The Republic of the Philippines lies of the South-East coast of Asian mainland. It is an archipelago of 7,107 Islands and islets, set in deep blue waters which contain some of the richest marine life in the world.
The islands can be divided into four major island groupings: Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao & Palawan.
With so many islands, the Philippines have a wealth of opportunities for diving and snorkelling. Each island offers something very unique.
Favoured locations for reef & wall diving are Puerto Galera, Alona Beach (Bohol), Puerto Princesa (Palawan) and the Island of Apo. If it is wreck diving you are keen on, then why not discover the WWII wrecks of Coron.
The Philippines most outstanding feature is its people, with a mixture of Malaysians, Chinese, Spanish and American. This country is blessed with a unique culture. They are a fascinating blend of east meets west, with ancient & modern ways.
The Philippines is the third largest English speaking country in the world. The country has a population of approximately 76.5 million. Filipinos are probably one of the few, if not the only, English-proficient Oriental people today. Filipino is the official national language, with English considered as the country's unofficial one. Filipinos are a fun-loving people. Throughout the islands, there are fiestas celebrated everyday and foreign guests are always welcome to their homes.
TRAVELLING AROUND THE PHILIPPINES
Moving around the country by land is easy with national highways connecting the major islands and an extensive public transportation system, which includes the exotic Philippine jeepney. Trains, taxis, buses, jeepneys, and trikes are the main modes of public transportation.
The undisputed "King of the Philippine Roads" is the jeepney (half jeep, half bus). Since it first emerged after the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, it has become a fixture in roads all over the country.
Bohol is one of the most diverse and attractive destinations in the Philippines. Located East of Cebu and southwest of Leyte in the Philippines' Central Visayas region, Bohol is bounded on the north by the Camotes Sea, on the west by the Cebu Strait, and on the South by the Bohol Sea.
Covering an area of 4,117 square kilometers, it is essentially an agricultural province, with rice, coconut and corn as main produce. Fishing is a major industry. It's home to countless white sandy beaches, numerous historic churches and watchtowers, enchanting waterfalls and caves, and it's amazing and stunning Chocolate Hills, unique in the world.
Surrounding the mainland are 73 other smaller offshore islands and islets whose palm-fringed coastlines are rimmed by white sand and sheltering coves. Serpentine coastal highways wind along unsullied beaches and rustic rivers where tourists can stop at any point and jump in for a dip.
You will most likely approach Bohol from Cebu. From Cebu, Bohol is easily visible from any vantage point that provides views across the 20-mile wide Bohol Strait. You can fly the short distance on Asian Spirit Airlines. If you choose to go by sea, there are many ferries that travel the Cebu-Bohol route throughout the day. Besides saving a few pesos, there's nothing like an inter-island ferry for catching the beautiful vistas that the archipelago has to offer.
Alona Beach is located in the south of Panglao Island. Panglao itself is south west of Bohol. Alona Beach is a famous holiday destination in the Philippines, particularly for divers who are lured here by the spectacular dive sites.
Coron Island is well known for several Japanese wrecks that sank there during World War II. The wrecks and pleasant rock formations provide for excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities, with underwater visibility extending up to 20 meters. The water is usually calm, with almost no current. The area's maximum depth is around 15 metres.
Sangat Island is the only island resort offering diving facilities in Coron Bay, Busuanga, Philippines. The island is close to 12 Japanese shipwrecks, some located very close to the beach.
From Manila, the easiest way to get to Sangat Island is by taking a short internal flight from the domestic terminal of Manila International Airport to the island of Busuanga.
A representative from Sangat Island Resort will meet you at Busuanga Airport and then drive you through the forests of Busuanga Island to Coron Bay where a private boat will pick you up and take you on the final leg of your journey to Sangat Island.
On arrival you will be able to relax and enjoy a fresh coconut from one of the many coconut palms while our staff carry your luggage to your beachside cottage!
Dumaguete remains one of the Philippines best kept secrets. However, if you're not a diver, according to Lonely Planet, there is not much to keep you there after a couple of days.
Awesome walls and drop-offs, stunning coral gardens, electrifying drift dives and many rare and truly unique creatures are waiting for you! All the dive sites are replete with huge numbers of splendid fish (triggerfish, parrotfish, pennant fish, moray eels, surgeonfish, snappers, groupers, Moorish idols, lizardfish, gobies, batfish, lionfish, trumpet fish, puffer fish, filefish, emperors, wrasses, fusiliers and trevallies to name only a few).
