Diving the Visayas, Philippines, is an excellent choice for your next dive holiday. Situated in the middle band of the country, the main islands of Samar, Negros, Panay, Leyte, Cebu and Bohol make up the region.
Easily accessible from the new international airport in Cebu, transport, usually via fast ferry, can be taken to most islands after arrival. Visayan liveaboard trips often depart from the Mactan port close to the airport.
Swept with currents from the Pacific carrying nutrients to the waters that the Visayan island chain sits in, means loads of healthy coral growth and plenty of fish. It also means the area is home to abundant pelagic species, with whales, whale sharks, manta and dolphins often passing through.
The way to experience the best that diving in the Visayas offers is by liveaboard, and the best liveaboard is the Philippine Siren.
Bespoke, designed by divers for divers, sleek lines and pretty on the eye. The Philippine Siren adds extra aesthetic appeal and comfort to your dive cruise. She gets our vote as the most beautiful dive liveaboard in the Philippines.
The Philippine Siren is a 40-metre-long Phinisi yacht that has taken divers safely and comfortably to incredible dive spots for over a decade. Constructed in Indonesia, she is a majestic vessel with a luxurious appointment. Very unique in the Philippines waters, the Siren is a fantastic liveaboard for your next dive holiday.
This liveaboard caters for up to 16 divers in 8 double or twin share cabins, each with an en suite bathroom, hot and cold water, and individually controlled air conditioning. Guests are looked after by 12 extremely attentive crew members as they enjoy the A/C lounge, sun deck, and cocktail bar. The current cruise directors, Ed and Shu, are highly experienced, ensuring you will be well taken care of.
Food onboard the Philippines Siren is second to none for liveaboard diving. The kitchen and chef are incredibly experienced and highly talented with their food creations. The baked treats and desserts that appear for snacks and after dinner are legendary. Catering for plant-based and vegan diets on the Siren fleet has never been problematic, especially with cruise director Ed being vegan.
The dive deck is large, shaded and well-equipped, with plenty of storage for your personal items. Diving itself is done from one of two tenders; this ensures you will be cared for safely in the water. The diving itself ranges from sandy macro sites, to awe-inspiring walls, coral reefs, and with more than the odd wreck to boot. Placed firmly within the coral triangle, the area is often recommended as one of the best places to dive in the world.
Kindly note trip cost excludes Marine Park | Port fees (payable onboard), equipment rental (if any), and PADI course fees (if any).
Don’t hesitate to contact us for exact details, as the above charges may alter depending on which dive cruise itinerary interests you.
On a typical day, you can dive up to 4 dives; 3-day dives and a fourth sunset or night dive. The diving day is usually scheduled as follows:
Whale sharks have been visiting the coast of Pintuyan for decades. In 2007, small-scale community-run ecotourism started out of the village of Son-ok through a people’s Organisation called KASAKA.
In 2009, the municipality passed an ordinance to regulate ecotourism activities and minimise any potential disturbance to the whale sharks, trying to ensure a long-term sustainable livelihood for the community of Son-ok.
The whale sharks come to Pintuyan and Liloan to forage on zooplankton blooms close to shore, normally copepods or sergestid shrimps (krill-like shrimps). The whale sharks stick around for a while if there is enough food. Some of them even stay for the entire season (that can last for 1 to 6 months). Other whale sharks might migrate in and out during the season.
PLEASE NOTE: Scuba diving is NOT allowed at the locations that whale sharks frequent. Therefore, those sites will be offered as snorkelling option only.
Arguably, this is one of the best dive sites in the Philippines. This long-established (since 1996), the community-enforced marine protected area hosts a rich selection of marine life.
Hard and soft corals make up the slope to the reef wall. The wall drops down to about 50 metres. Large quantities of fish of all colours can be seen here; anthias, damsel fish and various kinds of wrasse. Moreover, there are hunting trevallies, some resident hawksbill turtles, giant frogfish, some white-tip reef sharks under big coral structures, and occasionally, whale sharks swim by the wall during their season in the area.
