The Philippines is among the best scuba diving destinations in the world. This 7,107 island country is fully located in the coral triangle, and is home to some of the best dive sites you can possibly find. Because of its unique location, every island in the Philippines offer really amazing and unique dives.
Dives in the Philippines cater to all type of scuba divers, from novice to expert. Thanks to its corals, fauna and flora, or wreck diving, the variety the Philippines has to offer is endless. Due to the warm tropical weather, it is possible to dive in the Philippines all year round. Whether you’re new to diving and want to get your certification, or an expert diver, make the Philippines the destination for your next diving vacation.
Extreme liveboard package
- Locations : Palawan, Tubbataha and Apo reefs
- Includes : Transfers, Food and drinks, Personal tour guides
- Duration : At least 10 days
- Dives available : Coral reefs, Wreck diving, Underwater caves
- Pros : Best dive sites, unique adventure and attractions, flexible itinerary
Best places to dive in the Philippines
Located in the coral triangle, options for diving in the Philippines seem endless. There are so many great places to dive in, that you might need some help getting the picture right. We advise you add many destinations to your package in order to maximize your vacation, but you can choose to concentrate in one place or area, where there are enough diving spots to fill your whole schedule.
Often named the last frontier of the Philippines, Palawan offers beautiful world-class dives. When you head for the jungles and distant coasts, keep in mind to book your dives in advance, especially in the high season.
Coron, the capital of northern Palawan is synonymous with wreck diving. Coron was a major marine battlefield between the US and Imperial Japan during WW2, and it’s filled with plenty of spectacular wreck dives. It is also home to plenty of coral reefs and marine critters, so it’s one of the best places to go diving.
El Nido is home to one of the world’s most diverse and unique marine ecosystems. There is also the famous underwater tunnel discovered in the early 90’s, which is 35-40 meters long – Recommended only for experienced and adventurous divers. Diving in El-Nido is a great way to experience some of the top beaches and islands in the world by land and undersea. Many people fall in love with this gem and its stunning beaches, so why not have a taste of its fantastic underwater world as well.
Palawan is also your way to get to Tubbahata reef, a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a pristine, protected underwater park of a 97,030 hectares of coral reefs. It is only reachable by boat, in a liveaboard style. Anything you want to see underwater, you can see it there. There are roughly 450 species of fish and 11 different species of sharks. You can encounter whale sharks, manta rays, silky sharks and a lot more!
If you wanted to combine many Islands in one diving vacation, Cebu is a great place to do so. There are so many spectacular dive sites around this island. Malapascua for instance, offers plenty of great dives, and is mostly known for Monad Shoal, where you can dive with thresher sharks any time of the year. Moalboal is home to the giant shoals of sardines, which makes for a unique underwater sight. Donsol on the southern tip of the island of Cebu is a town where you can most certainly encounter a whale shark.
Cebu is also a gateway to many other Visayas destinations you should consider including in your diving package. Boracay is probably on your itinerary anyways, but not many tourists associate the island with diving, and it’s a shame. Only a short boat ride and you are in Yapak, with its deep walls (starting at 40 meters deep!) that go all the way to 70 meters. Yapak is one of the best dive site of the Philippines, and if you’re lucky you can even get a glimpse of some bigger fish like hammerheads, whitetips, giant trevallies and more.
Bohol is the gateway to Pamilacan and Balicasag Islands, where you can spot mantas, dolphins and some species of whales. Heck, if you’re lucky you might spot a blue whale! Bohol is also full of luxury resorts and world-class dive clubs. It is also neighboring some smaller and more exotic islands, and can be your gateway towards them, making for a diverse diving trip.
Apo Island is one of these, where you can dive with the friendliest turtles there are. Accessible from Dumaguete city, Apo is a bit spartan. There are only three hours of electricity a day, and only a few restaurants to choose from, but it makes up for it with amazing diving sites, and its simplicity. It’s also a great place for macros!
most prevalent for diving, if you’re willing to endure the ferry ride from Bohol (or just take a flight), is Camiguin – known for its pristine reefs in front of Maldives-like islands. You will be diving around the walls of a volcano that actually gave birth to the island. The fact that the whole island is a group of volcanoes, makes it a truly unusual place to dive in. Camiguin is really worth the time for any of you nature lovers out there.
Another escape from Manila is Anilao in Batangas, just a 2 hours bus ride from the capital. It offers you almost what Puerto Galera can, but is much more accessible from the city. It is a perfect spot for weekend getaways, or for people who are in the Philippines for a very limited amount of time.
