The Philippines is known for its rich forest, high mountains, and vast seas with fishes in all the colours of the rainbow. Diving in the Philippines is famous for its diversity in marine life, with various types of coral and fishes in different shapes, colours and sizes. This attracts marine biologist and researches to study the amazing underwater world of the Philippines and divers from around the world. The Philippine sea offers plentiful adventure that includes snorkelling and fin swimming for beginners. You can snorkel above shallow coral sanctuaries and see the underwater beauty without diving. Experienced divers can visit numerous dive sights with an abundance in marine life. All kinds of dive trips are organized in the Philippines, from wreck diving to multi-day dive trips.
Since the Philippines is located in the pacific the vast marine life is no wonder. It ranges from the tiniest organism a human eye can see to the biggest fish such as the giant whale sharks. Because the Philippines are one big island, this makes the country one big diving location with still many things to discover.
The Philippine government considers the preservation of the seas surrounding the Philippines as very important and there are many designated protected areas which serve as a safe haven for all kinds of marine life. It is still possible to dive on these dive sites but there is often a limit to the number of divers
Diving sites in the Philippines
You can find many beautiful dive sites in the Philippines that it is difficult to say which is best. Below you can find the most famous in random order.
In the quiet province of Batangas, lies a marine life haven near to the town of Anilao. I the past this dive site was difficult to reach but nowadays you can take a bus or a boat from manila and drop of by any of the resorts in Anilao. The life around Anilao focus mainly on diving. Anilao don’t have the amazing beaches you can find elsewhere in the Philippines as most beaches are made of pebbles but the underwater life is amazing. This dive site is one of the best macro marine life sport in the world with a high marine biodiversity. You can find brightly coloured sea slugs, exotic shrimps, crabs, eels and octopus. There are also many fish species to see and even sharks and mantas.
In the South East Philippines you can find the largest marine ecosystem that covers an area of 97,030 hectares. Divers from all over the word come for the amazing soft and hard corals that this National Marine Park has to offer. But that is not all. There are more than 600 fish species to see, some swim in huge schools. This rife is an UNESCO World heritage site. To visit this site you have to go to Puerto Princesa and book a boat trip to the Tubbahtaha reef.
Apo Island a volcanic island near to municipal of Dauin in the Negros Oriental province. Apo Island is one of the world’s best known community-organized marine sanctuaries. With its magnificent white sand beaches and fantastic rock formations this place houses an enormous amount of natural marine resources and therefor voted many times for top diving spot in the world. There are many great dive sites to be discovered such as Boularte, Chapel, Coconut pont, Cogon, Kan-Uran, Katipanan, Largahan, Mamsa Point, Marine Sanctuary, Rock point East, Rock Point West and Olo.
Apo Reef is a marine sanctuary located in the West of Occidental Mindoro. it is the world’s second-largest contiguous coral reef system and the largest in the Philippines. You can reach Apo Reef by taking a 3 hour boat trip from Pandan Island or book a live boat trip from other locations in the Philippines.
Palawan is a remarkable Island that houses many diving sites; one of these islands is Coron. This island is famous for wreck diving. You can dive to various Japanese ships from World War II period. Because the visibility is good and some wrecks are easy accessible, this is a good place to start wreck diving.
Diving with Whale Sharks in the Philippines
Aside from sight-seeing the corals and the fishes, there are places in the Philippines that allow you to swim and dive with Whale Sharks or locally called “Butanding”. Whale Sharks are protected species in the country and also an attraction for both locals and tourist. Swimming with Whale Sharks permits you to be with a friendly giant. If you are lucky, you can see this giant up close.
Though Whale Sharks are considered wild animals, it is harmless to swim and dive with them. There is particular season where they show a lot (meaning you can see 20 to 45 Whale Sharks in a day). The best time to swim with them is April to May, summer season in the Philippines. The best places to see these giants are Donsol in Bicol and Oslob in Cebu.