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Philippines

Philippines

Geography
The Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands. Main island groups are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Luzon islands include Luzon itself, Mindoro, Marinduque, Masbate and Batanes Islands. The Visayas is the group of islands in the central Philippines, the largest of which are: Palawan, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Samar. The Mindanao islands include Mindanao itself, plus the Sulu Archipelago, composed primarily of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Climate
March to May is the hottest and driest period in the Philippines. June to October is rainy. November to February is the coolest. Nearly no rain in April and May. Average Temperature is 78 to 90 F. Best time to visit the Philippines is November to June. The water is colder in December to February (26 to 27°) and warmer in March to May (29°).

Immigration
Passport should be valid for at least six months. Except for stateless persons and those from countries with which the Philippines has no diplomatic relations, all visitors may enter the country without visas and may stay for 21 days provided they have tickets for onward journey. Holders of Hong Kong and Taiwan passports must have special permits. Visas and special permits may be obtained from Philippine embassies and consulates.

Airport Fees: There is an airport terminal fee of P550 (U.S. $10) for international departures and P200 (U.S. $3.50) for domestic departures (paid in Philippine Pesos only).

How to get there
Manila, Cebu, Davao, Clark, Subic, and Laoag are the international gateways, with the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila as the premier gateway.

Electricity
Power supply is usually 220 volts/60 cycles. Normal outlets are plugs with two pins.

Currency
The unit of currency is Philippine peso Php. USD1 is roughly equivalent to Php 47.

Malaria risk
Risk exists in areas below 600 m (<1,969 ft) on islands of Luzon, Palawan, and Mindanao, except no risk in Bohol Island, Borocay Island, Catanduanes Island, and Cebu Island. No risk is considered to exist in Manila or other urban areas.

To find out more information on malaria throughout the world, you can use the interactive CDC malaria map. You can search or browse countries, cities, and place names for more specific malaria risk information and the recommended prevention medicines for that area.

Please visit Centers for Desease Control and Prevention for current information on vaccinations.

Liveaboards in Philippines

Boats
Region
Rates
  'Atlantis Azores'
Tubbataha Reef & Cagayan Islands, Anilao safari,
Visaya safari with Southern Leyte or Sipaley,
Puerto galera-Dumaguette
 $2295~ $2905
(6-7 nights)
  Expedition Fleet
  'Stella Explorer', 'Oceanic Explorer', 'Apo Explorer', 'Borneo Explorer'
Tubbataha Reef, Visayas,
Apo Reef
$1400~
(5 nights)

  'Philippine Siren'
Tubbataha Reef, South Visayas,
Boracay-Apo Reef-Coron,
Southern Leyte around Bohol
$3000~
(10 nights)
                                   
Luzon: Batangas, Puerto Galera, Apo Reef

Batangas - From The Lowest Volcano To Deeper Dives

A province that is famous for excellent dive sites and the world’s lowest volcano, Batangas is going nowhere but up. It is a thriving tourist destination replete with open beaches and sheltered coves, subterranean caves and deep harbors, a preserved heritage and brave men in history.

Found in the province is world-known Anilao and its many dive sites that are ideal for poking around and observing marine life, and outstanding for macro photography. Multi-hued crinoids are prolific. The variety of nudibranchs is unmatched. Night dives are especially nice and often reveal unusual creatures like sea hares, sea goblins, catfish eels, ghost pipe fishes, blue-ringed octopuses, mandarin fishes, and snake eels. The area’s best known dive site, coral-covered Cathedral is spectacular at night. One of the prettiest dives in the area, Sepok has nice coral gardens and a vertical wall.

Taal Lake and Volcano in Batangas is Southern Luzon’s centerpiece attraction. Known to be the smallest in the world, it is a volcano within an islet within a lake within a crater within a volcano. The town of Taal reigns as one of the two most culturally preserved sites of the Spanish colonial era; the other is Vigan in Ilocos Sur. The village in Taal conforms to the old town layout combining the municipal hall, school, church, and houses.

Among the multitude of popular tourism activities to be had in the province are heritage tours, pilgrimage tours, scuba diving, shopping, mountain climbing and trekking, swimming, and snorkeling. Batangas is located only 110 kilometers south of Metropolitan Manila, and is very accessible from the national capital by land.

The province of Batangas is bounded on the north by the provinces of Cavite and Laguna, on the south by the Verde Island passage, on the east by the provinces of Quezon and Laguna, and on the west by the South China Sea. It has a total land area of 316,580 hectares, 50% of which has a grade of less than 15 degrees. The terrain is generally rolling while the rest are mountainous and hilly.

