The Philippines is a tropical country filled with natural wonders and warm people. For scuba diving enthusiasts, the marine life in the Philippines is something that every diver must experience. The waters surrounding the Philippines has rich marine life and corals. Moreover, the country is composed of more than 7,100 islands and deep-blue waters. The coral reefs offer around 40,000 square kilometers of protected corals reefs. Any diver would never run out of scuba diving spots in the Philippines, as the country has various destinations, from Luzon, Visayas, Palawan, and Mindanao–it’s four major islands. In Luzon, the most popular scuba diving destinations are Batangas, La Union, Puerto Galera and Subic Bay; in Visayas, there are the scuba diving spots for Bohol, Boracay, Camiguin, Cebu, Dumaguete, Leyte, Malapascua, and Pandan; in the paradise island of Palawan there are scuba diving spots in Coron, El Nido, Taytay, and Sulu Sea; and lastly in Mindanao, the top scuba diving spots are in Dakak, Davao, Misamis Oriental, and Sarangani Bay.
1. Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, Sulu Sea – A UNESCO World Heritage site and famous for its diverse marine life. This is also one of the best scuba diving spots and snorkeling areas in the world. The coral reefs in the Tubbataha Reef are just simply stunning. The marine park covers 33,200 hectares including the north and south reefs. The north part of the reef serves as a nesting area for birds and marine turtles. There are also a 100-m perpendicular wall, various lagoons, and two coral islands.
2. Malapascua Island, Cebu – A place known for its rare sharks, Malapascua Island in Cebu is also the least spoiled tourist attraction in the Philippines. It is still untouched by bad effects of commercialism and urbanization. Malapascua is a haven for scuba diving enthusiasts, professional or amateur. Some of the marine life species that could be spotted here are white tip sharks, mantas, hammerheads, wrecks, mandarn fish, pygmy seahorse, cuttlefish, and unspoiled coral reefs.
3. Puerto Galera, Mindoro – A scuba diving site for colorful reefs, Puerto Galera is also popular beach among locals and foreigners, being just a few hours away from Manila, the nation’s capital. The place is a natural harbor with fine sand beaches, sheltered coves, and greeneries. There are around two dozen scuba diving sites identified good for underwater photography and through the years, it has become a scuba diving haven because of its marine diversity.
4. Anilao, Batangas – Closer to Manila compared to Puerto Galera, the beaches of Anilao, Batangas are popular for weekend trips. Scuba Diving in Anilao has also grown to be really popular as well because of the coral slopes and shallow gardens in sandy patches. There are 24 scuba diving sites between Anilao and Maricaban Islands for divers to choose from. One of the most popular scuba diving sites is The Cathedral which is located 60 feet below the water, it is a roofless cavern with a blessed cross flanked by two big sea mounts.
5. Balicasag Island, Bohol – One of the best scuba diving spots in the Philippines, Balicasag Island is filled with schools of tuna, snappers, surgeonfish, groupers, angelfishes, trumpet fishes, and mackerels. There are also some sightings of dolphins and pilot whales from a distance. The water has a good visibility even down to 25 meters and coral reefs are filled with hard and soft corals.
6. Apo Reef, Negros Occidental – Another UNESCO Heritage Site, Apo Reef is considered as one of the best scuba diving spots in Asia. There is a 34-kilometer reef with a narrow channel running from east to west that divides the reef into two lagoon systems. Apo Reef is the second largest continuous coral reef in the world and it is the biggest in the Philippines.
7. Islands of Palawan – The whole of Palawan is a great place for divers and travelers. Coron, El Nido, and Busuanga are just three of the many major islands of Palawan that has a vast marine life and great scuba diving spots. Coron Bay is one of the most popular scuba diving spots in the Philippines and even the world. This site is also known for the most famous wreck diving destinations because of the various sunken ships and galleons. The waters of Palawan are also clear and transparent most of the time. Another popular island is El Nido, which is a world class scuba diving destination. It is home to exotic and colorful tropical marine life. In El Nido alone, not counting the other islands of Palawan, there are around 20 scuba diving spots already.
8. Boracay, Aklan – This small island might be known worldwide as the ultimate beach party venue of the Philippines, but aside from that, the waters of Boracay holds a marine life as well. A popular diving spot, there are various tropical fishes and corals that could be seen in the surrounding waters of Aklan. There are 15 diving spots in Boracay and most of the time, guests who visit the island spend a day or two exploring the underwater beauty of Boracay.
These are just some of the many scuba diving spots in the Philippines. Being a tropical country, the waters are very tropical. Aside from scuba diving, there are also other activities that could be enjoyed when visiting Philippines like rock climbing, mountain climbing, trekking, viewing colorful festivals, and exploring the culture and maybe, trying out the exotic food as well. As for the scuba diving spots, for years now, the locals along with the government and non-government organizations have been helping each other to protect the scuba diving spots and to take care of the coral reefs and the rich marine life of the Philippines.