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Dive Review of Phillipine Siren in
Philippines/Coron, Batangas

Phillipine Siren, Nov, 2011,

by ann mcgrath, VA, US (Sr. Contributor Sr. Contributor 20 reports with 7 Helpful votes). Report 6374.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving [Unspecified]
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy Seas calm, choppy, surge
Water Temp 80 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 30 to 80 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 130 feet (nitrox)
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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 home.

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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