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The Best Philippines Liveaboards

INTRO

Over 700 islands, thousands of marine species, and tens of thousands of square miles of explorable ocean all wait for you in the Philippines!

Throw into this mix all the fascinating shipwrecks, colorful reefs, and corals – along with massive underwater pinnacles – and you have what could be the perfect destination for an unforgettable diving trip.

But just how do you plan to traverse all those islands to get to the best dive sights? Or get transport out to the more secluded reefs and shipwrecks?

Well, folks, we at diving squad won’t deny that it’s possible to do all this travel on your own, but it requires brain-splitting planning and schedules, so our best advice is to cut that stress right out of your trips and jump onto a liveaboard!

The huge expanse of islands and ocean make The Philippines a hotspot for some of the absolute best liveaboard experiences in the entire world.

The sizable and diverse fleet of ships available to you are a testament to these experiences, as you have your choice of shorter or longer trips, beginners or experienced, photography focused, and, of course, budget or luxury!

To help you sort through all these options, Diving Squad has formulated this briefing to provide you with all the information you could possibly need for your Philippines diving trip, So, get your diving squad mates together and dive into planning your next adventure!

For those of you short on time, we’ve put together a quick table for you to skim for some of the essential information you’ll need to find the best Philippines liveaboard.

And don’t forget to take a look at our top Philippine diving tips at the end of this article!

^QUICK JUMP to Diving Sqaud's Favourite Philippines Liveaboard!

SCUBA FACT

What is the World Record for Deepest Dive? Hover over this box to find out...
The world record for a deep dive on a standard, open-circuit scuba system was 1,044 feet, by South African diver Nuno Gomes, in 2005 off of Dahab, Egypt. The dive took 12 hours and 20 minutes, of which only 14 minutes were used on the descent!
TELL ME MORE!

QUICK LOOK - The Best Philippines Liveaboards

Best ForLiveaboard Daily Cost (Euros)Max Guest Capacity MAIN Itinerary Length (Nights)No. Of Logged Dives RequiredMonths of OperationDestinations Check Best Price  
OverallInfiniti€ 243227 Days / 6 Nights0. All YearTubbataha Marine Park,
Malapascua Island
GET BEST PRICE
BudgetMV Dolphin€ 155188 Days, 7 Nights0Jan – JuneTubbataha Marine Park,
Puerto Galera,
Apo Reef
GET BEST PRICE
LuxuryAtlantis Azores€399 168 Days, 7 Nights0 All YearTubbataha Marine Park,
Coron Island,
Apo Reef
GET BEST PRICE
BeginnersSeadoors€ 248167 Days, 6 Nights0Oct – JulyTubbataha Marine Park,
Apo and Malapascua Islands
GET BEST PRICE
Advanced DiversMV Solitude One€ 341 228 Days, 7 Nights50March – JuneTubbataha Marine Park,
GET BEST PRICE
Short TripsFlying Dolphin 3€ 17785 Days, 4 Nights50All YearTubbataha Marine Park,
Coron Island,
Apo Reef
GET BEST PRICE
Long TripsSY Philippine Siren€ 339 1611 Days, 10 Nights20All YearTubbataha Marine Park,
Visayas Region,
Malapascua Island
GET BEST PRICE
Groups with Non-DiversMV Discovery Palawan€ 276328 Days, 7 Nights50Oct – JuneTubbataha Marine Park,
Apo Reef
GET BEST PRICE

Philippines Liveaboard Reviews

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard Overall in the Philippines

Infiniti

  • Visits Tubbataha Marine Park & Malapascua Island

  • €243 a day.

  • 7 day / 6 night.

  • No Minimum Dives Required. 10+ Recommended. 

  • Operates Year Round

When it comes to scoring high marks in every department, the Infiniti liveaboard is our top contender!

The 39m vessel is equipped for passengers of all interest and skill levels, all of which are provided with comfortable cabins along with plenty of shipboard entertainment and cuisine to create a wonderful, well-rounded experience.

In the diving department, the 22-passenger ship provides an excellent Tubbataha liveaboard experience and also targets the Visayas Region – specifically, Malapascua island.

Both locations provide all the incredible diving that the Philippines has to offer and encompass absolutely everything from marine life to vivid corals.

You’ll see your fair share of Reef Sharks, Manta and Eagle Rays, along with the iconic Barracuda; all of which will be drifting amongst the brilliant oranges and pinks of seemingly endless coral reefs.

