The Philippines, Pearl of the Sea Orient, is an archipelagic country composing of more than 7,000 islands. The country is also a part of the Coral Triangle that has more than 500 kinds of corals and is conserved and protected. So don’t only expect friendly people, historical sites, and beautiful beaches in the Philippines; expect abundant and diverse marine life.
The best way to discover the underwater kingdom of the Philippines is through scuba diving. In scuba diving, you will dive underwater with proper gear and breathing equipment so you’ll enjoy more of marine life up close and as time permits. You can also try liveaboards if you want to go to diving spots in the Philippines, dive more than three times a day and try doing it at night too.
We have summarized the best scuba diving destinations in the Philippines to help you choose where to go first if you are on a diving adventure. However, if your time is limited, then you may select what is best for you through the time or which sea creature you want to swim with.
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Tubbataha Reef, Palawan
Tubbataha Reef is the top of the best scuba diving destinations in the Philippines and a part of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. It is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also was nominated as a New 7 Wonders of Nature. With a highly populated marine life as well as birds, it surely is a great destination to dive.
According to its website, “the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is home to no less than: 600 species of fish, 360 species of corals (about half of all coral species in the world), 11 species of sharks, 13 species of dolphins & whales, 100 species of birds, and also nesting Hawksbill & Green sea turtles.” It’s truly a wonder, and the best way to see this is through a liveaboard dive trip.
March to June, summertime, is the best time to dive there as it’s not rainy and the seas are clear and calm.
Suggested Liveaboard Dive Trip: Seadoors, Philippines
An Island in the municipality of Daanbantayan, North of Cebu, is Malapascua Island. This tiny island is famous for its beaches but has been one of the best scuba diving destinations in the Philippines. Discover colorful corals in this part of the country.
Do you want to see one of the most elusive sharks in the world; the Thresher Sharks? You could catch a glimpse of them in Monad Shoal. However, this isn’t the only thing you will see in Malapascua you can also see eagle rays and devil rays, sea horses, frogfish, blue-ringed octopus, shrimps, and many more.
You can see the Thresher Sharks before sunrise about 4 or 5 AM. December to May are also great months to see sharks, rays, and small creatures like octopus, seahorses, and shrimps.
Prepare your cameras for great macro shots while you are muck diving in Anilao. Muck diving is when you go down at the bottom of the sea and see tiny or elusive creatures. Discover life under the sea, and it will truly take your breath away.
Dive with the turtles and see the amazing coral gardens. See about 500 plus sea slugs, shrimps, and worms. There are also rare types like sea horses, frogfish, and stonefish. Anilao is genuinely one of the best scuba diving destinations in the Philippines.
October to May are great months to dive in Anilao with summertime being the most crowded.
Suggested Liveaboard Dive Trip: Dolphin Liveaboard, Philippines
Apo Reef, Occidental Mindoro
On the waters near the Mindoro strait is the most extensive coral reef system of the country, Apo Reef. It is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the Philippines and soon to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After scuba diving or snorkeling, you can also enjoy the beautiful islands that surround it.
See triggerfish, giant napoleons, and mantas when you dive in the crystal waters. You might also find baby sharks near the shores. The corals and other creatures like starfishes and sea cucumbers are stunning and colorful, as well.
During the summer, April, and May, those are great months to scuba dive in the Apo Reef. You might swim with Manta Rays too.
Want to see wrecks from the world war? Coron is the place to go. This place is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the Philippines especially those who want to see wrecks. You can also go to a Cathedral cave too.
See Japanese Ships like the Morazan Maru with the boilers and engine room still undamaged, the Okikawa Maru and Iraku Maru with gishes like jacks, lionfish, batfish, snapper fish and barracudas swimming there. It’s just like you are in a creepy underwater movie or discovering the titanic.
You can go anytime; however, December to May are high seasons; clear waters and clear skies.
Suggested Liveaboard Dive Trip: Atlantis Azores, Philippines
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
At the heart of the Coral Triangle, is Puerto Galera offering scuba divers many diving points, including the Canyons, Sinadigan Wall, San Agapito Point, and many more. There are not only diverse marine lives but also wrecks from World War II.
See schools of fishes like barracudas, groupers, and jacks. There are sea snakes, sharks, and turtles too. Enjoy the beautiful corals, you want to take endless pictures of them and a sunken Japanese patrol boat. This place is indeed one of the best scuba diving destinations in the Philippines.
For more transparent waters and calm sea conditions, dive from April to September.
Suggested Liveaboard Dive Trip: Atlantis Azores, Philippines
See the famous sardine run in Moalboal. Every day, millions of sardines pass by to get food. Though, not as many as the one in South Africa, seeing a lot of them is a sight to behold, which makes this one of the best scuba diving destinations in the Philippines.
There are also other marine lives in Moalboal like colorful corals, whale sharks, and dolphins too. Sea turtles are there too, making the islands as their home. There is also an underwater cave that you will absolutely love.
You can see the sardines all-year-round. However, you might want to visit during the dry or sunny season from November to May.
You will love coming to the Philippines as we have crystal waters and abundant marine life. We have listed the best scuba diving destinations in the Philippines and hope you could dive into at least one. You will not regret coming here, swimming with the sea creatures or seeing the wrecks, or witnessing the beauty of the sea kingdom. It will indeed be an adventure of a lifetime.
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