Hello TP, could anyone please advise me about good dive operators in Philippines. I am a complete novice and would like to do the PADI Open Water course. I'm going to be there for 3 weeks almost and arrive there in Manila tomorrow. Bohol and Boracay seem to have a good write up on the scubadiving website i have looked at but i would greatly appreciate any advise you guys can offer. I am on a tight budget so if you know of any good value operators i would love to hear about them. I would also like to do some island hopping and would enjoy hearing some of your stories and recommendations. Thanks in advance, Peter
Tho' i've never tried go scuba diving, but i've heard of some good places to hit, when you plan to go for that activity.
ANyway, check this site: www.scandinaviandivers.com , it's in Mindoro, it's kinda near Manila, compared to Bora, and Bohol.
Also, Anilao Batangas, 2-3 hrs. drive from Manila.http://www.scubatravel.co.uk/philippines/anilao.html
Rather than going to the common diving spots, like the places you've mentioned, go for these not too touristy places.
Going to Siquijor(Visayas) is also very good..not too many tourist, yet, the place is very excellent and peaceful.
what else? umm..try it at White Rock Zambales..it's also good.
and yeah, not a very common place for foreigners and locals to visit at all, but i advice that if you have much time, make it to Batanes Islands, it's in the topmost part of the Philippines..but really, the scene is very different.. the atmosphere is different..and very very very peaceful..and it's pretty laid-back..but there's alot to see, besides, scuba diving.check the net..
i think these places, could probably be cheaper than Bora and Bohol..and yet, better than Bora and Bohol(i think).
i hope these info. would help you out.
I hope i've remembered names and places of where i visited - but Panao beach near Tagbilaran in Bohol had a lot of dive operators. I didn't do a PADI course there but i know there are dive operators. Boracay has a lot more tourists than Bohol so i wouldn't be surprised if cost wise it would cost you more in Boracay, accommodation is cheaper in Bohol than in Boracay. I would double check my info on the internet, but i'm sure Tagbilaran is the main town you get the ferry to in Bohol and Panao beach is a short drive away. Hope this helps.
As for which place has the best dive sites i can't help you on that one i'm afraid.
What about Coco Beach, been there myself but didn't do any diving, but spent a lot of time with people who went there mainly for the diving. I don't know if their prices are competitive, but from what I heard from the divers it was a very good price - mind you they'd booked everything from Denmark through a travel agent so that might have dumped the prices a bit. I found their webpage so take a look for yourself: http://www.cocodivers.com/web/index.asp. It's not that far from Manila, and you can book transport from Manila directly to Coco Beach as far as I know.