from 3,880€

Outstanding 5rating (28)

Conservation Divemaster

8 - 24 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Outstanding 5  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Excellent response rate


  • Do your divemaster course in a serious NGO focusing on excellent skills
  • Learn from instructors with decades of teaching experience
  • Learn deep sea technical diving, and access sites seen by very few people
  • Spend ten weeks or longer, and get properly involved in marine science too!
  • When picking your professional training, select the very best teachers who go the extra mile for you.

Especially suitable

Age 18+

About the program

Do your PADI divemaster course with an environmental NGO and learn advanced diving techniques. Possibility of learning deep technical diving for free. 🤿

Scientific Diving

Many people who are interested in becoming scientific divers, expedition leaders, or otherwise make a career in underwater science or marine conservation find that a useful step on the way is to become a divemaster - often through PADI (although other recreational dive agencies are ...

About the program

Scientific Diving

Many people who are interested in becoming scientific divers, expedition leaders, or otherwise make a career in underwater science or marine conservation find that a useful step on the way is to become a divemaster - often through PADI (although other recreational dive agencies are represented as well.) The philosophy is, that while PADI divemaster training has an end goal of getting candidates ready to take the role of a recreational divemaster, and handle in- and out of water supervision of inexperienced divers and non-divers alike, there are certain minimum standards to the course ensuring an understanding of dive safety, physiology, physics, logistics and in water supervision which are useful. In lieu perhaps of other relevant training to prove competency, the PADI divemaster course has become the de facto standard for diving personal in marine expeditions and academe outside of the jurisdiction of OSHA and scientific diving regulation.

To many considering divemaster training for the above reasons, the realities of a commercial dive shop can be disheartening. Greeting, selling to and catering to holiday-makers on their discover scuba diving experience can be exhausting and feel far removed from the end goal of employment in the field of conservation.

The project

The host organisation is a registred non-profit NGO, that offers divemaster internships and training with a different focus. Although the PADI training requirements have to be met to honour certification standards, the focus is oriented on scientific diving, technical diving and leading teams of researchers and organising and conducting work underwater in jobs ranging from conducting various survey protocols, salvage and construction of marine protected area infrastructure to removing ghostnets and documenting impact or siltation damage on coral reefs.

If you are not certified as a diver already, you will start your participation in our program by getting licensed through the PADI system of education. As the work we carry out on fragile reefs require divers with excellent skills, we add additional practice and excursion dives until you’re ready for the task. Typically volunteers do one or two courses, but as a divemaster candidate you can do multiple if needed to prepare for the DM training. Taking your diving courses through a demanding environmental organization instead of a lenient commercial dive shop, makes you a very, very excellent diver! 

Once you are done with your primary divemaster training, you will start to take part in all aspexts of what goes on in the organisation. 

Volunteer work

Duties performed by most divemasters candidates are: 

  • Participating in two daily training dives mon-fri. If you're on track, then on Saturdays we frequently go exploring new sites or fun diving instead of working dives. 
  • Kitchen duty (the duty rotates between groups, so you have one day a week just setting table, doing dishes - our cooks does the real magic) 
  • Occasionally taking care of our mangrove nursery and participating in replanting efforts
  • Most weeks, you help clean reefs and beaches of plastic garbage. (We do so in between dives) 
  • Cleaning personal dive gear daily and dive shed once a week
  • Filling scuba tanks, and helping maintain dive gear. 
  • Help prepare various outreach activities and community clubs (Earth Club, Lutoban Kids Club, etc) 
  • Cleaning the base and your own bungalow every Monday. 

Volunteering is for people who want to get involved and get their hands dirty. Don’t expect any luxury at camp (well, other than the food which is amazing!). Accommodation is charming, but primitive. There are shared bathrooms and almost everything runs off solar power, including the wifi. There’s an outdoor jungle gym, and the whole botanical garden is more than ten hectares - large enough to go adventuring.

