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Photos © Len Deeley

Philippines.

The Philippines offers very good value for money for those wishing a change from the norm.

Introduction to the Philippines

 

 

The Philippines are rarely visited compared with other South East Asian countries as it is off the beaten track. With over 7000 islands within its archipelago it offers a diverse landscape and underwater world. With this many islands it is advisable not to restrict yourself to one and the internal flight infrastructure means you can island hop very easily at a reasonable expense.

Our Philippines Holidays

Liveaboards

Atlantis Azores.

Hotels & Resorts

Dumaguete Resort, Puerto Galera Resort.

Philippines - our rough guide

History

Not much is known about the area pre Spanish colonialisation as much was eradicated by them. The Spanish arrived in 1565 and set about the Christian conversion to such a success that the Philippines is the only Christian country in South East Asia. The Spanish ruled for just over 300 years but were never really accepted by the indigenous people and were constantly dampening revolts.

However independance was not gained when the Spanish left but replaced by the Americans after the waning colonial power lost its war against this new fast emerging world power. With the exception of the Japanese WW2 years America held power until granting independence immediately after the war ended. There was relative stability until 1972 when the incumbent President Marcos declared martial law to try and curb anarchy within the country.

This iron fist regime was corrupt and the economy shrunk until growing unrest forced elections in 1986. Not surprisingly Marcos lost to be replaced by Cory Aquino. Corruption was still widespread which led to her downfall in 1992 when succeeded by Fidel Ramos who quickly set about making a clean government. His success was somewhat negated by the East Asia financial crises in 1997.

Geography

The Filipino Archipelago is made up of 7000 islands of which 94% of the population live on the 11 largest islands. There are four main areas: Luzon, the largest island (site of Manila) & Mindoro, The Visayas, Mindanao (predomitably Muslim) & Palawan Island.

Diving

The Philippines lays claim to the widest variety of marine species in the world. For macro lovers there are boundless and indigeonis species of molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms.

Wreck lovers are well served by Coron Island where off its coastline there are the remains of 18 Japanese supply ships sunk by the Americans in WW2.

Tubbataha Reef is the Philippines' only marine park and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rising from the volcanic depths of the Sulu Sea it supports an unparalleled variety of marine creatures. Colorful reef fish crowd corals growing in the shallows while sharks and pelagics haunt the steep drop offs to the open sea.

Underwater Photography

A note from Len.....

I first visited these locations in 2008 and was knocked out by the diving and photographic opportunities underwater. I therefore returned in 2010 with a group of underwater photographers. A two centre trip offers a nice combination with nice coral reefs, muck diving, the offshore islands of Verdi and Apo among others to provide opportunities for wide angle photography. The town of Sabang is a lively place with plenty of nightlife and most of the dive sites within 5 or 10 minutes off the shore. Dumaguete is much more secluded with lovely beaches and once again dive sites within a very short distance. Both locations have larger boats which take divers over to the offshore islands for day trips.

Highlights

     

  • Tubbataha Reef Marine Park
  • Japanese WW2 Wrecks
  • Dumaguete Pier

Climate & Weather

Hot and humid all year round with wet and dry seasons. January-June is the dry, July-December wet. From May to November there maybe typhoons.

General Information

  • People: Malay race
  • Religion: Christian
  • Language: Filipino. English is widely spoken
  • Visas: Not needed for stays under 21 days
  • Health: No requiremnets but please consult your local GP
  • Time: GMT + 8 hours.
  • Electricity: 220 Volts
  • Clothing: Light cotton clothes are ideal
  • Currency: Philippine Peso, Bank Note denomintations 20,50, 100, 500, 1000
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