24 – 29 °C / 75 – 84 °F
20 – 50 meters / 60 – 165ft
Skin – 3mm – 5mm
Best time to travel
Recommended dive sites
Tubbataha Reef, Apo Island, Cabilao Island
Above water activities
Chocolat Hills, Banaue Rice Terraces
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The “Coral Triangle” which spans the countries of Indonesia, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea has been heralded as the most biologically diverse waters on earth, as there are more species of coral and fish living within the “coral triangle” than in any other place on earth. The Philippines is right in the middle of this, making it an incredible scuba diving destination every diver should experience at least once! Stray away from the beaten track and explore the beautiful Philippines. The country’s enchanted islands feature lush tropical greenery, volcanoes, and other unique topography such as the Chocolate Hills of Bohol and vegetable terraces in the mountain provinces as well as spectacular diving with mysterious WWII wrecks, pristine reefs, unusual marine life and the Philippine islands are ringed with unspoiled beaches where you can find many first-class resorts.
The Philippines, with its glorious beaches and fabulous diving, is often overlooked by divers seeking to visit Asia. Because of the remoteness of the islands Philippines have never struggled with large numbers of tourists and today you can find the pristine beaches and untouched reefs the way they have always been.
In the middle of the Sulu Sea, east of the Island of Palawan, lie twin atolls known as Tubbataha, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. This site is only accessible by liveaboard from March to early June but is one of the most worthy dive destinations in the world. A large concentration of marine life inhabits this reef area, surrounded by depths well over 3,000 feet. Some 2,000 varieties of fish have been identified, including manta rays, white and black tip sharks, nurse sharks, guitar sharks, bull sharks and hammerhead sharks. Large schools of pelagics often congregate in the area and swoop in on divers. This is an excellent underwater photography area! The reef walls support an amazing array of soft and hard corals in spectacular kaleidoscope of colors.
Diving in the Philippines offers a number of top-rated areas in addition to Tubbataha including other remote areas such as Apo Reef and Coron, which are only accessible by liveaboard. There is plenty of excellent land-based diving, such as Apo Island—accessible from Dumaguete— where shoals of jacks and giant parrotfish are often seen in addition to large pelagics. Scuba divers agree that drift diving is the best way to explore Apo Island, as the currents bring in waters rich in nutrients to feed the thriving soft corals. Apo Island is a protected Marine Reserve, and that environmental shield has resulted in a rich underwater ecosystem – perfect for your next scuba diving trip in the Philippines.
Monad Shoal is perhaps the most famous location to dive off Malapascua, Cebu. Malapascua Island is world renowned as being perhaps the only place that you can expect to reliably see the often elusive and mysterious Thresher Shark often visited by Manta Rays and Hammerhead Sharks too. For a cheap Philippine trip, the island itself, which sits just off the northern tip of Cebu Philippines, is known for its authenticity as there are no five star hotels or luxury spas here. Accommodations are charming, small and family run and very welcoming.
Cebu is a long narrow island stretching 140 miles from north to south and surrounded by 167 neighboring islands, making it a prime choice for live-aboard scuba diving trips in the Philippines. Cebu is known for its narrow coastlines, limestone plateaus, and coastal plains. Cebu also has predominant rolling hills and rugged mountain ranges traversing the northern and southern lengths of the island.
Diving is also very popular around Boracay. The waters surrounding Boracay Island have excellent sites for beginner and experienced divers alike. They are packed with vibrant fish and reefs, wrecks sites, caves and canyons. There are over 30 great dives sites within 30 min of Boracay Philippines.
Blessed with majestic scenery and a huge variety of scuba diving in Philippines, it is still relatively unexplored. Reports of new, untouched dive sites reach us almost weekly, and there is significant investment in tourism infrastructure pouring into the area.
Cash in Pounds Sterling or US Dollars can be exchanged in banks, hotels and some retail outlets. Always use authorized moneychangers or banks in Manila. Outside the capital there is a shortage of facilities for changing foreign currency. American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in major establishments throughout the big cities of the Philippines. ATMs are available. Traveller's cheques and major foreign currency may be cashed at most commercial banks and Central Bank dealers. They are also accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. You are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.