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The Philippines – One Of The World’s Best Diving Destinations

March 30, 2019 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email

Perhaps due to its myriad separate islands, the Philippines is widely considered to have the best diving sites in the world both for professional and amateur divers, as well as snorkellers.  The stunning archipelago is home to well over 7,000 islands, filled with colourful coral and an abundance of marine life.

To assist travellers to the region, the Philippine Department of Tourism has compiled a list of the best locations in which to see not only its spectacular reefs, but also the wide array of marine-life that teem in its beautiful aquamarine waters.

Ms Norjamin Delos Reyes, Tourism Attaché at Philippine Department of Tourism Australia and New Zealand said,

“The Philippines is a fantastic and diverse destination with a wide range of stunning natural beauty waiting to be discovered.  Particularly well known for its many islands, the Philippines is home to thousands of dive sites, most of which exhibit stunning reefs and sea life.  There are many day trips to be made according to diving skill, and accredited scuba diving tour operators across many islands will organise a full day of diving for varying needs.  In addition travellers could also choose to stay at one of the many dive resorts in The Philippines which will take care of everything from start to finish.”

Ms Delos Reyes also recommends that all scuba diver’s looking to visit advanced dive sites, arm themselves with the correct accreditation and training, which includes the AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation, AWARE – Fish Identification and PADI Digital Underwater Photographer courses, as well as the PADI Deep Diver, Drift Diver and Wreck Diver courses.  Beginners can also get their PADI certification in the Philippines for a fraction of the cost of Australia.

  1. Amos Rock – Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

For novice and intermediate divers interested in visiting one of the most remote diving spots in the Philippines,  Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is well worth considering – only reachable by liveaboard (diving charter boat) between March and June.

Classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the reef park has an incredible depth range of 6 to 70m and boasts an incredible 600 species of fish, 360 species of coral, 13 whale and dolphin species, and 11 species of shark.

Amos Rock is famous for large reef sharks and its gorgonian-covered wall, which hosts a variety of soft corals and massive schools of fish.

  1. Monad Shoal – Malapascua

With a depth of around 30m, Monad Shoal north of Cebu is considered to be the Philippines best shark dive location.  Here, scuba divers have the opportunity to see regular sightings of thresher sharks, one of the few places in the world where a sighting is virtually guaranteed over a two-day dive.

Malapascua is best suited to advanced divers and features a startling diversity of unusual marine creatures, including Whitetip Reef Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Manta Rays, Devil Rays, Mandarin Fish, Pygmy Seahorses, Blue Ringed Octopus, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Frogfish, Blue Ringed Octopus and a huge variety of Nudibranchs and shrimps.

  1. Canyons – Puerto Galera

The Canyons are one of the most sought after diving destinations in Puerto Galera, best suited to advanced divers.  The currents of The Canyons sweep divers through three stunning canyons covered in a variety of soft corals and sponges, and filled with large schools of fish including barracudas, batfish, snappers, emperors and trevally.

  1. Apo 29 – Apo Reef Natural Park

As the second largest coral reef in the world, Apo Reef Natural Park is also the second UNESCO World Heritage site reef in the Philippines and is also best reached via liveaboard.

Apo 29 is the standout dive destination for advanced divers within the Apo Reef National Park, however it is also regarded as challenging due to its large seamount.  For this reason, most dive operators require that a diver complete at least 100 dives prior to diving here.

The best time for diving is between November and May and divers will have the opportunity to spot various reef sharks, thresher sharks, hammerheads, manta rays and schools of pelagic fish.

  1. Okikawa Maru – Coron Bay, Palawan

Coron Bay in Palawan – one of the most well-known islands in the Philippines – served as a brief harbor for several Japanese warships during World War II. In September 1944, 11 of these ships were sunk by an Allied air attack, which now form one of the most interesting dive sites. One of the most accessible wrecks, particularly for beginners, is the Okikawa Maru, a 160-meter tanker.

The island of Palawan itself offers its guests an expanse of coastline, breathtaking lakes, aqua lagoons, a magnitude of local wildlife, and an underwater river which has been listed as a UNESCO World heritage site.

  1. Sardine Run, Moalboal

Moalboal is widely considered to be a scuba diving mecca, with easy shore diving and numerous dive sites located along the beaches.  There are around 15 dive sites here, however the sardines are easily the main attraction, forming huge clouds and creating different shapes in the water, providing incredible underwater photography opportunities.  The best time to visit is between November and April, and the sardines can be enjoyed not only by scuba divers, but also free divers.

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