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Diving in The Philippines

With 7,107 islands, the Philippines offers opportunities for every level. Advanced divers can enjoy deep wrecks, while beginners will appreciate easy beach entries. 1,200 macro and pelagic species await.

Diving in The Philippines

Quick facts

The Philippines has thousands of dive sites. These are spread out mostly around the Luzon and Visayas regions. Whatever your dive experience, you are sure to be spoilt for choice.

In the Luzon region, nearby Manila, Puerto Galera is the perfect place to begin your scuba adventure. With easy beach entries and plentiful macro life, thousands of divers use the area to get certified every year. For those in the Manila region and looking for wreck diving, Subic Bay offers divers the chance to get up close and personal with sunken WWII warships.

Further south in the Luzon region, wild Palawan has long been considered one of the best and cheapest places to gain an advanced certification. A variety of WWII warships and planes lie at depths of 66 feet (20 meters) and more. Today, soft corals, turtles, a plethora of fish species and sea snakes call the wrecks home.

Divers interested in pelagics should make a point of heading to the central Visayas. In Malapascua, visitors can see skittish thresher sharks. While Oslob has a resident population of whale sharks. The biodiversity doesn’t end there. Moalboal, Balicasag and Apo Island are world-class dive sites rich in marine life such as schools of jacks, sardine balls, rays and the occasional shark.

The Philippines is the perfect destination for gaining and perfecting new scuba skills while enjoying a wide array of underwater life and an easygoing vacation above the water.

Recommended training

Take the AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation, AWARE – Fish Identification and PADI Digital Underwater Photographer courses to understand and to capture the beauty of the marine life. With walls, currents and wrecks, it’s a good idea to take the PADI Deep Diver, Drift Diver and Wreck Diver courses. Technical diving on the deep wrecks requires special training, look into PADI TecRec courses, including the PADI Rebreather Diver course, if interested.

When to go

You can dive year-round in the Philippines, but there are three distinct seasons that affect dive conditions. December through March is the northeast monsoon that can bring strong winds. April through June is usually dry with warm days and little wind. July through November is the southwest monsoon, which is wet but the water is warm. Air temperatures average 25-32°C/78-90°F with high relative humidity.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

  • Apo Reef & Coron

    This unique area combines some of the best wreck diving on earth with staggering natural beauty. Coron’s wrecks and the surrounding area are steeped in history which make it an intriguing destinati...

  • Bicol

    Paradise awaits in Bicol where you can dive with whale sharks and manta rays every morning and relax on pristine beaches every afternoon. Suited to all levels, Bicol is the perfect diving getaway.

  • Bohol

    With superb wall dives, colorful coral and calm currents, Bohol has become an increasingly popular diving destination in the Philippines. From macro to pelagics, the marine life of Bohol awaits.

  • Cebu

    Cebu boasts spectacular diving with unique experiences like thresher shark dives at Malapascua, mighty schools of sardines at Moalboal and whale shark sightings.

  • Leyte

    With superb corals and the allure of the ever-elusive whale shark, Leyte has become one of the Philippines’ premier destinations. From graceful pelagics to macro oddities, Leyte is sure to delight.

  • Malapascua

    Best known for its thresher shark sightings, Malapascua should be on the bucket list of any big fish aficionado. This tiny island offers some of the world’s most highly rated dive sites. When you g...

  • Mindanao

    As the Philippines’ last diving frontier, Mindanao offers dive sites for every level. Advanced divers can enjoy deep wrecks, while beginners will appreciate easy beach entries. 1000 species await.

  • 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.

  • Palawan

    Palawan will impress the most jaded diver with its beautiful reefs, stunning World War II shipwrecks and the glory that is Tubbataha Reef.

  • Siquijor

    Seemingly made for underwater photography, Siquijor is a macro-lover’s dream with walls full of coral. Adventure seekers will also enjoy the island’s world-class night diving opportunities.

  • Boracay

    Famous for its white sand beaches and once awarded the title of “Best Island in the World”, Boracay is a Filipino tropical paradise. Diving here does not disappoint and highlights include reef shar...

