Manta Ray Researcher

founded in 2012
LAMAVE Research Institute
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Coordinator | Emmanuel
Coordinator | Emmanuel
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Go scuba diving in the biggest manta ray cleaning station in the Philippines!
Learn to deploy underwater cameras used to study manta and devil rays.
Work with a diverse group of researchers from all over the world!
Gain hands-on experience in conducting marine conservation work!
Live on a beautiful, exotic island!
LAMAVE's Manta Bowl research and conservation projects will allow volunteers to do diving and other research work on manta and devil rays in the Philippines. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 21+

 This project aims to identify and describe remaining populations of manta and devil rays in the country, identify conservation priority areas and migratory corridors and set the basis for the creation of a dedicated network of protected area to allow the species to recover. In 2015 LAMAVE started monitoring opportunistically sightings of rays in Manta Bowl, the largest manta cleaning station in the Philippines. Located off Ticao Island (Masbate), Manta Bowl is a large seamount presenting extraordinary habitat and a large diversity of large marine vertebrates. It hosts a large manta cleaning station and is an important habitat, for both species of manta, thresher sharks and white-tip reef sharks. Hammerheads as well as schools of devil rays (spine tail devil ray and bent fins devil ray) are also occasionally reported by dive operators and fishermen.

Crucially, a large gap of knowledge is left regarding the stock identity and the geographical range of these populations. The goal of the project is to conserve and restore manta and devil ray populations in the Philippines. Baseline data on the manta population and its habitat use are necessary to provide keys for the local governments, local communities, and other stakeholders, to design together a proper conservation strategy in the area and the further develop sustainable marine wildlife tourism interactions.

Typical day

The team work a 6-day week, with one day off a week. Days off are on a rotation schedule.

An average day starts at 5:30 am and work generally finished by 4:00 pm, or once tasks are complete. Weather dependent, you will be in the water 3 days and on land 3 days a week.

During an average day you will conduct 2 dives, meaning you will be out at sea for approximately 6 hours a day. Volunteers must be experienced divers, comfortable in strong currents, and willing to spend prolonged periods of time out at sea.

The project has a 9:00 PM curfew for volunteers for safety, rest and recovery.

Free-time activities

During days off and any other free time, volunteers can experience the local culture and explore the beautiful, exotic island of Ticao. They can go hiking, see waterfalls, snorkel, dive, and more.



In order to join the program you need to be at least 21 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 (fluently)
Required Documents
CV and cover letter
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Must have at least a PADI Advanced Open Water certification (with 80 logged dives)
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 07:00 - 18:00

What's Included

Services by LAMAVE Research Institute

The fees are a required donation to support the long-term running of the project site and your place within the team during your stay.


The project house is a communal, shared living space. All team members are required to stay at the project house throughout their stay, this is for health and safety and for team work purposes.

There is a kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, a communal space and an outside area for relaxing. Beds are within shared bedrooms and each volunteer will be given space for their personal items. There are generally 3-4 volunteers, a Project Leader and Research Assistant living in the house. The project houses uses fans, and not air conditioning. Amenities are basic but comfortable and the house has the character of a research base. All volunteers are expected to share the daily chores (i.e. shopping, cooking, washing dishes, filling up the water tank, locking up at night). 

Food & Beverages
The project team has funds for groceries and then cook their food together at the project house. Drinking water is also readily available.
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Legaspi Airport (LGP) in Legaspi. We assist you to find cheap flights to Philippines.
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.
If you are intending to volunteer in Philippines you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Philippines.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

The Manta Bowl Project is open year-round. Volunteers are asked to start on the 1st of the 15th of the month.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
8 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$303 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. LAMAVE Research Institute will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
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 (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with LAMAVE Research Institute during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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We refund your fees if LAMAVE Research Institute cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by LAMAVE Research Institute.

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Manta Ray Researcher

LAMAVE's Manta Bowl research and conservation projects will allow volunteers to do diving and other research work on manta and devil rays in the Philippines.


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