Diving in the Philippines by luxury liveaboard you will have the opportunity to explore many islands and fantastic coral reefs. The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands, surrounded by deep blue seas that contain some of the richest marine life on Earth. Thought by many to be the apex of the coral triangle, diving in the Philippines offers you a wide variety of marine environments to choose from. Dives on steep walls and offshore pinnacles, critter hunting in coastal reefs, wreck diving a sunken Japanese fleet and the opportunity to get up close to the World's largest fish - the whale shark. We offer 4 distinct trips to the islands and dive sites of the Philippines that will whet the appetite of even the most seasoned diver. Join us in Tubbataha, Coron & Anilao, Visayas - Cebu, Bohol, Apo & Negros and Leyte.
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The S/Y Philippine Siren liveaboard yacht departs from Mactan, Cebu to spend 6 days within the Sogod Bay area. Working closely with the local municipalities, who act as "spotters", our dinghies position themselves ahead of the shark so that you may enter the water and are able to watch as it approaches, keeping well away from the head and tail of the shark. The yacht will move to the best areas dependent on the most frequent sightings. The small area of Sunok Bay and the coral slopes of San Ricardo are typically visited and Limasawa Island also sees much whaleshark activity with up to 5 seen in the bay at one time. Only snorkelling is allowed, however whale sharks may also be seen during the dives. Dive sites vary between steep reefs with soft corals, sponges & black corals to the critter dive hot spot of the Padre Burgos Pier, where seahorses, frogfish, pipefish and mandarin fish can all be seen. The Marine Sanctuary at Napantaw offers stunning soft corals and a great opportunity for over/under photography in the hard coral garden. The walls in Padre Burgos shelter numerous reef fish species, including grouper & sweetlips and within seafans pygmy seahorses are commonly spotted. Occasional visitors to the reefs are eagle rays, meanwhile research is on going to find the manta ray cleaning station that has been reported by local fishermen.
Departing from Cebu the S/Y Philippine Siren cruises southwards to the first stop at Cabilao Island, where steep reef walls are covered with sea fans, corals and sponges. Pygmy seahorses and frogfish are common sightings. Moving on to Balicasag we dive a variety of sites around the tiny island to see turtles and schools of jacks as well as barracuda and snapper. The dark sand slopes of Dauin are the place to find a myriad of tiny odd shaped bottom dwellers from robust ghost pipefish to pipehorses, waspfish and skeleton shrimps. Apo Island is a testament to the success of the marine sanctuaries in the Philippines and the pristine corals abound with numerous fish species including redtooth trigger fish, pyramid butterfly fish and blue lined fusileers. Friendly turtles approach divers and at least 8 species of anemone fish can be found here. Moalboal and tiny Pescador Island are the next destination. Schools of sardines are known to pass through with the occasional hungry thresher shark in their wake. Whale sharks are frequently seen in the channel. Smaller creatures including a wide range of nudibranchs, shrimps and crabs can be found on each reef during every dive. The calm seas and diversity of marine life make the Visayas an ideal diving destination for all experience levels.
Combine all the favourites from the 10-nights Southern Visayas trip with a 2 day extension in Malapascua Island for thresher sharks, wrecks and more! 12-night trips start in Mactan and culminate in Malapascua or vice versa.... Check our schedule to find available dates.
Visayan Dive Site Highlights
Just a few hours south of Manila, lies the World renown muck diving area of Anilao. It is here that many new species, particularly nudibranchs, have been discovered. There are numerous dive sites to explore including Secret Bay, Twin Rocks and Kirby's Rock where xeno crabs, seahorses, mimic octopus and many more odd looking critters can be seen. After 2-3 days diving in Anilao the S/Y Philippine Siren cruises southwards to Apo Reef, the second largest of the World's continuous reef systems. 33Km from the coast of Mindoro Occidental the reef teems with life. Rocky walls with huge seafans and barrel sponges attract schooling snappers & white tip reef sharks. Manta rays and eagle rays are also known visitors to the reefs for cleaning. To the far north of Palawan lies the Calamian group of islands, to which Busuanga and Coron are a part. During the Battle of Coron Bay in 1944, 24 ships of the Japanese supply fleet were sunk including the armed Arkitsushima and the oil tanker Olympia Maru. Up to 12 wrecks are within recreational diving depths and we spend up to 3 days diving the bay along with dives in the north part of the island for the chance to see dugongs and a trip to the inland Barracuda Lake - a freshwater site offering great visibility within the cave systems and some interesting thermoclines.
Trips start in either Coron and culminate in Batangas or vice versa. A one-way domestic flight is required.
