Animal Encounters in the Philippines

Up Close with the World's Biggest Fish

Imagine swimming with the biggest fish in the ocean. And for even more bragging rights, you can tell everyone that it was a shark. In the waters of the Philippines, whales sharks the size of buses congregate in shallow water, giving snorkelers and swimmers a rare chance for sure-thing encounters that are both safe and easy. Waters are calm and boat rides are quick and comfortable. There's no danger of being swallowed whole, as these gentle giants feed on the tiniest creatures in the sea, and pay scant attention to humans as they glide past at a leisurely pace that most swimmers can match.

Highlights

  • Best for: Solos, couples and budget to luxury
  • Best season to visit: Year round, with coolest and driest temperatures from Dec through June
  • Weather: The Philippines is usually hot and humid. There are three seasons: tag-init or tag-araw, the hot dry season or summer from Mar - May; tag-ulan, the rainy season from June - Nov; and tag-lamig, the cool, dry season from Dec - Feb

Philippines Information

Animal Interactions in the Philippines Overview

Whale shark swims take place near the southern tip of the island of Cebu, in the central Philippines. Waters are typically calm and quite clear, and encounters begin with a short boat ride from shore. Sightings are almost guaranteed throughout the year.

Animal Interactions in the Philippines Tips

Whale sharks are a protected species in the Philippines. It's possible to get quite close to the sharks, but you should not attempt to touch the animals. If you are taking pictures, turn the flash off, because the water is bright enough for natural light photography, and flashes may disturb the animals.

Best Places for Animal Interactions in the Philippines

There's a random chance of seeing whale sharks in many areas of the Philippines, but it is the Oslob region of Cebu Island where encounters are all but guaranteed, and conditions are ideal for comfortable swimming and snorkeling.

What to Pack for Animal Interactions in the Philippines

Marks, snorkel and fins, and a light wetsuit or water shirt for both sun protection on the surface, and streamlining when swimming. Bring a lanyard or float for your camera in case it slips from your grasp during the excitement of an encounter.

Specials

Dive

Philippines

Azure Dive Resort

DAUIN - 7-NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights accommodation, 12 boat dives including 2 Apo Island day trips and all marine park fees, breakfast only, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges. Valid through 12/31/20
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From $863 per person double diver

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Packages

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Philippines

El Galleon Dive Resort

PUERTO GALERA 7 NIGHTS / DIVING / ASIA DIVERS includes Poolside Room accommodations, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, unlimited diving (up to 4 day dives per day and a night dive).
Upgrade to Seaview Room accommodations for $87.00 per person (double-shared).

Excluded are transfers from Manilla Airport to El Galleon Dive Resort. Land transfer takes around 2 hours and the boat approximately 1 hour. (round-trip transfers available at an additional charge of $290 per person).
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From $1,344 per person double diver

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Cultural Activities
Hiking
Ziplining
Offroading
Animal Interactions
Snorkeling
Paddle Sports

Philippines

Magic Oceans Dive Resort

ANDA, BOHOL - BUILD YOUR OWN Adventure Package with Superior Deluxe Cottage accommodations, including breakfast daily, with choice of half board or full board meal plan upgrades, and multiple Scuba Dive package plans, optional roundtrip airport transfers, also included is free WiFi, hotel tax and service charges. Adventure optional add-ons: Lamanok Tour | Candijay Tour |Fireflys and Seaweeds Tour .


Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for Additional Exclusive Pricing and Information.
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From $ per person double occupancy

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Philippines

Magic Island Dive Resort

MOALBOAL, CEBU - BUILD YOUR OWN Adventure Package with Superior Deluxe Cottage accommodations, including breakfast daily, with choice of half board or full board meal plan upgrades, and multiple Scuba Dive package plans, optional roundtrip airport transfers, also included is free WiFi, hotel tax and service charges. Adventure optional add-ons: Whale Shark Snorkel |Kawasan Canyon Trip Cebu Site Seeing Tour.


