Philippines Scuba Diving Holiday
Malapascua & Visayas
28th January to 8th February 2020
Join us for 10 nights aboard the S/Y Philippines Siren. The second-largest archipelago in the world, with over 7000 tropical islands, the Philippines is one of the great treasures of Southeast Asia. It is a place of natural wonders – a string of coral-fringed islands strewn across the western Pacific; its tropical climate makes it rich in natural resources and therefore biodiversity.
In the Philippines we are proud to work with the beautiful S/Y Philippine Siren. This luxury liveaboard will take you to explore many remote islands and fantastic coral reefs away from the daily diving crowds.
Diving in the PhilippinesBelow sea level, the Philippines boasts some of the world’s best diving. The 7000 coral-fringed islands are 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.
Malapascua & Visayas (10 nights)
DURATION: 10 nights
PORTS: Cebu to Cebu
NUMBER OF DIVES: Up to 33 dives (including night dives)
QUALIFICATION NEEDED: PADI Open water or equivalent – no minimum number of logged dives required.
This 10 night liveaboard adventure allows up to 33 dives (including night dives) and takes you to the beautiful regions of Malapascua and Visayas, allowing you to experience some of the best diving in the Philippines!
Meet the crew and guides of the S/Y Philippine Siren. After boarding settle into your cabin and assemble your equipment with help from our friendly crew. The boat briefing is followed by dinner and you may enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure as the yacht cruises southwards towards Cabilao.
The following is a sample itinerary of where you might dive during your holiday with the Siren Fleet in the Philippines. The Cruise Director will schedule up to 4 dives per day; 3 day dives and either a sunset or a night dive. The diving day has a typical schedule as follows:
Light Breakfast followed by a briefing and dive 1
Full Breakfast, relaxation followed by briefing and dive 2
Lunch, relaxation followed by briefing and dive 3
Briefing for Sunset or Night dive
For your final day aboard we schedule 2 morning dives to allow plenty of time for off-gassing before disembarkation and your flight home. The Cruise Director is happy to listen to requests from guests to visit or remain at certain sites and providing it is possible and the schedule allows, then guest’s requests are respected.
**PLEASE NOTE** All dive sites are subject to weather conditions and those visited are at the absolute discretion of the captain and dive guides.
Monad Shoal is one of the few dive spots in the World where the shy pelagic thresher sharks may be seen on a daily basis. Divers rest at approximately 25m (90ft) on the sandy bottom to watch the sharks approach and be cleaned. Other visitors to the shoal include manta, devil and eagle rays. Diving with Nitrox is recommended to enjoy extended bottom time.
Kimud Shoal – Close by to Monad Shoal and running along the same outer reef ridge is another superb site to spot for thresher sharks and a variety of rays, but the main draw is the opportunity to see hammerhead sharks that visit the waters here between December and May each year. Other pelagic species that frequent the area include tuna, white tip reef sharks and dolphins! Minimum depth of 12m (40ft).
Bantigi – A shallow reef with sandy bottom at just 12m (40ft) provides a macro lovers delight, where all manner of benthic species can be found; mantis shrimps, fire urchins with resident zebra crabs, frogfish and moray eels. Mimic octopus and hairy frogfish have also been spotted along the sand here.
There are numerous shallow reef sites dotted around the island at which make up the afternoon and night dives. Commonly sighted are a variety of anemone fish, flambouyant cuttlefish, seahorses, frogfish, ghost pipefish, cowries, porcelain crabs and even schools of batfish.
A Marine Reserve and seasnake sanctuary, the island of Gato provides a diverse range of marine life; cuttlefish can be seen performing their mating rituals whilst white tip reef sharks seek shelter under bommies and a plethora of macro critters command the sea floor. There are several sites around the small island and we choose from the following:-
White Tip Alley – As the name suggests, this site provides an almost guaranteed sighting of white tip reef sharks that enjoy their rest on the sand tucked under rocks and coral bommies. Other species found here include scorpion fish and seahorses. Pygmy seahorses may also be found too, as well as whip coral shrimps which cling to the colourful whip corals adorning the overhangs of the island.
Nudibranch City – Rubble, rocks, sponges and corals provide a perfect habitat and create an “Undersea City” for a wide variety of nudibranchs and flatworms. You may also see blue dragons, chromodoris, hypselodoris, and plakobranchs.
