The Philippines has been a favourite dive holiday destination for decades, offering a warm, tropical climate, crystal clear water, and inviting coastal resort towns. But, for dedicated divers looking to make the most of their time in the country, liveaboards will provide extra bang for every buck.
With scores of islands and seas to explore, each home to its own collection of must-see dive sites, liveaboard safaris help visitors see more of this biodiverse destination in a single trip. Plus, some of the Philippines’ most pristine reefs and biggest pelagic fish lie beyond the reach of day trips. Therefore, you’ll miss out on many of the most exhilarating experiences if you stick to land-based operators.
So, if you’re looking to dive as much as possible, and in as many places as possible, a liveaboard is the way to go. And, to help you find your ideal vessel, we’ve selected five of the best liveaboards in the Philippines below.
The stunning 40-metre Philippine Siren is in a league of its own when it comes to both style and substance. Flying seven royal-blue sails and boasting gorgeous golden teak interiors, this classic schooner oozes elegance as it traverses the Philippines’ species rich waters. Operated under the Master Liveaboards fleet, Philippine Siren offers a comprehensive selection of top-quality itineraries. Trips visit all the hotspots such as the many wrecks of Coron, the remote Tubbataha Natural Park and Malapascua’s world-famous Monad Shoal. Designed specifically for diving, the vessel comes well-prepared for almost any request. Free nitrox, closed circuit rebreather support, and a fully-equipped professional photography and videography station are just a few of the onboard perks. From $336 per day.
Solitude One is the flagship vessel of the distinguished Solitude Fleet. Redesigned from an ex-merchant vessel, this liveaboard is adept at navigating some of the Philippines’ wildest waters. Even Tubbataha in the remote Sulu Sea and lesser-known areas such as Romblon and Ticao are no match for this liveaboard. Rugged on the outside but soft within, Solitude One features rustic yet elegant aesthetic finished with warm, red-tinged wooden furnishings. And, as you’d expect from a vessel that looks as adventure-ready as this, Solitude One boasts a tempting inventory of top quality equipment and outstanding services. Underwater photographers will find an air-conditioned camera room on board, and both sidemount and rebreathers can be accommodated. The dive deck can even be completely reconfigured for major expeditions! From $329 per day.
Originally constructed as a three-masted schooner, Discovery Palawan underwent an extensive rebuild to become the capable, diver-friendly liveaboard it is today. Part of the renowned Discovery Fleet, this vessel comes equipped for adventurous scuba diving trips, offering advanced facilities such as nitrox 28% and 32% and a convenient air-conditioned camera room. But it’s not just dedicated scuba divers who can enjoy an experience aboard Discovery Palawan. Whilst trips to the isolated Tubbataha Reef Natural Park are reserved solely for divers, this vessel also delivers mixed voyages throughout the rest of the Philippines. These trips offer activity-rich itineraries well suited to non-divers without compromising the experience of keen underwater enthusiasts. You can even get scuba certified during your voyage, with a complete range of courses starting with your very first breaths underwater. From $294 per day.
The Aggressor Fleet is one of the oldest liveaboard operators in the world, but this vessel and its itineraries are a new addition to the family, having first set sail as recently as 2020. Thankfully, the Aggressor Fleet’s decades of experience guarantees everything runs seamlessly, and this vessel already feels iconic. Itineraries last seven or ten-days, offering between 25-27 dives in the Philippines’ most popular scuba hotspots – including Cebu, the Visayas, and Tubbataha. And, as with all Aggressor Fleet vessels, the exemplary customer service and luxurious details aboard Philippines Aggressor ensure even non-divers will have the time of their life. In fact, most itineraries incorporate enriching shore excursions and everyday snorkelling options for maximum entertainment. From $437 per day.
Seadoors is a laid-back liveaboard with a tropical beach-bar aesthetic complete with colourful bean bags in the lounge and warm, friendly crew to deliver upbeat, energetic service. As a result, Seadoors is a great liveaboard option for outgoing travellers who relish a fun and social atmosphere. But don’t let the laid-back style fool you, because this vessel is plenty professional when it comes to diving. Operating out of Cebu, Seadoors is well-positioned to explore the Philippines’ many seas and offers nine itineraries – each focussing on a specific region or marine creature. The dive deck aboard Seadoors has been well-designed for stress-free diving, with well-organised personal storage and plenty of space to gear-up in comfort. Advanced underwater explorers will also appreciate extra services including nitrox blends and support for rebreathers and sidemount set-ups. From $264 per day.