For the shipwreck aficionados amongst your diving squad, the Infiniti Liveaboard can also make stops at several wrecks during your voyage, such as the Delsan and Dona Maryilyn, therefore making it one of the best Philippines dive boats on the ocean!

But diving alone does not earn a ship the title of best Philippines liveaboard; guest comfort, amenities, and price also play a large role!

The Infiniti Liveaboard once again shines in these criteria. The 11 cabins all feature extra wide twin-beds along with their own climate control and hot showers for a comfortable escape from the hustle of diving adventures.

Outside your cabin, you’ll find a spacious lounge, sundeck, and even hammocks for you to kick back, relax, and enjoy your trip and the incredible views!

Even non-divers can benefit from the Infiniti liveaboard’s firm grip on phenomenal locations; snorkeling gear is always on hand for surface exploring, and land excursions can be arranged to stretch out your sea-legs.

If a lazy cruise is on your mind, however, then lose yourself in the ship’s generous collections of books, movies, and comfort for a plush vacation away from it all!

Of course, the final item we considered before crowning the Infiniti as our best Philippines liveaboard was the price! If all the features we’ve covered so far come for an astronomical price then the trip may be just as attractive as a leaky mask.

But, thankfully for us, the Infiniti Liveaboard prices are very reasonable, and often only slightly higher than the MV Dolphin, which was our top budget Philippines liveaboard.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Budget Liveaboard in the Philippines

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MV Dolphin

  • Visits Tubbataha Marine Park, Puerto Galera & Apo Reef
  • €155 a day.
  • 8 days / 7 nights
  • No logged dives required. +20 recommended.
  • Operates January – June

If you’re on the hunt for a quality budget Philippines liveaboard, the MV Dolphin liveaboard is certainly worth considering. At $187/day, the Dolphin tends to offer you the most potential dive time for your money, and typically aims for trips that last 6 to 8 nights.

These lower prices, however, don’t exclude you from some of the best diving the Philippines has to offer. The Dolphin liveaboard spends much of March to June at the Tubbataha Marine Park, which encompasses over 500 square miles of pristine diving and two coral islands.

The Dolphin liveaboard then heads out to Puerto Galera in the following months, for an incredible Apo Reef liveaboard experience, one of the largest connecting reefs in the world!

You’ll find remarkable marine life such as majestic manta rays or sleek whitetip reef sharks amongst the sparkling and colorful corals, along with several shipwrecks including the fascinating Morazan Maru which sunk during WWII.

But perhaps not everyone in your squad is as much of a fish as you and could use a break from time to time.

The Dolphin thankfully allows for this too; they often include land excursions, snorkeling, and kayaking, to make sure everyone in your crew has a phenomenal trip.

Naturally, the lower prices mean your cabin will feature a more minimalist approach to furnishings and not the unbridled luxury of some other ships.

But they are comfortable nonetheless and offer the perfect place to relax in between dives with large windows for plenty of light and ocean views along with air conditioning and private bathrooms. The ship itself also features an open-air lounge  area to work on your tan or simply enjoy an ocean sunset.

If you and your squad mates are focused solely on excellent diving and aren’t overly concerned with frills or luxury, then the Dolphin is calling!

You’ll experience incredible diving left and right throughout the Philippines and have the benefit of polite and highly attentive guides for your entire trip.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Luxury Liveaboard in the Philippines

PY Atlantis Azores

  • Visits Tubbataha Marine Park, Coron Island and Apo Reef

  • € 399 a day

  • 8 Days / 7 Nights

  • No Logged Dives Required BUT 25+ recommended.

  • Operates Year Round

The Atlantis organization owns several of the most luxurious resorts in Asia – and the entire world – and their Liveaboard experience therefore exemplifies their adherence to the highest standards of customer care .

The Atlantis Azores liveaboard places guest comfort above all else; and it’s clear to us that they cruise well beyond this goal. From the amenities and furnishings to the delicious food, you are almost guaranteed to feel like royalty aboard this ship!

The ship offers only eight different staterooms for a maximum guest compliment of 16, making for an incredibly personal and exclusive trip.

Each of these staterooms comes with its own bathroom, complete with hot shower. If a hot shower alone isn’t enough to work out the diving kinks for you, then the ship also features a hot tub for a relaxing and plush break after your incredible diving excursions!

On the topic of diving, the Atlantis Azores liveaboard will take you to the famous Tubbataha Reef during its brief season, for a once in a lifetime look at this remote coral reef wonderland, bursting with marine life, lagoons, and pristine coral.

Once this season concludes, the ship often turns into an Apo Reef liveaboard or heads towards nearby Coron Island.

