Philippines

Intro

The Philippines, a land of adventure ... 

A country of mountains, tropical forests and endless coastlines that is home to a fantastic diversity of birds, plants, animals and sea creatures.

A friendly welcoming people that share a great mix of cultures and traditions which will fascinate you, Filipinos are genuinely hospitable.

Endless white sand beaches bordered with palm trees, clear blue waters full of colourful corals, macrolife and tropical fish, some of the  most spectacular terraced rice fields on earth, the famous and beautiful Chocolate Hills... The Philippines on land and underwater landscapes will never stop to surprise you.

Trekking and diving will never be the same after you visit the Philippines.

Come with us to explore this enchanting country!

 

Diving and culture tours

Moalboal Tour

Moalboal Tour

A 100% diving tour that can also suit those who just want to relax in paradise.  Discover this part of the Philippines and its magical underwater world and travel inland to see some extraodinary... Read More about Moalboal Tour

From: 840 EUR | 12 days

 

Philippines Safari

Philippines Safari

A 100% dive trip that will introduce you to Malapascua, Moalboal, Dauin and Negros to find the famous thresher sharks and shoals of sardines! Travel the Philippines by land and water, and enjoy the... Read More about Philippines Safari

From: 1288 EUR | 14 days

 

Volcano safari and Diving

Volcano safari and Diving

Have you been dreaming about this? We have created this tour specially for you! An exclusive mix of culture and diving that is out of the ordinary. Leave Manila and discover the islands and... Read More about Volcano safari and Diving

From: 1937 EUR | 15 days

 

Tubbataha - Cebu Tour

Tubbataha - Cebu Tour (Apo Reef - Coron - Tubbataha Reef)

An outstanding expedition in the country of the 7000 islands, the Tubbataha reef is without any doubt one of the world’s best preserved underwater gems. These two atolls are home to an incredible... Read More about Tubbataha - Cebu Tour

From: 1540 EUR | 15 days | Period: March to July

 

Safari diving and Visayas culture

Safari diving and Visayas culture

Are you looking for a Philippines tour that combines diving and Visayas culture?  In 12 days you will have the time to enjoy the best dives the Visayas have to offer as well as the waterfalls,... Read More about Safari diving and Visayas culture

From: 1436 EUR 1293 EUR | 12 days

 

2015 Philippines Expedition

2015 Philippines Expedition

A Water of Asia exclusivity – Book your space for March 2015! A great diving expedition on the ONA Experience, a large traditional Bangka boat, that will take you to the Philippines best diving... Read More about 2015 Philippines Expedition

From: 2634 EUR | 16 days | Period: March 2015

 

Philippines North to South 2014

Philippines North to South 2014

Let's go on our 2014 Philippines expedition! There are only 16 spaces left for this adventure that will take you from the North to the South of the Philippines. Starting in Anilao, the centre of... Read More about Philippines North to South 2014

From: 2697 EUR | 15 days | Period: April 2014

 
Diving cruise

ONA Experience

ONA Experience (Visayas - Bohol - Boracay)

The ONA experience is a traditional boat that has been built by and for divers and will take you to discover the the Philipinnes’ hidden gems. She is based in Coron, one of the most virgin and... Read More about ONA Experience

From: 898 EUR | 8 days

 

MY Vasco Tubbataha

MY Vasco Tubbataha (Apo Reef - Coron - Tubbataha Reef)

M / Y Vasco has been a diving cruise yacht in the Philippines since 1998, it is one of the first boats to navigate this route therefore its crew is also one of the most experienced in the... Read More about MY Vasco Tubbataha

From: 1282 EUR | 7 days

 

Tubbataha Reef Cruise

Tubbataha Reef Cruise (Apo Reef - Coron - Tubbataha Reef)

An outstanding expedition in the country of the 7000 islands, the Tubbataha reef is without any doubt one of the world’s best preserved underwater gems. These two atolls are home to an incredible... Read More about Tubbataha Reef Cruise

From: 0 EUR | 9 days

 
Info

Useful info | Dive info

Useful info

Local time

UK : + 7 hours during summer, + 8 hours during winter

Flying time

Paris : around 15h (with a stop in Hong Kong or Singapour)

Visas

Visitors must hold a full 10-year passport, with at least 6 months validity remaining at the point of return, for entry into Philipinnes.

A 30 days visa on arrival is given to tourist from countries such as the UK, US, France, Germany, Spain. You can find more information on the London embassy website http://philembassy-uk.org/consular-matters/visa

Country

The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7000 islands located between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea at the eastern edge of Asia. First populated by people from mainland Asia and Indonesia, the islands have been a port of call for traders from China, Japan, India, Thailand and the Middle East among others, this and the ensuing colonization of the Philippines by Spain and the United States explains the rich mix of cultures and ethnicities on the islands.

The Spanish rule was the longest more than 300 years starting at the end of the 16th century beside the islands were named after Prince Philip II of Spain. Most of the natives were converted to Catholicism and the Philippines remains Asia’s largest Catholic country.

