The Philippines is among the best scuba diving destinations in the world. This 7,107 island country is located right at the middle of the coral triangle, and offers some of the best dives you can possibly find. Because of that, 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 also possible to dive in the Philippines all year round. Whether you’re new to diving or an expert diver, make the Philippines the destination for your next vacation.
Our Most Popular Diving Tour Packages
|Bohol / El Nido / Cebu / Boracay|
|Professional training in fun environment, lifetime certification||Inquire Now|
|Bohol, Malapascua, and Palawan|
|Diving in the best locations, and enhance your skillset||Inquire Now|
|Apo Reef/ Tubbahata/ Visayas|
|Once in a life time experience in the best locations||Inquire Now|
The beginner’s package is best for people who never dived before, or only did introductory dives. In the beginners’ course you’ll get a good taste of scuba diving, and upon graduation you’ll be a professional diver with an international diving certificate. We only work with the most professional clubs to ensure your maximum safety and complete enjoyment. There is nothing worse than having to worry about personal safety or diving quality. We take great care that the courses are given in a fun and beautiful environment, and only by professional instructors with the newest equipment.
The full diving vacation package puts scuba at the center of your vacation. It includes the best sites in the Philippines, while maintaining high standards of accommodation, nightlife and tours. You can choose the pace, decide to take some days off diving and book inland tours instead. There are many locations in the Philippines that offer amazing dives, so changes are welcomed in the package offered above – you can add any other destination presented on this page. During your vacation you can also undergo further training, and we’ll adjust your schedule accordingly.
The luxury liveaboard safaris are for experienced divers only, as it requires some skills and technical knowledge. Also, you don’t want to commit to such a vacation without having similar experiences in the past. This is a unique holiday, a once in a lifetime experience, with the best scuba diving in the world. This kind of vacation is for people who truly have a passion for diving. Read below the designated section for liveaboard tours for more information.
Where to dive in the Philippines?
The Philippines is entirely situated in the coral triangle, the richest and most biodiverse ocean region on the planet. It’s home to more than 75% of the known coral species, 37% of the world’s reef fish and contains 30% of the entire world corals. It’s also home to 6 out of 7 of the marine turtles and many shark species, the Dugong, and a migration route for many large fish like manta, shark whales and whales.
On top of that, the Philippines was a naval battleground during most of WWII, between the Japanese Imperial Navy, and to U.S. Navy. Therefore there are plenty of shipwrecks from this period, out of which many lay in relatively shallow waters accessible for scuba divers.
For these reasons, anywhere you’ll visit in the Philippines you’ll find really good diving spots. However, there are places better than others. When you’re on a scuba diving vacation you want to take several factors under consideration: The quality of the dive sites and underwater environment, the infrastructure of the dive clubs and establishments on the island and the accessibility of the destination. These all play a key role in determining the best place for you to dive at.
Palawan is one of the top destinations in the Philippines, with great diving as well, making it a must for your diving vacation. All major destinations like El Nido, Coron and Puerto Princesa are really good for all levels, and are spectacular both underwater and inland.
Bacuit Bay in El Nido offers calm water all year round, and great coral reefs, reef and pelagic fish, and macro. Puerto Princesa offers about the same, but El Nido is better still with more dive sites to choose from. Coron and the Calamianes Islands are the best place in the Philippines for wreck diving. Some of the WWII wreck dives are for advanced divers only but many are in water shallow enough for beginner 1 star PADI divers as well.
Boracay is perhaps the most popular destination in the Philippines, rivaled only by El Nido. Though diving in Boracay isn’t considered the best in the Philippines, it still offers world class diving, with pretty cool dive sites. If your vacation is short and restricted to Boracay, we do encourage you to book some dives and even a scuba diving course if you’re new to the sport. The aquatic life in Boracay is bountiful, and there are two advanced diving sites Yapak 1 and Yapak 2, where white and black tip sharks sighting are frequent.
Cebu Island is another diver’s paradise. Mactan is a great place to start as there is rich marine life in Mactan and the surrounding islands. You can also fine some of the best dive clubs in the Philippines there. Other notable diving sites are in Moalboal and Malapascua. Moalboal is mostly known for the sardine run, and Malapascua is probably one of the best islands to dive in the Philippines because of Monad Shoal and the frequent thresher shark sightings. Both have much more than that waiting for you, so check out our detailed Cebu guide.
