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Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

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A UNESCO World Heritage Site

A renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site – and now an ASEAN Heritage Park – Tubbataha is well known for its stunning reefscapes, dizzying amount of reef life, and amazing visibility. Consisting of three reef areas: North Atoll, South Atoll, and the Jessie Beazley Reef, the 130,028-hectare protected marine area is situated in the middle of the Sulu Sea in the Palawan region of the Philippines. Its beautiful dive sites are mainly made up of walls and drop offs – perfect for some big fish action.

Tubbataha is only accessible via liveaboard for a reason; there is virtually no land in sight no matter how far or hard you look at the horizon. In the North Atoll, however, there is a small sandbar that's home to the Ranger Station. This styrofoam-reinforced concrete structure houses the marine park rangers who patrol and protect the Tubbataha's waters to keep the dive destination as pristine as possible. Best of all, to bring your dive vacation to a whole new level, as a guest you will get a chance to visit the Ranger Station to learn all about the conservation efforts behind the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Marine animals aren't Tubbataha's only highlights; the place is also recognised as a sanctuary for seabirds. Two islets in the marine park support over 20,000 seabirds and serve as the main rookery as well as breeding ground of six seabird species. If you're a birding enthusiast, be sure to pack your binoculars.

Travelling to Puerto Princesa

Puerto Princesa (IATA Code: PPS) is located on the island of Palawan and is where the main airport is located, which translates to multiple airlines with at least thrice daily flights with each airline especially from Manila or Cebu (as they are 2 of the main international airports). If you are entering the Philippines via any other international airport or sea port, you should also be able to find flights to Puerto Princesa.

The main airlines servicing Puerto Princesa are:

SPECIAL MENTION: Manila

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport is the most challenging airport to transit. Unlike most international airports, ease of moving between terminals is non-existent in Manila. The flight to Palau from Manila with United Airlines leaves from Terminal 1. You are encouraged to choose an airline that arrives into Manila at the same terminal of your connecting flight.

If you find yourself arriving in a different terminal from your connecting flight in Manila, here are two ways to get between terminals

1. RECOMMENDED:There is a NEW service call the Terminal Transfer Service (Bus). Please ask for directions if you do not see the sign to where you should go to take that transfer bus which is free of charge. This bus though not a short frequent service (30mins interval) is your best way to get to your terminal. Do queue because the bus is limited space missing one will mean a 30 minutes wait. Make sure you ask the warden or bus driver to.

2. Taxi. Look for the yellow taxi (metered & airport accredited) counter and inform the counter staff that you are going to Terminal 1. Terminal 3 is the furthest from Terminal 1 and, depending on traffic, it can take you between 60mins to 90mins (for what should be a 30minute drive). Terminal 2 is the closest but can also take 30mins to 60mins due to traffic. Depending on traffic and which terminal you are travelling from, your taxi fares can vary (yellow taxi meters are a little more expensive than the regular white taxis) but generally it should not be more than 250PHP - make sure they have their meter ON! If you are travelling in groups, be prepared to only fit 2 of you in one taxi with your luggage.

Airport Passenger Terminal Fees/Taxes

Ø  Manila International Airport Terminal Fee (550PHP per person);
Ø  Manila Domestic Airport Terminal Fee (250PHP per person);
Ø  Cebu International Airport Terminal Fee (750PHP per person);
Ø  Cebu Domestic Airport Terminal Fee (250PHP per person);
Ø  Puerto Princessa Airport Terminal Fee (150PHP per person).

Excess Check-In Luggage Charges (Domestic Sectors Only)

Most of the Airlines charge in the region of 200PHP per KG. Please check with the airlines on their respective websites to obtain the most current information.

know before you go

A must-read for anyone heading to the Philippines and/or Solitude One for the first time

The official language of the Philippines is Tagalog, but English is also the working language of the country

Time Zone: GMT +8

Climate: Tropical Climate with an annual mean temperature of 28°C (82F)

Water Temperature,like most tropical countries, varies between 27°C and 29°C (81F - 84F)

Currency is in Philippine Pesos (PHP). Credit cards are widely accepted in resorts, hotels and upscale business services. Solitude One also accepts credit card (Visa/Master Only, Applicable Facility Fee) payments on board for any incidentals incurred during your stay. Please inform the cruise directors at least one night before your disembarkation that you would like to pay these expenses with a credit card. plugs

On land,electricity and plug sockets are the same as in the USA (Single phase 60 cycles, 220volts AC). However, universal sockets (EU, USA, AUS, UK, CN, etc) are used on board Solitude One including USB charging outlets (1Amp) – see image.

Duty-Free Allowance– 2 bottles (maximum 1 litre each) of alcohol and no more than 400 sticks of cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g (8.8 ounces) of tobacco.

Postal Service is provided by PhilPost – www.phlpost.gov.ph. Do note that all inbound items sent by couriers (DHL, FEDex, UPS) or international postal services are subject to Customs and Duties. We strongly discourage you from sending anything such as your diving equipment or accessories to the Philippines by courier.

We have Enriched Air Nitrox, and support side-mount too. Please refer to page 4 for more information.

On your Philippines Immigration arrival form, indicate “MV Solitude One” as your address in the Philippines.

What Do I Need To Pay On Board?

Your cruise package essentially excludes Equipment Rentals, Satellite Communications, EANitrox, Alcohol, Laundry Service, Marine Park Fees & Taxes and Local Barangay (district administration) permits. Marine Park Fees and Local Barangay permits will be collected on check-in. You will pay the other incidental expenses at check-out. Mode of Payment is in CASH (PHP or USD) or Credit Card Visa/Master Card (Online with Applicable Facility Fee).

  • Tubbataha Marine Park Fee: 100USD per person
    Sumilon Island: 350PHP per person (500PHP if using photo/video equipment)
    Oslob Whaleshark Sanctuary: 1500PHP per person
    Apo Island (off Dumaguete): 500PHP per person/per day

Applicable fees are dependent on your cruise itinerary if the mentioned region is visited.

Prices may change without notice

hotel suggestions in puerto princessa

If you are planning to arrive earlier or stay a day later due to flight constraints, here are some suggested hotels (in no particular order).

Azisa Paradise Hotel
Asturias
The Legend hotel Palawan
Kawayan resort
Blue Lagoon Inn and Suites
Princesa Island Garden Resort Spa
Hotel Fleuris
Microtel
One Manalos Place
Deep forest garden
Marina de Bay resort and spa
Grande Vista Hotel
Empire Suites Hotel
Blue Palawan resort

The map shown is to give you an idea where hotels are located and where our transfers (which is included in your package) will pick or drop you off at. The harbour where Solitude One (logo on map) will be embarking and disembarking is the Baywalk area.

Solitude is unable to assist in booking hotels. You can book through your dive travel agent or the wide variety of on-line hotel booking websites.

DO WE HAVE WIFI? IS THERE INTERNET?

Yes we do!

Solitude One provides internet access on board via Satellite using VSAT Services. To access the internet, our guests may pre-purchase data packages and log in via our WIFI Network Hotspot on board.

Available Data Packages are USD20/50Mb, USD40/100Mb, USD70/200Mb and 100USD/300Mb.

You are strongly recommended to manage your device settings (our crew will be able to assist) whilst using satellite internet to ensure that you do not waste precious data traffic, as you can already expect that the charges for satellite internet are significantly costlier than what you would be accustomed to paying for the internet.

As connectivity can be affected by weather and is also reliant on a 3rd party service provider (VSAT K-Band), Solitude One, her crew and management are NOT responsible for any inconveniences and/or loss of income, data, information which may arise due to the lack of the service, partially or completely.

BUY A LOCAL SIM CARD?

Yes, You can.

Pre-Paid SIM cards are easily accessible! In fact, they are available as soon as you exit from the baggage collection at the airport! There are 2 major mobile telecoms providers – GLOBE and SMART. Both are as good as the other in our opinion and both are affordable. Upon purchasing, you can have the sales person advise you and set you up with your chosen package.

That said, mobile data is reliant on the mobile signal of your chosen provider and obviously being out at sea, especially in Tubbataha, you can be sure that there is no mobile signal

SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS – PHONE, SMS OR EMAIL

When out of local mobile signal coverage, Solitude One's onboard VSAT satellite communication system will be your only option if the need to make or receive calls is urgently required.

Guests will be charged for all incoming/outgoing calls and messages: US $3 per 60 seconds block.

Voice Call: +65 67158903 (even though it is a Singapore land line, the system is still using a VSAT Satellite band to relay the phone calls)

Onboard ENTERTAINMENT

Our WIFI SSID on board is also used for our media entertainment library (Powered by PLEX Media Server) from which you will be able to stream/download what we have in our library to watch/listen to. Install PLEX app (RECOMMENDED: Android, Windows or IOs) or any popular UPNP media player app that will read/discover DLNA devices and you are all set!

DO YOU HAVE NITROX?

Yes, we have!

Although the standard mix for EAN is 32%, on most dives we have made an educated decision to provide in the proximity of EAN30 instead, to allow a safer M.O.D. EAN 30% would provide some degree of depth buffer if you are caught especially in a down current, but will still allow ample extended length of bottom time (compared to normal air).

EANitrox prices are as follows: US$8 per dive OR US$135 for 7 days/6 nights Tubbataha itinerary, with subsequent additional use for US$20 per day.

DIVE ITINERARIES

Download our Itinerary Details: 

7 Days 6 Nights

POPULAR DIVE SITES

Jessie Beazley Reef

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Located about 20 kilometres north-west of the North Atoll, the world famous reef is home to tuna, sea turtles, barrcuda, and whitetip and blacktip sharks. If you’re lucky, you may spot whale sharks, tiger sharks, and hammerhead sharks.

Malayan Wreck

Sitting approximately 10 metres deep, this wreck attracts all sorts of marine life. Take a look and you’ll see its residents – such as harlequin sweetlips and sea turtles – hanging around the wreck.

Delsan Wreck

Keep an eye out for big fish at this dive site. When currents are strong, you'll likely see grey reef sharks hunting schools of fish. Tiger sharks have even been spotted here!

Shark Airport

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This dive site's reefscape is made of a wide plateau that drops off to a shelf at about 25 metres or so. Sea turtles (hawksbill and green) are a common sight here, as are whitetip sharks.

Washing Machine

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Be prepared when exploring this dive site; as its name suggests, currents are highly unpredictable and can change at any moment. Your reward? Encounters with grey reef sharks and countless colourful layers of reef fish.

end faq

With these tips, we hope we have helped you better prepare yourself to travel more comfortably. If you have any other questions, please feel free to emailus@solitude-liveaboards.com