Contact Caradonna Adventures at 800.328.2288 for Additional Exclusive Pricing and Information.
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From $742 per person double diver occupancy

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Dive

Philippines

Philippines Aggressor

LIVEABOARD - 7-NIGHT TUBBATAHA ITINERARY includes 7 nights cabin accommodations, 3-4 dives per day, breakfast, lunch, dinner daily, beverages, local beer and wine, roundtrip airport transfers and tax.
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From $3,395 per person double diver

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Snorkeling
Animal Interactions
Hiking
Cultural Activities
Offroading

Philippines

Azure Dive Resort

DAUIN - ADVENTURE PACKAGE includes 7 night’s accommodations, breakfast daily, one snorkel or dive with whale sharks in Oslob, one trekking/hiking adventure up to Mt. Talinis and Cuemos de Negros (req’s good health), one single rider extreme ATV adventure tour, one Lake Balanan tour surrounded by lush mountain ranges and waterfalls roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Add-on Discover Scuba Diving course for $160.
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From $998 per person double

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Dive

Philippines

Azure Dive Resort

DAUIN - 7-NIGHT DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights accommodation, 12 boat dives including 2 Apo Island day trips and all marine park fees, breakfast only, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and service charges.
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From $863 per person double diver

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Dive

Philippines

Atlantis Dive Resort Puerto Galera

PUERTO GALERA - DIVE PACKAGE includes 7 nights deluxe accommodations, up to 5 boat dives daily including night diving, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, water, coffee and tea, internet access, hotel tax and service charges.
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From $1,995 per person double diver

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Philippines

Philippine Siren

LIVEABOARD - 10-NIGHT MALAPASCUA & VISAYAS ITINERARY includes 10 nights twin/double accommodations, up to 4 dives per day, free use of dive equipment, free Nitrox, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, snacks, beverages including soft drinks and free beer.
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From $4,200 per person double diver

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Philippines

Philippine Siren

LIVEABOARD - 6-NIGHT SOUTHERN VISAYAS ITINERARY includes 6 nights twin/double accommodations, up to 4 dives per day, free use of dive equipment, free Nitrox, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, snacks, beverages including soft drinks and free beer.
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From $2,990 per person double diver

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Resorts

Dive

Philippines

Turtle Bay Dive Resort

MOALBOAL, CEBU - The property is lovely - rooms are decorated with beautiful Indonesian wood furniture and the rooms surround a pool and tropical gardens - there's a spa, game room, poolside bar and restaurant - and a number of rooms also offer sweeping ocean views. Chill out between dives around the lagoon pool, in the lush gardens, or the spa. Dive masters know where to find all the fish and critters from pygmy sea horses to sea turtles.
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Philippines

Pura Vida Beach & Dive Resort

DUMAGUETE - Pura Vida Beach & Dive Resort is located in Dauin, 15 kms south of Dumaguete City on Negros Island. The facility is built by divers, for divers and is under Swiss Management. The resorts beach restaurant serves Asian as well as international delicacies and Vida Spa offers professional massage services.
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Spa and Wellness

Philippines

El Galleon Dive Resort

PUERTO GALERA - El Galleon Dive Resort is a beachfront resort with pool, two great bars and a restaurant which partners with Asia Divers, a renowned dive operation in the Philippines offering tech and recreational diving. Established in 1987, the dive team brings a wealth of information and experience. Resort amenities include a waterfront restaurant, two bars, pool and spa.
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Philippines

Magic Oceans Dive Resort

ANDA, BOHOL - Magic Island's newly built sister resort in Bohol is now open! The 16-room dive resort offers a fresh water pool, restaurant/bar and massage services. The house reef is available 24/7 for easy shore diving. Up to four boat dives a day to sites within 40 minutes of the resort. Trips to Camiguin for muck diving, South Leyte for whale sharks also available.
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Philippines

Magic Island Dive Resort

MOALBOAL, CEBU - With a magnificent view of the mountains of Cebu and Negros Island, this resort offers accommodations for only 20 divers. With 3 boats and 4 local dive guides, the dive groups are always small. Spend time exploring the beautiful critters and macro life that Magic Island’s guides are experts in finding.
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Snorkeling
Animal Interactions
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Offroading

Philippines

Azure Dive Resort

DAUIN - The Azure Dive Resort is the quintessence of the Filipino spirit—warm as the inviting blue waters of its private beach; gracious as the palm fronds that bend in the breeze. The resort was conscientiously built with the Filipino heritage in mind; an extraordinary touch of the Filipino culture can be experienced within its unassuming spaces. The unobtrusive presence of a highly-trained staff ensures efficient service and utmost privacy for all guests. The rooms were designed to mimic the comforts of a modern Filipino home. Tucked away in the tropical haven sleepy town of Dauin, Negros Oriental. It sits on a sprawling 1,620-square meter terrain that gently slopes down to a sandy stretch that merges with the warm Bohol Sea.
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Philippines