Acacia Resort
Dive 7000
Pacifico Azul Resort
Planet Dive

Oriental Mindoro

Mindoro has many diving sites and other excursions to a whole range of adventure dives further from the coastline. Puerto Galera first mapped by Spanish in 1521. four hundred and sixty years later, it was rediscovered by a different set of explorers: scuba divers, photographers and naturalists, who now rank it in the top three Asian destinations for advanced diving, photography and see life.

Puerto Galera offers more or less 40 prime dive sites. The sites are between 5 meters to 40 meters depth and the water temperature is ranging between 26 - 29 Degrees Centigrade. The tide exchange is from a few centimeters up to 2 meters. The selection of the dive sites depends on the tidal exchange and the slack tides, which is an important part of dive planning. The currents which is common in the area are often brisk and unpredictable, creating conditions which may at times prove challenging for novice divers.

Shallow, no-current or very slight current sites are always available for beginners. The visibility is ranging from 15-25 meters average and on special days even up to 30-35 meters.

Big fishes like White tip Sharks, Barracudas, Tunas, Eagle Rays, Turtles can be seen on selected dive sites like the popular Canyons, Shark Caves, Boulders, especially so on a drift dive during big tide exchanges.

On the house reef wreck, thriving fish life like batfish, angelfish, surgeonfish, wrasses, butterfly fish and other reef dwellers are already more than enough for a 36 exposure film. Aside from rarely seen exotic fishes like Spanish Dancer, harlequin ghost-pipefish and at least 5 different colors of camouflaged frogfish, fire gobies and blue-ribbon eels.
Atlantis Puerto Galera
El Galleon Beach Resort

Visayas: Bohol (Balicasag Island, Cabilao Island), Negros Oriental (Apo Island, Dumaguete, Siquijor Island), Cebu (Sumilon Island)

Bohol

Another gem of the Visayas, Bohol’s historical significance extends way back to the blood compact between Boholano Chieftain Sikatuna and the Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, in 1565.

Scenic Bohol casts an enigmatic charm drawn from the many archaic mementos spread throughout the oval-shaped island: from the Chocolate Hills and the tarsier to 16th century watchtowers and Jesuit Baroque mission churches. The Chocolate Hills, all of 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped hills, are undoubtedly the most famous tourist attraction in the province. Among these hills that abound in Central Bohol, two have been developed into top-class resorts.

One of the rare faunas found in the Philippine archipelago, the Tarsier is the smallest primate in the world. It is a nocturnal primate measuring from four to five inches, with a tail that is longer than its body. Those interested in tarsier watching are always welcomed by the Boholanos to see the famous primate in its natural abode up the hills in the town of Corella.

A tropical haven of natural beauty, the coastline of the province is skimmed by gentle coves and white sand beaches. You can find some of the country’s great dive sights here. Balicasag in Bohol is one of the very best and most popular dives in the Visayas. A black coral forest is among its main attractions but virtually anywhere you drop in is sure to be rewarding. Another major attraction, Cabilao is renowned for the hammerhead sharks that shoal around the clear waters. Large pelagics are very common here, and if you are really lucky, you can find yourself swimming with a passing school of dolphins.

Alona Vida Resort
Balicasag Island Resort

Negros Oriental - Whale And Dolphin Haven

Discover nature at its freshest in the province that promises the charming surprise of a lush countryside, a fascinating highland adventure, breathtaking caves, magnificent lakes, scenic beaches, world-class marine reserves, alluring dive sites, and even playful dolphins and whales.

An exhilirating journey awaits at the internationally acclaimed dive site of Apo Island, also home to the Balwarte Rocks and Negros Oriental Marine Conservation Park, all of which are consistent crowd drawers. View playful dolphins and pygmy sperm whales out in Tañon Strait at Bais Bay. Commune with birds and other wildlife at the 400-hectare protected mangrove forest that is the Bird Sanctuary and Mangrove Park. And do stop by to admire Canlaon Volcano, one of the tallest peaks in the Visayas.

Negros Oriental offers you the opportunity to commune with nature, undisturbed. The heavens have blessed this province with more than its fair share of nature’s bounty, with a bonus to boot – the warmth and the inherent charm of the Oriental Negrense.

Atlantis Dumaguete
Atmosphere Resort & Spa
Pura Vida Resort

Cebu - Queen Of The South

It was in the province of Cebu that Ferdinand Magellan first set foot in Philippine soil back in 1521. Even before the Spaniards came, trade with the Chinese already flourished in the province. Prosperity has continued, and today, Cebu City, known as the Queen City of the South, has become a thriving, highly urbanized center that comes second to Manila’s bustling metropolis.