Here, you will see the Philippines’ largest reef and all the fascinating sights that come with it, along with some of the best wreck diving in the region as you explore Coron Bay.

The regular diving excursions onboard the Atlantis Azores requires quality fuel to keep you going. This is thankfully one department that the crew of the Atlantis Azores liveaboard pays particular attention to.

The ship employs a full-time chef to ensure that each and every meal is top-quality and absolutely delicious. The blend of western and local dishes is guaranteed to keep your energy levels up and is truly the icing on the cake (or the caked salt on the dive tank?) to this low-stress, high-luxury liveaboard adventure.

Relax without a care in the world as you cruise over pristine waters and around beautiful islands on the Atlantis Azores. You’ll feel like floating royalty surrounded by plush staterooms, fine food, and of course, world-class diving. No reason why you can’t blend diving with a little luxury.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Beginners in the Philippines

Seadoors

  • Visits Tubbataha Marine Park, Apo Reef and Malapascua Islands

  • €248 a day. 

  • 7 day / 6 night trip.

  • No Logged Dives Required. 20+ recommended. 

  • October – July

If you’re on the hunt for a quality budget Philippines liveaboard, the MV Dolphin liveaboard is certainly worth considering. At $187/day, the Dolphin tends to offer you the most potential dive time for your money, and typically aims for trips that last 6 to 8 nights.

These lower prices, however, don’t exclude you from some of the best diving the Philippines has to offer. The Dolphin liveaboard spends much of March to June at the Tubbataha Marine Park, which encompasses over 500 square miles of pristine diving and two coral islands.

The Dolphin liveaboard then heads out to Puerto Galera in the following months, for an incredible Apo Reef liveaboard experience, one of the largest connecting reefs in the world!

You’ll find remarkable marine life such as majestic manta rays or sleek whitetip reef sharks amongst the sparkling and colorful corals, along with several shipwrecks including the fascinating Morazan Maru which sunk during WWII.

But perhaps not everyone in your squad is as much of a fish as you and could use a break from time to time.

The Dolphin thankfully allows for this too; they often include land excursions, snorkeling, and kayaking, to make sure everyone in your crew has a phenomenal trip.

Naturally, the lower prices mean your cabin will feature a more minimalist approach to furnishings and not the unbridled luxury of some other ships.

But they are comfortable nonetheless and offer the perfect place to relax in between dives with large windows for plenty of light and ocean views along with air conditioning and private bathrooms.

The ship itself also features an open-air lounge area to work on your tan or simply enjoy an ocean sunset.

If you and your squad mates are focused solely on excellent diving and aren’t overly concerned with frills or luxury, then the Dolphin is calling!

You’ll experience incredible diving left and right throughout the Philippines and have the benefit of polite and highly attentive guides for your entire trip.

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Advanced Divers in the Philippines

MV Solitude One

  • Visits Tubbataha Marine Park

  • € 341 a day

  • 8 Day / 7 Night Trip

  • 50 Logged Dives Required

  • Operates March – June

If, on the other hand, you and your squad mates are more experienced and want a liveaboard to apply that experience, then MV Solitude One liveaboard is for you!

This ex-merchant vessel has been completely renovated to support amazing diving adventures.

The professional crew includes many seasoned divers that can accompany you on more challenging subsea escapades.

In fact, Solitude One welcomes tech divers for any number of more intense diving trips, from, our favorite of which is the Washing Machine dive site near the north atoll that is famous for its currents that can change mid-dive!

But the challenges of this dive is certainly worth it as you are rewarded with some of the best visibility in the entire park along with the opportunity to see grey reef sharks.

Solitude One’s minimum dive requirement of 50 dives ensures that your entire group will be experienced and up for any number of adventures that less experienced crews may shy away from.

Be sure, however, to book ahead of time so you get space during the park’s season for the ship’s 6-night trips! After that, Solitude One tends to head to Micronesia to the east of the Philippines for a few months of diving.

The Solitude One liveaboard isn’t just known for the incredible diving trips, however. The ship also goes above and beyond in terms of guest comfort and amenities.

Each of the cabins has its own flat-screen TV and extra headroom, which in and of itself is a comfy domain, but add on to that the ship’s spacious lounge and hot tub and you have the perfect post-diving palace!

We here at Diving Squad wholeheartedly recommend that you experienced divers out there looking for exciting trips to utilize your skills seriously consider Solitude One.

