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Where to go diving

Discussion in 'Philippine Paradise Divers' started by scubadiver888, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: North America

    I'm going to the Philippines February 2018 for 3 weeks. I'm flexible with the dates. The plan is to go south of Tuguegarao Airport (Toronto to Manila, Manila to Tuguegarao) for a week visiting my girlfriend's family. For the other 2 weeks I want to go diving; I'll be a solo diver and need a buddy.

    I'm a working Divemaster in Canada. I dive the Great Lakes and surrounding areas. I've been diving all over the Caribbean (Cuba, Jamaica, St. Thomas, Dominica, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Grenada, Barbados, BVI) and Mexico (Playa del Carmen and Tulum).

    There are still a lot of places to go diving in the Caribbean but I'm thinking I want to start venturing out to Asia-Pacific. I'm not interested in wreck diving. If I'm going to the other side of the planet I want to see things I cannot see at home (marine life).

    Since my dates are flexible I'm thinking I'll find a dive location (or two) and work the rest of my trip around that. From Tuguegarao I can fly to Cebu, Davao or Manila.

    1. I don't like heat. So 20C is nice, I can do 25C with a fan. Anything warmer and I need air conditioning. I was going to go in April but just realized it is cooler in February.
    2. I've never been to Asia and a little worried about finding my way around. So transfer from the airport to the resort would be nice.
    3. I'll probably bring all my own gear. So 54 year old guy trying to haul around my stuff.
    4. I'm good with a lot of food but not wild about filipino food. So some alternate choices would be nice.
    5. I'm not penny-pinching but I'm not rich. I'm willing to pay a little more if someone takes care of everything but flights (all transfers to dive site, tanks/weights, boats, etc.).
    Any recommendations? I looked at some of the other threads here and OMG, the options seem endless.

  2. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    1. Baguio is the closest to Tuguegarao if you are looking for cooler weather but the place is high up in the mountain! Difference in air temp between Philippines(+30C) and Toronto(-20C) is huge in Feb. AC is NOT a problem nowadays in any decent dive resorts.
    2. Private transfer is expensive and public transfer is very safe albeit very slow.
    3. Pretty young and don't overpacked with gear especially thermal protection and you can safely leave your dry suit behind. 3mm is all you need for someone coming from Toronto.
    4. Pinoy food is yuk!
    5. As far as I know all the dive operators in the country would not allow solo diving so a guide will be provided even if you are the only client around. There might be extra charge for that unfortunately, no such problem in PG.

    Internal connection to Cebu City, Davao and Manila only.
    Diving in Davao is very ordinary and very few foreigners venture that far south in the country especially to Mindanao.
    Diving around Cebu City is ok but there are better further away.
    Manila is only few hrs away from Anilao and Puerto Galera(other side of the channel). More than enough posts in SB for anyone to digest.

    First time diver in Philippines with two weeks to spend and prefer private transfer.
    1. Anilao + Puerto Galera. Private transfer is very easy to organize from Manila airport but I really do not understand why anyone would want to spend C$500.00 easily on transfer(Manila-Anilao-PG-Manila).
    2. Domestic flight to Dumaguete from Manila and dive around the area ie. Dumaguete(muck), Apo Island and possibly Siquijor Island.
    3. Domestic flight to Cebu City and private transfer to Malapascua. I certainly could never spend 2 wks diving around the area. Back to Cebu City for either Moalboal or Southern Leyte(public ferry ONLY).
    4. In my book Southern Leyte is one of the top diving destination in the country but getting there is far from straight forward. Flight to Tacloban and several hrs land transfer or flight to Cebu City and catch the once a day ferry to Maasin and finish with a short ride to the resort.
    5. Ditto the above(getting there) for Sipalay.
  3. borisphotosafari

    borisphotosafari Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada
    I would recommend flying to Cebu City, from there you can dive Malapascua and S Leyte.
    I usually do private car to Malapascua. Struggling with heavy luggage on a public bus is not for me. It was
    4000P ($100CAN) which included private ferry to the island. 3hrs by car, depeding on what time you leave and traffic.Thresher Shark Divers always took care me. I dove in my 5mm, great for Monad Shoal 5am dive, sitting at 110ft -120ft.
    S Leyte, ferry from Cebu leaves at 6am and Peter's resort arranged to pick me up in Massin. 45min by jeepney for 3 of us. Did an afternoon shore dive that day. Jetty night dive is not to be missed, did it 3 times while there. You are there in Feb, whale sharks might be around.
  4. Bearkeley

