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5 Dive Spots In The Philippines For Your Next Getaway

Apo Island. Photo Courtesy of Scott Gutsy Tuason

These world-renowned diving locations are not to be missed.

These days, diving is a sought-after recreational sport—even big-name celebrities like James Cameron and Salma Hayek are fans. Marine hobbies are especially popular in tropical countries like the Philippines, where the weather allows for it all year round. 

The Philippines is, in fact, home to some of the best dive spots in the world. This fact is in part due to the archipelagic nature of our country, which provides us with an abundance of shorelines and small islands teeming with pristine reefs and flourishing marine life. Another reason unknown to many is that the Philippines sits within the Coral Triangle, which holds over 75% of the world’s coral species and thousands of varieties of marine turtles and fish.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to dip your toes in or an experienced diver searching for the holy grail, there will be something for you in Philippine waters. To narrow down your search, here are five of the best diving spots in the Philippines. 

1/5

Anilao 

Anilao. Photo Courtesy of Scott Gutsy Tuason

Anyone looking for a comprehensive diving location suitable for any skill level needs to head to Anilao, Batangas. This barangay on the southwest tip of Luzon is known as the birthplace of scuba diving in the Philippines, where the very first dive resorts and operations were established in the ’60s.

In Anilao alone, divers can visit around 50 gorgeous dive spots—some of which can be accessed right from shore while some require a boat. All of this is just a couple of hours away from Manila’s central business district, making it one of the most accessible locations to get to.

2/5

Moalboal

Moalboal. Photo Courtesy of Scott Gutsy Tuason

If someone said that you could be swimming among several million fish just meters from the shore, would you believe them? In Moalboal, Cebu, such a dream exists. The dive spot is home to massive schools of sardines that hang around right by the shore of Pangsama beach the entire year. History buffs can even make their way to the famous Airplane Wreck dive spot, which was sunk there for divers in the early ’90s. There’s also no shortage of coral life in the area, which is home to even more vibrant marine ecosystems.

3/5

Apo Island

Apo Island. Photo Courtesy of Scott Gutsy Tuason

For snorkelers and divers alike, Apo Island is not to be missed. Just 17 kilometers from Dumaguete City, this marine sanctuary is home to around a thousand varieties of corals and fishes. In fact, it’s one of the few places visitors can partake in the surreal experience of being able to see and swim with sea turtles in water as shallow as chest deep. It’s possible to book accommodations on Apo Island itself, but due to limited electricity supply, most visitors stay in either Dumaguete or Siquijor, and just make a day trip out of it.

4/5

Tubbataha Reef

Tubbataha. Photo Courtesy of Scott Gutsy Tuason

Situated in the middle of the Sulu sea, Tubbataha Reef can be considered an Elysium for hardcore marine enthusiasts since getting there is no easy trek. 10 hours away from land, the only way to see it is to take a liveaboard boat from Puerto Princesa, Palawan. And it’s only possible to visit between March and June due to weather conditions.

For those with a deep passion for the ocean, the voyage is worth it. The reef, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, spans over 1,300 kilometers and houses nearly half of all known coral species in the world. Additionally, divers from all over come to see the array of shark species the reef has to offer. 

5/5

Balikasag

Balicasag. Photo Courtesy of Scott Gutsy Tuason

Right off the bat, Balikasag Island looks like nothing out of the ordinary. It’s a typical paradise in the tropics, in which there are no shortages of in the Philippines. However, like many things in life, beauty and magic lie below the surface. 

The area is a marine reserve protected by the government. There are a total of six dive spots on the island, each is as crystal clear and teeming with marine life as the next. Divers are treated to an abundance of pristine coral, fish, and sea turtles. 

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