Bohol Island is also highly popular among tourists, and one of the best diving destinations in the Philippines. It is one of the oldest diving centers in the country, with highly professional dive clubs and state of the art gear. Even snorkeling is wonderful in Bohol. Panglao is known for turtles, dolphins, mantas, reef sharks and more pelagic fish. It is also known for the great wall dives and macro dives. Diving in Bohol is a must when visiting the island. Diving in the neighboring islands of Siquijor and Oslob is also possible from Panglao.
There are many amazing dive sites around Manila, all worth a day trip or even an overnight stay. One of them is Subic Bay, which offers plenty of world-class wreck dives. At Subic you can find American and Japanese WW2 sunken ships and airplanes. It makes for a perfect quick getaway from manila, where you can go back in time to witness a fragment of history.
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. this place 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.
The best way to experience scuba diving the Philippines is by going on a liveaboard diving trip. For some places, it’s also the only way you could even visit. Anyone who is a certified scuba diver can join a liveaborad trip, though if you have a PADI’s 2 stars certification you can ingage in much more interesting dives.
The trips are between 5 to 10 nights, on luxurious diving designated boats. The cabins are for 2-3 people, so if you join these tours alone, you will be sharing the cabin with fellow divers. It is the best way to thoroughly explore all the best spots in Apo Reef and many premium diving spots in the Visayas region. It is also the only way to visit and dive in Tubbahata Reef. All liveaboard safari trips include: 4 dives per day, guides, nitrox, 3 meals a day, snacks, soft drinks, beer, and land transfers. Liveaboard packages should be booked ahead of time, and can’t be booked upon arrival.
The Visayas region has many dive sites, which are accessible from the many nearby islands, but it will require many transfers between them. It will also require changing the clubs you’re diving with frequently. If diving is your main priority during your stay in the Philippines, you’re sure to get the most on a liveaboard tour that will cover Malapascua, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Dumaguete, and Apo Island.
Apo Reef is accessible from San Jose, Mindoro, but a much more convenient and luxurious way to dive there is by a liveaboard package from Coron, Palawan. It is the best diving safari in the Philippines only second to Tubbahata Reef. Unlike Tubbahata, Apo Reef is also suitable for beginners (after certification, and better to have at least 20 logged dives).
Tubbahata is the place every serious diver who travels to the Philippines should aim to dive in. This protected area has no less than: 360 different coral and 600 fish species, 11 sharks and 13 whales and dolphins, 6 sea turtles, mantas and nudibranchs. You can say the Tubbahata Reef has it all, and lots of it. Because of strong currents it is recommended for experts only. If you are a very experienced diver, liveaboard in Tubbahata is a once in a lifetime experience.
As mentioned before, there’s an endless list of diving spots in the Philippines, some of which are known only to locals. Some of these places were already mentioned in the section above, as part of a liveaboard package. Many of these off the chart destinations are perfect for divers who want to dive in sites that are underwater paradises, but still unaffected by excess diving.
Apo Island is a place just like that. It offers excellent diving in its marine surroundings. The fact that except for diving there is nothing else to do on the island. is what gives Apo is special charm. We think it magnifies the experience, but it’s not for everyone, so visit our Apo Island guide for more information. Dauin in Dumaguete is also very close geographically and comparable to Apo Island, but much less basic.
Camiguin Island is home to some of the most unique dives in the Philippines. This small island is composed of 7 active volcanos. Evidence of these volcanic eruptions’ are easily noticeable when diving. In some dive sites the sand is black, there are traces of hardened lava, and there’s even a sunken cemetery to explore. One of the famous spots is the underwater walls of the old volcano which last erupted in 1953.
Romblon is another secluded place worth visiting for its diving. The Blue hole of Romblon is the main attraction. after descending its 35 meters, you will see nudibranchs and shrimps and other macros, and even some sharks if you’re lucky. There are other secret dive sites in Romblon that will strike you with awe. contact us if you wish to add Romblon to your scuba diving package.
The diving scene in Camotes Islands has started to develop pretty recently. You can expect exquisite diving in an area full of raw nature, most of which haven’t been thoroughly explored yet. You’re certain to be among the first to ever dive in Camotes Islands’ waters.
Diving instruction and training
All of the dive shops and schools we work with are run by a foreign management, and foreign instructors. These establishments have the most professional personnel, and the most updated and high quality equipment and gear. All of the shops offer instruction in English, as well as multiple other languages. If you’re language specific, please mention it to us in your application. Booking a diving vacation package through us will take the pressure away, and you’ll have the best vacation guaranteed. Just relax and let us plan everything for you.