    Bearkeley Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Virginia
    Tuguegarao is a long way from dive sites, but you’ll enjoy the beauty of the mountains! I would suggest a dive safari. For about 1k, you will have 6 nites accommodation, meals and 3-5 dives daily sampling the dive sites of Cebu, Bohol, Sipalay, Balicasag, Anilao and Other parts of Negros. It’s a one way trip flying in/out of Cebu with transport. Perfect for solo divers because you’ll be with 3 or 4 other divers and a guide the whole time. Really a good way to get a variety of sites easily.
  5. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: North America
    Thanks for the responses. Between these responses and reading other threads, I'm still not sure what to do or where to go. I've been collecting names of locations. Now I'm creating a list of pros and cons for why I'd want to go to one place over the other.

    One thing is how long it would take to get to places. Some I'm looking at a flight to a land transfer to a boat to a land transfer. Ugh. Versus a flight and a short land transfer.

    @borisphotosafari What you are suggesting sounds pretty good. I'll have to call resorts and see if finding a buddy will be a problem. Traveling by myself can suck but most the time I find someone to dive with. I've only had to hire a guide to be my buddy once.

    @borisphotosafari did you convert Canadian to Peso in Canada? Or did you convert Canadian to Peso in the Philippines? Manila? Do you think I'd get a better rate converting Canadian to USD then converting USD to Peso? Or were you able to use USD at most places? If I can, I'll just put it on my credit card and deal with the bank exchange rate (I have 4% cash back, so even of the bank charges 3% I'm making a profit).
  6. Dive Sitnalta

    Dive Sitnalta Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Honolulu, HI
  7. borisphotosafari

    borisphotosafari Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada
    Don't worry about finding a buddy, I never had problems. Usually super friendly. I dive with a big camera, she is my buddy most of the time.
    I usually fly into Cebu City, way better airport. No crazy delays like Manila. And I exchange my cash on the 4th floor at Ayala mall there.
    I bring a combo of US$, CAN$ and credit cards Canadian dollars usually is OK in the big cities. Most places take credit cards but they charge you an extra surcharge. Book directlyonline, internal flights, hotels and resort, no surcharges. I travel with plenty of pesos, remote places have no ATMs . Make sure you have lots of small bills, nobody has change.:)
  8. Paul Uy

    Paul Uy New

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Philippines

    I am from Tuguegarao and there is a dive operator in Santa Ana, Cagayan. That is a 2 hour drive north from Tuguegarao.

    I have only done the shore dive which was ok with great vis. They have dive sites at the marine reserve (Palaui Island) but I have not done that because the boat is expensive when diving alone. If I am around I could take you there. Hopefully I could take pictures next time I dive there,

    February this year we averaged 18-23 with a few days reaching 28.

    Feel free to ask me anything about Tuguegarao.
    Centrals likes this.
  9. tyrenzo

    tyrenzo New

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Singapore

    im planning to go diving in cebu from 31st jan to 10th feb. let me know if our schedule matchs. i am a solo diver too, definitely wouldn't mind connecting with divers.

    which dive safari u have in mind? mind sharing?
  10. scubadiver888

    scubadiver888 Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: North America
    Hi @tyrenzo ,

    Turns out I'm going to Cebu in April. Still haven't figured out who I'll be diving with. Just settled on diving somewhere around Cebu (Cebu, Southern Leyte, Alona Beach, Malapascua).

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