The local population revolted against Spanish colonization on many occasions but the longest revolt was led by Francisco Dagohoy in Bohol and lasted for 85 years from 1744 to1829. Spanish colonizers required payment of excessive taxes and tributes and forced the natives into slavery

The country changed colonial hands in 1899 when it was bought out from Spain by the United States following the Spanish-American War. Filipinos declared independence on June 12, 1898 and fought American colonization for seven long years.

The annexation of the Philippines was controversial in the United States as it was seen as a betrayal of the ideals of American Democracy by many Americans.

However the country was not given full independence before the end of WWII in 1946 and since then, it has had an often tumultuous experience with democracy as corruption became a major problem under Ferdinand Marcos presidency and thereafter.

Government

The Philippines has a democratic government in the form of a constitutional republic, not dissimilar to the United States, the President functions as both head of state and head of government and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote for a single six-year term, during which he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet.

The bicameral Congress is composed of the Senate, serving as the upper house, with members elected to a six-year term, and the House of Representatives, serving as the lower house, with members elected to a three-year term.

Population 

There are approximately 96.7 million people living in the Philippines, the population is a unique blend of East and West in both appearance in culture. Filipinos are mainly Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) in terms of ethnic origins but centuries of colonisation have resulted in mixed origins such as Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Spanish and American. The largest foreign minorities are Chinese, Indian and Japanese.

Religion

The majority of the population 90% is catholic, the second religion is Islam with 5%.

Language

While the Filiino is the official language in the Philipinnes, as a result of American occupation English is considered the second official language and is widely spoken and used throughout the country in schools and for signage.

Economics

The economy of the Philipinnes is has GDP of about $272 billion. Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits A newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing.

A peculiar aspect of the Philippines economy is its important reliance on remittances that is so important that it even surpass foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency. Regional development is uneven with Luzon and Metro Manila gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions.

Geography

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi) and 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline, the 5th longest coastline in the world. Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and volcanic in origin. The highest mountain is Mount Apo. It measures up to 2,954 meters (9,692 ft) and is located on the island of Mindanao.

Situated on the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

The Philippines' rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures and it is one of the ten most biologically diverse countries the world.

Holidays 

  • New Year's Day - January 1
  • Maundy Thursday - Varies 
  • Good Friday - Varies
  • Easter Sunday - Varies
  • Araw Ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) - April 9
  • Labor Day - May 1
  • Independence Day - June 12
  • Ninoy Aquino Day - August 21
  • National Heroes Day - Last Monday of August
  • All Saints Day - November 1
  • All Souls Day - November 2
  • Eid Ul Fitr (Hari Raya Puasa) - Varies according to lunar calendar
  • Eid Ul Adha - Varies according to lunar calendar
  • Bonifacio Day - November 30
  • Christmas Day - December 25
  • Rizal Day - December 30
  • Last Day of the Year - December 31

Weather

Tropical climate, hot and humid all year round with average temperatures varying between 24°C (75°F) and 32°C (90°F), the weather is hotter and drier from March to May. June to October is the rain season with heavy rains and risks of typhoon.

Money

The Philippine peso is the official money but the US dollar is often being used and easier to exchange. Please check the current exchange rate for more information (1 US $ is about 45 pesos). Outside of Manila it is better to pay in pesos. We recommend that you change some money before leaving and that you keep some US $ travelers cheques. Cashpoints are rare outside the big cities such as Manila, Cebu, Davao and Baguio.

Credit cards :International credit cards are accepted in big cities, hotels, restaurants and shopping malls. You will have to advise customs if you carry more than 3000 US $ at the border and when you leave the country the value of the pesos you have left should not be over the value of the money you had in your possession when entering the country. Taking more than a 1000 pesos out of the country is forbidden.

Banks are open 9.00AM to 3.00PM Monday to Friday.

Security

It is recommended to stay vigilant in public areas as street crime and robbery are common in the Philippines. You should take sensible precautions. Arrange to be met at the airport or use a hotel transfer service. Only use taxis from a reputable company. Avoid displaying cash or jewellery. Beware of strangers offering drinks or confectionery. They may be spiked. If you want to rent a car do take a car with a driver.

Shopping

There are countless shopping malls and markets in the Philipinnes and it is a shopper’s paradise. Prices are cheap but haggling is part of the game however bear in mind that what is only 1£/$ for you represents a lot for a Thai person so be fair when you negotiate.

You can find everything here from the comfortable Asian style lose clothes that will keep mosquitos away to the more fashionable items for your house or your wardrobe. Do not pack too much before coming as you will need space later!

Health

Medical services

Hospitals in and around Manila often offer high-quality medical care. However, hospitals outside major urban areas may offer only basic medical care in rudimentary conditions.

Vaccinations and health regulations

There are no required vaccines to enter the Philipinnes except for people travelling from epidemic areas. A Yellow fever vaccine is compulsory for people travelling from the following countries: Angola, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Soudan, Zaïre.