Please be aware that the PADI Divemaster rating is not a certification you buy, It is one you earn. There are a number of practical and theoretical exams you will need to pass, besides having to demonstrate maturity and professionalism throughout.


Marine Conservation Philippines is aiming to become a resource and training centre for research into the mesophotic range (30-100m). As such MCP values when divemaster candidates stay long enough to learn deep decompression diving and put it into use. We may offer technical diver training and diving to divemaster candidates who can commit for longer periods of time, and who show the required maturity, skills, and commitment. 

MCP has the capability to teach and to conduct deep research and survey dives. Visiting scientists and program participants may enrol in this training on certain conditions. Technical diving is not for everyone. It is not a natural progression from the diving typically conducted at dive centres, resorts or liveaboards, nor is it a natural progression from the scientific diving we undertake. It is significantly more difficult, has significantly more risk, and requires significantly longer preparation and mental preparedness. In technical diving, even if you do everything right, there are hazards that are either non-present in regular diving or are severely aggravated in technical diving. We only teach program participants, who 

  • Show the required maturity for the task
  • Understand and accept the significantly greater risk
  • Accept that becoming a technical diver takes a long time
  • Can dedicate the required time to actually put the training into work afterwards.
We offer technical training to the following extent to divemaster candidates, who can stay
  • 16 weeks, Free TEC 40 Course
  • 20 weeks, Free TEC 40+45 Courses
  • 24 weeks, Free TEC 40+45+50 Courses.  Trimix courses available too, but you must pay for gasses.

Please note: We generally only train interns for whom the technical diving is a required tool to conduct required deep research, and/or volunteers who can stay for at least 4 months. To progress from a recreational diver to TEC50 or TRIMIX level typically requires 24 weeks. Please understand: These courses are usually extremely expensive. We teach these courses for free to you, but we teach them FOR us. They require the use (and wear and tear) of very expensive gear. We do not start this training on a whim, and neither should you. If you stay for 16 weeks or longer as a divemaster candidate, you are neither required nor expected to do this training. We may or may not offer it to you, but you are under no pressure to do so. 

Typical day

Most volunteers in the organisation participate in particular projects for which they train. There’s so much to do, that you can’t do it all. Some of our projects are continually ongoing – for example hands-on beach clean ups and the surveying of coral reefs.  While surveying we document ...

Typical day

Most volunteers in the organisation participate in particular projects for which they train. There’s so much to do, that you can’t do it all. Some of our projects are continually ongoing – for example hands-on beach clean ups and the surveying of coral reefs.  While surveying we document the spread of habitats, species abundance as well as damage to coral reefs. Our biologists constantly work on various projects; studies of particular fishes, reef restoration or rehabilitation of species that’s been harvested to topical extinction. 

As a divemaster candidate, if you stay ten weeks or longer, you too will take part in these scientific diving and our direct conservation efforts, but especially in the beginning of your stay, you should expect to spend a large proportion of your time on training for the divemaster course.  For eight week program participants, time is short and you will spend more time with our instructors learning to divemaster and to teach. 

As a divemaster in training in our organisation, you will perform a number of important duties, such as ensuring the compressor is running, to check that we have adequate spare parts, first aid supplies and oxygen on all vehicles. To prepare and service dive kit together with our technician, to help our scuba instructors teach scuba courses and to mentor, guide and lead our green divers as an experienced rolemodel. All of this and many other things, big and small, is what you will not only learn to handle, but be expected to charge of. 

If you start as a non-diver you’ll spend quite a while becoming a safe proficient scuba diver through the PADI program of Education.  Depending on the length of your stay you can choose to do multiple diving courses. 

Besides volunteer activities in the water, a great deal goes on on land as well. Part of what we do is visit local schools and tell about our work and what goes on in the sea. By affecting future generations we believe we may help change the future. We try to create artificial divesites (such as deliberately scuttled wrecks or underwater sculpture parks) to create breeding grounds for fish in marine protected areas, as well as promote local and regional dive tourism. Local revenue and job generation from dive tourism can easily outweigh that brought about by destructive fishing practices. At MCP we also do various community outreach programs – we teach first aid and try to lend a hand with various community work when needed.

