With the second largest coral reef in the world, 75% of the world’s coral species and a huge variety of dive sites, Mindoro is a dream diving destination. The region’s tropical climate offers year round diving with everything from easy shore dives and deep drifts, to penetrable wrecks.
The main dive area in Mindoro is Puerto Galera. It has something for everyone: offering beginners a protected bay and shallow reef - whilst more advanced divers are also well catered for at the remote Verde Island, where large pelagic species ride the strong currents in the Verde Island Passage. There are countless dive sites around Puerto Galera and Verde Island, making it ideal for a week’s diving.
Puerto Galera is well known for its excellent dive spots. The area was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO and has some of the most diverse coral reef diving in Asia. Puerto Galera is located at the very heart of the ‘Coral Triangle’. The area also features numerous pocket beaches and stunning tropical scenery.
Sabang is one of Puerto Galera’s twelve coastal districts. In 1973 Puerto Galera was made a reservation area under the Man and Biosphere Program of UNESCO. Most people who refer to diving in “Puerto Galera” are actually talking about Sabang Beach, as the prime diving spots are located in Sabang.
The more remote Pandan Island and Apo Reef sit off Mindoro’s southwest coast. Pandan Island offers two easy dives, but the majority of diving sites near the island are best suited to advanced divers. The currents here ravage the sheer walls that drop dramatically to the sea floor. Apo Reef is a real highlight – it is the world’s second largest coral reef as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Apo Reef has a superb biodiversity of marine life. The sites around Apo Reef offer some of the best diving in the Philippines.
Mindoro is the seventh-largest island in the Philippines. In the past the Spaniards knew it as Mina de Oro (meaning “gold-mine”) from where the island got its current name. While English is spoken by most, the principal local language is Tagalog. Mindoro Island is separated from Luzon by the Verde Island passage. Waters are flush by the current of the West Philippine Sea, claimed by many to be the centre of marine biodiversity in Asia. This results in strong currents of up to 6 knots making the area well known for its spectacular, exhilarating drift dives. Puerto Galera boasts over 180 species of nudibranch, as well as numerous fish and turtle species.
ATLANTIS DIVE RESORT Puerto Galera
Details to follow...
The Philippines is an island nation located in Southeast Asia with Manila as its capital city. The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. These islands are home to spectacular scenery, pristine beaches, incredible sights and lively cities. Dramatic drop offs, wrecks, caves and a richly varied marine life also guarantee fabulous diving. Combined with the renowned Philippine hospitality and warmth, an unforgettable dive holiday awaits.
You will find a true blend of cultures; the people are generally of Malay descent, but Philippine history has introduced Chinese, Spanish and American elements as well. The Philippines is a predominantly Christian country where eight out of ten Filipinos are practising Catholics. Filipino hospitality is legendary and the Philippines is the fiesta nation of Asia. Fiestas celebrate harvests, births and victories, as well as religious events. The Filipinos like to party and celebrations are found in every ethnic group and may be large regional events or small local happenings.
Resorts have been hand picked, not only for their comfort and surrounding scenery but most importantly, for their proximity to incredible dives sites. Whilst out of the water guests can relax on some of the best beaches in the world, enjoy the local markets, festivals and sights or even spend a night in the exciting and bustling Manila or more laid back Cebu.
As the Philippines is a strong Catholic nation, festive holidays such as Easter are very busy. Either book well in advance, or avoid the main religious holiday periods where possible.
The climate of The Philippines can broadly be described as hot and tropical. Most people visit The Philippines during the dry season. However, many regular visitors attest that the best time to visit is during the wet season and that the proliferation and variety of marine life is best June, July and August.
Dry season: December to May
Wet season: June to November
During the dry season, easterly winds prevail and air temperature is in high 20's to mid 30ºC. February to May are generally the hottest. Wet season winds are from the west, with air temperature in mid to high 20s. You can often strike lucky and have weeks of brilliant blue skies and unlimited sunshine. On the other hand, the rains, when they come, are impressive and prolonged. There are few rivers, so run off and its effect on water visibility is not generally a problem.
The Philippines is a large country and has many climatic variations from east to west and south to north.
Best underwater visibility: April to July
Water temperature average: 24 - 30ºC
8 hours ahead of GMT.
Filipino is Officially the national language of The Philippines. This language is based on Tagalog which is the most widely used of the 70 plus dialects used within the country. English is also prevalent throughout the country, especially in tourist destinations. English is also widely used as the medium for education, communication and business. Eight major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense.
