5 Most Stunning Scuba Diving Sites in the Philippines

Beach of Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines
Beach of Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines | Source
Turtle in Tubbataha Reef, Philippines
Turtle in Tubbataha Reef, Philippines | Source

Boasting of 7,107 islands and one of the most enviable marine ecosystems in the world, the Philippines has exceptional scuba diving sites spread across its archipelago.

The waters surrounding this tropical Southeast Asian country are enriched by the currents coming from the South China Sea in the west, Indian Ocean in the southwest, Celebes Sea in the south, the Philippine Sea and Pacific Ocean in the east, and East China Sea in the north.

It is no wonder why the Philippines has astonishing amount of marine life – fishes, shells, corals, and invertebrates – that makes it one of the most preferred diving destinations in the Indo-Pacific region.

In fact, there are several diving destinations in each of the major Philippine island group:

1. Luzon

  • Batangas
  • Busuanga
  • Coron
  • Donsol
  • El Nido
  • La Union
  • Puerto Galera
  • Subic Bay
  • Tubbataha

2. Visayas

  • Bohol
  • Boracay
  • Camiguin
  • Dumaguete
  • Leyte
  • Mactan
  • Malapascua
  • Moalboal
  • Pandan

3. Mindanao

  • Dakak
  • Davao
  • Misamis Oriental
  • Sarangani Bay

If it is possible to name the five most stunning scuba diving sites in the Philippines, then the following sites would have to be included.

1. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Palawan

About 98 nautical miles from Puerto Princesa, Palawan lies the pristine and protected 130,000-hectare Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a diver’s paradise inscribed as a natural wonder in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

As a natural wonder, Tubbataha Reefs possesses superlative features: extremely steep and perpendicular walls that have very deep bottoms, impressive sandy lagoons, and reef platforms that occupy large swaths of space.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is also a diver’s paradise because it is a refuge to about 350 species of coral, 500 species of fishes, and marine animals that grow to humongous proportions: sharks, mantas, whales, wrasse, dolphins, groupers and turtles.

Gigantic sponges and sea fans also line the seabed of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.

2. Coron Bay, Palawan

Somewhere between the Busuanga and Culion islands in northern Palawan, Philippines is the Coron Bay, arguably one of the finest wreck diving destinations in Asia, if not the whole world.

In Coron Bay, divers can dive 10 to 43 meters in clear water and set eyes on 12 historic sunken ships that are still structurally intact, as long as 160 meters, with large blast holes on their hulls, and home to soft and hard corals as well as other mysterious marine animals.

These sunken ships were actually Japanese supply ships sunk during a blitzkrieg launched by the US Navy during World War II.

Other than the sunken ships, Coron Bay also features reefs, which are gaining popularity because of the local’s efforts to create fish sanctuaries.

3. Donsol, Sorsogon

The ideal diving site for divers and snorkelers wanting to witness the beauty of manta rays, whales, hammerhead sharks and other exotic marine life is Donsol in Sorsogon, Philippines.

In Donsol, manta rays visit between the months of December and May while whale sharks come between the months of January and May.

Whale sharks come to Donsol to mate and feed on planktons and krill that flow through the nearby San Bernardino Strait.

Because of the generous amounts of planktons and krill, whale sharks in Donsol can grow up to 18 meters.

Oftentimes, about 15 to 20 of them swim and eat together, creating a sight to behold for divers who are actually free to interact gently with these sea animals.

Other points of diving interest in Donsol are the Manta Bowl, where divers can see very large manta rays; San Miguel Island, where corals are said to be overwhelmingly beautiful; and St. Jerome’s Rock, where a rock teems with varied kinds of fish.

4. Negros Island

The fourth largest island in the Philippines with dazzling white-sand beaches, Negros boasts of diving sites perfect for underwater photography.

Perhaps the most popular diving site is the Apo Island, which is a small volcanic island that is a rich sanctuary for a large amount of sea creatures.

Among the creatures found here are clownfish, pipefish, lionfish, waspfish, sea horses, eels, and bobtail squids.

Another popular diving site is Sipalay, which has canyons, coral reefs, white-sand beaches, and breathtaking underwater scenery.

5. Islands of Cebu

Nestled in the middle of the Philippines is Cebu, a place known for its warm water where divers can dive almost any time of the year.

In Cebu, expert and novice divers can see fishes, corals, sponges, hammerhead sharks, and whale sharks in clear water.

Some of the most famous dive sites in Cebu include the following:

  • Capitancillo = an uninhabited island with three excellent snorkeling sites, with up to 100 meters of underwater visibility
  • Moalboal = ideal for diving and snorkeling, as beautiful shallow reefs and abundant marine creatures can best be seen in the months of January to May
  • Sunken Island= an underwater pinnacle where groupers, sea snakes, anemones, corals, ferns, sharks and turtles are found

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

Diving in Tubbataha, Palawan, Philippines

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Comments 37 comments

Diving Course Philippines 3 years ago

Nice topic


houseofjcjee profile image

houseofjcjee 4 years ago from Philippines

Great list! I have been to Batangas (specifically Anilao) and Puerto Galera and I will say they are really wonderful sites a diver should not miss. Thanks for sharing!


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 4 years ago

I am glad somebody sees the beauty of the Philippines and proud to tell the world about it. Keep it up Kerlynb!


raakachi profile image

raakachi 5 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

All the five places you have mentioned for scuba diving in your country,are simply superb! The photos are live in nature. very beautiful and voted as beautiful.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Ben Zoltak Hi there again! Good thing, you don't need a fortune to go on scuba diving in the Philippines. The airfare to these scuba diving sites from Wisconsin is also not that expensive :)


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Really wonderful, I had no idea there were so many islands in the Philippines! I went scuba diving once it was spectacular. Perhaps I should see if there are an opportunities for artists to make money there (I am an oil painter and a sculptor) then I could move there and do some real scuba diving!

