The Philippines is an island nation located in South East Asia, with Manila as its capital city. The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean which are home to spectacular scenery, pristine beaches, incredible sights and lively cities. Dramatic drop-offs, vibrant reefs, wrecks, caves and a richly varied marine life also guarantee fabulous diving. Combined with the renowned Philippine hospitality and warmth, an unforgettable dive holiday awaits.
Diving in the Philippines
The dive sites of the Philippines are home to some of the best and most diverse marine eco-systems in South East Asia. Scientists believe that South East Asia is where most of the Pacific's marine organisms evolved before they spread out to colonise other oceans. There are over 500 species of hard and soft corals and innumerable varieties of fish and large pelagics. The diversity is astounding and caters to all levels of dive experience and interest.
Malapascua is a tiny, picturesque island just off the northern tip of Cebu Island. You can walk around the island in less than an hour or simply relax on the white sands of Bounty Beach. From this magical island, you may catch a glimpse of the elusive thresher shark at Shark Point, one of the few places in the world where there are regular sightings of these shy and unusual creatures. Be dazzled by the colours of the mandarin fish on a night dive or get your macro lens ready for an up close encounter with a pygmy seahorse at Gato Island. With great wreck dives including the Donna Marilyn and idyllic day trips also on offer, this diving destination cannot fail to excite.
Situated on the south-eastern tip of the larger island of Negros, Dumaguete offers fantastic diving plus access to a range of other activities. The main diving attraction in the area is Apo Island (not to be mixed up with Apo Reef). Apo is a tiny marine sanctuary that is teeming with fish and beautiful corals. There are ten dive sites around the island and each has something different to offer from exhilarating drift dives to gentle shallow dives over hard and soft corals.
The marine sanctuary offers a huge variety of fish species, crustaceans and nudibranch. Schools of jacks can sometimes number over 2,000 fish, making this a great destination for both large and small marine species lovers!
Apo Island is just 30 minutes boat ride away from the Dumaguete resorts, and both Pura Vida and Atmosphere Resort have great house reefs.
Coron is located in the south east corner of Busuanga Island, in the province of Palawan. This diverse region is known as the last frontier of the Philippines and is home to some spectacular scenery, ranging from limestone cliffs, thermal lakes and underwater caves. Jacques Cousteau described this area of the archipelago as 'the most beautiful place I ever explored'. With over 1,800 islands, pristine beaches, world-class diving and a diverse wildlife you will understand why.
Coron Bay is synonymous with divers worldwide as the wreck diving mecca of the Philippines, with relatively easy access to 11 WW2 wrecks at varying depths, including Akitsushima, Taiei Maru and Olympia Maru. Intermingled with picturesque reefs that are teeming with aquatic life and in most cases, hardly any challenging currents, this makes Coron a suitable dive destination for all levels of dive qualification.
Located on the edge of the Calumpang Peninsula near Batangas, the area around Anilao is the closest diving locale to Manila. Just 2 - 2.5 hours road journey from the capital, Anilao is a great destination for short breaks and is often combined with other Philippines destinations to make fascinating multi-centre stays.
The peninsula is backed by lush green hills and mountains running down to shingle coves and the clear blue waters of the sea. Its location within the Coral triangle means that the waters are rich in marine and coral life. With sheltered waters and good visibility this is an excellent place for fun-divers, especially those with limited time available. Anilao is best known for its huge marine biodiversity, especially Macro, making this an extremely popular choice for underwater photographers!
The region and the islands of Bohol are known for their steep wall dives and home to the great diving areas of Alona Beach and the islands of Panglao, Balicasag and Pamilacan. The impressive hard and soft coral gardens are shown off fabulously in an area host to a large range of dive sites, many of them in close proximity to the coast or around a maximum of 45 minutes boat ride away. The region also offers dive sites more open to currents. This combination of coral gardens, walls and drift dives therefore offers something to divers of all experience.
With the second largest coral reef in the world, 75% of the world’s coral species and a huge variety of dive sites, Mindoro is a dream diving destination. The region’s tropical climate offers year round diving with everything from easy shore dives and deep drifts, to penetrable wrecks. The main dive area in Mindoro is Puerto Galera. It has something for everyone: offering beginners a protected bay and shallow reef - whilst more advanced divers are also well catered for at the remote Verde Island, where large pelagic species ride the strong currents in the Verde Island Passage.
Travelling to The Philippines
For Anilao, Coron, Puerto Galera, Mindoro and Sipalay: Flight to Manila
For Malapascua, Dumaguete and Bohol: Flight to Cebu. Internal flight options from Manila also possible.
Late afternoon arrivals may require an overnight in Manila or Cebu as transfers to resorts are not possible out of daylight hours.
Tailormade Holidays & multiple centres
We offer tailormade holidays for the Philippines, allowing you as much flexibility as possible. We highly recommend the ‘Island Hopping’ itineraries. Ideal multiple centres for ease of transfers are a combination of Malapascua, Moalboal, Dumaguete and Bohol.
Palawan combines best with certain Philippine Siren liveaboard itineraries and Puerto Galera, but anything is possible if you have the time for the extra internal flights and transfers.
For whichever island appeals, you are met at the airport and transferred to your resort. Whether by flight, jeepney or banca boat, there are fantastic sights to enjoy on your journey there and back and although the transfers can be long, clients love them!
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