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Dive Review of Phillipine Siren in
Philippines/Coron, Batangas

November, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by ann mcgrath, VA, US
Sr. Contributor   (20 reports, with 6 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6374
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, windy, rainy  
calm, choppy, surge  
Water Temp
80   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
130 feet (nitrox)  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
There were two drawers per diver in the salon that could be used for camera
equipment.  There were plenty of places to charge equipment.  The crew
rinsed the equipment after each dive.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
It's a haul to get there from the US!  Cathay Pacific has a new route,
though, from Chicago to Hong Kong, which made our trip from DC a lot
shorter.  From Manila, it's a 2-hour van ride to a small boat, and then
another hour to Puerto Galera.  This depends on which itinerary you're
going on, of course.  We departed from Busuanga, which was close to their
local airport.  You then have to fly from there through Manila to get

The boat:  Nitrox is free!  The boat is beautiful.  The cabins are large
and spacious.  There is a massage therapist on board, and the price is
about US$15!  (Although she only takes two or three appointments each day,
so with a full boat, you won't be able to get one every day.)  The crew is,
for the most part, excellent.  We dove with JoJo, and he is perfection, on
the boat and in the water.

There are stations for each diver, with two drawers and TONS of room.  The
only problem with the layout is that the walking area is very narrow, so
when you're gearing up, and people walk by, you have to move out of their
way.  No biggie, but there is a lot of wasted space in the middle of the
boat, so the design isn't perfect.  Having said that, it's still more room
than we've had on any other boat.

They dive from rubber dinghies.  The crew takes your gear to the dinghy and
puts it on you there.  You only have to wear it on the ride to the dive
site, which was usually ten minutes.  So, we never had to lift our gear or
do anything to it.  It was taken care of by the crew.

They offered a mandarin dive, but went out too late, so most of the
mandarin fish were already gone.  One was trapped in a cup coral, so it was
photographed until it was probably traumatized.  But at least the people
who had never seen one got to see that one.

We saw dolphins a couple of times, from the boat.  

One of the boat drivers is very good.  The other one, not so much.  For
example, one diver lost a weight pouch because the boat driver never took
it out of her her wet hands, and after a few minutes, she dropped it back
into the water because it just got too heavy.  

There are two criticisms of the boat itself.  The pictures of the salon are
deceptive.  Because of its design, the sitting area has a very low ceiling
- only the shortest person in our group could stand upright!  The rest of
us had to walk around hunched over to get to the sofas.  The other
criticism is the lack of storage in the cabins.  There are small closets in
most cabins, and some small cabinets that are attached to the ceiling, but
no drawers or shelves.  The bathrooms have wire baskets in the shower, but
no shelves, so make sure you bring a bag to hang on the door (there are
hooks) for anything you don't want in the shower, like toothbrush,
toothpaste, hair brush, etc.  There is a hair dryer, but it's in the cabin,
nowhere near the mirror.

There are desks in each room, with a computer.  We didn't use ours, and
stored things on the desk.  The problem with that is that when we had a
crossing that was a little rough, things fell off the desk on my head. 
Shelves would be a great addition, and there's plenty of room for them!

Another nit pick, but not a huge deal to me, because I requested a special
diet, is that a lot of their food is fried and overcooked.  Chef Jimmy is a
very funny guy, and makes a presentation before dinner each night (he
should have his own TV show).  But dinners were VERY heavy.  Lunch always
included a salad, but also always included french fries.  There was soup
every night before dinner, but it wasn't always palatable.  The morale of
this story is to order fresh vegetables ahead of time!  

The fruit selection is fabulous, however.  They had fresh fruit with
breakfast and lunch every day, and lots of it.  There was always fruit
available in the dining area, although we went through all the bananas in a
few days!  They always had plenty of fresh Philippine mangoes, which are
the best mangoes I've ever eaten.  They also had plenty of fresh water, and
a refrigerator full of juices, soft drinks and beer.  For the junk foodies,
there were also crackers and cookies available at all times.

The diving is pretty good, but I'm very spoiled.  One criticism is that
they would often talk about critters in the dive briefings that we never
saw.  We did see some good stuff, and I recommend the boat and the crew,
but I'm not sure I'd do it again.

If you do go to Manila, however, be sure to get someone to take you to one
of the large markets and buy pearls!  They are very inexpensive there, and
well worth the drive to the market.
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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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