The Philippines – Historic wrecks, superb coral reefs and magnificent muck diving
Overview of diving in the Philippines
The Philippines is a fabulous country made up of over 7000 islands making for endless diving opportunities. Diving in the Philippines is extremely varied and each island will have something that appeals to a certain type of diver. Beautiful coral reefs can be explored such as those at Apo Island, while sandy muck diving sites at Siquijor and Dumaguette can be searched for weird and wonderful macro critters. Wreck divers will love the historic WWII wrecks at Coron and Subic Bay and pelagic species such as the elusive thresher shark can be spotted at the island of Malapascu.
Best dive sites in the Philippines
The superb coral reefs around Apo Island are some of the best in the Philippines. Sea snakes and turtles cruise gracefully through them, while big balls of jackfish can form. Definitely a dive site not to be missed.
An area of the Philippines that is rapidly growing in diving popularity, Coron Bay has a large array of amazing dive sites. From over a dozen superb WWII wrecks to choose from, to the incredible Barracuda and Kayangan Lakes and an array of great reef dives, Coron Bay has something to please every diver.
A muck divers dream, Dauin has a superb array of muck dive sites which hide a vast array of wonderful macro species. Nudibranchs, frogfish, cuttlefish, octopus, eels, stonefish, pipefish, leaffish and seahorses are just a small selection of the huge diversity of species you can find.
Famous for it’s thresher shark sightings, the Monad Shoal dive site is one of the best dive sites in the world for spotting these elusive sharks. Malapascua also has a range of other great dive sites, with superb corals and macro life.
A mix of wall and reef dive sites, Siquijor is also a great place for spotting tiny macro subjects. Night dives are highly popular here and offer a chance to see species that hideaway during the day.
Dive reports from the Philippines
Dive site reports and useful information from our scuba diving and freediving trip to the Philippines
Apo Island is a small island situated off the coast of Negro island. The waters around the island are dedicated as a marine reserve, protected by the National Integrated Protected Area Act (NIPA). The coral reefs around the island are spectacular and habitat to a large diversity and abundance of marine life.
Coron Bay is famous for its wrecks, with over a dozen Imperial Japanese Navy ships from WWII sunk in its the waters . The other main attraction are the spectacular limestone lakes, three of which are connected to sea. These lakes have a mixture of fresh and salt water, with sharp temperature changes around the 15m depth mark. Combined with fantastic beaches and scenery, Coron is a must for any divers bucket list.
The coast between Dumaguete and Dauin has popular muck diving sites which attracts avid underwater photographers. Frogfish, seahorses, nudibranchs and may other weird and wonderful species can be found, with plenty of resorts with eagle eyed dive guides ready to find them for you!
Oslob is all about whale sharks, with almost guaranteed sightings. This has resulted from years of the local fishermen feeding the sharks to keep them in the area. It is possible to both dive and snorkel at this site.
How to get to the Philippines
The Philippines has many international connections, particularly within Asia. There are several non stop flights from North America, Europe and Australia however most flyers will require a stop over in one of the major Asian airport hubs such as Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpa.
Capital City International Airport Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL)
Best time to dive the Philippines
Diving in the Philippines is great all year round with warm sea temperatures above 27°C. Certain times of year may result in better conditions and visibility such as the dry season between January to May, when air temperatures are cooler and rainfall is less. A 3mm wetsuit is recommended during the dry season to keep warm while diving, while during the rainy season a rash vest will be sufficient.
Water Temperature 27° to 30°C
Visibility 10m to 30m+
Useful information when travelling to the Philippines
Time Zone UTC + 8 hours
Currency Philippine Peso (PHP)
Electricity 220 V
Plug Socket A, B, C
Language Filipino, English
Calling Code +63
Our dive trip to Philippines
Our trip to the Philippines is one of our most memorable diving trips. Our first stop was at Coron Bay to explore the historic WWII ships sunk there. There are over a dozen huge Japanese wrecks sunk in Coron Bay, some 170m in length. The limestone fresherwater lakes at Coron are also awesome to freedive in. We experienced our first taste of muck diving in Dumaguete, seeing all sorts of weird and wonderful critters. Meanwhile on Cebu we were able to freedive with whale sharks, the oceans largest fish. Finally at Apo Island dived on coral reefs that rival any dive site we have been to before.
You can find out more about the dive sites we visited in our dive reports.