Liveaboard Diving

Philippines FAQs

Before Your Trip

Electronic Arrival Card Registration
Commencing 2nd December 2022, all international travellers bound for the Philippines must provide arrival and health information online, prior to travelling.

The “eTravel” platform, accessed through, provides travellers with an electronic arrival card which replaces the One Health Pass platform, and paper arrival cards. All travellers are required to register individually, 72 hours before arrival in the Philippines.

Registration on the eTravel platform is free. The Philippines government advises against transacting with any entities or websites asking for payments of any kind in relation to the eTravel platform.

Proof of Dive Certification
As of 1st September 2017, a new memorandum has been put in place by the authorities in the Philippines, who operate the permits on Balicasag Island. This area forms a small part of the Southern Visayas and Tubbataha and More itineraries. In order to comply, we must provide a copy of dive certificates/license for every diver booking onto this itinerary. Please ensure that you send a scanned copy of your certification once you have confirmed a booking. Without a scanned copy of guests’ certifications, there is a strong risk that the authorities will not issue the permit. This would result in the whole boat being refused dive permissions for Balicasag Island.
Tubbataha Visitor Entry Permit

Please ensure that you provide us with the following information no later than two weeks prior to the start of your cruise for us to be able to obtain the required permits from the Tubbataha National Park Authorities.

– Guests’ full names
– Permanent address
– Date of birth
– Passport number
– Nationality
– Email address
– Phone number
– Number of logged dives

Packing your hand luggage

Please note that the Philippines Office for Transportation Security includes ‘scuba equipment’ on a list of blunt instruments that are not to be carried in hand luggage on flights originating in the Philippines. We advise that all Siren guests carry all dive related equipment in their check in rather than their carry-on luggage.

Pre-Travel Health & vaccinations

No specific vaccinations are required for entry into the Philippines unless you are coming from or passing through contaminated areas*. However, we strongly advise that you check with your nearest travel clinic for the latest information and recommendations, and ensure that your standard vaccinations (tetanus, polio, MMR, etc.) are up-to-date.

*Yellow fever certificate requirements

Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers who have transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Please make sure you bring insect repellent with you and cover exposed skin to reduce the risk of Dengue Fever and other insect borne diseases.


Coronavirus: Travel Restrictions

See our COVID-19 Travel Requirements page for the latest COVID-19 travel updates.

Flight Advice

International flights may be booked into and out of Manila (MNL) or Cebu (CEB) although, if you are joining a Tubbataha itinerary, Manila offers a greater choice of flights to and from Puerto Princesa.

We recommend that you plan to arrive in Manila, Cebu or Puerto Princesa at least 1 day before the start of your liveaboard itinerary to allow for possible flight delays or schedule changes and to ensure you start your holiday well rested.

If travelling onwards on the same day, please allow plenty of time for transfer between domestic and international terminals, check-in and security clearance.

Luggage Restrictions

IMPORTANT: The Philippines Office for Transportation Security includes ‘scuba equipment’ on a list of blunt instruments that are not to be carried in hand luggage on flights originating in the Philippines. We advise that all guests carry all dive related equipment in their checked luggage rather than their carry-on.

Passports & Visas

Visa and passport regulations differ per country and can change at short notice. We advise all travellers to check their own government’s travel advisories for up-to-date visa requirements, or their nearest Philippines embassy/ consulate.

Visa Information

Citizens of many countries, including ASEAN countries, EU Member States, Canada, Australia, the UK and the US can enter the Philippines visa-free for stays of up to 30 days for tourism purposes. An overview of countries that do not require a visa can be found on the visa information page of the Department of Foreign Affairs website – Entry of Temporary Visitors

For further information relating to visa applications and requirements, please visit the Philippines Government Department of Foreign Affairs website:

Passport validity

Please make sure that your passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into the Philippines.

Proof of onward travel

Entry into the Philippines may be refused if you are unable to produce evidence of return or onward travel – for example an onward or return air ticket.

Airport Taxes

Airport Terminal Fees apply to all departing domestic and international flight passengers. In some cases the fees may already be included in the price of your flight ticket, depending on the airport that you are departing from. Where they are not, they need to be paid in cash, at the airport, in Philippine Peso (PHP).

International departure: 750 PHP
Domestic departure: 200 PHP

Arrival & Departure registration

With effect from 15th April 2023, the e-Travel system which was introduced in December 2022 for pre-arrival registration has been extended to include travellers departing from the Philippines.

