2020 Best of the Visayas Photo Workshop on the Philippine Siren




2020 Best of the Visayas Photo Workshop

Join us from February 9 - 19 on the luxurious Philippine Siren

to experience the best that the Visayas sea has to offer!

*Airfare to the Philippines is at a historically low rate! Fares are starting at $550;

contact us to see the pricing from your city.


February 9 - 19, 2020

Led by Mark Hatter

Price for 10 Nights: $4,200 per person Call for special last minute price

Optional Land Extensions:

7 Nights in Anilao - $2,160 pp

7 Nights in Puerto Galera - Starting at $1,223 pp

7 Nights in Dumaguete - Starting at $1,958 pp


Go to:

Why Join This Trip? - Why Travel with Bluewater?

Trip Information - Package Details - Itinerary - Trip Leader - Accommodations

How to Get There - Booking & Payment - Trip Extensions - Underwater Photos


Why Join This Trip?

 ✓ Sail and dive in comfort on one of the most luxurious boats aboard the Philippine Siren

 ✓ Many shark species, including thresher sharks, white tips and whale sharks

 ✓ Great for both big fish and small critters

 ✓ Beginner photographers welcome

 ✓ Price includes Nitrox for certified Nitrox divers

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Why Travel with Bluewater?

 ✓ We book resorts/ liveaboards that offer the best overall value

 ✓ Leaders who care about their guests' experiences

 ✓ Great support if flight/weather issues occur

 ✓ "Bluewater helped me out when I needed it most, the airline wouldn't let me board because of a Visa issue. They saved my butt" - Ray Tsusuki


Trip Overview

Sail for 10 nights and dive all the best locations in the Visayas including Cabilao Island, Balicasag Island, Moalboal, Dauin, Apo Island and Malapascua Island. This trip has been planned to hit all the best dive spots in the Visayas Seas including thresher sharks at Malapascua Island, critter heaven at Dauin, big schools of fish at Moalboal and beautiful coral reefs at Apo Island.

Read the great reviews of the Philippine Siren! Read the report from our previous trip here.

Dive Overview

Experience the best macro and big animal encounters like no other place in the world.

Malapascua Island: Exciting diving awaits from dusk till dawn with thresher sharks visiting the cleaning station at Monad Shoal in the early morning and mandarinfish coming out to dance at sunset.

Gato Island: The island of Gato located less than 2 hours away from Malapascua provides a diverse range of marine life; cuttlefish can be seen performing their mating rituals when it is the right season. White tip reef sharks seek shelter under bommies and a plethora of macro critters command the sea floor. 

Dauin: One of the top places in the world for macro photography with regular sightings of frogfish, mimic octopus and flamboyant cuttlefish in the sand. 

Apo Island: Apo Island Marine Reserve is one of the most successful marine sanctuaries established in the Philippines. Reef hooks and gloves are not allowed and night diving is unfortunately not permitted. 

Western Cebu: Large schools of fish like mackerel, sardines, and barracuda gather around Maolboal and Pescador Island. Whale sharks have also been known to frequent the area.

Bohol: Swim with green and hawksbill turtle and white tips reef sharks at Cabilao while schools of jack and barracuda float in the currents of Balicasag Island.

Conditions in February

Water temperature will be around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit with average visibility between 50 and 65 feet.


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Package Details


 ✓ Local transfers

 ✓ Dive equipment

 ✓ Free Nitrox

 ✓ Meals & Drinks

 ✓ Local beer



 ✗ International & domestic flights

 ✗ Marine Park & Port Fees (150 USD)

 ✗ Wine / Cocktails / Spirits (varies / 8 USD / 6 USD)

 ✗ Torch and Dive Computer rental (6 USD / day)

 ✗ Massages (25 Euro/hr)

 ✗ Laundry  (0.75 USD/per item)


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About the Trip Leader

Bluewater Trip Leader Mark Hatter

Mark Hatter is an accomplished photojournalist who has had nearly one hundred feature articles with many hundreds of images published in more than two dozen fly fishing and diving publications over the last two decades. His most recent destination features have appeared in Alert Diver and Diver (UK) magazines.

Mark has traveled the world in pursuit of new underwater photography challenges, including cold water destinations such as British Columbia and even in Antarctica in January 2018.

