The Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia. It consists more than seven and a half thousand islands, most of which are not only uninhabited, but don’t even have official names. The archipelago is washed by the South China and Philippine seas to the west and east, and the south of the maritime boundary runs through the Celebes Sea. The air temperature on the coast for most of the year is 28-32 degrees Celsius and the water temperature is 28-30 degrees. The rainy season lasts from July to October, but in many places it doesn’t interfere with diving. Visibility ranges from ten to thirty meters, depending on the location, currents and weather conditions. Dives are mainly carried out from boats equipped with outriggers and special rocker-floats (a local touch). Conventional dive boats are rare but this doesn’t affect the overall quality of diving. In the Philippines, there are a lot of places where you can dive with a lot to see. As is our tradition, we will tell you about the places that seemed to us the most interesting but we are confident that, if you choose another route, it should prove no less exciting. After all, as practice shows, in the Philippines each dive site can easily match that of any previous dive sites.
Let's start with the island of Mindoro. To get to it, you don’t need to make additional flights from the Philippines’ capital of Manila. You can get here within lesson than three and a half hours from Manila airport; first by taking a car to the port of Batangas and then by boat to one of the hotels on the island. As for the diving: The surrounding dive sites have rock faces and slopes covered with corals. Here, turtles, anglerfish, stingrays, nudibranchs, seahorses, stonefish and many other sea creatures are often found, along with the giant oyster colonies, that can be happened upon. There are interesting wrecks. For example, lying at a depth of thirty meters, the transport ship Alma Jane is overgrown with corals. Experienced wreck divers can explore it including the inside. After all, there are often hidden rare species of underwater fauna.
Panglao Island is a place where there’s almost no rainy season. The larger island of Bohol is connected to Panglao by bridge. Thus, it’s possible to travel by plane from Manila to Bohol and then onward, by car for forty minutes, to Panglao. The island is primarily of note for its different types of nudibranchs, octopuses and cuttlefish. It is often quite possible to meet reef sharks and schools of large tuna. The jewel of the island is considered to be the home reef that beginning at five meters under the water and extending to great depths, which are only acceptable for techno divers. On Panglao, it’s virtually guaranteed you'll be able to see whale sharks and the major hit and highlight of the program here; nautili!!! These creatures rise from the depths and especially lucky divers have the opportunity to witness and write in their logbook some truly unique records. Staying on the island, you can visit many more dive sites.
Tubbataha Reef is the most famous among the reefs of the Sulu Sea. You can get here only if you have a tour on a liveaboard. But if your plans require your seeing schools of hammerheads, whitetip reef sharks, nurse sharks and huge colonies of barracuda, your path must cross these places. The atolls of Tubbataha feature an impressive variety of corals. Since describing their diversity seems impossible, we need only note that Tubbataha is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
On Malapascua island, divers usually come to dive with thresher sharks. We can say that this shark is the hallmark of this place. Have you never seen one before? Ok, here your meeting is practically guaranteed. In addition to the thresher sharks, there are also manta rays, scorpion fish, frogfish, porcupine fish, cuttlefish, thumb splitters and, perhaps the most beautiful among the fish, the mandarinfish. But there’s yet more life here - squid, octopuses, catsharks and bamboo sharks.
Coron Bay is waiting for divers who like to dive among military wrecks. Here, in their last resting place many Japanese ships sunk by US air forces in World War II have been found. The once imposing military and cargo ships have become no less spectacular artificial reefs. There are many, many animals. Often complementing the landscape are loitering whale sharks, which often seem to resemble submarines.
Negros Island is attractive as a place frequented by many species of whales!!! In the dry season, hammerheads are often encountered. At the least, you can expect to see manta rays and stingrays. On islet-satellite Apo, around which exist a number of interesting dive sites, you can highlight the so-called city of anemonefish.
There are many more dive sites in the Philippines than those featured in this article. We have mentioned only those of interest to those who desire to stay for a couple of weeks and enjoy a diving and beach vacation, without flying and moving so far away from their bases.