Free-time activities

When you volunteer, you will be busy. There is not a lot of free time - the day starts early at seven, and often you're not done with the work for the day until the late afternoon. Many evenings you will have to study. You will generally dive twice a day, six days a week. You're tired when you're ...

Free-time activities

When you volunteer, you will be busy. There is not a lot of free time - the day starts early at seven, and often you're not done with the work for the day until the late afternoon. Many evenings you will have to study. You will generally dive twice a day, six days a week. You're tired when you're done!  In the weekends however, there is many opportunities to go exploring. You can drive around - there's caves, waterfalls, naturally hot geothermal streams, mountain lakes, resorts and lots to see.  There's nearby islands where you can visit black magicians (yes, really!) or cliff dive into amazing azure blue lagoons. 



Minimum Age: 18 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.

Language Skills

You need to speak English (intermediate level)

Required Documents

PADI medical form, liability release and divemaster internship agreement

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Marine Conservation Philippine

The volunteer fee covers:  

  • Accommodation 
  • Three daily meals + as many snacks and fruits as you want
  • Free tea, coffee and water
  • All scuba diving costs
  • Marine park fees
  • Complete scuba gear rental of your own personal kit, including a personal dive computer for the whole duration. 
  • Wifi (we recently got Starlink so it's usually good enough for streaming etc.) 
  • A complimentary MCP T-shirt
  • Supervision in all activities
  • Transportation from/to the airport
  • All scuba training required (PADI manuals have to be either brought or purchased, plus certification fees) 
Kindly note that volunteer who wish to do any PADI course with us, will have to either bring their own manuals or purchase them from us. They will also need to pay the certification fee to PADI. 

The total fees for any courses (manuals + certification) are: 

Open Water Diver 85 USD
Advanced Open Water Diver 85 USD
Rescue Diver 85 USD
Nitrox Diver 85 USD
Deep Diver 65 USD
Divemaster 350 USD

Airport Pickup at Dumaguete Airport

We pick everyone up in the airport at 10.15am.  You'll ride together with other volunteer to base (the trip takes about an hour and half, through the city and out in the countryside.)   There's a number of carriers flying into Dumaguete before 10 in the morning, but if you cannot make it with connecting flights, we advise you to arrive in Dumaguete the night before and get a goods night sleep in a hotel. 


Please find pictures of the dorms in the gallery. We have both single sex dorms, and shared dorms. If you're a couple, you will of course be in a shared dorm. 

The dorms are built in the style of Balinese Lumbungs, mostly using material found in the botanical garden the research camp is based in (Yes, it's an actual botanical garden!)  The dorms are airy are pretty nice.  Every volunteer has a private locker, big enough for a backpack and some stuff. Additionally, everyone has a private locker with a power socket inside, so you can charge your gadgets while you're out diving.  The mattresses are really good, theres fans in the dorms, and everyone has a mosquito net. (There's hardly any mosquitoes or other bugs in the dry season from January to June) 

Food & Beverages

When you’ve been out scuba diving all day, you’ll have a healthy appetite. Our cooks prepare three meals a day. We can cater to any allergies, and there's always vegetarian and vegan options. 

Generally we try to eat local foods, and try to source all our supplies from the local market. This is because we put an emphasis on reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible, and because we wish to support local commerce and farmers. The climate allows fruit and vegetables to grow all year round, but many things are seasonal. 

We buy our meat from the local market. The local farmers typically have a fairly small number of chicken and pigs. These are free-range animals, that walk around freely and are really healthy animals, compared to the medicated and poorly treated animals known from industrial farming in the West.


If you’re going scuba diving, you’ll need some solid fuel to keep you going all day. Every day – except Sunday, we begin our day with a continental breakfast consisting of cereal and milk, bread, cheese, butter, jam, fresh fruits and of course tea and coffee. Since Sunday is a day off for all staff members, we open the kitchen for you to prepare your own breakfast.


