I know this is a really old post....but I wanted to chime in on Philippine diving and safety in the Philippines as I am a frequent traveler to this county (being married to a Pinoy).
First off: it is the best diving I've EVER done; and I'm closing in on 300 dives, so I've done a few! It has all the biodiversity of Indonesia; everyone speaks English; it is much safer to travel to and around the country.
Secondly: if you stay out of the far SOUTHERN parts of the country where the Muslim extremists are known to operate, you really ARE safe. I take my kids here every two years or so and have since they were babies. There are questions regarding the safety of flying; however, I think you are NAIVE if you think this is only a P.I. problem. Any of the world's third world countries, where most of the BEST diving is located, are in the same boat. My philosophy on life: take realistic precautions and then GET OUT THEIR AND LIVE. I think you are in more danger on the DC beltway than you are flying in the Philippines.
I have been to Puerto Galera; the diving was nice, but MAN is it crowded. It will help if you speak Japanese, since most of the tourist are from Japan. I much prefer to stay on the other side and dive out of Anilao. It is less crowded; there are decent resorts (but fewer) and are frequented mostly by Manila based divers.
I also loved the diving we did two summers ago around the island of Cebu. We went to Siquihor/Dumaguete, Moalboal, Bohol, and Malapascua. What a dive trip that was!! I checked off so many "gotta see" critters from my list: mandarin fish, ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, thresher sharks (just to name a few).
Feel free to contact me thru sparksmail if you have any specific questions about Philippine diving. And give the Philippines a chance; I guarentee you, you won't regret it!!
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Fitness Minutes: (58,119) Posts: 736 11/18/08 1:09 A
I've been diving in Indonesia (Bali and Sulawesi) and in the Phillipines. They were both trips I would repeat even with the advisories. When I went on each of these trips, there were advisories. But really, I think we're at more risk when we get in our cars every day. We can live in fear or we can live. Of course that does not mean taking foolish risk. But don't miss out on this part of the world if you really want to go. I liked Betangas much more than Cebu in the Phillipines. I loved the culture in Bali. There are fabulous temples, rice feilds, mountains. The people are so wonderful. They treat you like family. Touring Jakarta was also exciting and awesome. The diving in Sulewesi was spectacular and challenging (strong currents).
If we can be courageous one more time than we are fearful, trusting one more time than we are anxious, cooperative one more time than we are competitive, forgiving one more time than we are vindictive, loving one more time than we are hateful, we will have moved closer to the next breakthrough in our evolution.
We spent a few days in Cebu also but the boat rides to good diving were about 45 min each way. With my history of seasickness I skipped those dives but did make dives at Batangas which offered shorter boat rides.
I haven't dove in Puerto Galera, but my first dive experience was in the Philippines (2001) just off the shore of Cebu/Mactan Island... about an hour from Manila by plane ride. I personally did not enjoy the experience, as I saw a lot of garbage and pipes (sewer?) from the nearby resorts. I don't remember much sealife either. I remember thinking that the colors were very monochrome and there seemed to be minimal sea life where we were... Of course, that was literally right off the shore, so perhaps taking a boat ride out 5 or 10 minutes might improve the sites...
My dad who lives there says that the diving is wonderful and has a friend who dives as often as possible there. But, i don't know where he dives. That said, I would definately recommend a short boat ride away because it might get you better sites, and you should be in the water before you get sea sick! :)
As for security issues if that is a concern... There was always the concern to be careful and watch where we were and what was going on around us (just as you should when you travel anywhere in the world). We never had an incident in either the smaller parts of the country or in Manila itself. Go out there, explore, dive and have a good time, it should be great. And, since you'll be a couple hours outside of Manila, I think the diving might be better, too.
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Sandy, Good news is that you went diving outside of Manila and no problems to report with the travel advisory type of thing. That was 8 years ago though and now I see the world has more problems with extremists. I am still leaning towards trying the island of Puerto Galera. I have researched it more now on the web, and scuba.com has some good trip reports from divers like us who want to explore different parts of the world. Thanks for your input. Renee
Haven't been there, but in 2000 we went to Batangas for some spectacular diving. Stayed at Dive 7000 which was a small outfit but fantastic service and the diving was great. We flew American from San Francisco to Manila. Our dive club then hired a driver to go on to Batangas(S.W. of Manilla). Even though it's not an island, the bungalows are built on the side of a cliff and even the shore diving is fun. Tons of lionfish hanging around the pier. This was a trip of a lifetime.
Thanks for the advisory info. I wasn't aware of that problem. Darn it anyway. The area seems so exciting for the diving. And , Yes, I am a US citizen, live in Oregon. Maybe now I will have to look elsewhere for that 30th anniversary, special scuba trip. I'd really love to go to Wakotobi in Indonesia. I know they have had bombings in Bali too in past years, but haven't heard of anything for a long time.
I can't tell from your sparkspage if you are a US citizen or not but just wanted to warn you that there is a travel advisory in effect for US citizens going to the Philippines - http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/t w/tw_2190.html . Also the Philippines air safety was downgraded by the FAA. So even if the island you are going to is pretty safe - Philippine air carriers don't meet FAA standards (I'm more cognizant of the air traffic stuff since my daughter is an air traffic controller.) It is recommended to stay on international carriers. So I guess take a ferry not a puddle jumper to the island.
Sorry if I'm being a downer but just wanted you to be aware of these items.
I'm always planning that next dive trip and I came upon and island in the Philippines called Pureto Galera. The diving there has very short boat rides to the sites, like 5 to 15 minutes, which really sparked my interest because I am one who gets very seasick no matter what I try. Have any of you dove in this area? www.divetrip.com
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