Liveaboard diving is appealing in general because guests can be assured that they’ll hit all the best sites any given location offers, and the Philippine Siren is no exception. We spent 10 glorious days on the boat’s southern Visayas trip, doing as you do on a liveaboard: eating amazing food, sleeping in spacious quarters, and blowing bubbles in crystal-clear water, filled with a dazzling array of marine life. The crew and other divers were pretty incredible too, keeping the atmosphere lighthearted and fun throughout the entire trip.
Lots of liveaboards have fairly cramped quarters with little storage space, so we were pleasantly surprised when we got to our room. The cabins on the Siren fleet are, to put it simply, huge. There was plenty of storage over the beds and in the multiple closets. Each cabin has a private bathroom, air-conditioning, and a TV that’s wired to a central server so you can relax and watch some entertainment, if you’re so inclined. But we think the better entertainment is either under the water, on the spacious sundeck admiring the views during the day, or on the sundeck-turned-stardeck admiring the stars at night. Add a little wine and dive stories into the mix and you’ll have better entertainment than any TV show could hope to offer.
Liveaboards are known for two main things: Lots of diving and lots of food. The excellent chefs on the Philippine Siren work hard to keep their divers well-fed and happy. Many of the dishes are Filipino-based, but you’ll see plenty of other international cuisine as well, and chefs will always go out of their way to accommodate special diets (if you tell the booking agent in advance). It’s one of the day’s most anticipated moments when the chef arrives to announce and describe each dish he’s prepared for the buffet-style dinner, all with a bit of flair and humor.
As any liveaboard veteran will know, another great feature of this style of trip is that you’ll set your equipment up once…and that’s it. Dive-deck crew will fill your tanks, set up your regulator on your next tank — everything but squeeze you into your wetsuit. On the Philippine Siren’s main deck, the shaded dive area is as spacious as the rest of the boat. Each diver has their own numbered spot with drawers to help keep track of their small items. With multiple rinse bins, tons of space to hang things to dry, and a crew that’s eager to help, divers never need worry about getting and keeping their gear clean and secure. They also never need worry about bumping elbows in cramped seating arrangements.
As for the diving, well, it was pretty amazing. On this itinerary, the Siren stops in the Bohol area, Apo Island, Dauin and Moalboal. Most of what you’ll see in the Philippines is small — seahorses, scores of nudibranchs, frogfish, several varieties of shrimp including mantis shrimp, sea snakes, and eels. And some of it, while still small, is quite unusual and charismatic, such as the various octopuses — mimic, wunderpus, blue-ringed, and coconut octopus — and the ever-interesting cuttlefish. That’s not even mentioning the massive reefs and walls, covered with gorgonians, crinoids and hard and soft corals, including the seemingly endless hard-coral garden at Apo Island.
Even though the Philippines isn’t known for larger animals, there are a few of those around too. The biggest, most photogenic sea turtles we’ve ever seen were in the Bohol area. At the Oslob stop, divers get the opportunity to dive with some juvenile whale sharks and in Moalboal, there’s always a chance to see some thresher sharks.
Overall, this Philippine Siren itinerary is best for patient macro divers and reef lovers, with a few big guys thrown into the mix for good measure. The trip itself is suited for any diver looking to have a great time in paradise with an attentive and amazing crew, tasty food and luxurious quarters. If you want to relax while still hitting some of the best dive spots in the Philippines, give the Siren Fleet a chance to make your dive dreams come true.