Since many different activities are going on during the day, lunch is generally served from 12 to 2 pm. Lunch is almost always a hot meal, but volunteers who participate in activities far away from base may prepare a lunchbox or eat at a local market.


At MCP we see the evening meal as a time to talk about highlights of the day, discuss current events, and just as a good time to get to know each other better. Dinner is served around 7pm and everyone eats together. Participation isn´t mandatory, and if you wish to go out and try something else for a change you’re welcome to do so – but please let us know in advance, so we don’t waste food cooking for you. 

Our cook prepares and serves a variety of local specialties. A typical evening meal will consist of vegetarian dishes, possibly cooked or barbecued meat, vegetables and rice. Occasionally, when supplies allow we serve western meals such as burgers or tortillas or a nice roast. Saturday night we always have a barbecue, which is the highlight of the week for many - as the food is great! 

Should you suffer from any kind of food allergy, we’ll cook suitable replacement meals for you. Please give us notice about any (serious) allergies prior to arrival. We cook vegetarian meals/sides for vegetarians, and our cook is happy to cook vegan meals too. (Do note though, that a lot of the “replacement” food items, like vegan butter, etc. that you may be able to find in stores abroad is unavailable here. Soy milk and tofu is always available though.). 

While not fanatical, we try to avoid food additives as much as possible.

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Dumaguete Airport (DGT) in Dumaguete. We assist you to find cheap flights to Philippines. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

Travel Insurance

Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Philippines provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE


If you are intending to volunteer in Philippines you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Philippines. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

We accept new divemaster candidates and regular volunteers every second Monday.  

We offer free pickup from Dumaguete (DGT) airport on arrival Mondays. Volunteers who need to arrive a few days prior will have to find accommodation in Dumaguete (which is a really nice town!) until the actual arrival day. 

The longer you spend training as a divemaster,  the better you get obviously. The minimum duration is listed below. 


  • 8 weeks   - If already rescue diver and with 40 logged dives
  • 10 weeks - If already open water diver with at least 20 dives
  • 12 weeks - If non-diver or diver with less than 20 dives
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

8 weeks (min. stay) 3,880€
10 weeks 4,850€
12 weeks 5,820€
14 weeks 6,596€
16 weeks 6,984€
18 weeks 7,566€
20 weeks 8,536€
22 weeks 8,924€
24 weeks (max. stay) 9,312€
Average fees 436€/week

Program fees

436€ per week 8 - 24 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal



8 - 24 weeks


The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.

Final Payment

Your final payment will be agreed with Marine Conservation Philippine during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Meet your organization

Marine Conservation Philippine

Outstanding 5 rating (28 reviews)

Non-profit - founded in 2015

Verified by Volunteer World

  Excellent response rate

Coordinated by


About the project

Help local communities protect reefs and mangroves, conduct scientific diving and learn marine biology.

Meet your organization

Marine Conservation Philippines is a non-profit based in the Visayas region of the Philippines. Our underwater world is under tremendous pressure – too much garbage and litter, especially plastic is being thrown in, and too many fish are being fished out. Only 0,1 percent of the seas are covered by coral reefs, yet these fragile reefs are home to an astounding 25% of all marine species. The Philippines are the middle of the coral triangle, and with a land mass of 7000 islands it has a unique topography with a collective stretch of shoreline, longer than any other nation in the World. This means that the Philippines are home to more coastal reefs than anywhere else in the world, making it the frontline of the fight for preservation of fragile marine habitats. 

We dare to dream of a future and of a sea where our kids and their kids can still marvel at grazing sea-turtles and sharks and where coastal communities enjoy adequate fish-stocks for the next generations. We invite you to dream that dream with us. 

MCP is a Philippino based NGO working to preserve fragile marine habitats like coral reefs and mangrove forests and improve quality of life for marginalised fisherfolk in the central Philippines. MCP is a volunteer based organisation where international volunteers can join a large professional team of marine biologists, scientists, teachers and dive instructors, and help tackle the myriad problems and issues facing the Oceans today. Participation in the program involves extensive scuba diving activities. Volunteers need not be qualified divers prior to starting - they can learn as part of the program.