You’ll find the guides very professional and experienced, along with comfortable accommodation, excellent food, and unforgettable memories – making this one of the top Philippines liveaboard dive boats!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Short Trips in the Philippines

Flying Dolphin 3

  • Visits Tubbataha National Park, Coron Island and Apo Reef

  • € 177 a day. 

  • 5 ay / 4 night trip. 

  • No logged dives required. 

  • Operates Year Round

As much as it pains us to admit it, we know that some members of our worldwide diving squad out there simply have to settle for shorter diving trips thanks to trifles such as work, responsibilities, and family.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one of the best Philippines diving holidays out there!

The Flying Dolphin 3 liveaboard is your perfect avenue for a short and sweet diving adventure, with trips that typically last only 5 days and 4 nights.

That will give you ample time to experience the incredible diving in the area, but still squeeze your trip into less than a week. Additionally, if we look solely at the daily cost, this ship is the cheapest Philippines liveaboard out there, making it ideal if you’re short on both time and budget.

But don’t worry about missing out on the best dive sights with a shorter and cheaper trip! The Flying Dolphin 3 liveaboard is still a bona fide Tubbataha and Apo Reef Liveaboard that visits all the best sites in the country.

These include the brilliant corals of Apo reef, and the staggering (or is it shudder-inducing underwater?) giant rays and turtles of Tubbataha Marine Park.

As you may expect, the shorter trip length and lower price naturally mean that you won’t quite have the luxury associated with other ships on our list.

You will nevertheless receive your own cabin below decks that features two beds, a washbasin, shower, and toilet that offers you your own little sanctuary.

The smaller guest compliment of only 8 also makes for a much more private and personal experience while also making the yacht seem that much bigger as you’re not tripping over other guests left and right.

The upper decks of the ship offer a sun deck and an outer lounge area for you to relax, and the onboard chef will see to all your fueling needs before diving!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Long Trips in the Philippines

SY Philippine Siren

  • Visits Tubbataha Marine Park, Visayas Region: Malapascua Island

  • € 339 a day. 

  • 11 days, 10 nights.

  • 20 logged dives required

  • Operates Year Round

If your diving squad is looking for a nice, long trip for as many days in the water as possible, the Philippine Siren liveaboard may be the perfect choice for you!

The 10-night trips that are consistently offered on this luxury ship will give your crew ample time to explore the Visayas region and the Tubbataha Marine Park within the Philippine Islands.

 

As you dive into the pristine waters around Malapascua, you’ll have a unique opportunity to catch sight of the elusive thresher shark, along with countless other marine species spread around the Monad Shoal.

In fact, Malapascua Island boasts more than 20 different dive sights, including the Kemod Shoal, where you can regularly see Devil Rays, and Gato Island which is a sea snake sanctuary!

The recently renovated Siren liveaboard will provide you with a plush cabin, complete with all the modern amenities you could possibly need for relaxing breaks in your adventures.

You can also unwind in the spacious saloon or top off your energy at the ample dining table with their wide array of tasty and nourishing meals.

What’s more, the Siren liveaboard counts a masseuse amongst its crew members, giving you a perfect avenue to work out those diving kinks in-between dives on this longer trip.

On the other hand, if you need to take a break from diving for a day, the Siren is well-equipped to handle that as well!

Snorkeling is, of course, always an option, but you can also arrange a little shore excursion if you need beach time, or even rent a kayak to go explore the ocean a little bit on your own.

10 nights on a yacht can certainly lead to a nasty case of cabin fever, but that’s one bridge you’ll never have to cross in the Siren! The spacious interior, abundance of wonderful diving, and a plethora of other ocean activities will ensure an unforgettable trip!

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Diving Squad Presents:

Best Liveaboard for Groups W Non-Divers in the Philippines

MV Discovery Palawan

  • Kayaks, snorkelling and beach hopping!

  • Visits Tubbataha Marine Park and Apo Reef

  • €276 a day.

  • 8 day, 7 night trip.

  • 50 Logged Dives Required. IF you are diving. None required for non-divers!

  • Operates October – June

Not everyone in your crew may be as crazy about diving as you, and that’s okay!

The MV Discovery Palawan liveaboard provides a very well-rounded experience to make sure that everyone has an incredible trip and enjoys everything the ship has to offer.

Apart from the world-class diving, the Discovery Palawan liveaboard also offers kayaking and snorkeling to those who prefer to explore the ocean from the surface.

What’s more, you can still get your fill of sunny beaches and island adventures; the ship can arrange for several land excursions during your trip.