Ben


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Eiddwen Thank you for taking the time to stop by and leaving a comment. Thanks for the vote, too :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Such a beautiful and interesting hub.

I have to vote up up and away here.

Take care and have a great day.

Eiddwen.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@anjperez Some Bicolanos told me that with some luck you can actually see the butandings all year round! Of course, if you'd travel all the way to Donsol, I suggest you go there during peak season when you'd surely get the chance to swim with these gentle creatures.

BTW, I'm not big-time into diving myself. But I would recommend that you try snorkeling (like surface diving) in Coron :) I won't set your expectations high but I have to tell you it's going to be worth your time.


anjperez profile image

anjperez 5 years ago

i am not a dive enthusiast but i would love to go to Donsol to see the whale sharks. season stars in November. i hope to visit before it ends in May.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@htodd You're welcome! :D


htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Thanks for the great post..Nice


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@kitikits Oh, Bautista? Hmm, may dad's folks are from Romblon and Batangas :)


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@kitikits Oh, Bautista? Hmm, may dad's folks are from Romblon and Batangas :)


kitikits profile image

kitikits 5 years ago from Philippines

Thanks Kerlyn! I've always wanted to write about my hometown but I haven't got the time. By the way, My middle name is Bautista I just noticed that your surname is Bautista too!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..stunning indeed but perhaps not as stunning as your smile - and please do me a big favor because big brother epi likes to hook people up - and check out the hubs of PRISANA - she is residing in your country I believe and has world class hubs just like you - thank you so much for putting this beautiful hub together and taking me to a place far away from here ..... although I live 100 feet away from a great lake - in lake erie time 3:07am ontario canada


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Kawaljit kaur To be honest, I was scared about diving, too. There's something in the dark underwater that made me think that something horrifying would just pop out of nowhere! Gave me the creeps, LOL! But I got over that feeling eventually :)


Kawaljit kaur profile image

Kawaljit kaur 5 years ago from JALANDHAR, Punjab (India)

a Beautiful hub. I love to experience scuba diving but somehow could not get it done. I am scared to some extent also. But the photographs and videos you presented inspire me to go for it. Your place is not in my reach but I would definitely do it here in my country. Thanks.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Susan Ng Thanks for dropping by :) I LOVE Palawan too and would always recommend the province to foreigners wanting to visit our country. I specifically love Busuanga and Coron. Hope you find the time to visit the other diving destinations.


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I've gone snorkeling in Palawan and it was amazing. I'd like to try scuba diving sometime. Thanks for giving some ideas on where to go. :)


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@travel_man1971 Hello! Yeah, I'm doing my fair share of promoting our homecountry :) I think many foreigners do not really know about the beautiful spots in the Philippines. It's just fair to write about these "hidden" gems, isn't it?


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

This is absolutely a stunning hub, kerlynb. I'd like to experience diving at Tubbataha Reef and the rest of the featured diving spots one at a time (and the money, LOL!).

Thanks for promoting it.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@kitikits Wow, you should write about beautiful hometown when you get the time :)


kitikits profile image

kitikits 5 years ago from Philippines

Yep! I grew up in a small town in Ticao Island and yes, Bicol has so many wonderful sceneries.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Michael Tandoc Looking forward to that :) Can't wait, LOL!


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@Michael Tandoc You are from Moalboal?! Ohhhh, you're so lucky! You should hub about your beautiful place and give us suggestions on how to spend a memorable vacation there :)


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@kitikits Hello there! Wow, so you come from Ticao Pass?! I know that place! Awww, I envy you. I haven't gone there yet but would like to visit soon. Bicol region really has beautiful sights, doesn't it? :)


kitikits profile image

kitikits 5 years ago from Philippines

I love reading hubs about sea and water animals and I especially love reading about them from a Filipino. I really enjoyed this hub. I came from an island south of the Bicol Peninsula and it's called Ticao Island and we also have manta rays there. Keep up the good work!


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@suzettenaples Hello! Not to worry, you can still enjoy Philippines beaches even if you're not a diver, really. In fact, many foreigners go here just to chill out in white-sand beaches and drink fresh buko (coconut) juice :D


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@pinkish Hi! I wish you get the time to visit Donsol. Whale sharks mate and feed in the Donsol area for as early as November of any given year and stay there for as late as May or June the next year :)


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 5 years ago from Taos, NM

What a great hub! Voted up! I am going to have to visit the Philippines some day. The photographs are gorgeous and your islands just look so beautiful and tranquile. I'm not a sea diver, but I could learn in a beautiful atmosphere as the Philippines.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@VENZKHVAM Many thanks!


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@livelonger Honestly, Coron Bay is my fave in this list :) I'm not an expert diver so I found Coron Bay simply perfect for a novice and a snorkeler like me, really.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ Author

@lord de cross Hello Lord! :) Cebu is quite popular among foreigners because it is quite easy to get to the island. It has its own international airport, you see. Other sites, especially Coron and Tubbataha in Palawan, are equally, if not so much more, beautiful, however. Foreigners just need to be a bit more adventurous when travelling in the Philippines :)


VENZKHVAM profile image

VENZKHVAM 5 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

Of all the sites the island of cebu is really attreactive and worth a praise.

Surely this hub is eleigible for bookmarkign and using it when required to jump into scubadiving.

I had voted this up and useful

I am following you with pleasure and hoping to hear from you in my hubs


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

Absolutely beautiful! I don't scuba-dive - more of a snorkeler myself - but my partner loves it. Coron Bay looks positively surreal. Hope to visit it one day!


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Love the scenery and those 1000 islands..especially Cebu.

Great info and research. voted up!

LORD

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