Puerto Galera is also among the top dive spots in the Philippines. It’s a laidback town with extremely rich marine life and corals. The visibility is good all year round, and should be considered even for people who aren’t based in Manila. This place is known for its underwater canyons, corals, drift dives and pelagic fish watching. It’s also a good starting point for those who wish to experience a one of a kind destination for diving, also in Mindoro Island, which is Apo reef (not to be confused with Apo Island).
Puerto Galera is also a good place to train in diving, for both beginners and veterans. Puerto Galera has been a well known secret among divers who live in Asia, not only for the richness it offers, but also because of its professional dive schools and clubs.
Philippines diving essentials
We are always here to answer any question you might have, and offer free advice. Our diving package tours have been created with your needs in mind, to make sure you get the full service required to enjoy your vacation.
The best time to dive in the Philippines
The recommended time to dive in the Philippines is between October to June, the dry season. However, you can dive at any time of the year, because rain interferes very little when it comes to diving, and the water temperature is always between 24 °C and 30 °C. During the wet season the dive sites tend to be quieter, so many divers actually prefer that.
When the weather is stormy and windy, it is better to dive in Visayas center and western parts. Because it’s located in the middle of the archipelago and protected by the surrounding islands. Try to avoid Christian holidays and the Chinese New Year, in order to escape the masses of tourists. Every touristic destination, including diving oriented spots, tend to be overly crowded.
Top 5 dive sites in the Philippines
- Tubbahata reef is one of the best diving destinations in the world. It’s only for the hardcore divers who will spend a couple of days living on a boat in order to explore the wonders of Tubbahata.
- Don’t forget to dive back in time in Coron, Palawan and witness the historic remains of the US and imperial Japanese navies battling each other in the pacific during WW2!
- When in Boracay, don’t be afraid to wash last night’s drinks with some diving. Boracay has one of the best wall-diving sites in the Philippines, where you can see sharks, barracudas, turtles and more.
- Apo reef is one secluded place, but it’s considered by many as the “mini Tubbahata”. If you’re adventurous by nature, consider this unexplored destination which is full of surprises.
- Stare into the abyss through the blue hole of Romblon. Dive through the sink hole to a depth of 35 meters and enter a tunnel at the end of it. There is a great chance you will see some sharks resting on the bottom.
Diving lessons and training
So you want to dive but don’t have the certification? The Philippines is one of the best places in the world to get certified. Its unique location in the coral triangle, the world-class dive sites and resorts, the country being fairly affordable, and the fact that everyone speaks English, all makes it ideal for anyone who’d like to get his diving license.
In our opinion, Bohol makes a true paradise for scuba training. Bohol has been one of the diving veterans of the Philippines, and features a lot of highly advanced diving schools. Combine that with the lovely beaches, richness of inland activities, and a variety of high-class resorts, and it makes Bohol a perfect spot to learn how to dive.
While learning how to dive in Bohol, you will not feel you compromise your vacation in order to try diving. Plus, Bohol is very close to a lot of amazing destinations in the Visayas region, both for diving and not. Kick start your scuba diving training by booking our “learn how to dive” package, and discover scuba diving in Bohol and other top destinations in the Philippines.
We can coordinate a diving themed vacation for your group, or add you to a group with other beginners. It is also possible to incorporate you certification to any travel plan you had in mind.
Equipment and logistics
Getting to the dive sites in the Philippines is easy thanks to the many flights, ferries and buses available. Insurance is also a good idea, because diving is an extreme sport and accidents may happen. If you are not covered by your regular travel insurance think about buying a policy that does cover you.
Equipment should not worry you because the standard of dive clubs in the Philippines is very high. If you already own diving equipment, bring it with you. There is nothing better than equipment that fits you perfectly, and it make it cheaper. But if you don’t have any, you will get the chance to rent equipment in the dive clubs.
In any case, we advise you bring a snorkel and a mask. You will need it for snorkeling many times over your trip, and the locals charge more than reasonable prices. Even if you don’t have it, it will be worth it to buy one.
The Philippines is the perfect diving vacation
It doesn’t matter if you are an expert or a beginner, the Philippines has a lot to offer. Dive in the most beautiful dive sites in the world, or alternatively, get certified in them. Where else in the world can you do that in a friendly environment, with world class 5 star Padi resorts?
Aside from the packages presented in this page, most coastal destinations in the Philippines can offer good diving. Even if you’re not on a diving oriented vacation, you can still incorporate some underwater fun into your travel plans, and add it to your custom made package. To decide which destination is most suitable, you can go to each island’s individual page, and learn all necessary information. Whether you prefer luxury dive resorts on private Palawan islands, or the simpler pleasures of life at Apo Island, the Philippines has so much to give you.