For those non-divers who are simply looking to bask in the beautiful ocean and relax on-ship, the Discovery Palawan liveaboard is perfect for that, too!

The recently renovated ship features sleek, modern amenities that make for an incredibly comfortable experience. All the rooms feature en-suite bathrooms.

Add to this the outdoor dining, a cozy saloon, a sun deck, and a bar, and you have the perfect retreat from your outdoor activities!

Of course, the diving offered by the Discovery Palawan covers the very best the Philippines has to offer and perfectly balances the other activities mentioned above.

The largest reef in the Philippines, Apo Reef, and the nearby Coron island are a favorite destination where you can dive into history by visiting the Morazan Maru shipwreck that played a roll in both WWI and WWII!

Or explore seemingly endless corals while keeping your eyes peeled for eels, scorpion fish, and lion fish. On the other hand, the must-see Tubbataha liveaboard adventure is the premier diving activity from March to June and features two coral atolls that are home to everything from green turtles to thresher sharks and everything in between!

All in all, we are very pleased with the Discovery Palawan’s ability to cater to just about anyone regardless of their interests. You can feel completely confident in bringing a diverse crew – ranging from divers to kayakers to beach-bums – and everyone is sure to have a remarkable trip!

Philippines Liveaboards - What You Need to Know

Diving Insurance – It’s absolutely essential that you’re covered by proper diving insurance before you start your liveaboard adventure.  Find out more. 

Scuba Gear – You’ll need to either bring along your own scuba gear or rent it from the liveaboard for an additional fee. 

Find out more. 

Liveaboard Packing List – To ensure an enjoyable and comfortable trip, there are several must bring items. Find out more. 

 

Diving Season in the Philippines – In the Philippines the is a distinct diving season and. off season…Make sure you go at the right time! Find out more.  

Weather in the Philippines –During the most popular months that we described above – November to May – you can expect your stereotypical tropical days. These feature temperatures ranging from lows around 75°F to highs near 95°F, accompanied by clear blue skies, and a little extra humidity if you’re heading inland. 

These temperatures will remain steady as the rainy season rolls in from June to November, but the drastic increase in rain will also significantly raise the humidity.

Diving Conditions in the Philippines In general, you can expect water temperatures to fall in the 75 to 80-degree range, which is a welcome change for divers accustomed to more cold-water diving!

The currents vary throughout the region, but many stunning dive sights are known to have stronger and unpredictable currents.

This is especially true at many of the coral walls and drop-offs that populate apo reef and Tubbataha.

Being familiar with diving in currents is therefore useful, but not required as liveaboard operators always do their best to find calm water for diving.

Water Visibility in the Philippines –The water visibility in the Philippines is just as variable as the tremendous number of dive sites that it encompasses.

In general, you can expect good visibility from 45ft to 75ft.

But there are always those days after heavy rainfall or changing current conditions when that visibility can drop down to a mere 15ft. On the other hand, you may be lucky enough to experience visibility up to 125ft.

National park fees in the Philippines – As you begin to work out your budget for a liveaboard adventure in the Philippines, it’s important to note that the Tubbataha Marine Park charges a park entrance fee.

It’s very likely that you’ll be responsible for this fee as most Philippines liveaboards don’t include it in your overall price. While it’s fairly negligible when compared to the overall price of the trip, it’s still important that you are aware of this additional charge for your trip so it doesn’t take you by surprise!

Diving Insurance in the Philippines

SPLASH! It’s important to remember that scuba diving is an extreme sport. Accidents can happen. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble.

What’s more, because diving can take you all around the world, it’s absolutely essential you make sure you are properly covered by the best scuba diving insurance before leaving your home country.

We recommend going with Dive Assure. Why?

  • Unbeatable prices.

     

  • They offer both short term and long term insurance.

     

  • Cover loss of diving equipment, emergency medical and evacuation expenses and flight/accommodation costs following injury.

Squad Inventory - Scuba Gear

Ok Squad! Here’s the deal. Scuba Diving requires a ton of gear. This should come as no real surprise, considering that the very nature of this sport is to breathe underwater – the exact opposite of what us humans are evolved to do! 

When you go on your liveaboard adventure, you have two options on the gear front:

  1. You can either rent the gear, at an additional cost, per piece. This generally costs around $25 for a full equipment rental per day (exact prices provided in the liveaboard links).

  2. Or you can buy and bring along some or all of your own scuba gear. This comes with two distinct advantages:
  • You get scuba gear that perfectly fits you and suits your tastes, budget and style. And hasn’t been peed in.

