The Philippines, known as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, is located in Southeast Asia, just across the South China Sea from Hong Kong and south of Taiwan. The tropical climate includes three distinct seasons. From July to November, the southwest monsoon brings wet weather and warm water. December to March is the northeast monsoon which is associated with strong winds. While April to June is usually dry with little wind. Water temperatures vary between 73-86°F (23-30°C) while air temperatures range from 77-90°F (25-32°C).
After being occupied by Spain, the United States and Japan, the Philippines gained independence in 1946. Today, the island nation enjoys relative stability, although Islamic rebels in the Mindanao region sometimes create conflict. Be sure to check your country’s travel warnings before heading to the region.
With only 2000 inhabited islands of the 7107 in the Philippines, the country offers both tourist hotspots and deserted destinations. A wide range of accommodation is available from ultra-luxurious dive resorts to budget bungalows. Liveaboard dive adventures are also available to allow for the opportunity to visit more than one island in only a few days.
During high season (November-April), dive sites and resort areas may be very crowded. However, low season (June-October) brings hefty discounts and bartering power. Whatever the season, diving from Bankas (traditional Filipino boats) into the diverse Filipino waters is sure to impress.
When you aren’t diving, the Philippines has a plethora of activities to keep you active.
Sun and sand are the name of the game in this island nation. With some of the best white sand beaches in the world, a beach day should be on every visitor’s itinerary. Island hopping tours (both boozy and family-friendly) are a great option for enjoying uninhabited islands. Other water sports include sea kayaking and windsurfing.
For more terrestrial adventures, visitors can hike the Taal Volcano, gape at gorgeous rice terraces in Banaue, tour historical churches or seek out rare wildlife such as the gremlin-like tarsier.
Of course, a day spent sleeping in, eating delicious Filipino BBQ and watching the sun sink into the water while dreaming of your next dive is also a worthy option.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL, Manila), Clark International Airport (CRK, Manila), Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB, Cebu) and Kalibo International Airport (KLO, Boracay) are all well-connected by international flights originating in Europe, North America and Australia. Once in the country, visitors can use local ferries to travel locally. Cebu Pacific and AirAsia offer low-cost inter-island flights.
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.