In a travel market saturated by green washed volunteer programs made by for-profit companies, this program is the real McCoy. MCP is a registred non-profit working under the auspices of the local government, and in collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Department of Natural Resources and a number of European universities. Besides volunteer fees, MCP is financially supported by the Rufford Foundation and other international trusts and charities and provides consultancy and aid to the local municipalities in coastal resource management. The staff to volunteer ratio is 1:1 or better and the work of the volunteers makes an actual difference! 

As a volunteer-based organisation, we depend on volunteers both to keep operational and to conduct the work at land and at sea.  Some volunteers have a background in biology and many are already scuba divers. Neither is required however, and non-divers can learn scuba diving through the PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water course before starting the in-water work.  What we do require from everyone, besides obviously   the desire to help preserve some critically endangered environments, is the understanding that you do so at the expense of some creature comforts. We expect everyone to understand that volunteering with us is no resort stay or a five star holiday. Volunteering is for people who like getting their hands dirty – no-one is here to make other peoples beds or clean their rooms, there’s very long days in the water, and it might be your turn to lend a hand in the kitchen or water plants in the mangrove nursery. We all bunk in together, and it really is a bit like camping out. Camp fires and story telling included. 

Our operational area currently spans about 60 kilometres of coastline on the island of Negros Oriental, some of it encompassing some incredible dive sites such as the reefs of Dauin, and right across from our base lies world famous and stunning Apo Island. 

Besides the work actually making a difference, volunteering with MCP also ticks the all the happy boxes! It is bonfires and marshmallows, it’s diving with sea turtles, it’s meeting new friends from all over the world, it’s learning stuff about reef biology that will blow your mind, it’s learning how to dive, it’s meeting the locals, It’s petting a goat, and naming the gecko in the room. It’s seeing rare and endangered wildlife. It’s discovery, adventure and camaraderie. it’s getting sparkling white smiles from locals kids and toothless grins from their grandmothers. It’s all of this and more.

28 reviews · rating5

Marie Risager Villadsen rating5

2023 at Conservation Divemaster

Joining this little international paradise in the Philippines, with the best food and the most cozy base, I really felt like I found a second home. I made several life-long friendships there and learned about marine life and diving through the best and most caring staff-members and dive-instructors ...
Hen rating5

2023 at Conservation Divemaster

I had a wonderfull time at MCP. I stayed a little longer then the expected 12 weeks because I loved the place so much. I did my divemaster training and some tec courses. It was a blast and I met so many beautiful humans from all over the world. The food from Melba and her crew was amazing and I miss ...
Henning Helmich rating5

2023 at Conservation Divemaster

I had a wonderfull time at MCP. I stayed a little longer then the expected 12 weeks because I loved the place so much. I did my divemaster training and some tec courses. It was a blast and I met so many beautiful humans from all over the world. The food from Melba and her crew was amazing and I miss ...
Chandler rating5

2023 at Conservation Divemaster

What an unworldly and life changing experience this program offers. I will never stop recommending MCP to anyone wanting to learn to dive that cares about conservation and the ocean. I have never met a group of more authentic, kind, inspiring, and free people anywhere else. You can easily tell there ...
Anne Truninger rating5

2023 at Conservation Divemaster

What can I say? MCP became my home during the three months I spent there. I totally fell in love with that place! The community way of living, sharing similar daily routines and having people from all over the world around you is a very bonding experience. Walking around barefoot and living ...
Jóhann Finnur Sigurjónsson rating5

2019 at Conservation Divemaster

Amazing place and amazing stuff they're doing there. Just remember to be careful in the ...


Asia > South East Asia > Philippines > Zamboanguita

You might also be interested in

Contact Soren
  Excellent response rate

Most volunteers ask about

Do you have any more questions? Send a message to Soren
Please do not share personal contact details for your privacy