     

  • You will never again have to pay to rent scuba equipment! Think about all the diving you have ahead of you. Ultimately this can save a lot of money.

     

Below is a full listing and description of the entire inventory required to scuba dive. Let’s jump right in:

Diving Mask – Full Face Snorkel Masks are taking the world by storm but they can’t withstand pressure beyond several meters depth.  For diving you need an old school dive mask.

BCD – A BCD is the jacket divers wear to maintain optimum buoyancy, which they can adjust by operating the inflate and deflate buttons. This makes sure they neither sink to the bottom nor rise to the top of the water! As well as this, the BCD holds the divers regulator(s), dive gauge and air tank.

Regulator / Octopus – The regulator reduces pressurised breathing oxygen to ambient pressure and delivers it to the diver through a mouth piece. Remember, you need two – one for you and a spare for a buddy in case of emergencies!

Diving Torch – Absolutely essential for Deep Dives and Night Dives. So you can…you know – see. Bioluminescent plankton anyone? 

Scuba Tank – This contains the pressurised breathing gas – i.e. oxygen, that you will be breathing underwater (after it’s been reduced to ambient pressure by the regulator). Pretty essential right? 

Scuba Weight Belt – A diving weight belt assists with maintaining optimum buoyancy, by stopping divers from floating to the top of the water. How much weight you take will depend on your build, weight and diving ability.

Dive Computer – The Dive Computer is used to measure the time and depth of a dive. In doing so, it calculates a safe ascent profile, vital for avoiding decompression sickness. 

Dive Gauge – Essential for keeping track of your air consumption and the depth at which you are diving. The best ones also feature compasses and can read the water temperature (useful for bragging rights when you go on extremely cold dives!).

Scuba Fins – Fins greatly reduce water resistance when swimming and thus help to conserve energy and swim faster / against currents. They also allow you to unleash your inner mermaid/man. 

Dive Boots Designed to be worn under your fins, dive boots prevent rubbing and skin irritation from said fins – whilst also keeping your feet toasty and warm. 

Wetsuit – Crucial for keeping you warm. Even in hot countries, when you dive deep, it gets cold. Which one you pick will depend on the climate of where you’re diving. 

Ultimate Combo Package Whew! That’s a lot of gear we’ve covered. If you don’t yet have any scuba gear and want to bulk buy at great quality and value, this is the number one scuba starter pack out there.  

Philippines Liveaboard Packing List

Whether you decide to rent scuba gear or buy  your own, there are some essential items that won’t be provided for you. You would not want to go on your liveaboard adventure without: 

Reef Safe Sunscreen It’s a little known fact that some sunscreens contain products that are highly toxic to coral reefs. Dive responsibly, avoid burning to a crisp and use eco friendly sunscreen. 

Reef Safe Body Wash and Shampoo – Many brands of body wash and shampoo also contain chemicals that are toxic to coral reef and fish. Dive responsibility whilst still not smelling like a Dead Whale.

Diving Camera –  Any normal camera will break if taken diving – even if it’s waterproof it won’t be able to withstand high depth pressure and the focus will not be designed for underwater photography. To share your diving adventures with the world, make sure you have a proper scuba diving camera.   

Full Face Snorkel Mask – In between dives, you’ll get countless snorkelling opportunities on your liveaboard trip. For snorkelling, it’s much better to utilise a full face snorkel mask for maximum comfort and 180 viewing! The best ones have an attachment mount for GoPros. 

Reusable Water Bottle Having a durable, reusable and recyclable water bottle that’ll keep liquids cold is essential for both eco awareness and hydration = scuba success! We love the TankH2O – It is all of those things and looks like a scuba tank!

Microfibre Towel Essential for getting all those bits of ocean off you. Microfibre towels are compact, dry quickly and lightweight. To look like a ninja of the sea, wrap around face. 

The

diving squad title 300

Backpack of Choice

After trying and testing an ocean of backpacks, we’ve come to the coralusion that the Dometool Waterproof Dry Backpack is the number one backpack for divers! Why? Well:

  • It’s completely waterproof and also floats.

  • Front zip pocket for easy access, waterproof storage of your phone, wallet, etc. 

  • Equipment ring at one side, water bottle bag at the other. 

  • PVC tarpaulin materials = resistent to tearing, corrosion and aging.

Diving Season in the Philippines

November – January: Early tourism season. You can expect a little rain here and there, but the temperature will remain warm and pleasant. The rains are intermittent and shouldn’t put too much of a damper on your Philippines scuba diving adventures.