February to June - 6 nights / 13 nights from 2450 EuroInscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, in recognition of its outstanding universal value in terms of marine life species diversity and richness, Tubbataha Reef offers some truly amazing diving, only accesible by liveaboard. These reefs consist of vertical walls or near drop off's rising out of great depths where hammerheads, thresher sharks and whale sharks can be seen. The shallow reef tops are teeming with colourful reef fish whilst at many dive sites stingrays, spiny lobsters, immature manta rays and turtles are found.
150km South East of Puerto Princessa, on Palawan Island, the Tubbataha reef system consists chiefly of two atolls (North and South) and the Jessie Beazley reefs. After an overnight cruise of approximately 14 hours we arrive at the Tubbataha Reef system to enjoy up to 4 dives per day over the course of our 6-night trip. The delicate reef system supports over 600 different fish species and over 300 coral species, whilst providing a haven for nesting hawksbill and green turtles along with numerous birds. A field station on the North atoll is manned by rangers year-round, during our trips we visit with the rangers to learn more about conservation and reef protection.Dive sites include Washing Machine, where many shark species can be sighted in the speedy current, the Delsan Wreck - now home to a plethora of reef fish and white tip reeef sharks as well as Amos' Rock. Seafan Alley is where huge sea fans adorn the reef walls whilst Staghorn Point boasts fields of staghorn corals. Divers can expect to see stunning corals, schools of jacks, numerous reef sharks, marble rays, blue spotted sting rays, turtles, unicorn and triggerfishes in schools. There are a wide variety of smaller creatures from sea cucumbers to coral crabs, ghost pipefish to sea stars, crinoids with cling fish and pygmy seahorses. After our final dive on day 6, the yacht will make the cruise back to Puerto Princesa where the trip will culminate. The S/Y Philippine Siren also offers extended 13 night trips, which combine 5-6 days of diving at the Tubbataha reefs with the highlights of diving the Southern Visayas. These trips depart from Puerto Princessa or Cebu.
Departing from Malapascua the S/Y Philippine Siren crew welcome their guests aboard to spend the first 2-3 days of the trip diving Monad Shoal, Gato Island and the Dona Marilon wreck. A mix of macro critters including sea horses and ghostpipefish are commonly seen, but its the change to seee thresher sharks and manta rays that have our guests repeating dives at Monad Shoal. Moving northwards we then encounter Maripipi, Santo Nino and Almagro Islands where topography ranges from dark volcanic sand to steep reef walls laden with sea fans and sponges. Marine life found here includes long nose hawkfish, white tip reef sharks and blue spotted sting rays.Dives at the Naranyan and Capul Pass follow. Here divers can expect some current as the tides move in through the channels from the Pacific Ocean, which can bring forth pelagics such as grey reef sharks and wahoo. Reaching Ticao we dive the "Manta Bowl" to spot these gentle giants drawn here by the plankton blook from the San Bernadino Pass. Thresher sharks and the occasional hammerhead have also been spotted here. The island has a range of sites, some where currents can be expected to bring schools of fish, whilst there are plenty of "relaxed" dives where schools of bannerfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish and fusiliers literally engulf divers. Our trip culminates in Donsol, where numerous whale sharks can be seen in the shallow waters of the bay. Only snorkelling is permitted but this provides a better interaction all round.
This trip involves some long distance travel with some 120 nautical miles covered. Your cruise director will schedule up to 30 dives and a snorkelling excursion though this will be dependent on the conditions during your cruise.
Trips also operate in reverse, departing from Donsol and culminating in Malapascua.
The Philippines is a tropical country and the weather is fairly even all year round. The year is roughly divided into two seasons; ‘rainy’ and ‘dry’. The rainy season generally begins in early June and can extend through to November. In general the months with greatest rainfall tend to be July and August. The rainy season often brings days of uninterrupted sunshine punctuated by occasional thunderstorms and rain. The central Visayas including Cebu, Bohol and Negros are sheltered from the monsoon rains and thus have less pronounced seasons. These areas are liable to have rain at any time of the year, but it’s usually not too serious. The dry season runs from November through to May but there is always the chance of light rainfall during this period. The warmest months are usually March through to May and the highest humidity is in June, July and August. Year round coastal and inland temperatures range from 27 °C – 28 °C (81 °F- 82 °F) up to 33 °C – 34 °C ( 91 °F- 93 °F) with an average of approximately 31 °C ( 87 °F). Evenings are marginally cooler.Water temperatures are broadly similar throughout the region; the coolest waters are usually to be found in January – March with an average of approximately 24 °C – 26 °C ( 75 °F- 78 °F) Warmer waters are common in May – July with averages of approximately 26 °C – 28 °C (78 °F- 82 °F). Most guests find that a 3mm shorty and possibly a rash vest is suitable for the water temperature in the warmer months, and 3mm – 5mm long for the rest of the year. However, for guests who feel the cold easily, especially with repeated diving, then we recommend to bring an extra vest / hood. In short bring what you feel most comfortable in.
Philippines Liveaboard Diving Blog