This rocky and dark sand muck dive is full of critters. Robust pipefishes, ornate ghost pipefish, and hairy frogfishes are found here on the dark sandy substrate.
Although cephalopods can be seasonal, coconut, mimic, and wonderpus octopuses can be found here. The last one is a night predator, so keep an eye out for them on a sunset or night dive.
Son-ok is 15 km south of Napantao. This point is rich in soft corals; some hard coral cover remains. The currents can be strong during tidal changes, but when there is a current, fish are swarming everywhere.
Frogfish and hawksbill turtles are found here along the reef’s edge at 12 – 15 m. Like in Napantao, when it is the season, you may be lucky enough to witness whale sharks in their natural habitat.
A small banca wreckage (i.e. a traditional Filipino boat) can be found in the shallow waters whilst the reef slopes down to a whip coral-covered wall where schools of snappers and banner fish hang out in the gentle currents. Different coloured pygmy seahorses can be found in the gorgonian fans and stingrays can be seen hiding beneath the table corals.
At just 6m, divers could spend hours at this wondrous site and still not find all of its hidden gems. Freckled frogfish, stargazers, seahorses, ghost pipefish, blue ring octopus, pleurobranchus, and nudibranchs all muddle on soft coral and sponge-laden pier supports. Juvenile batfish can also be seen mimicking leaves in shallow water. Meanwhile, at sunset, the mandarin fish come out to play; definitely a spot for the weird and wonderful.
History was made on this island. In 1521, it was here that the conqueror of the Philippines first made contact with Filipinos. We can organise a visit to the island.
Covered with green tree corals and barrel sponges, the wall here is a great place to spotnudibranchs and crustaceans such as pink squat lobsters. Turtles and sea snakes are also common, and the shallow coral gardens are a superb place to hunt for leaf fish, robust ghost pipefish and seahorses.
A superb place to find the small macro species – finds include frogfish and cowries. Whale sharks do come into this area at night to feed on plankton.
Divers will often find xeno-crabs clinging to sea whips at this dive site and many sand-dwelling fish such as gobies, jawfish and moray eels.
A little wall that ends into a shallow bottom, where hundreds of fire urchins provide housing to Coleman shrimps and zebra crabs. The top of the reef is adorned with gorgeous hard and soft corals, an easy and pleasant drift dive along the margin.
The small island of Balicasag, just off the tip of Panglao, is characterised by its many turtles, coral gardens and steep walls, which provide overhangs, cracks & crevices to search for various marine species. This area has become a marine protected area since July 2017 and allows two dives per day only with valid permits.
The main attraction of this beautiful dive site is the green sea and hawksbill turtles in the shallow waters. The reef’s top edge is an excellent habitat for schools of colourful damsels and anthias and, when lucky, also for giant frogfish.
Once famed for its black coral is where we encounter schools of jacks, long-jawed mackerel, red-tooth triggerfish and different kinds of fusiliers.
Offering mostly diving along gorgeous walls, Bohol features some amazing dive sites.
A nicely populated wall where you may find giant shells, lots of sergeant majors, and nudibranchs. Spanish dancers and barracudas.
An attractive steep wall from 4 down to 30 metres and a wide cave at 27 metres. Bringing your torch is recommended.
Another beautiful wall dive with gorgeous corals, a resident turtle and loads of other marine life. Search for seahorses at around 20-30 depth.
There are several interesting walls and coral garden dives around the island of Cabilao, and we choose from the following:
It provides a gentle drift along a fantastic coral reef with schooling fish and plenty of macro life in the shallow water, including the possibility of spotting Denise’s pygmy seahorse.
Sloping walls full of sponges and Gorgonian fans. This is a great place 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.Inspirational Diving Experiences
A fantastic spot where we often make night dives. A gently sloping reef and sandy bottom to 20m – soft corals and sea pens can be found dotted over the sand; also an excellent site for sightings of bottom dwellers. The grassy top is a favourite crab hideout.
If you have any questions about the Philippine Siren Itineraries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Talk to us.
Do you have any scuba diving questions we can help you with right now?
Talk to us