 

February – May: Peak Tourism Season: Warm, clear, days that are absolutely perfect for tropical diving. Rains are very scarce, but will begin increasing steadily after April. April to May is also the ideal time to spot Whale Sharks in these waters. Additionally, March to October is the perfect time to spot Manta Rays here as their numbers peak in this timeframe,  but they are typically present year round.

 

June – November: Off-season. Marked by a significant increase in rains that can last hours or even days, along with a high potential for heavy tropical storms or even typhoons. The dangerous weather naturally puts the brakes on many diving adventures, but if it’s just rain, that makes little difference to you once underwater! You’ll also find significantly smaller crowds and less busy diving sights during this offseason, which has led some travelers to claim that this is, in fact, the best time to visit, but the jury is still out on whether this is the best time to dive in the Philippines

 

Remember, the Tubbataha Marine Park that we’ve talked about so much is only open for a short period each year from March to June, which could potentially take you into questionable weather – but is well worth the trip! Most other dive sights are accessible year-round, weather dependent, and are therefore the standard post/pre-Tubbataha destination for most Philippines liveaboards

Philippines Liveaboard Destinations

Tubbataha Marine Park

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As we’ve mentioned several times thus far, the Tubbataha Marine Park is one of the most stunning diving areas in the entire world, and well worth a visit if at all possible!

The massive marine park is comprised of two coral atolls – the North and South atolls – and contains just about everything you could hope and dream for in tropical diving.

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In the marine animal department, you have an excellent chance of spotting white tip reef sharks in addition to larger creatures such as tuna and manta rays.

Large green turtles also pass through and often frequent a popular dive site known as Shark Airport.

For those squad mates out there who love examining coral and plant life, you’ll certainly get your fill here too!

The two coral islands provide incredible views and are in fact home to around 90% of the Philippines coral species such as the vibrant pink of the Acropora cerealis or the intricate fan designs of Gorgonia ventalina.

The North Atoll also sports an awe-inspiring coral wall, at the Amos Rock dive sight, that is absolutely bursting with different plant life that is as colorful as it is diverse.

 

Highlights:

Washing Machine – This site is located near the North Atoll of Tubbataha Marine Park, and is one of our favorite locations to spot a wide variety of sharks! The gently sloping reef ends in a sharp drop-off, and is a hotspot for White Tip and Grey Reef Sharks, along with the occasional Hammerhead. You can also watch majestic Manta Rays make use of the many currents in the area. But be warned, these currents are strong and can shift very quickly!

Delsan Wreck – This wreck lies near the South Atoll of Tubbataha Marine Park, and seems to be a magnet for an entire fleet of fascinating marine life. You’ll spot several species of reef shark here, along with sea turtles and eagle rays majestically drifting by. The wreck is also home to its fair share of crustaceans and mollusks, making it an ideal location to explore.

Dive into the Squads' Favourite Read

ATTENTION! Diving Squad Member – Do you love a great book? Yarp!? We already know you love diving

Dive Atlas of the World, offers a beautifully photographed and professionally detailed tour of the worlds best dive sites, including both classics and new discoveries.

This stunningly presented book covers everything from Wrecks to Reefs, Muck Dives to Macro Photography, Blue Holes to Epic Walls and adrenaline soaked Drift Dives

Get inspired, learn something brand new and prepare for your next diving adventure.

This is hands down the most informative, stunningly presented and all encompassing scuba diving book known to Diving Squad. 

Apo Reef and Coron Island

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Yet another testament to the incredible Philippines scuba diving that’s within your grasp is the Apo reef and nearby Coron Island.

The reef itself is among the largest connecting coral reefs in the world, and home to any number of fascinating marine creatures.

You’ll often find many species of sharks, from hammerheads to threshers, especially at the aptly named Shark Ridge, along with many other large animals that call coral reefs home.

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But your fun doesn’t end there! This region is ripe for exploring and adventuring beneath the waves.

Coron Island alone has at least six different shipwrecks for you to explore, including the Morazan Maru ship that once sailed these waters during both WWI and WWII.

Apo Reef contributes its own taste of adventure by housing many shallow caves and indentations that are ripe for peeking in to see the spiny lobsters, flat worms, eels, and squirrelfish that may have taken refuge there.  

 

Morazan Maru – Also known as the Olympia passenger cargo vessel, this ship was built in the early 20th century and was utilized during WWI by the British. The ship was later captured by the Japanese and again used in WWII. This site is perfect for exploring as the engine room and large cargo holds are both still intact, and make for an unforgettable wreck diving experience!