  • Arriving passengers: Need to register within seventy-two (72) hours prior to their scheduled time of arrival in the Philippines.
  • Departing passengers: Need to register within seventy-two (72) hours prior to their flight’s scheduled departure time from the Philippines.

To register:

  1. Visit
  2. Select “Philippine passport holder” or “Foreign passport holder” according to their nationality
  3. Enter their travel details and email address
  4. Enter their personal details and sign a health declaration form to complete registration
  5. Wait for their QR code to be generated then download and print/save a digital copy.
  6. Present their QR code upon check-in prior to their flight departure or during the Bureau Of Quarantine (BOQ) verification upon arrival.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will discontinue the use of paper-based arrival and departure cards beginning May 1, 2023.

Puerto Princesa arrivals and departures

Embarkation time for itineraries starting from Puerto Princesa is 13:00 (1 pm).

Disembarkation time for itineraries ending in Puerto Princesa is between 09:30 and 10:00 am only.


Embarkation Day arrivals: It is imperative that guests arriving in Puerto Princesa on the day of embarkation arrive no later than 12:00 (midday). 

Disembarkation Day departures: Guests should NOT book flights that depart from PPS earlier than 12:30pm. 

Flight check in time is usually 2 hours before departure and disembarkation needs to be an hour before check-in. For logistical and safety reasons disembarkation for early morning departures is not possible.

Country Information

Time zone
Language & religion

There are over 170 different languages and dialects spoken in the Philippines, however, Tagalog (aka Filipino) is the most widely spoken language in the archipelago. Nearly all Filipinos who work in the tourism industry speak good English, and English road and street signs are found nationwide. Almost 90% of the population is Christian. The largest religious minority is Muslim, and they make up about 5% of the population.


The local currency is the Philippine Peso (Php). The vast majority of all hotels, resorts, shops and restaurants will accept a wide range of credit and debit cards. Please note that in some cases away from the major cities you may be asked to pay a service charge for credit card handling. This can range from 3.5 – 6.0%. ATM’s are easily found throughout the Philippines in airports and in any major centre of population (Manila, Cebu, Dumaguete, Puerto Princesa, Boracay etc). Normal banking hours are 09.00am – 15.00pm. Traveller’s cheques are not very popular as they are not very easy to exchange so most guests prefer to carry cash and / or use credit cards. There are also money changers at airports and in the cities.


The Philippines has excellent mobile phone coverage and telephone system, however, in less populated areas; you may find that there is no mobile coverage.

PLEASE NOTE: Effective from 10th October 2022, all SIM card users in the Philippines are required, by law, to register their details with the service provider before the SIM card can be activated.

Tourists staying for less than a month must register with their passport and address while in the Philippines and their SIM registration form must contain their full name, passport number, and contact address.

Climate & weather

The Philippines is a tropical country and the weather is fairly even all year round. The year is roughly divided into two seasons; ‘rainy’ and ‘dry’. The rainy season generally begins in early June and can extend through to November. In general the months with greatest rainfall tend to be July and August. The rainy season often brings days of uninterrupted sunshine punctuated by occasional thunderstorms and rain. The dry season runs from November through to May but there is always the chance of light rainfall during this period. The warmest months are usually March through to May and the highest humidity is in June, July and August. Year round coastal and inland temperatures range from 27°C – 28°C, up to 33°C – 34°C, with an average of approximately 31 °C. Evenings are marginally cooler.


Health standards vary throughout the country depending on location. In some cases they do not meet Western Standards but in some cases they exceed them. Manila and Cebu have international class hospitals whilst the hospitals in other parts of the country will ensure that you receive more than adequate care. All major towns have hospitals and doctors available. However, it is advisable to obtain Travel Insurance in addition to Health Insurance before you travel. We advise all guests to ensure that vaccinations are up to date. We recommend that travelers follow normal precautions with food in order to prevent stomach upsets, and be sure to drink either boiled or bottled water only. Please consult your doctor or nearest health authorities for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure.

Recompression chambers

Currently there are re-compression facilities in Batangas, Manila, Cebu and Subic. Generally private emergency air evacuation is needed to access these facilities in the unlikely event of an accident. We strongly urge that all guests dive well within recognised limits, follow Dive Guides advice and purchase adaquete dive insurance before their trips.