We recommend that you check before departure if any new health regulation comes in place. We also strongly advised that you check with your DOCTOR if you require any vaccine before leaving.

Medicines

You will find everything you need in the Philipinnes and at a cheaper price. If you like you can however bring some essentials with you such as bio sun screen, anti-diarrhea medication, aspirin, ect…

Water

Do not drink tap water while travelling in South East Asia, bottled water is readily available everywhere. Keep in mind that you are in a tropical climate and that you should thus drink about 2 to 3 litres more than usual.

Turista

Most travellers will experience it during their holiday, a change of climate, of food and water is enough to catch it however most of the time it will just go after a few trips to the toilet. You can take some anti-diarrheic tablets. Don’t forget to drink a lot if this happens to prevent dehydration.

Mosquitos

There are unfortunately part of any holiday in a hot country. To best protect yourself, it is advised to wear lose and covering clothes or to use mosquito sprays. You can buy mosquito repellents back home but there are some very good natural ones available in the Philipinnes. Eating the local food rich in garlic and chillies will also help.

At night sleep under a mosquito net if the place where you stay is not protected enough, a fan over your bed will also keep them at bay.

Contamination risks from malaria vary between regions, Malarone is the prescribed medicine for the area please check with your GP before leaving

The Dengue fever is also present in the country, it is mainly carried by daytime mosquitoes, most of the time people will have a high fever for a few days before it is gone. Strong complications are rare. People who had dengue fever are considered to be immune after but this might change.

Other useful information

Telephone and Internet 

GSM mobile phones are in wide use all over the country. 3G technology is available but is poorly implemented and often not properly operational especially outside urban areas. In most urban locations and many resorts, cell phone service will be available Wifi is now available in most places except from remote less developed areas but you will often be charged to use it.

Electricity

220 v or 110 v (American plugs) An American adaptator is necessary.

Opening times

Administration offices are open from 8.00 – 10.00AM to 5.00PM during the week. Shops are open 10.00AM to 7.30PM every day.

Dive info

Macro life and pelagic fish, you can find nearly everything in the Philippines and in warm, clear waters.

Boracay : Deep walls and shark encounters are the highlights of this diving destination. All the diving sites around Boracay are full of hard and soft corals where many fish species can be found, shoals of barracudas, manta rays, napoleon fish and numerous beautiful tropical fish. The amateurs will also enjoy the macro life which the Philipinnes islands are famous for, nudibranchs, orangutan and candy crabs, pygmy seahorses can all be spotted there.

Bohol : The Panglao coastline is a mix of slight slopes and walls of corals with a rich variety of soft corals, gorgons and sponges as well as nudibranchs, morays and sea snakes. The sites of Pamilacan and Balicasag are the highlights with drift dives on steep walls of hard and soft corals where shoals of grouper fish, barracudas, mackerels and turtles can be seen. With some luck it is also possible to spot manta rays and whale sharks during the season (March to June).

Malapascua : It is a reknown diving spot as it is the place where the rare fox shark can often be found. Large fish such as mantas, reef sharks and hammerheads have also been spotted there. There is also the possibility of diving on two interesting shipwrecks.

Coron : Different levels of diving on shipwrecks and reefs, the «Barracuda Lake » and the « Cathedral cave » Sangat : In the middle of a massive WWII ships sea cemetery12 Japanese boats and other wrecks can be found on the sea bottom with 15 to 40m depths it is a easily accessible diving site. Divers with enough experience can dive inside some of the shipwrecks however the visibility is often not higher than 10 to 15m.

Moalboal : The Moalboal coastal reefs fall up to 40m and are full of corals, anemones and little caves. Scorpion fish, ghost fish, nudibranchs and turtles are amongst the species living there. Pescador island is at a 15 mins boat ride, it will seduce you with its spectacular walls and its impressive open-top underwater cave “ The Cathedral”. Sunken Island is an ideal spot for early morning dives, a demanding dive for experienced divers as you need to go down to 25m in currents before reaching the top of an underwater pinnacle where you can see shoals of Tuna, Bigeye Trevally and Surgeon. Big Lionfish, Barracudas can also be spotted there, sharks sometimes visit the reef during the months of December to March.

General information

We will ask for your diving certificate upon arrival in the diving centres. Please don’t forget it! For the PADI certified divers, It should be possible to check your certification online with your name and date of birth.

Diving and Health

Diving requires to be in good health so please consult with your GP before leaving. If needed, numerous decompression chambers are available in Philipinnes.

Insurance

You need an insurance to practice diving, we recommend that you take a diving insurance before your departure such as Divers Alert Network or Dive Master Insurance.

Equipment

For obvious baggage weight issues, we recommend that you do not travel with your own weights or bottles. The equipment we provide is of good quality and is regularly checked. We use Scubapro, Aqualungs, Apex. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further information.

Due to the comfortable water temperature, it is not necessary for you to take a wetsuit thicker than 3mm unless you practice TEC diving. Most international airlines give you a 20 to 23 kilos baggage allowance + 8 kilos in cabin and will charge for overweight and sport equipment.

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