The Cave – Running through Gato Island, divers can take a journey to the other side! Keep a look out for resting white tip sharks or use your light to search for lobsters and crabs that like to dwell within the cavern. Currents need to be navigated to ensure a timely exit and inexperienced divers are recommended to stay on the outside where juvenile white tips are also found resting.
Dona Marilyn – Lying on her starboard side at a depth of 32m (110ft) this 100m (300ft) long passenger ferry is now a haven for marble and blue spotted stingrays and home to schools of sweetlips. Covered with corals and the remains of fishing nets she gives an eerie vibe to divers -not least because of the many people who lost their lives during her sinking more than 20 years ago. Guarding the wreckage is a resident giant moray eel and also commonly seen are large scorpion fish, lionfish and cuttlefish. Minimum depth 18m (60ft).
Tapilo – A Japanese cargo vessel sunk during WWII is now covered in bushes of black corals and home to a wealth of macro life including tiny skeleton shrimp and squat lobsters.
Kasai Wall is where many turtles are seen – both hawksbill and green turtles are attracted to the reef here.
Dolphin House Reef – The shallow reef top hosts pipefish and many varieties of nudibranchs. Along the slope we see bannerfish and trevallies, trigger fish and snappers. Turtles are another common sighting.
Tongo Point – Yellow tail barracuda, shrimp fish hovering in schools, and schools of big mouth mackerel make for an interesting dive. Add crocodile fish, scorpion fish, sea snakes and turtles for an awesome dive site.
Turtle Bay makes for an awesome night dive with juvenile pinate batfish, white snout pipefish, soft coral crabs and so many species of nudibranch – far too many to list!
Serena House Reef – A superb spot for a sunset dive to see mandarin fish mating.
The tiny offshore island of Pescador attracts large schools of sardines; just seeing the wall of fish is spectacular in itself but these sardines have also been known to bring some larger friends with them! Fortunate divers have been lucky enough to see whale sharks and thresher sharks here. Other large pelagics include dog tooth tuna, potato groupers and yellow-tail barracuda. Oceanic triggerfish, midnight snappers and blue-lined fusiliers as well as trumpet fish, box fish, turtles, angle fish and batfish are commonly seen. The walls themselves are adorned with gorgonian fans and soft and hard corals provide the perfect places for white-eyed morays to lurk.
Sumilon Island is where blacktip and white tip reefs sharks are known to frequent the waters. The sanctuaries also support numerous fish species and healthy coral growth. Sightings of tuna, batfish, trevally and unicorn fish are common and there is also a wide variety of crustaceans. We typically make two dives here before crossing the strait to Balicasag Island or moving to Pescador Island.
Dependent on guest’s wishes, the option is offered to substitute dives for whale shark snorkelling at Oslob, subject to additional fees payable at the destination.
Apo Island Marine Reserve is one of most successful marine sanctuaries to be established in the Philippines. Night diving is unfortunately not permitted however a sunset dive at The Chapel provides a superb opportunity to watch mandarin fish mating. The order of dives will be based on the currents and conditions of the day choosing from:-
Coconut Point – An often fast paced drift brings divers over the sloping coral reef wall. Giant trevally, humphead parrotfish and marbled groupers are seen off the reef along with schools of banner fish. Turtles cruise effortlessly in the currents and nembrotha nudibranchs can be seen munching on tunicates.
Rock Point West – Just beyond the chapel opposite the marine park warden’s office, Rock Point offers some of the most stunning hard corals to be found in the region. The steep reef walls support numerous colourful reef species -pyramid butterfly fish and red-toothed trigger fish are here in their hundreds, frogfish, cuttlefish, banded sea snakes and hawksbill turtles are amongst the common sightings.
Boluarte – Marbled groupers, batfish and snowflake morays are to be expected, perhaps attracted by the hot bubbles emerging from the dark sand from the active volcano.
Your Cruise Director will choose sites based on where the most interesting critters are being seen, these sites include:
The Cars – Between 25-30m (80-100ft) lie 2 Volkswagen sunk as an artificial reef and attracting schools of lionfish. Nudibranchs, porcelain crabs and ghost pipe fish are amongst the many weird and wonderful creatures found at this site.
Dauin North – The sanctuary just to the left of The Cars, offers a shallow sloping reef, however it is the sand patches to the right of the sanctuary that really capture our attention. Seahorses, minute frogfish, ghost pipefish, flying gurnards, waspfish, devil scorpionfish, pipefishand octopus are all to be found scurrying over the sand. The sand itself appears to move as hundreds of skeleton shrimp bounce their way across. Tiny pygmy pipehorses can also be seen on the shallow shelf during a safety stop -expect to spend a long dive here!