Only a few minutes away from the city are numerous white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, and swaying palms, making Cebu a perfect destination for both business and leisure. Mactan Island is a coral island and famous scuba diving and beach site. It is also the site of the Export Processing Zone. Malapascua Island is endowed with white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, and the west coast is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The sleepy little market town of Moalboal was one of the first places where scuba diving caught on in the Philippines. From here, you can dive straight off Panagsama Beach, which is home to an extraordinary array of coral, anemones, sponges, and a swarming host of brightly colored reef fish.

Olango Island in Cebu supports the largest concentration of migratory birds found in the country. These birds migrating from Russia stop here en route to Australia.

Anemone Resort/Emerald Green Dive- Mactan
Cabana Beach Resort/Emerald Green Dive- Moalboal
Kasai Village Beach Resort- Moalboal
Marine Village Dive House-Liloan

Palawan: Calamianes Group of Islands and Tubbataha Reefs

Palawan includes 1,800 islands and other many excellent diving destinations. The world - renowned French aquatic biologist Jacques Cousteau spoke of Palawan as the most beautiful place he ever explored. Regarded as the Philippines last ecological frontier, Palawan provides world-class diving and a diverse wildlife that is not found in any other part of the archipelago. The Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park teems with 300 coral species, 46 coral genera, 7 seagrass species, 71 algae species; large marine life, dolphins, marine turtles; and seabirds. The dive season usually runs from March until June. This time of year typically gives outstanding diving conditions - clear skies, flat seas and excellent visibility (30 to 45 meters).

The island province of Palawan has been declared as a nature sanctuary of the world, and for good reason. It is wrapped in a mantel of rainforests, outstanding dive sites, majestic mountains, primeval caves, and pristine beaches. It is surrounded by a coral shelf that abounds with varied and colorful marine life. It boasts of exotic flora and fauna, like the mousedeer and the scaly anteater, that are found nowhere else.

Palawan waters are among the best in the world, not only for diving but also for fishing. A diver's paradise, it has miles of sub-surface coral and rainbow reef walls which surround the coasts and coves teeming with rich marine life.

The El Nido Marine Reserve in Miniloc, El Nido, occupying an area of 96,000 hectares, is a popular nature spot in the province. It boasts of diverse ecosystems, such as rainforests, mangroves, white sand beaches, coral reefs, and limestone reefs as well as a variety of fishes, like manta ray and the sea cow or "dugong", known as the world's rarest marine mammal. It is now one of the country's premier destinations, blessed with amazing natural scenery, and considered as a sanctuary for various forms of wildlife.

Sta. Lourdes Tagbanua, Puerto Princesa City is where the Honda Bay can be seen. The bay consists of several islets with shallow reefs, bordering fabulous beaches and small resorts which have become the favorite water sports destination of local and foreign tourists alike.

The province boasts of extraordinary scenic wonders. African animals from Kenya in Africa - giraffes and elands, zebras and gazelles – co-exist with endemic Philippine animals, like the Palawan bearcat, mousedeer and peacock (pheasant), in the Calauit Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Busuanga, considered one of the province’s most amazing sites. Another sanctuary found in Rio Tuba Village, Bataraza is the Ursula Island Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary. This island is a haven for birds that rest and converge two hours before sunset, after a day's flight.

Club Paradise -Dimakya Island

Others
Boracay, a magnificent national marine preserve, is one of the most popular diving areas in Southeast Asia. Air Transport: Various domestic carriers fly to Boracay's major gateways, Caticlan (MPH) and Kalibo (KLO), from Manila (20+ flights daily), Cebu (daily flights) or Busuanga (only once a week).

The Turtle Islands are South East Asia's only remaining major green turtle rookery and a vital nesting ground for the hawksbill turtle. Pamilacan Island in Baclayon is considered a critical marine mammal habitat in the Philippines. Donsol, Sorsogon is home to huge, gentle whale sharks which the locals call the “butanding”. There are close to 25 shipwreck dive sites in the country. Explore the sunken wreckage of century-old Spanish galleons and World War II vessels in Subic Bay, one of the best wreck diving sites in Asia, as well as the remarkable wrecks in Busuanga and Malapascua.

Mantangale Alibuag Dive Resort, Balingoan, Misamis Oriental


Legends: ☺kids friendly (kids program or kids rates available); ✩ wheelchair accessible; ◊ internet access

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