Philippine marine life has so much to offer. Made up of more than 7,100 islands, it is home to an astounding number of marine creatures. World War II wrecks, steep drop-offs and tropical caves housing colourful hard and soft corals as well as thousands of fantastical fish species.
With thousands of diving sites, it’s hard to decide where to go first. Especially if you’re coming from a different country. To help you in your first step of planning, we present to you our top 11 Philippines diving sites.
1. Apo Island – Dauin, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
With its world-class diving, Apo Island is certainly one the most famous dive site of the Philippines.
The island shelters in its clear and warm waters a great variety of hard and soft corals, countless reef fish and relaxed sea turtles.
This 72-hectare volcanic island has a marine sanctuary that hosts more than 650 fish species and over 400 species of corals. Diving in the area offers a totally different experience from the rest of the dive spots in the Philippines!
Located about 45 minutes away from Dauin, our guests will have the opportunity to do a diving or snorkelling trip to the island while enjoying our banka the “Tamsea”, a comfortable local outrigger pump-boat.
This trip will thrill beginners as well as more advanced divers or snorkellers as the dive sites are diverse and most of them easily accessible, with usually good visibility and little or no current.
Not only the island is lovely and the dive site are astonishing, but is also quickly and easily accessible all year round! Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Ready to dive this paradise?
We’re here for you! Whether you are a seasoned diver or wanting to learn to dive, Apo Island is recommended by many divers from different parts of the world. Make the best experience, get in touch with us at Bongo Bongo Divers! We’re a budget PADI Dive Shop based in Dauin, Dumaguete Philippines. We offer the finest scuba equipments, homestay accommodation, and the best dive instructors. Check our PADI courses, or contact us.
2. Tubbataha Reef National Park – Sulu Sea, Palawan
Declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national park as a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species. The North Islet also serves as a nesting site for birds and sea turtles. It’s home to 600 species of fish, 360 species of coral, 11 species of sharks, and 13 species of dolphins and whales. Making it a huge attraction for scuba divers!
3. Moalboal – Cebu
Famed for its deep wall that extends 55 to 60 meters deep, covered with sponge, the wall features cracks, crevices and overhangs. Moalboal has something that makes exploring much more fun. They offer dive worthy colourful coral gardens. You could always expect turtles or sharks like the white tip and whale shark to pass by on occasion. Descend 4 to 10 meters and you’ll encounter a sloping reef with hard and soft corals and your usual reef fish. You could also swim alongside fishes, turtles, squids and especially the famous sardine run.
4. Mactan – Cebu
One of the most popular dive destination in the Philippines. The marine life on Mactan and the surrounding islands, especially in the marine sanctuaries, is so colourful and diverse that it keeps divers coming back for more. Mactan and the surrounding islands offer excellent shore-based diving and a rich variety of dive sites: Abysmal drop-offs, deep walls, steep slopes, coral mounts and plateaus, seagrass beds, caves and caverns and even two wrecks.
5. Panglao Island – Bohol
It is known to be teeming with marine life, narrow reefs, steep coral-covered slopes and protected waters. “Turtle Point” allows divers to have close encounters with sea turtles, while the “Black Forest” has beautiful black coral. You don’t want to miss “Diver’s Heaven”, a great wall dive with gorgeous fish and coral. A part of the island is a protected sanctuary but it’s open to divers. When you reach 30 meters deep in “Snake Island“, you’ll meet colonies of large black and white banded sea snakes!
6. Coron, Palawan
As one of the most well-known and well-loved diving sites in the Philippines, Coron is the place for divers to explore half a dozen World War II Japanese warships that lie underwater. There are guides that will take you inside the ships so you can’t only explore the exterior but also the interior. It is the place where some of the most diverse and richest marine life thrives.
Shipwrecks Irako and Okikawa Maru are famous among Coron Divers. Both shipwrecks are home to different fishes like giant groupers and schools of lion fish, scorpion fish, tuna, snappers and batfish.
7. Monad Shoal – Malapascua, Cebu
The Island is a great place to see the elegant, oddly-shaped thresher sharks that breach the waters off the island, moving their way into the depths of Monad Shoal, regularly at and just before sunrise. In the afternoon, you would be able to spot manta rays and devil rays taking over the shoal. Manta rays and hammerheads are seasonal.
8. Anilao – Batangas
Known as the birthplace of scuba diving in the Philippines, Anilao has dozens of amazing dive sites. It is the go-to spot for divers planning a nice weekend dive, newbies going on their first underwater adventure, macro photographers seeking out their favourite subjects (nudibranchs and pygmy seahorses), and night divers hoping to catch a glimpse of rare marine creatures (sea goblins, ghost pope fish, catfish eels, sea hares, blue-ringed octopus, snake eels and mandarin fish). The waters surrounding the area are teeming with marine life, plenty of corals and amazing diversity of fishes.
9. Subic Bay – Luzon Island
The bay was long recognized for its deep and protected waters. Some of the most well-known wrecks include the World War II–era USS New York and the 1898 Spanish American warship San Quentin. Records show that there are 19 total shipwrecks and three wrecked aircraft, at Subic Bay. Each dive is suited to divers of different levels, so even beginners won’t be left out at this popular diving location in the Philippines.
10. Ticao Pass – Ticao, Masbate
The waters of the Ticao Pass are proposed to become a Marine Protected Area. It is home to a large marine diversity. You’ll get to catch oceanic manta rays playing and roaming, feeding on planktons also you might spot some whale sharks on their way to Donsol, Sorsogon. Other big boy thresher sharks, hammerheads and black and white tip sharks frequent the area too along with blue spotted stingrays, eagle rays, jacks, tunas, barracudas and sweetlips.
11. Enchanted River – Surigao del Sur
Known for its pristine clear waters it makes the river an exciting and challenging dive. Because of the waters clarity it is such a treat to see tons of huge fish. There’s also an underwater cave with a small entry point that only one diver can swim through at a time. The cave itself, however, is the size of two basketball courts, giving experienced divers plenty of room to explore.