Scuba diving in the Philippines
The Philippines are a diver’s paradise. Strategically located in Southeast Asia’s coral triangle, this archipelago contains some of the most breathtaking beaches and diving locations on the planet. Not only is the diving spectacular, the Philippines are known for their warm and accommodating culture and great food. The Philippines are inexpensive, predominately English-speaking, and accessible from many major American airports. Did we mention the diving?
Traveling And Diving In The Philippines
The Philippines are quite a hike from any major American city, so it’s best to book your flights in advance and check with websites that compile inexpensive flights like Kayak, Google Flights and Skyscanner to secure the best deals. Once you arrive you will have to deal with some serious jet lag so make sure you have ample time to recover before jumping into your first dive. Jet lag ad diving is a dangerous combination, so make sure you err on the side of caution. Rest, relax, then hit the dives!
The political climate can sometimes be unstable in the Philippines, with some areas of the island chain under warnings for terrorism. This should not scare you off your vacation, but it is important to be aware of your surroundings. The State Department keeps an updated assessment of the dangers associated with traveling to every country. Familiarize yourself with the overview for the Philippines before going, and assess the treat level. Normally, you will be fine in tourist locations.
The Philippines has a very strict anti-drug policy, so it is ill-advised to partake in any illegal substances while on your vacation. Their president is notorious for being extremely harsh on drug users and drug dealers, and tourists are not exempt.
Marine Life And Weather
The Philippines has some of the most diverse marine life that you are likely to ever see in your entire life! From gentle but intimidating while sharks, to tiny pygmy seahorses, you will be astounded by the vast array of marine life that you will encounter when diving in the Philippines. Naturally, there are some creatures that will become aggressive if disturbed or threatened. Hammerhead sharks are prevalent in the Philippines. Swim and dive peacefully with these animals and you should have no problems whatsoever.
The Philippines is divable all year but the best time to go is between December and June when the weather is warm and there is very little chance of encountering a monsoon. Although you can dive during monsoon season, the heavy rains might put a damper on your time in the Philippines.
Best Dive Sites In The Philippines
Puerto Galera, Mindoro
Pick your poison at Puero Galera. For an easy dive, check out the Drop Off at Verde Island or Long Beach for some chilled out shallow dives near the beach. More adventurous and seasoned divers can test their skills at Sabang or even Washing Machine, although these waters are not suitable for anyone who hasn’t had several dives under their belt. The number of diverse dives make this location an ideal and popular spot.
Blue Hole, Romblon Island
Like other famed blue holes around the world, the Romblon Island dive site is famous for its intense drop into the depths of the ocean. It’s also ideal for divers who want to get a little off the beaten path, since Romblon Island isn’t really on the map for many divers. This sinkhole is a great place to explore and test your skills.
Ticao Pass, Masbate
If wildlife is what you crave, head for this dive site, known for its manta rays. If you are lucky, you might even catch sight of a whale shark or two swimming by. The marine life in Ticao Pass are friendly and astonishing creatures, so put this dive site on your “must see” list when visiting the Philippines.
Tubbataha Reef National Park, Palawan
One of the most famous dive sites in all of the Philippines, Tubbataha Reef and National Park has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its majestic coral reef and abundance of fish. There are hundreds of species of fish, sharks, dolphins and whales circling the reef, as well as nearly four hundred coral species. You do not want to miss this one.
A local favorite, Anilao is a great place to spend the weekend. The conditions here are favorable and suitable even for novice divers, but experts will love to check out the tapestry of underwater formations as well as the abundance of marine life. Visit Anilao and you will be sure to dive in great company, as well as make some good friends to chill out with once you get out of the water.
Honda Bay, Palawan
If you want to combine some beach time with your diving, head to Honda Bay. You will not find more pristine beaches anywhere else in the country, perfect for chilling out and relaxing before or after a dive. In addition, the marine life and coral formations in this part of the Philippines are absolutely breath-taking, making it the perfect location for people who want to see marine diversity but prefer to go to a less touristy location.
Monad Shoal, Cebu
Cebu is known for its whale sharks, and you definitely should dive with them if you get the chance. These gentle giants aren’t common in very many parts of the world, but in Cebu they are abundant. Additionally, you might spot some thresher sharks or manta rays during one of your dives. The waters in Monad Shoal are beautifully turquoise and clear throughout much of the year, so you can be assured that your dive will be beautiful and full of fascinating marine life.
Barracuda Lake, Palawan
This lake is named for a famed monster that supposedly lurks in its depths, a giant barracuda. Aside from the creature from the deep, you’ll also be able to check out some incredible underwater formations and enjoy a challenging but totally fulfilling dive.
WW 2 Wrecks, Palawan
The Philippines played a central part in the sea battles of WW 2, so it’s no surprise that some of the best diving in this country centers around the nearly one century old wrecks that sit at the bottom on the sea. Aside from the historical wrecks, divers will be able to enjoy an abundance of marine life.
Apo Island, Negros Oriental
Apo Island is a marine sanctuary, so rest assured that you will be able to see some of the most spectacular underwater animals that the Philippines has to offer when you dive in this amazing site. It is one of the most popular dive sites in the entire world, catering to novice and expert divers alike.
Journey to the Philippines and you will find some of the best diving in the world. There are plenty of places to choose from, catering to all different levels of expertise and desired landscapes and marine life. Easily accessible, inexpensive and fairly safe, the Philippines is a well-deserved hot spot for anyone who loves to explore the depths.