  • Dumaguete & Apo Island

    Famous for its muck diving and rare critter species, Dumaguete is a mecca for underwater macro photographers. Expect to see some of the most unusual marine species on the planet in the most unexpec...

  • El Nido

    White sand, palm fringed beaches and a laid back tropical island vibe await you in El Nido. If you can make it out of your hammock the diving is equally as impressive. Highlights include diving Sou...

  • Manila

    This bustling, metropolitan Southeast Asian city is a cultural melting pot where east meets west. You’ll find everything from small traditional communities to high rise skyscrapers and 5 star hotel...

  • Moalboal

    Dive the Pescador Island protected marine park and you’ll soon see why Moalboal is one of the Philippines most revered diving destinations. The impressive marine bio-diversity and sheer abundance o...

  • 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...

  • Subic Bay

    This eco-tourism hotspot was once home to the US naval forces in the pacific and is a now a wreck diving haven. The USS New York, which saw service in both WWI and WWII, is a highlight as well as n...

Pricing on request
USD 1,552Per trip
USD 1,475Per trip

What to see

With over 1200 marine species and 400 of the world’s 500 coral species, the question isn’t what will I see diving in the Philippines; it’s what won’t I see.

The Philippines 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, the Philippines is also home to lionfish, triggerfish, pygmy seahorses, trumpet fish, mantis shrimp, unicorn fish, wrasse, squid, parrot fish and octopus.

Pelagics are plentiful in the Philippines, too. Sightings may include whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, devil rays and sharks such as hammerheads and thresher sharks.

Wherever you are, you’ll be filling up your dive logs faster than you can say, “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”

Calendar

For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Country

The Philippines, known as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, is located in Southeast Asia, just across the South China Sea from Hong Kong and south of Taiwan. The tropical climate includes three distinct seasons. From July to November, the southwest monsoon brings wet weather and warm water. December to March is the northeast monsoon which is associated with strong winds. While April to June is usually dry with little wind. Water temperatures vary between 73-86°F (23-30°C) while air temperatures range from 77-90°F (25-32°C).

After being occupied by Spain, the United States and Japan, the Philippines gained independence in 1946. Today, the island nation enjoys relative stability, although Islamic rebels in the Mindanao region sometimes create conflict. Be sure to check your country’s travel warnings before heading to the region.

With only 2000 inhabited islands of the 7107 in the Philippines, the country offers both tourist hotspots and deserted destinations. A wide range of accommodation is available from ultra-luxurious dive resorts to budget bungalows. Liveaboard dive adventures are also available to allow for the opportunity to visit more than one island in only a few days.

During high season (November-April), dive sites and resort areas may be very crowded. However, low season (June-October) brings hefty discounts and bartering power. Whatever the season, diving from Bankas (traditional Filipino boats) into the diverse Filipino waters is sure to impress.

Other attractions

When you aren’t diving, the Philippines has a plethora of activities to keep you active. Sun and sand are the name of the game in this island nation. With some of the best white sand beaches in the world, a beach day should be on every visitor’s itinerary. Island hopping tours (both boozy and family-friendly) are a great option for enjoying uninhabited islands. Other water sports include sea kayaking and windsurfing. For more terrestrial adventures, visitors can hike the Taal Volcano, gape at gorgeous rice terraces in Banaue, tour historical churches or seek out rare wildlife such as the gremlin-like tarsier. Of course, a day spent sleeping in, eating delicious Filipino BBQ and watching the sun sink into the water while dreaming of your next dive is also a worthy option.

Getting there

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL, Manila), Clark International Airport (CRK, Manila), Mactan-Cebu International Airport (CEB, Cebu) and Kalibo International Airport (KLO, Boracay) are all well-connected by international flights originating in Europe, North America and Australia. Once in the country, visitors can use local ferries to travel locally. Cebu Pacific and AirAsia offer low-cost inter-island flights.

UTC+08:00

Time zone

PHP

Currency

+63

Calling code

220 V

Electric volt

A, 

B, 

C

Plug type

MNL

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.
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