The unit of currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). 1 Peso = 100 Centavos. The US dollar is the most widely recognised foreign currency. Euros & GBP are also readily exchanged.
The majority of larger towns have ATMs, however, facilities for money withdrawal or changing are far less widespread away from the main centres of population. There are bank machines at the airport. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in most towns, but you may be required to pay an extra 10-15% surcharge for their use. Outside of the main towns, not all places accept credit cards. Please refer to your individual destination notes for each resort, but as a guideline, please see below:
- Malapascua, Ocean Vida and Hippocampus: Credit cards cannot be accepted, please ensure you carry sufficient cash. USD and GBP are accepted and Ocean Vida has a licensed exchange.
- Dumaguete: Banks and ATMs are available in Dumaguete town. Pura Vida and Atmopshere accept credit cards.
- Palawan, Dimakya Island Club Paradise: Accepts credit cards
- SY Philippine Siren: GBP, Euro & USD Currency. Credit card payment only possible when docking at the following ports: Cebu, Philippines. 3% charge applies.
Tipping is expected for many services. The standard is 10% of the total bill or optional where there is a 10% service charge.
Regaldive can offer packages to the Philippines on a number of different airlines.
London - Manila: Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines and KLM all fly daily via their national hubs.
London - Cebu: Singapore Airlines via Singapore on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong daily.
Carry-On Luggage Restriction: Effective July 1, 2015
Philippines Office for Transportation Security has issued new rules that include 'Scuba Diving Equipment' (including regulators) on the list of blunt instruments that are not to be in carry-on/cabin baggage on flights originating within the Philippines. Please ensure that all scuba equipment is secured within checked-in baggage on all domestic flights and on all departing international flights.
Manila - Cebu: Multiple daily flights
Manila - Busuanga: 2 flights daily
Manila - Dumaguete: 2 flights daily
Baggage on internal flights:
The below only applies only to extra flights within the Philippines built into your itinerary, not if it is part of your international ticket.
Baggage allowance: Checked bag - 20kg / Hand baggage - 5 to 7kg
Nb: Internal flight to/from Busuanga (Palawan). This is a shorter air strip and the airline may not permit any extra weight.
Payment for extra kilos on check-in (guideline):
Cebu Pacific: Php 150 per kilo
Philippine Airlines: Php 169 per kilo
Whichever island you are staying on, you are met at the airport/ferry port and transferred to your resort. Whether by flight, jeepney or banca boat, there are fantastic sights to enjoy on your journey there and back. Although some transfer can take up to a whole day, most clients pass feedback that this was a very interesting part of their overall trip.
The below information is to give you a general idea of transfer times between regions; actual transfer times may differ slightly according to individual arrangements and ferry timetables, tides etc.:
Cebu - Dumaguete: 4 - 5 hours by vehicle, ferry and hotel shuttle
Cebu - Bohol / Panglao / Cabilao: 3 to 4 hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle
Cebu - Malapascua: 4 – 5 hours by vehicle and outrigger
Cebu – Moalboal: 3.5 hours by vehicle
Dumaguete - Bohol / Panglao / Cabilao: 3 hours by hotel shuttle, ferry and vehicle or 3 to 4 hours by Outrigger conditions permitting
Dumaguete - Malapascua: 8 - 9 hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle and outrigger
Panglao - Cabilao: 1.5 - 2 hour vehicle and boat
Panglao - Malapascua: 7+ hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle and outrigger
Cabilao - Malapascua: 7+ hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle and outrigger
Manila - Cebu: 1: 15 hour by internal flight
Manila - Coron, Palawan: 2.5 hours by internal flight and hotel shuttle
Manila - Puerta Galera: 3.5 hours by vehicle and boat
Manila – Anilao: 2.5 hours by vehicle
Manila – Caticlan, Boracay: 2 hours by internal flight, vehicle and boat
Please always check your own entry requirements regardless of your nationality. Your passport should always have at least 6 months validity on date of return from travel. Always check for last minute changes in entry requirements and other nationalities should check with their consular office.
British nationals can enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial period of 30 days. You can also get a tourist visa from the Philippine Embassy before you travel, which will allow an initial 59 day stay. Other nationalities should check with their own consulate.
Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up to date advice please consult your travel clinic or GP. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider. We recommend protection, as a minimum, against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio.