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10 Best Diving Spots In The Philippines


If the idea of vibrant reefs, fascinating marine life, and maybe even a dash of shipwreck mystery gets your fins twitching, the best diving sites in the Philippines need to be your next destination. Seriously, this place is a treasure trove of underwater awesomeness!

Imagine dazzling corals, schools of fish, and the chance to explore the secrets of a timeworn shipwreck. I recently talked about the top resorts in the Philippines; now, I’m here to share the inside scoop on the best spots so you can make the most of your diving adventure. Whether you’re a newbie still getting your sea legs or a seasoned pro, you won’t be disappointed.

Apo Reef – Best for Coral Gardens and Pelagic Encounters

Best diving sites in the Philippines - Apo Reef

Okay, if big, beautiful, and bursting with life is your thing, you gotta dive Apo Reef Natural Park. We’re talking about a massive 34 square kilometers packed with over 500 species of fish and coral!

The Apo Reef is the largest reef in the Philippines and is rich with vibrant coral gardens that make those cheesy tropical screensavers look drab and steep walls teeming with so many fish that you’ll practically get dizzy. Not only that, this best diving spot in the Philippines has hidden lagoons waiting to be explored.

Oh, and with water so clear (like, 30 meters visibility!), there’s no way you’ll miss those graceful manta rays or maybe even some curious sharks. This place is a testament to conservation – pristine diving at its absolute best.

Dauin – Best for Unique Macro Critter Spotting

A photo of a diver exploring a shipwreck in Dauin diving spot.

Dauin’s black sand beaches are a whole other world, the place where the ocean’s most bizarre little critters come out to play! Think of those black sands as their stage, and you’ll find some seriously mind-blowing performers.

I’m talking about mimic octopuses that change colors and textures to play the ultimate game of hide-and-seek. There are also frogfish here, which are masters of camouflage and practically look like rocks covered in algae, waiting for unsuspecting prey. Add nudibranchs to the list that explode with color, some resembling psychedelic slugs.

And don’t forget those artificial structures! They attract schools of juvenile damselfish swirling like glitter and with adorable baby octopuses hiding in discarded bottles. And did you know that Dauin is a macro photographer’s paradise? So pack your patience and your best close-up lens, and prepare for those “awww!” moments that’ll have you geeking out underwater.

Moalboal – Best for Sardine Runs and Reef Explorations

A photo of divers with sardine run in Moalboal Cebu.

If your definition of the best diving sites in the Philippines includes witnessing the sheer spectacle of a giant sardine run, well, get that passport ready because Moalboal is THE place! Here, you’ll encounter millions of these shiny silver fish swirling in a mesmerizing ballet, twisting and turning in unison near Pescador Island.

But Moalboal has way more up its sleeve! Explore colorful coral reefs teeming with clownfish and playful butterflyfish. Cruise along steep drop-offs patrolled by barracuda and have an occasional reef shark meeting!

You can also treasure hunt for pygmy seahorses hiding in vibrant sea fans or a flamboyant cuttlefish flashing its colors just because. And if you’re lucky, a majestic whale shark or a curious thresher shark might just make a guest appearance. Oh, and with that crystal-clear water, you won’t miss a single moment!

Coron Bay – Best for Wreck Diving Adventures

A photo of a diver looking at a shipwreck.

History buffs and wreck enthusiasts, this one’s for you! Coron Bay is littered with the echoes of the past – over a dozen WWII Japanese ships rest on the ocean floor, simply waiting to be explored.

Imagine yourself swimming through the engine room of the Morazan Maru, discovering anti-aircraft guns on the massive Akitsushima Maru, or navigating the open holds of the Olympia Maru. If a dose of adrenaline is what you’re after, the Irako’s deeper depths and stronger currents offer a challenge for seasoned divers.

Need a break from wrecks? Barracuda Lake beckons with its alien landscapes! Explore otherworldly rock formations, feel the rush as you pass through layers of dramatically different water temperatures, and come face-to-face with its namesake fish. Coron Bay is a dive Philippine destination offering both the thrill of historical exploration and stunning natural wonders!

Puerto Galera – Best for Biodiverse Reef Dives

Best diving Philippines 2024 - Biodiverse reefs in Puerto Galera

Forget those postcard-perfect reefs for a moment; Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro is where the REAL underwater action happens. Think more fish than the Red Sea, more coral than the Great Barrier Reef – this place is a biodiversity explosion!

Nestled in the Verde Island Passage, you’ll find everything from beginner-friendly wrecks to adrenaline-pumping drift dives buzzing with big fish. And did I mention the warm water and generally superb visibility? Get ready to upgrade those Zoom backgrounds!

Here’s a taste of what’s waiting: Sabang Wrecks for newbies and night diving fans, the Alma Jane for wreck explorers, and Kilima Drift for those who love a speedy underwater rush. Macro lovers will lose their minds over the sprawling coral gardens at Monkey Beach, Dugon Wall, and West Escarceo. 

And hey, the adventure doesn’t stop there – there’s Deep West Escarceo, Shark Cave, and day trips to Verde Island for you experienced divers craving a challenge. No doubt, Puerto Galera is one of the best diving sites in the Philippines, not only in 2024 but for more years to come!

Anda, Bohol – Best for Muck Diving and Whale Shark Sightings

A photo of a female diver's encounter with a whale shark.

Anda in Bohol is your ticket to unforgettable underwater encounters! We’re talking muck diving paradise – think frogfish camouflaged against the sand, flamboyant cuttlefish flashing their colors, and nudibranchs in psychedelic patterns.

But that’s just the start! Explore vibrant reefs teeming with butterflyfish, dramatic walls where schools of barracuda patrol, and maybe even spot a majestic whale shark cruising between December and April. Best part? Anda delivers for every level of diver! Newbies can explore shallow, protected areas, while experienced divers can tackle deeper sites and stronger currents.

With warm water (think 26-29°C), up to 40-meter visibility, and year-round diving, there’s always an adventure waiting for everyone at Anda. Get those cameras ready because vibrant coral formations like “Paradise Garden” are bursting with life and color—a photographer’s dream! Anda is where you’ll find the critters you’ve always dreamed of seeing and discover the thrill of truly diverse diving.

Malapascua Island, Cebu – Best for Thresher Shark Encounters

A photo of a Thresher shark in Malapascua, Philippines.

Thresher shark fanatics, I know you’re obsessed with those iconic tails, which is why Malapascua is calling your name. Monad Shoal, a submerged plateau typically between 20 and 30 meters deep, is where the magic happens.

But here’s the thing: you gotta be an early bird for the best sightings. Think pre-sunrise dives to witness these majestic creatures visiting cleaning stations. It’s worth setting that alarm, trust me!

Now, while threshers are the stars here, Malapascua isn’t a one-trick pony. Need a break from the crack-of-dawn dives? The lighthouse is bursting with color, and those caves at Gato Island could be hiding a whitetip reef shark. Plus, if you’ve got deeper certifications, there are some pretty epic wrecks waiting to be explored!

Anilao, Batangas – Best for Underwater Macro Photography

Underwater macro photography in Anilao, Batangas.

Macro photographers, this one’s for you! Anilao’s black sand is where the REAL treasures lie. This Philippine diving spot, just a short drive from Manila, is a haven for those who crave the weird and wonderful.

Get ready for mimic octopuses playing peek-a-boo, flamboyant cuttlefish dazzling with color, and nudibranchs in every imaginable shade. It’s like swimming through an underwater rainbow! 

Beatrice Rock is basically a nursery teeming with juvenile fish and frogfish, masters of disguise. And hey, Anilao isn’t ALL about the critters. Twin Rocks boasts classic corals and resident sea turtles, plus an elusive ornate ghost pipefish if you’ve got a sharp eye.

Tubbataha Reefs – Best for Pros Seeking Pristine Reefs

Best diving spots in the Philippines 2024 - Tubbataha Reefs

Listen up, seasoned divers! Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is the pinnacle of Philippine diving – pristine reefs, untouched and overflowing with life. We’re talking about massive schools of fish encounters with sharks, manta rays, and even whales!

Just remember, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is remote and best explored via liveaboard, so plan accordingly. Ready to drop into the deep blue? “Wall Street” is a sheer drop-off teeming with pelagic action – sharks, manta rays, the whole shebang!

Feeling brave? “Washing Machine” delivers those adrenaline-pumping currents and the chance to see some seriously impressive marine life… as long as you’re up for the challenge!

Need a breather? Jessie Beazley Reef offers shallower dives with stunning coral gardens, playful turtles, and colorful reef fish. So yeah, Tubbataha isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s pure magic for those seeking an epic underwater adventure.

Balicasag Island: Best For Schooling Jackfish and Coral Reefs

Best diving in Philippines - Balicasag Island

Okay, buckle up for this one, divers! Balicasag Island’s “Black Forest” is where you’ll witness a spectacle unlike anything else – a massive school of jackfish creating a shimmering, swirling cyclone. It’s both awe-inspiring and a little bit terrifying (in the best way possible)!

But don’t let that fool you—Balicasag caters to divers of all levels! Experienced divers can tackle deeper walls, while beginners can stick to shallow, vibrant reefs like “Diver’s Heaven” and “Rudy’s Rock.” These spots teem with colorful fish and sea turtles, perfect for laid-back exploration.

And hey, if you time your dive right, you might even witness the jackfish in a feeding frenzy – a swirling vortex of silver that’ll have your jaw-dropping. So, do you think that Balicasag is the perfect combo of easy-going island vibes and heart-pounding action? I honestly do!

The Best Diving Sites In The Philippines Are Waiting!

So you see, the best diving sites in the Philippines are underwater playgrounds bursting with surprises! Are you obsessed with macro critters, wreck diving, or big fish encounters? There’s something here for every kind of diver!

My advice? Don’t be afraid to experiment! Why not go beyond those thresher shark dives and try the magic of muck diving or explore a vibrant reef teeming with turtles? The diving places in the Philippines are full of unexpected wonders, so ditch the itinerary, embrace those spur-of-the-moment choices, and get ready to be amazed!

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