During Your Trip

Tubbataha - Important Information

Prohibited Items
For Tubbataha itineraries, gloves*, tank bangers/noise makers, reef hooks or pointers are not allowed as their
use can affect the behaviour of sea life and animals, or harm corals; Therefore, these items are strictly prohibited for use in Tubbataha Marine Park.

*Divers who need to wear gloves for medical reasons MUST bring a doctor’s certificate to confirm this. Guests who can not provide a doctor’s certificate for this purpose will be required to dive without gloves, or not dive at all. There are no exceptions.

The use of drones in Tubbataha Marine Park is prohibited unless the operator has applied for, and been granted a permit to do so. The permit needs to be obtained from Tubbataha Management at least 2 weeks in advance via

Single Use Plastics
As part of the ‘Let’s make Tubbataha plastic free’ initiative, all liveaboard operators including Philippine Siren and their guests are mandated to follow No Single-use Plastic policies at all times. This  includes but is not limited to plastic bags, wrappers and packaging, drinking water and soda bottles, drinking straws, stirrers and polystyrene/ styrofoam cups and food containers. To comply with this regulation, guests are requested to bring their own reusable drinks container, if they have one; Alternatively, you can purchase an Eco Tumbler onboard.

For further important information, please refer to our Tubbataha Park Rules & Regulations document 

What thickness wetsuit is suitable?
Water temperatures are broadly similar throughout the region; the coolest waters are usually to be found in January – March with an average of approximately 24 C – 26 C. Warmer waters are common in May – July with averages of approximately 26 °C – 28 °C. Most guests find that a 3mm shorty and possibly a rash vest is suitable for the water temperature in the warmer months, and 3mm – 5mm long for the rest of the year. However, for guests who feel the cold easily, especially with repeated diving, then we recommend to bring an extra vest / hood. In short bring what you feel most comfortable in.
Is Philippine Siren rebreather friendly?

We regret that the vessel does not have CCR cylinders, sofnolime or booster pumps available to be able to support rebreather divers.


The vessel is fitted with universal power outlets in the common areas (fitting most of the plugs) and the cabins have Type C outlets (European 2-rounded plugs). Please ensure you pack adaptors if needed.

Communications during your trip

There is Wi-Fi internet access available to guests on Philippine Siren for a small charge of 25 USD per person for 6 and 7 night itineraries, and 35 USD per person for 10 night itineraries. 

Mobile ‘phone signal coverage varies throughout each cruise but signal strength is typically stronger when in close proximity to major islands, such as Cebu, Negros or Palawan. There is no mobile phone coverage en-route to or within Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.

Local SIM cards can be purchased at the international airports or various other shopping outlets.

PLEASE NOTE: Service providers in the Philippines are required, by law, to register subscriber details before a SIM card can be activated. This means, if you wish to purchase a local SIM card before embarkation, you will need to provide your full name, passport details and Philippines contact address to fill in the provider’s SIM registration form.

Marine, park and port fees

Marine park and port fees are obligatory for all guests and vary depending on the itinerary and areas covered. The applicable amount will be added to your invoice as an on board payment at the time of booking your liveaboard trip. 

Tipping guidelines

We believe that tipping is a matter of personal choice; Should you feel that our crew has made your holiday extra special, they will certainly appreciate a tip as a sign of your appreciation. An envelope will be provided by your cruise director at the end of your itinerary and all gratuities will be divided equally amongst all crew, including the captain and dive guides.

If you are unsure how much to tip, we suggest 5-10% of the liveaboard cost. Tips can only be accepted in cash.

On board payments

Payment for equipment rental, courses and nitrox that have not been paid for in advance, as well as marine, park and port fees and any other incidental onboard extras needs to be settled at the end of your cruise, prior to disembarkation. All prices are in USD, although we can also accept cash payments in Philippine Peso, EUR, GBP or AUD. Onboard prices will be converted from USD using local bank exchange rate at that time.

Credit card payments are also accepted (Mastercard & Visa); however an additional handling fee will be levied to your final bill.

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to charge crew gratuities to guests’ credit or debit cards. We therefore kindly request that you bring sufficient cash with you to cover any tips you might wish to leave.

Photography: Dive Sites Restrictions

Please be aware that guests are NOT permitted to use strobes and/or flash when using their cameras at dive sites in Oslob (diving with whale sharks) or when diving with thresher sharks around Malapascua (including Monad and Kimud Shoals).