There is no denying that the islands of the Philippines have been gifted with rich natural resources. On land, there are vast fields of green ideal for farming, perfectly-shaped volcanoes and hills, and long mountain ranges that can shield areas from stores. Under the sea, there is also beauty waiting to be discovered. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the Philippines diving spots are becoming more and more popular around the world.
The most beautiful Philippines diving spots are spread across the country, but all promise to showcase the archipelago’s rich marine life.
Explore the Beauty of the Deep with The Philippines Diving Spots
Below is a list of the best diving spots in the Philippines. Considered to be the best in the world, they are all well-protected to ensure that marine life in these areas will continue to flourish for the coming generations to see.
1. Apo Island in Negros Oriental
Apo Island—located off the capital of Negros Oriental province, Dumaguete—is considered to be one of the Philippines’ best diving spots, and also recognized to have world-class standards. It is a diving destination that has something to offer to everyone, from the amateur to the experienced divers. All year round, there is a great showcase of healthy hard and soft corals, schools of fish and even turtles. It is well-maintained and protected by nearby Silliman University, a center for marine biology education.
Shallow diving can be tried in Largahan, Baluarte and Katipanan. For the most experienced diver, there is Coconut Point, which is known for very strong currents which present schools of rarely-seen jack fish and snappers.
2. Apo Reef between Mindoro Island and Palawan
Like its namesake in Negros Oriental, Apo Reef between the islands of Mindoro and Palawan is also one of the best diving spots in the Philippines. Being home to the world’s second largest continuous coral reef, the richness of the underwater life in this marine sanctuary is undeniable. Divers who go here are treated to corals of different shapes, sizes and colors, as well as schools of large pelagic fish like sharks, barracudas and manta rays. Of course, there are also smaller fish species and even turtles in this 34-kilometer reef.
3. Anilao in Batangas
Another popular Philippines diving spot is Anilao in the province of Batangas. Its biggest advantage is its proximity to the capital, Metro Manila. This diving spot, which can be reached after a three-hour drive from Manila, is known for showcasing colorful corals and different schools of fish. Although Anilao has some 50 diving spots, Sombrero is considered to be the must-see, with thousands of anthia and damsel fish that gives a burst of colors under the blue sea. There are also scorpion fish, ribbon eels and the current can also sometimes bring bigger fish like tuna and sharks.
4. Coron Island in Palawan
When talking about ideal diving destinations in the Philippines, Coron Island in Palawan province is a spot that cannot be missed. Just a short plane ride away from Manila, this area has several diving spots that will surely blow your mind. The most popular dive site is the Japanese World War II shipwreck close to Coron known as Taiei Maru. The beautiful shipwreck, which is located just 27 meters in the water, is such a sight to behold because of its history, and the schools of fish it attracts because of strong currents, such as mackerels, surgeon fish and batfish.
If you want to try something new, head to Barracuda Lake, which is home to a lot of alien underwater landscapes. Legend also has it that this area is home to a centuries-old monster-sized barracuda, so the mystery that surrounds this lake makes it even more exciting to visit.
5. Tubbataha Reef in Palawan
Some divers say that if you are going to visit just one Philippines diving spot, it has to be Tubbataha Reef located in the Sulu Sea. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has earned several titles such as “The Last Frontier” and “The Pinnacle of Philippine Diving” because of its rich, unexploited marine biodiversity. Because of its treacherous currents, the reef is only for experienced divers, but the hard work to visit this dive spot will surely pay off.
This 97,030-hectare marine protected area in Palawan is home to rare large pelagic fish like manta rays, white and black tip reef sharks, whale sharks and hammerheads. The coral reefs here are also very vibrant and serve as natural habitat to smaller marine creatures.
6. Monad Shoal in Cebu
If you are seeking for more thrills while diving, then Monad Shoal located in Malapascua Island in Cebu province is the best Philippine diving destination for you. This dive site has a unique attraction: the presence of thresher sharks in its depths, which divers wait patiently to see. Take another dive in the afternoon and you can also see manta rays surrounding the shoal.
7. Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro
Puerto Galera is known for its white-sand beaches, but only a few people know that it is also a good diving destination in the Philippines. It has 30 dive sites, the most popular of which is called The Canyons. A strong drift dive to the three canyons, done by expert divers, will be an encounter with different forms of marine life like turtles, octopuses, and different kinds of fish like groupers, snappers and drummers.
8. Boracay Island in Aklan
Another popular tourist destination with an underrated Philippines’ dive spot is Boracay Island. People would normally go to this place to enjoy the white-sand beach or experience the night life, but it also has good diving destinations. These include Crocodile Island, a shallow wall covered by beautiful corals, and Yapak 2, which is home to sharks, tuna, sting rays and some sea horses.
Related Article: Best time to visit Boracay Island
9. Ticao Pass in Masbate
Looking for a good diving spot in the Philippines that is not frequented by tourists? Then Ticao Pass in Masbate is for you. It is considered to be one of the most well-kept secrets in the diving community. What it lacks in buzz, it makes up for its beauty. This diving spot’s draw is the whale sharks that go there during summertime, as well as a high concentration of manta rays.
10. Blue Hole in Romblon
Another lesser known but good diving spot in the Philippines is this natural wonder in the province of Romblon. This hole, which goes five meters deep, is a treasure trove of rich marine resources, including unexploited coral reefs and schools of fish.
If you’re a love of water and what’s underneath it, then the Philippines diving spots are paradise for you. These destinations will definitely satisfy your thirst for adventure and beauty.
Feature image credit: Derek Keats
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