Scuba Diving Philippines: The Best Dive Spots

scuba diving philippines
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Imagine yourself submerged in an underwater paradise of colorful coral architecture, surrounded by schools of fish. 

Welcome to scuba diving Philippines style!

The Philippines has hundreds of amazing dive sites, from historic wrecks to remarkable drift dive spots, for you to explore. 

If you’re planning a trip there, then we’re already jealous.

We’ve put together our list of must-visit spots in the Philippines and hope you have as much fun as we did exploring them.

Scuba Diving Philippines: Best Dive Spots

The Philippines sits in the Western Pacific ocean and is made up of over 7,000 islands, giving it one of the longest coastlines in the world. 

They border Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, and Indonesia to the south.

With so many fantastic dive sites to choose from, it took us a while to whittle down our list to our top four. 

The first site is for more experienced and hard-core divers due to its location, but the other three are more easily accessible for everyone to enjoy.

1. Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park

You’ll reach the Tubbataha Marine Park after a 12-hour sail out into the Sulu Sea from Puerto Princesa in Palawan. 

Only accessible between March and June, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famed for its large reef shark sightings. 

Being a pretty remote reef diving site, it does require a liveaboard commitment, but the oval reef walls make it well worth the trip.

We’d recommend that you take at least a week in order to visit them all. 

The area boasts over 600 species of fish, 360 types of coral, 13 different species of whale and dolphin, and six shark varieties.

Amos Rock is found on Tubbataha’s North Reef and is among one of our favorite dive spots in the world. 

The wall there is covered with gorgonian fans and other soft corals, and you’ll see enormous schools of fish and impressively large reef sharks.

Since 2015, there has also been a considerable increase in whale shark sightings. 

If you’re lucky you’ll have a chance to swim with this magnificent beast, on its way to feeding grounds elsewhere in the Philippines.

2. Anilao: Verde Island Passage

In contrast to Tubbataha, Anilao is just three hours drive from Manila, making it an extremely convenient dive spot to visit, even on a short trip to the Philippines. 

Divers flock to Anilao for the incredible biodiversity that can be found here, as Verde Island Passage is arguably the richest and most diverse area in the Philippines. 

You’ll find a massive variety of fish, rich and diverse reefs, and countless critters.

Anilao offers many different types of dive, including seamounts, shipwrecks, and stunning coral gardens. 

You can expect to see large schools of jacks, and if you’re lucky, giant seahorses and the occasional turtle can be spotted. 

It also plays host to some seriously great muck diving that, arguably rivaling muck dives found in Indonesia, and it’s also one of our favorite spots to night dive.

Manit Muck, also known as Secret Bay, is just one of many fantastic muck-dive sites in this area that you shouldn’t miss. 

You’ll spot mantis shrimp, nudibranchs, frogfish, scorpionfish, wonderpus octopus, and pipefish, among others.

Don’t pass up the chance to dive this spot at night when it truly comes to life.

3. Coron Bay, Palawan

If you can’t get enough of wreck diving, then head over to Coron Bay, located on the northern tip of the island of Palawan.

In September 1944, USA bombers sunk a Japanese supply fleet hidden there, which has given rise to the best wreck diving in all of Southeast Asia. 

There are at least half a dozen dive sites you can head out to with relative ease from Coron Bay shore.

If you have limited time, then we suggest you start with Okikawa Maru, which is a 525-foot tanker. 

If you have more time, then also check out the Kogyo Maru and Taiei Maru wrecks. 

The top of the Okikawa Maru structure sits at just 32 feet below the surface, making it a great wreck dive for all abilities, but be aware that there are sometimes strong currents.

The nutrient-rich waters, full of plankton, make the visibility a bit on the murky side, but they also have turbo-fueled life with corals, invertebrates, and tons of fish around every corner. 

Team that with exploring the huge wartime vessels themselves, each with notable characteristics and interesting artifacts, and you’re in wreck-diving heaven.

Also worth a visit is Barracuda Lake, for alien-like underwater world experience!

4. Puerto Galera

The final dive site we decided to include on this shortlist is Puerto Galera since it offers a huge variety of dive sites, also really easily accessible from Manila. 

Just across the Verde Island Passage, Puerto Galera offers crystal clear waters and abundant marine life. 

To give you an idea of the diversity found in this area, more than 800 species of nudibranchs alone have been identified in this area in the last 20 years!

The most popular dive site which you should put at the top of your list is the thoroughly exciting Canyons dive. 

As a diver, you get swept through three stunning canyons by the local currents, each covered in a wealth of soft corals and sea sponges.

You’ll see countless schools of fish including, batfish, barracuda, trevally, emperors, and snappers. 

You’ll find life crawling in literally every nook and cranny of these canyons, and this is another site that we’d recommend you take a night dive to.

Endless Philippines Fun

Scuba diving Philippines is certainly top on most divers' wish lists, but even after you fly into Manila, it’s so difficult to decide where to head next for your first dive! 

It would take years to explore all of the amazing sites the Philippines has to offer, so if it’s your first time, why don’t you try one of our top four recommended spots?

The Philippines has something for everyone, regardless of your diving experience or preferences. 

With so many sites to discover, you’re better off going sooner rather than later. 

We’re confident you’ll be going back time and time again to experience more of what this fascinating underwater world has to offer.

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