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Philippines: 12 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 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, meaning 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 for 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 and 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 on Malapascua Island. It is known worldwide 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 clownfish 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 month 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 the home to the most diverse hard and soft corals that come in different densities. 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 fish! 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 underwater world on 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 worldwide 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 seen to be feeding within a crevasse 20-meter wide and 30-meter deep. The underwater UNESCO world heritage site Tubbataha is one of the best in the Philippines!

San Juan Wreck, Liloan Bay

Another finalist from Cebu is this magnificent shipwreck that sunken to the bottom of the sea in 2000 due to an explosion. Fortunately, everyone on the ship could swim safely, leaving only the beautiful disaster available for divers to see.

Although there’s not as much marine life in this area, the visibility under 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 divers who want to practice their diving skills.

Akitsushima Wreck, Coron

Coron in Palawan is not only perfect for swimming but 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 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 the 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 sunk by an American air attack during World War II. The enormous ship had propellers you must pass through to reach the best view.

The deepest you’d go is 42 meters, so ensure 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 many 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 many 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, pufferfish, 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.

Apo Island in Dauin, Negros Oriental, maybe a tiny volcanic island, is considered one of the finest dive destinations in the Philippines for its protected marine sanctuary. Beyond witnessing manta rays and colorful coral gardens, divers will find delight swimming with giant sea turtles and over 650 species of fish.

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

Balicasag Island, Bohol

Balicasag Island's school of jacks by Bo Mancao
Balicasag Island’s school of jacks by Bo Mancao

Home to an abundance of aquatic flora and fauna. Balicasag is a small tropical marine sanctuary where novice snorkelers and veteran scuba divers can swim with sea turtles, dolphins, and silvery jackfishes. Its impressive submarine cliffs are studded with corals, sponges, and anemones that house a variety of fishes, mollusks, and crustaceans.

Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

Dive Puerto Galera by Travel-Stone.com
Dive Puerto Galera by Travel-Stone.com

Aside from its amazing sunset views and a long stretch of white sand beach, Puerto Galera is also an ideal place for diving and snorkeling. Many aquatic creatures, such as white and black tip sharks, pelagic fishes, moray eels, and octopuses, can live in the coral gardens of its dive areas.

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Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of Outoftownblog.com. He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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