How to Give up Plastic - A Crucial Guide

“It is one world. And it’s in our care. For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope he realises that that is the case.”
Sir David Attenborough
Broadcaster, Natural Historian and Knight.

Some 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, devastating the marine ecosystem by killing countless fish, seabirds, turtles, marine mammals and other creatures. 

How to Give Up Plastic is the definitive guide to learning what you can do in your home, commune and workplace to start bringing about the end of our plastic dependent age.

It covers everything from easy wins such as using a reusable keep cup for your morning coffee, to lesser-known hacks like fixing a filter to your washing machine to catch some of the microfibres released from your clothes (microfibres are responsible for up to 30% of plastic in the ocean).

This is an essential overview of why we should all be working together no matter where we are in the world to reduce the amount of plastic being produce. Diving Squad is thoroughly committed to ending plastic pollution and marine conservation. 

Visayas Region: Malapascua

Malapascua island in the Visayas Region of the Philippines is yet another incredible diving destination that the best Philippines liveaboards visit.

The numerous dive sights around the island are famous for the abundance of thresher sharks, which are fantastic creatures to observe while diving!

Furthermore, there is a submerged island – the Monad Shoal – right next to this above-waves island that is ripe for exploring.

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The shoal’s sharp 200-meter drop-off plays host to many different species of shark, along with a plethora of other larger marine animals such as the majestic manta ray!

The huge number of potential dive sites, along with the region’s plentiful sea-life, easily explain why it is a famous destination during the Tubbataha offseason, and, we must say, it’s an incredible experience!

Monad Shoal  – This is the most famous diving site at Malapascua Island, and one of the best dive sites in the entire world! This is due to the abundance of the usually elusive thresher shark, which can be seen here on a regular basis. The top of the shoal is also a busy cleaning station where these sharks have their skin, gills, and mouths cleaned by wrasse fish, which is a fascinating process to observe!

Diving Squad Debriefing

Debriefing / conclusion text 

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Help Diving Squad with Marine Conservation

EPIC FAIL HUMANITY:

  • Over 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the World’s Oceans every year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic (Every. Year).

     

  • As well as containing it’s own toxic chemicals, like BPA, plastic absorbs even more potent toxins from other pollutants in the Ocean such as oil, untreated sewage and radioactive waste.

     

  • Plastic is indestructible and never degrades. Instead it simply breaks down into smaller pieces which accumulate together, en masse.

     

  • Today, each square mile of ocean has over 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

     

  • Plastic is mistaken for food and eaten by marine animals. Because it can’t be digested, it fills their stomachs and causes them to starve to death.

     

  • For those “lucky” individuals that don’t eat plastic, the toxic chemicals present in every part of sea water from plastic, wreck havoc throughout the ecosystem causing changes in animals behaviour, immune systems and reproduction.

     

  • There are 200 known ‘dead zones’, or areas deprived of oxygen and devoid of life, (area between 1 and 70,000 km²),  in the world ocean, due to plastic: this number has doubled every decade since 1960.

     

  • Chemicals in heavily polluted waters can make their way back to us and cause serious health issues like reproductive problems, hormonal problems, kidney damage, and nervous system damage.

     

  • It’s estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight). AND IT’S GETTING WORSE

The Time to Act is NOW

To Diving Squad, the grizzly stats above are appalling, tragic and completely UNACCEPTABLE. That’s why we are working hard towards combating plastic pollution in the ocean.

How do we do this? Through spreading awareness, providing informative guides on eco friendly diving and donating 10% of all profits that we make towards combating plastic pollution in the Ocean.

So, how does Diving Squad make money? Through You! Every time you click on one of our painstakingly, yet lovingly researched liveaboard, gear or insurance links and spend money – we earn a % commission thanks to affiliate partnerships.

We then donate 10% of this towards Marine Conservation Schemes that target plastic pollution.

What does this mean? It means that if you book a Liveaboard through a Diving Squad link – some of that money goes directly towards Marine Conservation. Buy a piece of Gear through a Diving Squad link? 

Nice! You’ve just contributed money towards Marine Conservation. Booked yourself Diving Insurance through Diving Squad? Go, go Marine Conservation!

So help us…help you…help the Ocean. Together, we can do this.

To which Marine Conservation charity do we donate, you might ask? Our squad is already hard at work selecting the ideal candidate. The winner will be announced at the end of 2019. Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear… If we pick your suggestion, there just might be something in it for you…

Contact us at: Alex Hatton: [email protected] (Grand Admiral at Diving Squad).