4 Unique Scuba Diving Sites in the Philippines
Coron. Photo by ThePoorTraveler.Net
By Hannah Logan
With over 7,000 islands, the Philippines has made a name for itself as a tropical paradise for anyone looking for sun, sand, and clear blue waters. But, as alluring as those world-renowned beaches are, scuba divers will be the first to tell you that the real magic of the Philippines lies below the waves.
The Philippines is located in what is known as the ‘Coral Triangle’; an area that contains more marine life than anywhere in the world. To give you an idea, the Coral Triangle is home to more than 600 species of coral and 2,000 species of fish. Add on that the waters are accessible (and warm) year round, and you’ve got yourself a paradise for any scuba diver.
The Philippines is full of incredible dive sites; whether you are interested in coral reefs, muck dives, or spots in the blue famous for sighting pelagic fish, scuba diving in the Philippines offers something for everyone. You could spend a lifetime here and still not see it all. So, for those who only have a couple of weeks to catch a glimpse of this incredible underwater world, these easily accessible dive sites should not be missed.
Coron is a small town on the top tip of Palawan; best known for the WWII Japanese shipwrecks that lie in the depths of the surrounding waters. There are twelve wrecks to explore, many of which can be penetrated. The wrecks have also become artificial reefs, attracting plenty of marine life. Don’t miss Akitshuma, Morazan, and Irako wrecks.
Recommended Certification: Advanced Open Water. Bonus: Wreck Specialty
Getting there: Fly to Busuanga airport from Manila and take a shuttle bus one hour to Coron town.
Malapascua Island. Photo by OceanIslandTravel.com
2. Malapascua Island
Malapascua is famous for thresher sharks. This species, which lives in the deep, can frequently be seen in the early mornings around the now world famous dive site, Monad Shoal. Sightings are not guaranteed, but most people get lucky. The key is to be calm and quiet because the sharks are shy creatures. Be sure to watch for manta rays here as well.
Recommended Certification: Advanced Open Water and above
Getting there: The closest airport is Mactan-Cebu airport. From the airport, make your way into Cebu City and take a bus from the North Bus Terminal to Maya (four hours). From Maya, take a boat to Malapascua Island (thirty minutes).
Sardine run in Moalboal. Photo by Hannah Logan.
The biggest draw to scuba diving in Moalboal is the sardine run. A giant bait ball made up of hundreds of thousands of shimmering sardines that move together as a ribbon just off the shores of Panagsama Beach, only 20 minutes from Moalboal Town. The event takes place every afternoon throughout the year and is an incredible experience to witness.
Recommended Certification: Open Water and above (you can snorkel it as well)
Getting There: From Cebu City, take a bus across the island to Moalboal (2.5 hours)
A turtle sighting in Apo Island. Photo by Hannah Logan
4. Apo Island
What makes Apo Island so special is that it is probably the most successful marine reserve in the Philippines. Among the protected inhabitants here are a seemingly endless number of sea turtles. The best part? Because they are safe in a sanctuary, the turtles are comfortable enough around humans that they will get incredibly close.
Recommended Certification: Open Water and above
Getting There: The closest airport is Dumaguete. From Dumaguete you can hire a tricycle to take you to Dauin (1 hour). From Dauin, you can reach Apo Island by boat as a day trip, or chose to stay on the island itself.
Without a doubt, diving the Philippines is a must for any scuba addict.
Coral Triangle: https://www.worldwildlife.org/places/coral-triangle
Malapascua Island: https://divezone.net/diving/malapascua-island
+ personal experience 🙂