From complete novices to the most advanced divers, we have something to offer all. We can arrange for all level of training and certifications in the destinations most suitable for you. The Philippines is exceptional for training as there’s a great variety of dives, and most places have sites that have both the perfect learning conditions for beginners, and amazing underwater scenery. Unlike other countries, such as Thailand for example, the Philippines’ underwater environment still remains unspoiled and uncrowded. Also, for the same reasons, the instruction in the Philippines is personal and attentive, and not a production line for divers.
Because of these conditions, and the remarkable marine environment, we encourage anybody who visits the Philippines (and doesn’t suffer from a limiting medical condition) to dive. If you love snorkeling, this is the time to take it to next level with scuba diving training. An open water course is 3-4 days long, and you’ll learn the essential skills required for scuba diving: correct use of weights, snorkel, oxygen tank, BCD (buoyancy control device), and the proper way to clear your mask. You will also learn basic sign language for underwater communication, the physics of diving, safety and emergency regulations.
For these reasons a beginner’s package is suitable for any length of vacation, and can be done in destinations you already plan to visit, thus not restricting your holiday. On the contrary, this is an experience that enhances your vacation greatly, and much more enjoyable when done with a partner or a group of friends or family members. Booking a family package, or joining a group tour can also significantly reduce costs – we offer substantial discounts for such services.
We always schedule the beginner’s packages at the start of the vacation, so if you’ll find diving really fun, you could book more dives later on. If you start your beginners package and find it’s not for you for any reason, only a partial sum will be charged and you will be refunded. Most people find diving enjoyable, but if you’re in doubt you can always book an introductory dive, to get the feel of diving before you commit to a course.
The advanced open water course, or the PADI’s 2 stars certification take only one or two additional days to complete, and therefore many people choose to take it immediately after the beginners’ course. It consists of 5 dives in total, and includes a night dive, a navigational dive, and deep dives. It will immensely enhance your scuba diving skills, and the certification will allow you to explore notable dive sites like Monad Shoal (thresher sharks), the wreck dives of Coron, and other deep dives right after.
For certified divers, we offer packages that include fun and diverse dives, and any advanced training they wish to undertake. From Nitrox certification (stay underwater for prolonged time up to 30 meters), dive master and instructor level, to TEC diving courses. Some of the schools we work with even teach free diving to compliment your skill set. If you are interested in the higher levels of training it’s better to contact us directly and tell us what exactly you’re looking for, so we can find you the best fit.
Diving in the Philippines according to the seasons
The climate in the Philippines is tropical, hot and humid. The water temperature lie between 22°C (72°F) to 30°C (86°F) according to seasons, so it might get a little chilly underwater during winter, and very warm during summer. Rain is also frequent, but it hardly affects the underwater conditions. Diving is available all year round, so read on for more information about the seasonal changes and their effects. Also keep in mind that the season might vary slightly from year to year and place to place, so it’s better to read first about any island you’re planning to dive in.
November to February is the dry and cool season, and that’s when the temperatures drop. In the central regions of the Philippines the water stays a little warmer and usually don’t go below 26°C (78°F). The cool temperatures also attract bigger fish like giant mantas and sharks, and the visibility is also very good most of the time.
Spring is from late February to May, and temperatures are more moderate at this time. The sea is at its calmest at this time, and that’s when it’s most diversified. There are plenty of small fish and critters, octopi and sea snakes, and the mating season. Malapascua for instance is known for its macro dives during spring, where you can see mating squids, a truly remarkable sight. During this season manta and devil rays are also present.
Summer, or the wet season, is June to October, and it’s also the typhoon season. The weather in the northern part of the country (Manila and Palawan included) is unpredictable, and makes traveling around and diving problematic. Therefore at this time of the year it’s highly advised to visit and dive in Central Visayas, the central part of the Philippines, as the typhoons barely affect this region. The visibility at this time is the best of all seasons, the water is warm and the marine life is the most bountiful, with many pelagic and reef fish.
The Philippines is the perfect scuba 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? It offers the best diving you can expect, in many virgin dive sites, unlike places like Thailand and Bali.
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 vacation package. To decide which destination is most suitable, you can go to each island’s individual page, and learn all necessary information.