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Tubbataha and Palawan

Reef walls of Tubbataha and Palawan adventures

Tubbataha Reef National Park, situated 150km from the nearest land, rises 750m from the depths of the Sulu Sea and is a sanctuary to a stunning array of wildlife. Established over 25 years ago, and declared a World Heritage Site in 1993, the park is guarded year round by a team of rangers permanently stationed there and is home to an astonishing array of marine life and seabirds. The diving is rich, diverse and exciting; there are vertical walls adorned with huge barrel sponges and sea fans, sloping reefs and colourful wrecks, and a huge variety of marine life, ranging from pygmy seahorses and harlequin shrimp, to hammerheads and manta rays!

A vast 7km wide channel separates the two coral  atolls of Tubbataha Reef. The North Atoll is roughly 16km long by 5km wide and the South Atoll about 5km by 3km. With over 300 species of coral, 614 species of fish, 12 species of whale and dolphin and 11 species of shark, the Tubbataha Reef system is a must for the enthusiastic diver! Eagle rays, jacks and dogtooth tuna cruise up and down the reefs and above water the skies teem with seabirds, including masked red-footed boobies, terns and frigate birds. The atolls are also a vital reserve to the thousands of green and hawksbill turtles that come here each year to nest.

Tubbataha is a nature lover’s dream and a photographers paradise.The Tubbataha Reef National Park is accessible for divers for just four months of the year, between March and June. Conditions at that time are usually fantastic and the diving is superb.

Due to it’s location, Tubbataha can only be reached by liveaboard, with the sea journey from Puerto Princessa, Palawan, taking approximately 10 hours each way.

How to get there

For all trips to dive Tubbataha Reefs you will need to fly into Puerto Princessa, in Palawan, where the liveaboards are berthed. There are regular flights into Puerto Princessa from both Manila and Cebu airports, with a flight time of just one and a half hours. Flight schedules vary throughout the year – depending on your liveaboard departure dates we can advise which international airport will serve you best at the time you are looking to travel.

Stay a bit a longer

Palawan is a beautiful part of the Philippines and it is well worth staying on a little bit longer. Palawan feels like it is a different country to the Philippines, such is the different way of life there and there is lots to see and do. A highlight is to explore the Puerto Princessa Subterranean River National Park, voted the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ in 2012.

There is also the option to head back into Manila to experience the hustle and bustle of this thriving capital.

Whatever you fancy doing, we will be happy to guide you and assist with all your travel needs.

Quick Guide: Tubbataha Reef

  • Location: 110 miles east of Puerto Princessa
  • When to go: Mar – Jun
  • Average air temp: Tropical 29°C
  • Average water temp: 28°C 
  • Recommended diver level: PADI Advanced (or equivalent) with minimum 25 dives 

 Philippines Siren

The S/Y Philippine Siren is part of the beautiful Siren Fleet of wooden diving yachts that have been designed with divers in mind. Built in 2013, the S/Y Philippine Siren is 40m long and consists of 8 (2 Double and 6 Twin) well appointed cabins taking 16 divers in total. All cabins are incredibly spacious and have en-suite facilities with air conditioning, media centres, cupboards and towels.

Meals are served at the rear of the boat on the upper deck in the open air around a semi circular table. The food is delicious and plentiful in a buffet style with a variety of local and international cuisine served. The crew can cater for any dietary requirement, so just advise us your needs when booking. The large air conditioned saloon area is located on the upper deck and is a great place to relax with comfortable lounge sofas, 42” Flatscreen TV, a library of books, games and dvds as well as camera stations and lockers.

The dive deck is at the rear of the boat and each diver has their own dive stations and personal storage drawers. There is plenty of space for kitting up plus equipment hire (apart from dc and torch) and Nitrox is free (for those qualified). Diving is done from the 2 inflatable ribs which are accessed by the platform on the side of the boat.

The S/Y Philippine Siren covers 2 different areas of the Philippines depending on the time of year. Between February and June she visits the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tubbataha on 6 and 13 night itineraries. Then from June to February you can visit the Visayas region of the Philippines on one of the many itineraries on offer. 

Itineraries

Tubbataha National Marine Park – 6 nights
The main Tubbataha season runs from March to June and the trips are extremely popular due to the quality of diving on offer. The trips run for 6 nights and depart on a Saturday from Puerto Princesa. Flight time to Puerto Princesa is 1hr 20mins from Cebu. There are regular flights to Manila from London and the most direct route would be with Philippines Airlines. It is advisable to have a night in Manila or Cebu prior to the departure date and we have many options to choose from.

Guide price: 6 nights from £3050 per person*
Includes: Full board accommodation in a twin/double lower deck cabin, unlimited tea, coffee, water, local beer, diving and use of tank & weights, nitrox (for those qualified) and equipment hire.

Excludes: International flights, transfers, National Park fees $120USD pp and Philippine departure tax of 200PHP for domestic flights and 850PHP for international flights

*Price shown is for guide purposes only and is based on low season travel for twin/double share accommodation. Please contact us for a confirmed cost based on your preferred duration and time of travel.

Getting here
The Philippine Siren liveaboard departs from Puerto Princesa and is reached from either Manila or Cebu. Flight time to Puerto Princesa is 1hr 20mins from Cebu. There are regular flights to Manila from London and the most direct route would be with Philippines Airlines. It is advisable to have a night in Manila or Cebu prior to the departure date and we have many options to choose from.

Tubbataha and more – 13 nights
There are only 2 of these transfer trips per year and they run at the start and end of the season with the boat departing from Puerto Princesa and arriving in Mactan or vice versa. Both trips start on a Saturday and finish on a Friday with the highlights being; North Atoll, South Atoll, Cabilao, Balicasag, Apo Island and Dauin. 

Guide price: 13 nights from £5695 per person*
Includes: Full board accommodation in a twin/double lower deck cabin, unlimited tea, coffee, water, local beer, diving and use of tank & weights, nitrox (for those qualified) and equipment hire.

Excludes: International flights, transfers, National Park fees $160USD pp and Philippine departure tax of 200PHP for domestic flights and 850PHP for international flights

*Price shown is for guide purposes only and is based on low season travel for twin/double share accommodation. Please contact us for a confirmed cost based on your preferred duration and time of travel.

Getting here
The Philippine Siren liveaboard departs from Puerto Princesa or Mactan and is reached from either Manila or Cebu for Puerto Princesa and Cebu for Mactan. Flight time to Puerto Princesa is 1hr 20mins from Cebu. There are regular flights to Manila from London and the most direct route would be with Philippines Airlines. It is advisable to have a night in Manila or Cebu prior to the departure date and we have many options to choose from.

Philippines by region

Central Visayas
Discover the wonders of Malapascua, Dauin and Bohol

Tubbataha National Marine Park
Reef walls of Tubbataha and Palawan adventures

Coron
Incredible diving on historic World War II wrecks

Ready for your next adventure?

Great Escapes Diving Holidays Ltd

Westerfield Business Centre
Main Road
Westerfield
Suffolk
IP6 9AB
United Kingdom

Office hours: Mondays to Fridays 09.00am - 5.00pm
Tel: +44 (0)1473 921888
Email: info@greatescapesdiving.com

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate