Philippines - Profile
- The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7000 islands lying between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. They are divided into three regions: Luzon to the north, the Visayas in the centre, and Mindanao in the south.
- The Philippines has been a popular cruising destination for many years. Day- sailing through the archipelago is undoubtedly the best way to visit this vast area and one can find a good anchorage every night. This also avoids the danger of running into one of the many unlit fishing boats, as well as their nets or traps. Cebu and the surrounding islands have some of the most attractive anchorages and places such as Romblon and Puerto Galera should not be missed.
- Although the government is trying to stamp out corruption and also to standardise the entry and exit charges applied to yachts, the situation is confused. On the positive side, however, the Philippines have a lot to offer the cruising sailor and in spite of such inherent difficulties, it remains a country well worth visiting.
- There are small boatyards in various islands and the Filipinos are skilled workers, particularly in wood. Teak is still widely available, but while its price is steadily increasing, its quality is deteriorating.
- General repair facilities, such as engine or electrical repair, are also available in most centres, the widest range being concentrated in and around Manila. Most marine supplies have to be imported, but local nautical charts are available both in Manila and Cebu.
- The majority of Filipinos speak good English as a second language and almost all newspapers are published in English.
April 2017: The US, UK and AUS governments all advise against all travel to Western Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago due to the high risk of kidnapping of international travellers and the increased threat of maritime kidnappings against small boats.
For example - Current Advice Level from U.S. Embassy
High Degree of Caution:
Travellers are advised that the U.S. Embassy in Manila has informed its citizens it has received unsubstantiated yet credible information that terrorist groups may attempt to conduct kidnappings in Central Visayas, which includes both Cebu and Bohol provinces. If you are planning to visit Cebu or Bohol you should exercise heightened vigilance and review your personal security plans.We continue to advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in the Philippines overall. Higher levels apply in some parts of the country.
There are persistent rumours about the danger of pirates in the south of Mindanao and the Sulu Sea and yachts generally avoid this area. General advice seems to be to stay away from the Southern PI, including South Palawan and be careful heading between PI and Malaysia.
February 2017: A German cruising couple were abducted by Abu Sayyaf, in Sulu from their yacht in November 2016. Jurgen and his partner, Sabine Merz, were attacked resulting in Sabine being killed and Jurgen taken hostage for ransom demands. Jurgen was held for 3 months and executed in February 2017 when the ransom demands were not met.
ReCAAP: Kidnappings Rise in Sulu-Celebes, Eastern Sabah Regions (November 2016)
A well known marina on Samal Island near Davao in the southern Philippines was stormed by armed men in September 2015 and four yachties were kidnapped. Two of the captives were executed and two were released. See report here.
A German couple were abducted from their yacht by bandits at Palawan on their way back to Sabah in Malaysia after island-hopping in Mindanao, in April 2014. Read news report here.
For latest feedback on cruising Palawan see this report.
A long-term cruiser in the Philippines sent this report to noonsite with security advice and places to avoid if cruising the country.
Last updated April 2017.
The Philippines have a tropical climate. The rainy, SW monsoon season is from June to September, the dry season October to May. The average temperature is 81°F (27°C) and humidity is high. The Philippines have a high incidence of typhoons, which are most frequent between June and October. The best season for cruising is from early January to mid-May when the weather is pleasant and the danger of typhoons is minimal.
Brunei Bay Radio operates a regular voice broadcast sked of METAREA and local coastal forecasts for SE Asia waters, the NW Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean. For details of Brunei Bay Radio broadcast skeds and frequencies, see http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrschfvoice.htm and http://www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrscweathMSIbcasts.html
Davao City in Southern Mindaneo is typhoon free and winds are mostly not stronger than Force 4. It is a safe haven for riding out the typhoon season and for storing vessels.
Last updated June 2010.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.
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