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Exploring Philippines

Diving

Diving is one of the highlights of visiting the Philippines. Marine life is varied and rich, the waters are temperate, and facilities throughout the country provide excellent service and safety. If you’re looking for the big stuff, you’re in luck: whale sharks, thresher sharks, turtles, rays, huge schools of sardines, barracuda, jackfish, tuna, and more ply these waters. Macro-lovers can find ornate ghost pipefish, mantis shrimp, seahorses, nudibranchs, colourful harlequin shrimp, and loads of other tiny critters. For wreck-lovers, Coron is home to more than a dozen shipwrecks that sunk during WWII. Many of these can be penetrated without special equipment with the right local guide and training.

For healthy coral, turtles, and great macro life, Dauin in Negros Oriental and neighboring Apo Island are hard to beat. To see the thresher sharks, Malapascua at the northern tip of Cebu is your best bet as a cleaning station sits about 30 meters down. Bohol is our favorite gateway to Balicasag Island with its healthy coral walls and teeming schools of jacks and barracuda. For a chance at seeing whale sharks there are some great sites near Donsol. Although you’re nearly guaranteed to see these beautiful fish snorkeling in Oslob or Donsol, we don’t recommend these activities as they are not sustainable or healthy for the whale sharks. Puerto Galera has both easy dives just off-shore and more advanced dives with strong currents in the Verde Island Channel. Boracay also offers an array of dives although the best dives are deep drifts for experienced divers only. Sadly, the coral at sites for novice divers has been severely damaged and marine life is thus lower in numbers and variety. In 2018, the island of Boracay closed to visitors for six months of environmental rehabilitation so hopefully the marine life will return in future years to healthier waters.

Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park, southeast of Palawan in the Sulu Sea, has the greatest variety of marine life in the Philippines. This area is only accessible from mid-March to mid-June and requires a ten-hour boat ride from Puerto Princesa. Bookings for multi-day dive trips on liveaboard boats can fill up to a year in advance. Elsewhere in Palawan, you’ll find some lovely diving near Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and along the coasts. In other words, you can dive almost anywhere in Palawan.

With the exception of Tubbataha, diving is good year-round in the Philippines. November to June typically have the best visibility with water temperatures climbing toward 30 degrees near the end of that period.

For inspiration, have a look at the sample itineraries below. We can tailor-make an itinerary that gets you to some of the best dive sites in the country and Marbree, our resident Philippines expert, is always happy to talk about diving. Enquire now or give us a call us at (UK) 0207 112 0019!

 

Manila
The bustling capital city is home to historic Intramuros and Rizal Park. Let us arrange a bicycle tour of the walled city so you can explore the narrow streets and learn about the nation's colonial past. More
Banaue
Ancient rice terraces in Batad, coffins mounted on a cliff in Sagada, the Cordillera is home to some of the most unique and fascinating bits of the Philippines. More
Vigan
Some of the best preserved Spanish colonial architecture in the world can be found in Vigan. Wander the cobbled streets, sample the Spanish-influenced cuisine, and relax in one of the city's historic boutique hotels. More
Boracay
Sink your toes into the white sands of Boracay. Grab a cocktail, take it easy, and watch the clear blue water lap against the shore. When night falls, join the parties of District Two or slip away to romantic Diniwid beach. More
Bohol
Chocolate hills, tiny tarsiers, Boholano art, beautiful beaches, and some lovely snorkeling and diving make Bohol one of our favorite parts of the Philippines. The gorgeous boutique resorts don't hurt, either! More
Negros Oriental
The island of Negros is home to world-class diving off the coast of Dauin and on neighboring Apo Island. Waterfalls and adventure are just a day trip away from the university town of Dumaguete. On neighboring Siquijor settle in to the tranquility of an island known for sorcery and healing powers. More
Negros Occidental
On the west coast of Negros you'll find Bacolod, the city of smiles. Sugar plantations in the area host historic mansions and in October, the streets come alive with the annual MassKara festival. More
Puerto Princesa
The gateway to Palawan, Puerto Princesa sits near one of the longest subterranean rivers in the world. Let us arrange a stay for you at a beachside hotel with mountain views just a short boat ride away. More
El Nido
When people refer to Palawan as the most beautiful island in the world, images of El Nido come to mind. Limestone cliffs jut from aquamarine water, lush jungle fills the interior, and the coasts are lined with dazzling beaches. Some of the finest resorts in the country dot the islands around this northern bit of Palawan. More
Coron
For divers, the WWII shipwrecks of Coron are one of the highlights of the Philippines. Natural hot springs, clear blue lakes, isolated beaches, and a rather surprising game reserve and wildlife sanctuary make Coron a fun destination for divers and landlubbers alike. More
Puerto Galera
Fast drift dives and schools of big fish await experienced divers in Puerto Galera while shallow macro dives make for excellent underwater photography, relaxing night dives, and the perfect place to learn or improve your dive skills. More
Tubbataha Reefs
The greatest variety of marine life in the Philippines is within Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park; only accessible for diving mid-March to mid-June

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