or certain types of fishes. There was also a giant clam sanctuary.
As we made our way back to the shore, we encountered another school of fishes so we stopped for a photo-ops again.
Here are my thoughts about the dive.
At the beginning of our practice dive, Say and I were both afraid but it helped that the intro course was easy and we were easily distracted with the beauty and activity underwater. Here are the fishes and the corals which we couldn’t see before! Say says that, as a freediver, he can dive deep to appreciate the marine life but it’s dependent on his ability to hold breath whereas this limit isn’t present in diving.
We didn’t see any turtles or schools of jack during our dive. Our guide said whenever there are lots of tour boats near the shore, the jack fishes move deeper in the ocean. Someone else told Say that they were gone after the volcanic eruption. Anyway, we didn’t really feel like we missed anything but we sure would love to come back to see those.
Both of us were pumped up about the activity and we kept talking about how fun it was. We even discussed taking the open water certification after this experience!
After the boat dive, we took a short break in Binukbok to swim and float. It was refreshing to shed off the BCD and tank since those were heavy. We did another snorkeling activity back in the resort before we checked out of our rooms.
Overall, I’m really happy with our stay at Summer Cruise Dive Resort. I actually didn’t expect to enjoy it as much — at the beginning, I only wanted a beach break and also I was honestly terrified at having another go at diving, but this took away my fears. I’m glad that I discovered this resort and a new activity I would like to pursue!
Practical Info: Summer Cruise Dive Resort
Summer Cruise Dive Resort is a budget-friendly dive resort in San Luis, Batangas.
The resort opens to a home reef where you can snorkel, freedive, or scuba dive. If you’re looking for a regular beach area, this isn’t it and you’ll just be disappointed. However, if you’re into any of the activities mentioned this is a great place to be. 🙂
How to get here
Summer Cruise is about 3 hours away from Manila.
- Ride a bus bound for Lemery. Alternatively, ride a bus bound for Batangas Grand Terminal and then transfer to a bus to Lemery.
- Get off at Xentro Mall or at the terminal.
- Take a trike to Barangay Balite, San Luis, and look for Parking A for Summer Cruise. Rate is P150-200 per ride.
- From the parking lot, take a boat to Summer Cruise. Rate is P50 per way. Sometimes boats are not available. In any case, you can also walk from the parking to the resort, which is about 100 meters away. Make sure to wear thick sandals or shoes since the route is filled with smooth rocks that may be uncomfortable if you’re wearing thin footwear.
If you are bringing a private car, you can leave it at the parking lot for P150 per day.
Here are the resort’s amenities:
- Tide pool. Filled with shallow water for swimming.
- Dive shop
- Table tennis
Here are the current rates (updated as of 2020):
- Tent: P500 per person
- Rooms: P985 (weekday) to P1300-1700 (weekend)
Rooms are good for 2 pax. Additional P350 per pax.
- Check in at 1PM, check out at 11AM. The resort does not accept guests after 5PM.
- Towels are provided. Bring your own toiletries.
The room we booked was the Coral Room (P985 weekday, P1600 weekend), with 2 single beds and private bathroom.
Here are the offered activities (rate per person):
- Freediving lesson: P1300
- Introduction to Scuba Diving: P1800 (beachfront) + P800 succeeding dive / P2800 (boat dive in Binukbok) + P1200 succeeding dive
- Open water certification: P14,800 (2 days)
There are other activities you can do including fishing and island hopping.
- Restaurant meals: around P150-200 per meal (Filipino and Japanese dishes)
- Corkage fee for food and liquor: P200
- Cooking fee: P50 per pax
Rentals (per day):
- Mask and snorkel: P150
- Fins: P100
- Aqua shoes: P100
- All-gear package: P300
- Gopro: P200
Reminders and tips
- Use coral-friendly sunblock to avoid harming the marine life!
- Do not touch the corals and keep your distance to the wildlife such as sea turtles.
- Bring your own snacks. The resort has its own restaurant but do not sell snacks. The nearest store is at the main road about 10-15 minutes walk away.
- If you’re only here for an overnight stay, get to the resort early. I suggest doing the intro to scuba in the afternoon and then a fun dive in the morning.
You can contact Summer Cruise in the following: Facebook.
Disclaimer: Thanks Summer Cruise for the stay and diving activity! As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have you been to Summer Cruise Dive Resort? Do you have other recommendations for affordable diving resorts in Batangas? Let us know in the comments below!
What to read next:
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Are you into snorkeling and freediving? Check out these places:
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).