Philippines: 10 Scuba Diving Destinations You Can’t Miss Out On

Best Places to Go Scuba Diving in the Philippines

Colorful Coral Reef with Schools of Fish against Blue Water in Pescador Island photo via DepositPhotos

Best Scuba Diving Destinations in the Philippines

Whether it’s on land or underwater, it’s certainly more fun in the Philippines! If you’re a beginner, med, or advanced scuba driver, there are many reasons to visit this awesome country and the depths of its shores.

Philippines Top Scuba Diving Destinations
Philippines Top Scuba Diving Destinations

The Philippines has plenty of diving opportunities between its 7,641 islands. It’s also part of the coral triangle which means you’re guaranteed to see a lot of marine biodiversity below sea level. Now that you know all these, let’s dive into the best underwater destinations in the country.

Anilao, Batangas

Open up. A goby photographed by DOT Photographer of the Year Regie Casia, 1st Place, Compact Class Fish Portrait
Open up. A goby photographed by DOT Photographer of the Year Regie Casia, 1st Place, Compact Class Fish Portrait
Anilao Shootout by Marc Stephen De Leon
Anilao Shootout by Marc Stephen De Leon

Located just 3 hours from Manila, Anilao offers both a convenient and incredible diving experience. It is considered by many divers as the nudibranch capital of the Philippines because of the hundreds of extremely colorful nudibranchs rolling under its deep. The plentiful marine creatures in Anilao is a dream to many underwater photographers because they are guaranteed to get great shots of both common and rare species.

Although Anilao doesn’t have the best beach sand, its underwater world is unparalleled. The divers that will assist you are also highly skilled and well equipped. Divers who adapt were guided well despite the uncalm storms in Anilao are very thankful for their skilled guides. Beautiful, accessible, and safe waters—isn’t Anilao one of the best?

Monad Shoal, Malapascual Island

Red Lionfish - Scuba Diving Destinations Malapascua
Red Lionfish – Scuba Diving Destinations Malapascua

Many divers have fallen in love with this dive site in Malapascua Island. It is known around the world for being the home to many accommodating Thresher sharks and its 20-meter deep coral plateau. Since Thresher sharks are extremely timid, it is important to remain as silent as possible for a prolonged view. Even if you’re having a not so lucky shark day, you are guaranteed to see manta rays and frogfishes.

If the manta rays are inquisitive, they will be perusing you at a safe distance. Because of the beautiful reefs, the abundance of critters, and the frequent sighting of magnificent manta rays, Monad Shoal is one of the best diving sites in the Philippines. Make sure you’re camera ready because you can also expect to see batfishes, cuttlefishes, lionfishes, moray eels, mantis shrimps, octopuses, seahorses, and many more!

Medicare South, Southern Leyte

Sea anemone and clown fish in Southern Leyte photo via Deposit Photos
Sea anemone and clown fish in Southern Leyte photo via Deposit Photos

Hidden under the waters of Leyte is this diving spot named after a nearby hospital. Divers agree that October through December is the best diving months for almost perfect visibility! Expect your dive to start in the shallows as you descend into a garden of the most vibrant coral reefs!

Leyte is said to be the home to the most diverse hard and soft corals that come in different density. It is also common for sharks to come in for a good appearance. All of these make Medicare South a fantastic diving point!

Moalboal, Pescador Island

Colorful Coral Reef with Schools of Fish against Blue Water in Pescador Island photo via DepositPhotos
Colorful Coral Reef with Schools of Fish against Blue Water in Pescador Island photo via DepositPhotos

This famous dive site in Cebu has a quite tricky-to-pronounce name but surely has a lot to offer. Many divers are amazed by the gigantic sardine run that will appear many times in front of your eyes. Imagine seeing a building’s worth of small fishes! It’s remarkable and heartwarming.

Apart from the school of sardines, you will also see a lot of rare critters, snake eels, barracudas, white-tipped reef sharks, and so much more! The world under this island is exciting, amazing, and one of the best in the Philippines!

Delsan Wreck, Tubbataha Reef National Park

Tubbataha Reefs photo by Jerome Kim
Tubbataha Reefs photo by Jerome Kim

Tubbataha reef is known around the world for the diverse marine life it is home to. The Delsan Wreck is especially well visited for the sightings of many manta rays, white sharks, tiger sharks, turtles, thousands of chevron barracuda, and dolphins to name a few. This diving point is named after the remains of a small ship that sank in this area, which makes diving even more interesting.

Big fishes such as grey reef sharks and tiger sharks are commonly sighted to be feeding within a crevasse that’s 20-meter wide and 30-meter deep. The underwater UNESCO world heritage site that is Tubbataha is certainly one of the best in the Philippines!

San Juan Wreck, Liloan Bay

Another finalist from Cebu is this magnificent shipwreck sunken to the bottom of the sea in the year 2000, due to an explosion. Fortunately, everyone in the ship was able to swim into safety, leaving only the beautiful disaster available for divers to see.

Although there’s not as much marine life in this area, the visibility under the Liloan Bay is picture perfect! The water is so clear that you’d forget you’re even underwater. This is perfect for underwater photographers who want to build a portfolio and for divers who want to practice their diving skills.

Akitsushima Wreck, Coron

Coron in Palawan is not only perfect for swimming, but it is also ideal for diving. The Akitsushima dive site allows you to dive up to 40 meters underwater. If you are an advanced diver, you will especially be challenged by the 118-meter long wreck that formerly served as a warship. Today, this dive site is famous for the obstacle course-like passageways that lead to a great view of various marine life.

Shipwreck and diver in Coron photo via DepositPhotos.com
Shipwreck and diver in Coron photo via DepositPhotos.com

Irako Wreck, Coron

The diving site within Irako wreck is one of the best in Coron and the Philippines. It is 147 meters long and 19 meters wide. This ship was a Japanese refrigeration ship that was sunk by an American air attack during World War II. The enormous ship had propellers you will have to pass through to reach the best view.

The deepest you’d go is 42 meters so make sure you’re well prepared for this dive. Only a few divers have been here which makes the spot barely touched. Many divers have spotted groupers, lionfishes, scorpionfishes, and lots of nudibranchs here. This uniquely challenging dive is easily one of the best in the Philippines.

Shark Airport, Tubbataha Reef National Park

Tubbataha Barracudas photo by Jerome Kim
Tubbataha Barracudas photo by Jerome Kim

This dive site is one to make scuba aficionados keep coming back. It is considered one of the most fertile dive sites in the Tubbataha. You will see a wide array of sharks, including the endangered hawksbill, whitetip sharks, and other marine life like amazing green sea turtles. This dive spot is also night dive-friendly.

You will see sparkling moray eels, pufferfishes, and a lot of stingrays here. Since this diving point will keep your head spinning because of its beauty, Shark Airport is one of the best in the Philippines!

Dauin, Negros Oriental

Orange skunk clownfish in Dauin Negros Oriental photo via DepositPhotos.com
Orange skunk clownfish in Dauin Negros Oriental photo via DepositPhotos.com

If you want a world-class diving experience, Dauin offers incredibly clear waters that afford divers the most stunning views. You can expect to see around 650 sea lives and over 400 impressive coral gardens. You can also be on guided dives that will help you reach car wreck sites that are home to finger dragonettes, octopuses, cuttlefishes, hairy frogfishes, cephalopods, and many rare critters.

If you haven’t seen a ghost pipefish and porcelain shrimps and crabs, this dive site will amaze your senses. The marine biodiversity is incredible in Dauin, making it a favorite destination among divers from around the world.

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