7 Unmissable Diving Spots in the Philippines

7 Unmissable Diving Spots in the Philippines

The Philippines is a diver’s paradise. As an archipelago nation full of big and small islands it offers some of the most amazing diving spots found in Southeast Asia which you definitely won’t want to miss out on. There are almost too many locations to choose from to wonder at the natural sea life and enjoy the pristine waters. To help you choose the diving spots that will awe you the most on your trip to the Philippines, we’ve narrowed it down to our 7 favorites.

Before You Go: What You’ll Need For Your Diving Vacation in the Philippines

Before you book your tickets, there are a few things you should have prepared in advance.

First up is visas. The good news for most international travelers is that you won’t need a visa for a trip of under 30 days. However, if you’re staying longer it’s worth considering if you’ll need a Philippines visa for UK or US citizens.

Next, it’s worth considering whether you have the right experience to go on trickier dives. If you don’t already have a PADI certification, it may be worth planning to get one before you go or as part of your trip. However, even if you’re a more seasoned diver PADI also recommends having certification from one or more of the following training courses before diving in the country:
  • AWARE - Coral Reef Conservation
  • AWARE - Fish Identification
  • PADI - Deep Diver
  • PADI - Drift Diver
  • PADI - Wreck Diver

Once you’ve got the essentials sorted, you’ll be able to plan which diving spots you’ll target. The top 7 you should have on your hit list are as follows.

7. Anda: Seclusion and Sealife

If you’re looking for a diving spot that’s away from the usual crowds of fellow tourists, Anda could be just what you’re looking for. Despite being located in the busy area of Bohol, it is an area tucked away from the usual underwater tourist traffic.

Anda boasts beautiful green environments and is home to hundreds of species of undersea wildlife. There’s plenty to explore once you get here and you’ll be able to tick an abundance of sea critters off your list in relative peace.

Location: Bohol
Type of dive: Reef
Wildlife: Seahorses, turtles, shrimps, snake eels
Difficulty: All levels

6. Dauin: Luxury Diving Dream

If you want to experience a great mix of muck and drift diving, then Dauin is your dream destination. Here you’ll be able to choose from a mix of luxury dive resorts that come with a less premium price tag.

The real prize of this spot however are the undersea creatures you’ll come across. Here you’ll be able to find frogfish and whale sharks as well as shoals of fish and turtles.

Location: Dumaguete
Type of dive: Muck, drift
Wildlife: Frogfish, turtles, whale sharks
Difficulty: Up to intermediate

5. Apo Reef: Test Your Mettel

The famed Apo reef is considered one of the gold standard spots to dive in the Philippines for good reason. It offers a great range of different options for experienced divers allowing you to dive as deep as 25-30m in places.

Despite the challenge of this dive, there is more than enough wildlife to justify the effort. There’s a wide variety of sharks to be seen in the waters around this area including hammerheads, threshers, and reef sharks.

Location: Mindoro
Type of dive: Drift, seamount, liveaboard
Wildlife: Sharks, rays, pelagic fish
Difficulty: Advanced

4. Puerto Galera: A Philippines Favorite

Anyone who’s anyone that goes to dive in the Philippines will pay Puerto Galera a visit at some point. This is easily the most popular diving spot in the country and it more than lives up to its reputation.

The canyons area is one of the most famous areas to explore here and for good reason; it’s crawling with wildlife. The floor of coral and sponge and the steady currents bring an abundance of food that attracts floods of local critters to the locality.

As if that’s not enough, there are several wrecks in the area that can be explored. If you’re feeling more adventurous this could be the perfect way to complete your experience.

Location: Mindoro
Type of dive: Reef, muck, drift
Wildlife: Octopus, frogfish, seahorses
Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced

MUST READ: Top Best Beach Resorts in Puerto Galera and Resorts with Swimming Pool (Affordable & Luxury Options)

3. Coron Bay: Southeast Asia’s Best Wreck Dive Spot

Coron Bay may be touristy on land but what’s going below the surface of the local coastline is well worth making the trip for. The area is famed for its wreck diving, the legacy of an ambush by US forces on an unlucky Japanese supply fleet during WW2.

There’s a lot to explore beneath the waves. The sunken vessels all have their own distinct quirks that can be examined up close. Better yet, is that a large quantity of the local undersea life has made the wrecks their home too. Be prepared to spot sharks, turtles, and shoals of tuna and snappers.

Location: Palawan
Type of dive: Wreck
Wildlife: Sharks, turtles, parrotfish, snappers
Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced

2. Anilao: The Philippines No.1 Muck Diving Spot

Close to the capital of Manila is the Philippines’ best muck diving spot. Anilao offers a rich mix of aquatic life along its sandy floor that you won’t want to miss.

The ease of travel mixed with the plethora of undersea favorites like octopus, frogfish, seahorses, and cuttlefish make this a great place to start your diving experience in the country.

Location: Batangas
Type of dive: Muck, reef, seamounts
Wildlife: Seahorses, cuttlefish, jellyfish, reef sharks
Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate

1. Tubbataha Reef: Unmatched Underwater Beauty

Not far from Coron Bay is the jewel in the crown of the diving scene in the Philippines. This coral-covered UNESCO World Heritage Site covers over 96,828 hectares and is teeming with wildlife.

You’ll find creatures both great and small frequenting the reefs. There are more than 600 species of fish alone that call Tubbataha their home and dolphins, whales and sharks often make appearances too.

Location: Palawan
Type of dive: Seamount, reef, drift, liveaboard
Wildlife: Reef sharks, rays, whale sharks
Difficulty: Intermediate

Choosing the Philippines for your diving vacation is a surefire way to see some great aquatic life and beautiful underwater scenery. The country offers a huge mix of different styles of dive so you can fit a whole range of amazing experiences into your trip.


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