5 Best Diving Spots in the Philippines

📸 @thetravelpro
Mikki Tenazas

An archipelago of 7,107 islands located right in the tropics surely will be home to some of the best dive sites in the world. Although it may take years to fully explore and appreciate all that the Philippine seas have to offer, the pros still have their top picks for “must-sees” for scuba diving in the Philippines. Read on to find out what some of these places are before planning your next trip out of town!

Apo Island, Negros Oriental

Easily accessible from Dumaguete City, Apo Island is a favored diving spot for both beginners and expert divers. The island is home to an astonishing number of marine and avian species, making it one of the most biodiverse areas in the Visayas Islands. Because of this, Apo Island has its own marine sanctuary; at present, it is closed to visitors, but the rest of the area is still open to diving tours. For added convenience, divers may choose to base themselves at any of the resorts in the nearby town, or even in Dumaguete City.

Anilao, Batangas

Anilao in Batangas is one of the first reefs to be explored by the Philippine scuba diving community. The area is located near the Verde Island Passage, which in recent years has been touted as a worldwide center for biodiversity and conservation. Sea turtles, reef sharks, soft and hard corals, and a rainbow array of fish can be readily appreciated by snorkelers, free divers, and scuba divers. A plus to diving at Anilao is that it can be done as a day trip from Manila, or as part of a more flexible itinerary involving an overnight stay at one of Anilao’s several beachfront resorts.

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Is every day Shark Day for you? Then head on to Malapascua Island, located just north of Cebu. Malapascua is home to a population of thresher sharks and plays host to other shark and ray species. Don’t worry, they do not bite! Malapascua also has coral gardens and shoals that house different types of wrasse and other ocean fish. Divers can bunk in resorts located on Malapascua Island, or on the Cebu mainland just across the strait.

Camiguin Island, Camiguin

The volcanic island of Camiguin is known for its hot springs and resorts but is also famed for its numerous dive sites encircling its shores. Snorkelers and novice divers can enjoy sites such as the Agutaya Reef and Tangub Bay, while divers looking for a challenge can venture to Sipaka Point or Cantaan Kabila. Each site has its own share of wonders and surprises ranging from eels, unusual coral varieties and formations, and even old wrecks and burial sites. Wherever you go in Camiguin, your eyes and your camera will surely have a field day!

Coron, Palawan

No diving trip to the Philippines can be complete without a visit to Palawan, the country’s last natural frontier. Coron, located in the north of Palawan, is renowned for its reefs and rock formations that seem to be more out of an enchanted dream or painting. An attraction in Coron Bay is wreck diving, as these waters serve as the final resting place for several ships devastated in the Second World War. Reef divers can enjoy sites such as Kalambuyan Reef and the 7 Islands Reef, both of which are homes to all sorts of marine wildlife ranging from anemones, sea horses, rare nudibranchs, and the occasional reef shark. After a long day in the ocean, divers can rest and unwind in top resorts such as El Nido or Club Paradise.

The Philippines’ rich marine resources and biodiversity match a few other places in this world in terms of beauty and ecological importance. The need and call to conserve and rehabilitate Philippine dive sites have never been more urgent, especially with looming climate change and perpetual overfishing. Thus, it is important for divers and snorkelers visiting these sites and other areas in the Philippines to respect and protect these waters and their inhabitants. 

When diving, it is always best to remember:  Take nothing but pictures, Leave nothing but bubbles, Make nothing but memories. Happy diving to you all!

JL Santiago Aquino

A millennial lifestyle blogger from Caloocan City who adores trying new things. ✨ “Make jokes. No stress. Love. Live life. Proceed. Progress!”

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