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Top Dive Destinations in the Philippines

 

From PADI SCUBA Earth (Click here)

 

Tubbataha, Palawan:

This underwater sanctuary is the Philippines’ first national marine park and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The combination of great underwater visibility (sometimes 30 metres/100 feet or more), and healthy populations of tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks, tuna, barracuda, napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, giant jacks, eagle rays, hawksbill turtles, manta rays, seahorses, pipefish, and other species make this a favorite among photographers. Eleven sharks species can be found here, including hammerheads, leopard sharks, guitar sharks, black-tip reef sharks, nurse sharks, and occasional whale sharks.

Apo Reef, Mindoro:

The second-largest contiguous coral reef in the world, this natural park is a renowned diving area, boasting more than 400 species of coral and 500 species of fish. Look for table corals, staghorn corals, brain corals, fire corals, soft corals, hammerhead sharks, manta and stingrays along this wall.

The Pinnacle, Verde Island, Puerto Galera:

Also known as the Drop-Off, this reef rises in a column from a depth of 36 metres/120 feet, narrowing near the surface. The pinnacle hosts corals, gorgonian fans, and sea snakes, as well as visiting schools of pelagic fish. Be cautious of the current.

Taiei Maru, Coron:

This 167-metre/550-foot oil tanker rests in 27 metres/90 feet of water, with its upper decks 9 meters/30 feet from the surface. Strong currents serve to attract marine life, including schools of huge batfish, fusiliers, snappers, surgeonfish, blue-finned jacks, mackerel, and the occasional eagle ray or turtle. The decks are covered in hard and soft corals, sheltering scorpionfish, lionfish and nudibranchs. Experienced divers can penetrate the interior through the relatively narrow propeller shaft, swimming from there into the remains of the engine room, and proceeding through the various holds and tanks all the way through to the twisted bow.

Crocodile Island, Boracay:

With depths ranging from 5 to 21 metres/15 to 70 feet, this site shelters soft and hard corals, schools of reef fish, nudibranch, lionfish, scorpion moray eels, cuttlefish, sea snakes, gorgonian, and fan corals. Underwater photographers will enjoy the macro life, including many species of nudibranchs and anemones.

Balicasag Island, Bohol:

North of Bohol lies the only double barrier reef in the Philippines. Dive the vertical walls and swim through its black coral forests, looking for hard corals, sponges and gorgonians as well as jacks, mackerel, barracudas, sea fans, lionfish, scorpionfish, clownfish, turtles, cushion stars and feather stars.

Pescador Island, Cebu:

The wall surrounding this island drops steeply to 45 metres/150 feet in most places (extending to 180 metres/600 feet in one area). Look for an abundance of colorful gorgonions, lionfish, scorpionfish, anemones with their attendant clownfish, trumpetfish, huge groupers, tuna, schools of big-eye trevally, and great barracuda, as well as the occasional white-tip reef shark or hammerhead shark.

Monad Shoal, Malapascua:

This sunken island at 18 metres/60 feet is renowned for its cleaning station for thresher sharks. These rare and graceful creatures can grow up to six meters/20 feet in length, and use the elongated lobe of their dorsal fins to herd and stun fish. They are best seen here during the early morning hours.

Sabang Bay, Puerto Galera:

A favorite with underwater photographers, this shallow, well-lit site features a wide array of reef life, ranging from microscopic invertebrates to turtles swimming through the sea grass. Look for red-and-black frogfish, tiny dragonets, juvenile leaf fish, white octopus, and green turtles.

The Pier, Dauin, Dumaguete:

A favorite with macro photographers, the pilings of this pier are covered in colorful soft corals hosting small invertebrates. Look for juvenile clown frogfish, nudibranchs, flat worms, ghost pipefish, seahorses, cuttlefish, and dragonets.

 

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