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Diving in Mindoro

With 75% of the world’s coral species, the second largest coral reef in the world and a huge variety of dive sites, Mindoro is a diving paradise that offers the ideal dive for every skill level.

Diving in Mindoro

Quick facts

With 75% of the world’s coral species, the second largest coral reef in the world and a huge variety of dive sites, Mindoro is a diving paradise. You will find a little bit of everything under the surface, from easy shore dives to penetrable wrecks and deep drifts.

Puerto Galera is the main dive center in Mindoro. The good news is that it has a little bit of everything. The protected bay and shallow reef make this an ideal location to begin your dive adventure with an open water course. However, more advanced divers will enjoy a trip to remote Verde Island. Larger pelagic species can be seen riding the quick currents in the Verde Island Passage. There are more dive sites than dive masters can count around Puerto Galera and Verde Island, making it an ideal destination for a week-long dive vacation.

The second dive area is a bit more remote than Puerto Galera. Pandan Island and Apo Reef sit off Mindoro’s southwest coast. Of the two, Pandan Island hosts one resort while Apo Reef is about an hour by boat any inhabited area. While Pandan Island does have two easy dives, the majority of dive sites near the island are reserved for advanced divers. Here currents ravage the sheer walls that drop hundreds of feet to the sea floor. Nonetheless, Apo Reef steals the show, which is actually the second largest coral reef in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has a biodiversity of marine life that is rarely seen elsewhere. The sites around Apo Reef are some of the best in the Philippines with good reason.

Because of the region’s tropical climate, diving around Mindoro is possible year round. On average, the air temperature ranges from 80 - 96°F (26 - 36°C) and the water temperature is 80 - 86°F (26 - 30°C). November to May are the best months for diving. During this season, seas are calm and the weather is mostly dry. From June until October, diving is still possible, but the weather is more unpredictable. Rain and wind may prevent dive boats or ferries from leaving the protection of safe harbor. Typhoons, while present this time of year, are rarely a threat to protected Mindoro.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

  • Puerto Galera

    Experience everything from pristine beaches and tropical jungles through to rich culture and nightlife for those who seek it in Puerto Galera. Situated on Mindoro Island you’ll find the surrounding...

What to see

With over 1200 marine species, 75% of the world’s coral species and the second largest coral reef in the world, you are sure to see something new and amazing in Mindoro.

Mindoro is a great area for spotting barracuda, emperor fish, scorpion fish, moray eel, tuna, batfish, Moorish idol, trevally, and flute mouth. On the more unusual side of things, Mindoro is also home to lionfish, triggerfish, pygmy seahorses, trumpet fish, mantis shrimp, unicorn fish, wrasse, squid, parrot fish and octopus.

Pelagics are plentiful near Pandan Island and Apo Reef. Sightings might include whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, devil rays and sharks such as hammerheads and reef sharks.

Wherever you travel to in Mindoro, be it Puerto Galera or Apo, you’ll be filling up your dive logs faster than you can say, “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”

Calendar

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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Area

Mindoro is the Philippines’ 7th largest island. It lies just off the southwest coast of Luzon and the northeast section of Palawan. The large island has, for the most part, been left untouched by tourism despite its proximity to Manila. Outside of Puerto Galera, you will find small town culture and deserted, palm-lined beaches, perfect for escaping the crowds and enjoying a vacation in paradise.

Mindoro has been active in trading history since the beginning of the 2nd Millennium. It was originally referred to as Ma-i by Chinese traders who arrived as early as 972 to buy beeswax, true pearl, cotton and tortoise shell from the locals. Later, Spanish traders regularly visited this area, referring to the island and Mina de Oro, which translates as gold mine. This name stuck, giving birth to the modern name of the region, Mindoro. During World War II, the island acted as a battle field in the Battle of Mindoro, but since that time, Mindoro has seen relative peace. Today, the island is split between two provinces, Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro.

Other attractions

As the tourism infrastructure is not as developed as in other parts of the Philippines, above the water activities can be quite limited. Of course, the beaches are long and white, making for perfect days of relaxation. The locals are also friendly and warm, ready to point you in the right direction should you need it. If you happen to be staying near Puerto Galera, there are plenty of waterfalls to explore as well as a golf course perched high above the town, offering a fantastic view. You will also find the typical resort activities such as volleyball courts, parasailing, jet-skiing and a shooting range.

Getting there

Your journey to Mindoro most likely begins in Manila. From here, you will need to take a bus or private transfer to Batangas and then board a ferry headed for the island. There are also ferries that reach Mindoro from points further south in the Philippines.

Once you are in the region, you will need to rely on three-wheelers, taxis, jeepney or minibuses to travel from point A to point B.

Apo Reef can also be accessed via liveaboard.

UTC+08:00

Time zone

PHP

Currency

+63

Calling code

220 V

Electric volt

A, 

B, 

C

Plug type

SJI

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.