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Dive Review of Philippine Siren in
Philippines/Southern Visayas

October, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Michael J. Millet, CA, US
Top Contributor   (63 reports, with 8 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6308
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
All over the Caribbean; Galapagos, Socorros, PNG, GBR, Solomons, Vanuatu,
Fiji, Indonesia, Palau, Yap, Korsae, Chuuk 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy  
calm, choppy  
Water Temp
82   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No Deco  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
The Philippine Siren had adequate rinse tanks for cameras, and the crew was
careful handling camera gear on/off the dive skiffs. The camera table is
located inside the salon and away from the dive deck. It is not large
enough to handle more than 2 larger camera rigs with strobes. Some cameras
had to use space a raised floor area in the salon. There is covered space
on the dive deck for a 1st class camera table, but this area is currently
used for massages. Is this a live-aboard or a spa?
This area is touted for its macro photography, but I was a bit disappointed
in this regard. 2 days at Apo and Dauin islands offered the best
opportunities for such but the remainder of the 10 day trip did not meet

Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
3 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars    
3 stars   
3 stars    
The Philippine Siren is a fairly spacious live-aboard that is kept clean
and picked-up. It has 2 sailing masts that are for show not to go. The
sails were raised only on the last day for photo ops. The dive deck is
towards the bow, then the salon and then an open dining area where the helm
is located. Cabins are roomy with a large window and in-cabin A/C. Storage
is adequate; the bathroom could use more shelves that are not located in
the shower area. I had a single cabin with twin bunks. With heavy rains at
the start of the trip, my initial bunk got soaked from a leaky ceiling.
Fortunately, I was able to move to the other bunk.

All meals are served buffet style in the open dining area. The food was
generous and tasty with a nice variety of Filipino and Western foods. We
all dug in when Chef Jimmy proclaimed: "What are you waiting
The included beverages were beer, juice, sodas. Wine/spirits were extra and
quite pricey. A very average wine was 40 Euros (about $54US). Since this
live-aboard is rather expensive to begin with, all beverages should be
included, especially beer and wine (ala Aggressor and Dancer

The dive operations were handled efficiently using 2 skiffs. Getting on/off
the Siren to the skiffs with dive gear in choppy water called for some
nimbleness and good timing. There were a few "do-overs".
The gear and camera rinse tanks were maintained well with clean water. The
dive groups were on the large side with 6-7 divers per group, each with a
dive guide. The dive guides did a good job IDing marine life.
The boat crew was generally helpful and friendly. There was a crew of 13
for 13 divers.

For the first 3 days of the trip, there was a very serious issue regarding
smoking by 3 of the divers (and some crew). Smoking was supposed to occur
in the bow area -- away from the open dining area and the salon. However,
the first few days of the trip were rainy so the 3 smoking divers and the
cruise director were smoking in the dining area because they did not want
to get wet. Ironic, isn't it. The smoke drifted into the salon. So several
ardent non-smoking divers, myself included, were essentially exiled to our
cabins when not diving. After several VERY TENSE discussions (and
fortunately some fair weather), the smokers began to light up at the bow.
The crew also smoked all about the boat especially the captain whose helm
was virtually in the dining area. It took several requests of the cruise
director to remedy this situation.

Another less strident issue was diver attire at meals, especially dinner. I
am as laid-back as about any diver and wear shorts with tank top at
breakfast and lunch and a sleeved T-shirt at dinner. On this trip, an 82
year old diver (bless his heart) would come to many meals, including dinner
in his banana-hammock Speedo. Not a pretty sight.

When it came to pay the bill at the end of the trip, the dive company's
credit card electronic swipe wasn't working (apparently it had not worked
for the entire 10 days of our trip). So the divers had to pay the boat
bills and crew tips in cash. I had to make a special trip to an ATM to get
cash for the crew tip.

In summary, Worldwide Dive and Sail markets as an upscale live-aboard
experience and  charges a higher price. Based on this trip, I do not
consider the additional $$ worth it. I have had a better dive experience
with better food, drink and accommodations on Aggressor, Dancer and
Nautilus Explorer vessels.

The diving in the Southern Visayas was good but not exceptional.I will not
do this particular itinerary again. I will not book with WWDS if Aggressor,
Dancer and Nautilus Explorer vessels or another comparable boat is

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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