“Of course I love shooting in tropical locations but I think cold water diving is a great forcing function to hone one’s photography skills as the environment and equipment are much more demanding of a diver. Good image capture in cold water is particularly rewarding.” Mark tells us.

Mark has been shooting underwater since the early 1980s and has worked in both film and digital medium in his photojournalism pursuits. In 35 years of diving, Mark has logged over 2000 hours, much of it doing underwater photography. Currently, he teaches underwater photography classes locally at Seminole Scuba in Lake Mary, Florida. Learn more about Mark here


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Trip Schedule

During the trip, we visit and dive the islands of Cebu, Cabilao, Panglao, Balicasag, and Pescador. Along with Apo Island marine sanctuary and critter hot spot Dauin, plus Malapascua Island for thresher sharks, wrecks and more. Up to 4 dives per day; 3 day dives and either a sunset or a night dive will be scheduled. A typical diving day is scheduled as follows:

 > Light Breakfast followed by a briefing & Dive 1

 > Full Breakfast, relaxation followed by briefing & Dive 2

 > Lunch, relaxation followed by briefing & Dive 3 Snack

 > Briefing for Sunset dive 

 > Dinner

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About Philippine Siren

The 40 meter S/Y Philippine Siren luxury diving liveaboard was designed by divers for divers and every thought has gone into making her a yacht aboard which divers will be comfortable. The Philippines Siren has 8 staterooms that accommodate up to 16 divers. The outdoor dining area offers a superb setting for all your meals, with comfortable bench seating set in a semi-circular shape. The dive deck is likely to be one of the most spacious you will have ever come across, except for on other Siren Fleet yachts!



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Flight Information

Trip attendees should fly in and out of Cebu City through Mactan International Airport (airport code CEB). Flights should arrive no later than noon on departure day (Feb 9). Return flights should be made anytime on the last day of the trip (Feb 19). Airport transfers are included and travel time is about 30 minutes each way.


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Payment & Booking

Payment Schedule

 > Deposit: $1,200 

 > Payment 2: $2,400, Due 7/15/19

 > Payment 3: $1,000, Due 10/15/19

Got Questions? Ready to Book?

Call Bluewater Travel at 310-915-6677 or email info@bluewaterdivetravel.com and let them book your dream vacation at the best price!



Want to Extend Your Trip?

We can help with that! See more of the Philippines before or after your Visayas trip with Bluewater. Flying all that way merits a multi-destination vacation! Puerto Galera, Dumaguete, and Anilao are amazing destinations nearby that offer a range of additional unique experiences. Here are some examples of packages we can add on to your trip reservation:

*Rates are subject to change any time, please contact us for the most updated pricing.


Price: Starting at $1,958 per person*

*based on double occupancy and mid range room pricing. Room upgrades are available and additional peak season rates may apply for certain dates

A short domestic flight from MNL to the Southern Philippines can extend your macro photography vacation in style at the luxurious Atmosphere Resort.

✓ A week in a Suite

✓ 10-dive package

✓ All meals

✓ Transfers

✓ Free WiFi: Yes

✓ Swimming Pool: Yes


Atmosphere Resort



Price: Starting at $1,223 per person*

*based on double occupancy and mid range room pricing. Room upgrades are available and additional peak season rates may apply for certain dates

A few hours' car and boat transfer from MNL, El Galleon can offer you abundant corals and fish diversity and an inexpensive all-inclusive dive package.

✓ 7 nights at El Galleon Resort 

✓ Daily dives

✓ Free WiFi: Yes

✓ Swimming Pool: Yes

✓ El Galleon Dive Resort El Galleon Dive Resort

✓ El Galleon Dive Resort

El Galleon Dive Resort El Galleon Dive Resort

El Galleon Dive Resort



Price: $2,160 per person*

*based on double occupancy and mid range room pricing. Room upgrades are available and additional peak season rates may apply for certain dates

A few hours' transfer South from MNL, this macro haven is an easy add-on to extend your vacation!

✓ 7 nights in a casitas room at Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort

✓ All meals and transfers

✓ 3 dives daily

✓ Free WiFi: Yes

✓ Swimming Pool: Yes

Aiyanar Beach Resort Aiyanar Beach Resort

Aiyanar Beach & Dive Resort


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Underwater Images

Underwater Photos from Previous Trips


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