Invertebrates from the tiniest transparent shrimp and neon-coloured nudibranchs to huge basket sponges adorned with hundreds of multicoloured crinoids; anemones, sea cucumbers, starfish and worms reside with vast numbers of hard and soft corals and gorgonian sea fans. Turtles, octopus, cuttlefish, manta rays, eagle rays and sharks make guest appearances.
Thresher Shark Divers / Tepanee Beach resort - Click the LOGO to visit their website!
Malapascua is a small island at the Northern tip of Cebu Island. It is 2.5km long and 1km wide. Malapascua also called Logon is located about 8 km North-East of Cebu mainland and 25 km west of Leyte.
White sandy beaches, the probability to see thresher sharks, manta ray and great wreck dives are quickly making this a divers hotspot in the Philippines.
One side of the island is dominated by an exceptionally long, white beach stretching out around the south-east coast of the island facing Cebu, Leyte and Biliran. The other side of the island has a more panoramic rocky coastline and is an attractive alternative for the ever popular white beach.
Getting there: From Cebu City, north to Maya, is about 3-4 hours by road. It is then another 30 minutes by outrigger boat to Malapascua.
Moalboal is a small city on Cebu Island. It is 89km south west of Cebu City. From Cebu City, you can reach Moalboal in 3 hours by road transfer.
Sightseeing around Moalboal
While situated away from the hustle and bustle of larger towns, Moalboal has a lot to offer to both divers and non-divers.
• Have a bath under the beautiful Kawasan Falls
• Visit the Orchid Farm in Moalboal
• Discover Canyoning in a creek
• Try caving
• Go on a Mountain Bike Tour (or a less demanding Motor Bike Tour)
• Enjoy the nightlife in Moalboal
Palawan is an island province of the Philippines. The islands of Palawan stretch from Mindoro to Borneo in the southwest and lies between the South China Sea in the northwest and Sulu Sea in the southeast.
Palawan is sometimes considered to be the Philippines' "last frontier".
El Nido Resorts began 20 years ago as a 15-cottage dive camp built in an isolated island in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. El Nido Resorts has grown since then, offering now a choice between two properties and a wide range of facilities and services.
The El Nido Resorts in Miniloc Island and Lagen Island are located within the El Nido Protected Area, in two of the five islands where tourism development is allowed. The resorts provide easy access to the different points of interest in El Nido.
While each resort has its own special charm, both offer the same distinct quality of service that is attuned and responsive to the unique needs of each guest and focuses on making sure that your holiday is worry-free and filled with enriching experiences.
The most striking feature of El Nido is its scenic landscape - massive limestone islands of varying shapes and sizes scattered about the sparkling sea.
The limestone cliffs of El Nido were naturally carved out of extensive and thick layers of coralline deposits. They formed 250 million years ago in the shallow sea covering the area that North Vietnam and South China now occupy. These layers slowly rose from the sea as a result of the collision of India and Mainland China about 60 million years ago.
One of the oldest Spanish settlements within the Philippines. It is situated on the northern peninsula of Mindoro island, approximately 160km from Manila. As early as the 10th Century, Malaysians, Chinese and Indonesian merchants were already doing business with local traders.
Puerto Galera is where they replenished their provisions. Puerto Galera was known as the Port of Galleons. The harbour was an excellent location for the Spanish Galleons to refuge from heavy storms and typhoons.
These days, you'll find paradise. Puerto Galera is blessed with one of the world's most beautiful natural harbours. Known as the Pearl of Mindoro, it is world-famous for splendid beaches, coral reefs, and exquisite dive sites for new and experienced divers alike, all this in a relaxed, laid-back beach atmosphere without the hustle and congestion of other tourist destinations.
For nearly 50 years Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, has attracted scientists studying the Eco structure of microorganisms, animals and plants. The diving is famous for its diversity and divers return time after time to marvel at creatures large and small. There are dives for all levels, from easy training dives amongst pristine coral to thrilling drift dives. The area is noted for its opportunities for macro photography, fish and invertebrates, but there are plenty of larger subjects to photograph.
Diving Facilities: Puerto Galera offers some of the best diving in the world and El Galleon provides the ideal base from which to do it. The dive centre is operated by Asia Divers, a PADI Career Development Centre. One of the largest and most professional dive school in the area.