Ginama – An A typical dark sand dive with small out-croppings in which to hunt for octopus, frog fish and scorpion fish, with the occasional turtle cruising by.
Ceres provides a mix of marine life from schools of snapper, banner fish and fusiliers to tiny bubble coral shrimp and squat lobsters. An assortment of anemone fish can be seen including spine cheek and skunk varieties. Demon stingers and smashing mantis shrimp can be seen scurrying along the bottom and robust ghost pipefish can be spotted bobbing about.
Atlantis Sanctuary offers a dark sandy slope with a collection of sunken tyres that provide an artificial reef in which seahorses and pipefish, moray eels, lion fish and nudibranchs can all be found.
San Miguel another critter wonderland! Painted frogfish, varieties of ghost pipefish, cockatoo waspfish and flambouyant cuttlefish are just a few of the most commonly seen species. With occasion we see up to 4 flambouyants in one dive!! During night dives coconut octopus can be seen creeping about with their shells and bobtail squid quickly scurry under the sand.
The small island of Balicasag, just off the tip of Panglao, is characterised for its many turtles, coral gardens and steep walls which provide overhangs, cracks & crevices in which to search for a variety of marine species.
Sanctuary – A steep coral wall covered in soft corals and gorgonian fans. A great place to find frogfish & leaf fish and as you end the dive you can be surrounded by schooling jacks in the shallows.
Divers Heaven/ Cathedral – Two dives in one along this stunning wall complete with crags and overhangs. Sponges, sea fans, soft corals and cup corals provide a haven for many tiny critters such as warty frogfish and porcelain crabs. Also seen are schools of pyramid butterfly fish and banner fish, titan triggerfish moray eel and clown anemones.
Rico’s Wall makes for an interesting dive with shallow swim throughs and gaps in the craggy wall, at sunset turtles can be spotted coming into the reef to rest.
Black Forest – Once famed for its black coral is where we encounter schools of jacks, meanwhile leaf fish are often seen resting on the rough coral ledges. Turtles are a common sight in the shallow sea grass garden – a perfect place for your safety stop.
There are several interesting wall and coral garden dives around the island of Cabilao and we choose from the following:-
Cambiquiz – A fantastic spot with a gentle sloping reef and sandy bottom to 20m – soft corals and seapens can be found dotted over the sand; also a great site for sightings of bent stick pipefish and Pegasus seamoths.
Paradise Wall provides a gentle drift along a fantastic coral reef with schooling fish and plenty of macro life in the shallow water, including odd shaped plakobranks and leaf fish.
Lighthouse – Sloping walls full of sponges and gorgonian fans. This is a great place to look for pygmy seahorses and to dive with large green turtles. Also being seen are giant frogfish which can be spotted resting on sponges and numerous cowries hiding amidst the stunning hard coral garden.
Talisay Tree – Pygmy seahorses hang on the huge gorgonian fans that adorn the steep wall. In the shallow coral gardens robust ghost pipe fish attempt to blend in, whilst bubble head shrimps and orangutan crabs are often seen resting on bubble anemones.
South Point offers you the opportunity to look for white tip reef sharks that hang out in the caverns within the steep coral wall. Huge tube sponges support giant frogfish, whilst leaf fish and many scorpion fish can be found resting in the crevices.
Olango Island & Mactan
Talima Reef – The wall has soft and whip corals where small critters like to hide. The wreckage of a banca can also be found along the sandy reef shelf – a great place to find grouper and sweetlips; whilst jacks and batfish school above you.
Shangri-la House Reef – The topography is diverse with a wreck, white sand a mini wall, sea grasses and plenty of healthy coral. Schooling fish can be seen and a few treats such as, giant clam, jacks, and batfish put in an appearance
|Outbound Flight||Depart London – time tbc||Arrival Cebu – time tbc*|
|Return Flight||Depart Cebu – time tbc||Arrive London – time tbc|
* denotes arrive next day.
S/Y Siren Philippines
The 40 metre S/Y Philippine Siren luxury liveaboard was built on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Hand crafted from ironwood and teak (traditional to the area), you will find no other dive liveaboard as beautiful in Philippine waters.
