With so many islands to explore, it makes sense that the Philippines is one of the best diving destinations in the world. glorious reefs, whale sharks, mantas and underwater UNESCO World Heritage sites invite divers into the pristine waters of the Pacific. Scuba divers will never stop telling you: The Philippines is one of the best places in the world to dive. Just ask dedicated locals as well as visitors from all over the world, including award-winning underwater photographers and marine biologists, who come for stuff big and small. As your local travel guide in the Philippines here are top 5 best diving sites in the Philippines.
1. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
One of the most remote diving destinations in the Philippines, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is only reachable by liveaboard between March and June. It’s also known as UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts 600 species of fish, 360 species of coral, 13 whale and dolphin species, and 11 species of shark. You’ll need a week to explore all the sites, but don’t miss Amos Rock where a gorgonian-covered wall hosts a variety of soft corals and massive schools of fish. Featured Creatures: Reef Sharks, Groupers and Massive Schools of Reef Fish
Getting there: Get a plain to Puerto Princesa and get on a live-aboard boat that must be booked in advance.
2. Apo Reef, Mindoro
The Apo Reef Natural Park is a 27,469-hectare natural marine park between Mindoro and Palawan provinces, home to the world’s second largest continuous coral reef, and the largest atoll in the Philippines.Apo Reef has been battered a bit by typhoons and climate change, but clear water, corals, colorful fish, turtles, schools of jacks, mammoth tuna and manta rays still entice the adventurous traveler. Getting there: Get a plane to San Jose, Mindoro, and set up base at any resorts that offer diving in Apo Reef, such as the Apo Reef Club.
3. Coron, Palawan
This one’s for the diver hankering for history and exploration, as Coron is home to several World War II wrecks way back in September 1944 Japanese supply ships that were sunk by American forces in the battle of Coron Bay. Vessels like the Akitsushima, Iraku and Olympia Maru are huge, ghostly and fascinating to visit, however some degree of experience is required so you don’t kick up the sand and mess up the entire dive.
Getting there: Get a plane to Coron and book at any of the good resorts and dive operators’ haunts, including the still-gorgeous Club Paradise.
4. Anilao, Batangas
The new scuba diver’s first classroom in Anilao, Batangas province, is also one of the Philippines most popular sites, only two hours by car from Manila.With dedicated locals now taking care of the gold mine that is the dive tourism industry, reefs have managed to thrive. You can count on lots of fish, occasional sightings of turtles, sharks and barracuda, magnificent soft coral and the tiny, colorful macrophotographers’ favorite subjects, such as shy pygmy seahorses and nudibranchs, which look like sea slugs in psychedelic colors.
Getting there: Being only 2 hours from Manila by road, it is the destination by divers from that city.
5. Apo Island, off Dumaguete
This is a successfully managed marine reserve that is the laboratory of nearby Silliman University, a center for marine biology education. Apo Island (sometimes confused with the reef, which is between Mindoro and Palawan) boasts of speedy currents and abundant fish life. There’s fun shallow diving, as well as trips into the depths in spots such as Mamsa Point Dauin and Coconut Point. Getting there: Get a plane to Dumaguete, stay in the city or book with any of the many experienced dive operators in the area.