The Republic of Philippines (commonly known as the Philippines) is situated in the western Pacific Ocean that comprises over 7,100 islands which are broadly grouped into 3 main areas: Mindanao, Luzon and Visayas.
Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity and is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons. This, however, also provides it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest marine biodiversity. Amazingly, many of the marine species can only be found in the Philippines and nowhere else in the world.
The Philippines forms an important part of the “Coral Triangle” which is home to more than 3,000 species of fish, including the whale shark and the elusive coelacanth. Six out of the world's seven marine turtle species can also be found in the Coral Triangle. The Philippines is estimated to be home to 500 coral species and 2,400 species of marine fish. In addition, new species continue to be discovered in these waters and continuously increase these numbers highlighting the biodiversity and uniqueness of the marine life in the Philippines. The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993.
Main dive regions include:
• Puerto Galera
Waters in the Philippines is diveable all year round, with the best months generally regarded to be December to April. However, you will need to consider its three main seasons which will affect diving conditions:
• December to February is the Northeast monsoon season which is known for strong winds and lower temperatures;
• March to May is usually the hot dry season with the highest temperatures and minimal wind and rain; and
• June to November is the Southwest monsoon season which which brings rain and lower temperatures.
Like most other top dive destinations in Asia, the Philippines enjoys a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid. There are 3 main seasons (see above) which affect the general weather.
The average temperatures usually range from 21°C (70°F) to 33°C (91°F) although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the different season. The coolest month is usually January and the warmest month is May.
Unfortunately for the residents of and visitors to the Philippines, being located on the Pacific Ring of Fire and the typhoon belt, the Philippines subject to frequent natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and typhoons. Most of the archipelago experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October. Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines.
The Philippines is accessible only by air. The main international airports serving each of the 3 regions are:
• Luzon – Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and Clark International Airport are the main international airports.
• Visayas – Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Iloilo International Airport, Kalibo International Airport and the Bacolod-Silay International Airport.
• Mindanao – Francisco Bangoy International Airport, Zamboanga International Airport and the General Santos International Airport.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are the major airlines serving most domestic and international destinations.