S/Y Philippine Siren is the largest vessel in the Siren fleet to date, welcoming up to 16 guests in 8 cabins. Each cabin is air conditioned and offers its own personal computer, audio-visual entertainment system and ensuite bathrooms with hot water. For added luxury, bathrobes, hair dryers and towels are provided. Due to the size of the vessel, cabins are versatile and can be altered to make doubles, twins or triple’s depending on the guest’s requirements.
The spacious, air-conditioned saloon benefits from a cocktail bar, 50 inch flatscreen TV and computer server which supports the inter-cabin network. Dining is outdoors under a covered area with uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean. An expansive dive and leisure deck provides ample space for kitting up even when the vessel is full, and underwater photographers and videographers will definitely appreciate the designated areas for charging and preparation of equipment.
The vessel also benefits from 2 high-powered Zodiacs, kayaks, laundry and massage services and FREE equipment hire and nitrox.
Liveaboard Only Package includes:
- Return economy flights from either Gatwick or Heathrow
- 10 nights aboard the S/Y Philippines Siren
- All meals and soft drinks
- 3-4 dives per day
TOTAL PRICE from = £4,150 (subject to the price of flights once released)
Option for additional stay are available upon request. To secure your space we required a £500 deposit. Balance of payments are due on 1st February 2019 £2,000, balance due on 1st September 2019.
If you need to hire equipment then it is £195 from us for the entire duration including BCD, regs, weight belt, mask, fins and boots. Does not include torch, SMB or dive computer. Diving courses are available but extra charges will apply.
All prices are subject to availability and may change. The earlier you book the less chance there is of any price increases!
Please contact us directly…
There are only 15 spaces on the liveaboard available so please book your space ASAP to avoid dispappointment.
Oyster Diving offers and sells flight packages as the agent of ATOL holders. When you pay us for a flight package you will be supplied with an ATOL certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. For further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate.
Flight time: Approximate flight duration time from UK to Manila is 15 hours.
Airport Terminal Fee: Passengers travelling within the Philippines are required to pay airport terminal fees. These can be from 20PHP – 200PHP for domestic flights and 750PHP for outbound international flights. Please ensure that you retain enough cash to pay these fees upon departure.
Time Zone: The local time is 8 hours ahead of UTC (GMT).
Passport and Visas: All travellers must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least for six months from the date of departure. Most foreign nationals do not need to obtain a visa before entering the Philippines for stays up to 21 days and it is possible to extend your stay beyond this by visiting an Immigration Office while in the country and obtaining a visa extension. Visa and Passport regulations are in a constant state of flux and we always advise guests to check for updates and changes at your local Filipino Embassy. You will be required to show a confirmed onward ticket out of the Philippines (within the maximum number of days you are allowed to stay in the country) upon arrival.
Language and Religion: There are over 170 different languages and dialects spoken in the Philippines, however, Tagalog (aka Filipino) is the most widely spoken language in the archipelago. Nearly all Filipinos who work in the tourism industry speak good English, and English road and street signs are found nationwide. Almost 90% of the population is Christian. The largest religious minority is Muslim, and they make up about 5% of the population.
Currency: The local currency is the Philippine Peso (Php). The vast majority of all hotels, resorts, shops and restaurants will accept a wide range of credit and debit cards. Please note that in some cases away from the major cities you may be asked to pay a service charge for credit card handling. This can range from 3.5 – 6.0%. ATM’s are easily found throughout the Philippines in airports and in any major centre of population (Manila, Cebu, Dumaguete, Puerto Princesa, Boracay etc). Normal banking hours are 09.00am – 15.00pm. Traveller’s cheques are not very popular as they are not very easy to exchange so most guests prefer to carry cash and / or use credit cards. There are also money changers at airports and in the cities.
Electricity: On board the yacht we have both 220V and 110V with 2 round pin sockets. (European style) Please make sure you bring a universal adapter with you if necessary. Electrical current on land is 220 Volts with the US-style flat 2-pin sockets.
Telephone: The Philippines has excellent mobile phone coverage and telephone system, however, in less populated areas; you may find that there is no mobile coverage. The country code is +63 or 0063. To call the UK from the Philippines, dial +44 or 0044 and remove the first 0 from the area code of the number you are calling.
Climate and Weather: 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 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 to 28°C, up to 33°C to 34°C, with an average of approximately 31°C. Evenings are marginally cooler.