Atlantis Dive Resort Puerto Galera

PUERTO GALERA - Located on over six miles of marine reserves featuring pristine coral reefs, beautiful walls and some of the best muck dives in the Philippines—this is a macro photographer’s paradise.
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Mind and Spirit
Ziplining
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Philippines

Atmosphere Resorts & Spa

DUMAGUETE - Indulge yourself and surrender to Atmosphere where the warmest of Philippine hospitality is combined with first class amenities and service to bring you an unforgettable experience within the stunning Philippine archipelago. Beautifully situated within an old seven acre coconut plantation on the island of Negros, Atmosphere enjoys a spectacular beach front location alongside the warm coastal waters of the Philippine Sea.
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Liveaboards

Dive

Philippines

Philippine Siren

LIVEABOARD - The Philippine Siren is a 140-foot traditional Indonesian "Phinisi" handcrafted from ironwood and teak. Itineraries include 6-night itineraries to the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as itineraries to Malapascua (thresher sharks!) and some of the Philippines best dive sites in the Visayas. Click below for 6-night Visaya itineraries available through 2018 (June/July departures). These trips sell out quickly so contact us to confirm current availability.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

Entry Requirements: All U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport. Your passport must contain at least one blank page for entry stamp and proof of onward or return airline ticket may be required. Visas upon arrival are issued for 30 days for tourist stays.

Exit Requirements: All persons leaving the Philippines pay a Government Departure Tax of approximately USD $17.

Immunizations

There are no required vaccines for entry into the Philippines, although you should always check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.gov.

Culture and Customs

The Philippines are a blend of East and West. Centuries of Spanish and US influences mix with Asian cultural traditions and cuisines. Sophisticated urban centers such as Manila contrast with village life in small fishing communities and mountain settlements. Music is a common love that unites Philippine people of all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, whether the performance takes the form of a spirited karaoke rendition of a pop favorite or a traditional rondalla. It is a culture where people are quick to sing, laugh easily, and place high values on family, friendships and hospitality. Clear waters and spectacular beaches attract vacationers to coastal resorts, while adventure-minded travelers have a wide range of activities to choose from. Nature lovers can trek, bike or bird in one of the world's most diverse biospheres, home to nearly 80 percent of the world’s plant and animal species. Though better known for its beaches, the Philippines is also a land of towering mountains, with peaks rising to heights of more than 9,000 feet. In addition to trekking and climbing, the highlands provide thrilling whitewater rafting and paddles through underground rivers. Indigenous wellness traditions live on in healing arts such as Hilot touch therapy and Dagdagay foot massage and in the traditional greeting of “Mabuhay,” which is a wish for good health, peace, and harmony.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electricity in the Philippines is 220 volts, 60 Hz, so an adapter will be needed for U.S. visitors. If your electronic device does not accept 220 V input, you may also need a step down transformer.

The country code for the Philippines is 63. Check with your cell phone provider for International plans which may include text, data and voice. Many hotels offer WiFi.

Water Quality

The water is safe to drink at the larger chain hotel and in major cities, which offer purified water, but it is recommended to drink bottled water while in the Philippines.

Language & Currency

The Philippines is the 3rd largest English-speaking country in the world. Tagalog (Filipino) is spoken by nearly 1/3 of the population as a first language and as a second language by the other 2/3 of the population. Filipino is the official language of education, but English is also an official language. The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP) but U.S. dollars are accepted in most places. Check the currency rate here.

Time

The Philippines observe Philippines Time or PHT which is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+8 GMT). The Philippines does not observe daylight savings time.

Location, Size and Population

The Philippines are located in Southeast Asia, in the Western Pacific Ocean, east of Vietnam and northeast of Malaysia. The Philippines are made up of 7,107 islands. The three main islands are Luzon in the north, the Visayas in the Central Region and Mindanao in the South. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila. The islands take up approximately 115,830 square miles. The islands vary in size with Luzon being the largest at 42,458 square miles, it is also the 15th largest island in the world and the 4th most populated island in the world, to some of the smaller places like popular Dumaguete, which is only around 13 square miles and located in the Visayas.

The population of the Philippines is over 102 Million (2016).