Qualified divers can enjoy over 30 dive sites and further their qualification at all levels. Beginners can take an introduction to SCUBA or full open water course - either way they will be under expert supervision by the dive master scuba instructors at all times. Courses are taught in English, Tagalog, Swedish, French, German, Dutch and Spanish.
Diving is possible all year round, with the best time being March to October. There is good snorkelling along most of the rocks from the eastern end of Sabang Beach to Escarceo Point. The 30 + dive sites are all within a 10 to 15 minute boat ride from the beach, which makes for easy and convenient dive planning. Groups are kept to six divers or less and are always escorted by experienced guides. Each dive site offers a multitude of marine life, consisting of trevally, lionfish, moray eels, Nudibranchs, triggerfish, parrotfish, turtles, Sharks, eagle rays etc.
Due to tides and currents the visibility varies between 12m to 40 m. The water temperature varies between 22C to 30C. We recommend that 3mm to 5mm wetsuit be used.
Located at Small La Laguna beach, El Galleon is the most complete facility in Puerto Galera. Diving, kayaking, sunset cruises; beach hopping, volleyball, snorkelling, trekking, golf, the list goes on. If it's lazy day in the sun or adventure you're looking for, then this is the place for you. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of private rooms nestled amongst palm trees, with the crystal clear waters of the Philippine sea only a stone's throw away.
• Budget Rooms: For those that are looking for comfort but without the view and fuss. These rooms come with a queen size bed or two double beds, air-conditioning, mini bar and the bathroom, old yet still charming.
• Poolside rooms: Step outside your room and drop into the pool. The poolside rooms are equipped with a queen size bed, air-conditioning, mini bar and storage space; all bathrooms all have hot water and a vanity area.
• Family Rooms: The family rooms are all capable of one or two extra beds; they come with one queen size bed (extra beds on request) air-conditioning, mini bar and comfortable bathrooms with vanity area.
• Seaview rooms: Are the most requested rooms with fantastic water front views. You could literally throw a stone into the sea from any of these specious and well appointed rooms. All sea view rooms are fitted out with a queen size bed; mini bar, air-conditioning and storage space and all bathrooms are equipped with hot water and a vanity area.
• Luxury Rooms: Now El Galleon can offer an annex called, 'Waimea' a private and luxury apartments consisting of a downstairs studio and a two bedroom upstairs home all with the luxury of your very own home.
The facility has swimming pool, laundry and its own power source. The garden is breathtaking and what could be better than to have your own BBQ by the pool and be served by our very own El Galleon staff? No children under 12 years old permitted.
Amenities: Restaurant, bar, Swimming pool, wireless internet, conference room, games section (e.g. billiards table)
Location Travel Tips
Getting There: Philippine Airlines (PAL), the national flag carrier and considered "Asia's First Airline," remains the country's biggest airline company. It has the largest number of international flights to the Philippines as well as domestic flights. Other airlines that presently fly the Philippine skies are Air Philippines, South East Asian Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Laoag International Airlines, Asian Spirit Airlines, and Pacific Airways – each serving popular tourist destinations at pocket-easy prices.
Climate: The Philippines offers a warm tropical climate with Three distinct seasons. The Cool - dry season is from November to February , and the wet season is from June to October and hot - dry season from March to May.
Temperature: November to May: 22°C to 32°C and fron June to October: 22°C to 28°C (wet season). The average humidity year round is 77%
Languages: Two official languages --- Filipino and English. Filipino, which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English is also widely used and is the medium of instruction in higher education.
Religion: Some 80% of Filipinos are Catholic. About 15% are Moslem. The rest are made up of smaller Christian denominations and Buddhist.
Electricity: 220 volts a/c is the common standard. 110 volts a/c is also used, especially in major hotels.
Currency: The Philippines' monetary unit is the peso, divided into 100 centavos. Foreign currency may be exchanged at any hotels, most large department stores, banks, and authorized money changing shops accredited by the Central Bank of the Philippines. International credit cards such as Visa, Diners Club, Master Card, and American Express are accepted in major establishments.
Visas: For most foreign visitors visas are not needed for stays of less than 21 days. Three-month visas can be obtained in advance and cost around US$35. Multiple-entry visas (lasting six and 12 months) are also available but are expensive and only allow for stays of 59 days at a time. Visa extensions are possible and generally faster to obtain in regional areas.
Citizens of the following countries require visas, Albania, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, Brazil, Israel, Romania and Sri Lanka
Health risks: (Greatly depends upon where in the Philippines you vsist) - Malaria, typhus, cholera, hepatitis, and rabies