In the centre of the Sulu Sea lies Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the best big fish diving in the Philippines. The sheer walls are covered in huge seafans and sponges, while barracuda, tuna and reef sharks, mantas, eagle rays and hammerheads patrol its waters.
Ideal for viewing: spotted eagle ray, scalloped hammerhead shark, whitetip reef shark, blacktip reef shark, reef manta ray
Coron Bay, just north of Palawan, is one of the world’s finest wreck diving destinations. In 1944, a Japanese fleet anchored in the bay was sunk by American forces. This beautiful part of the Philippines now draws wreck-lovers from far and wide. A little north, Dimakya has turtles, dugongs access to Apo Reef.
Ideal for viewing: green turtle, dugong, hawksbill turtle
Excellent for: Resort based diving holidays, Wreck diving
Just three hours south of Manila, Puerto Galera’s marine park has some of the most accessible diving in the Philippines. A year-round destination, the area is blessed with both exceptional coral reefs and great beaches. Inland, highlights include excellent trekking, indigenous tribes and prolific wildlife.
Ideal for viewing: giant frogfish, green turtle, whitetip reef shark, pygmy seahorse, blacktip reef shark
This central region of tiny islands is deservedly famous for their beautiful beaches, relaxed lifestyle and stunning dive sites. Cebu City is the region’s international gateway and provides for all connections to the most exciting dive spots including Malapascua, Moalboal, Dumaguete and Bohol.
Ideal for viewing: green turtle, pelagic thresher shark, giant frogfish, blacktip reef shark, banded sea krait
Surrounded by bright white sandy beaches, the little island of Malapascua has gained a reputation as one of the best places in the world for thresher sharks sightings, encountered each morning at Monad Shoal. Numerous other sharks are also seen as well as mantas and excellent macro life.
Ideal for viewing: pelagic thresher shark, scalloped hammerhead shark, banded sea krait, mandarin fish, common cuttlefish
Excellent for: Resort based diving holidays, Group diving holidays, Shark diving
Known as the ‘City of Gentle People’, you’ll be welcomed in Dumaguete with open arms and first class hospitality. Twenty minutes further south, Dauin is home to plenty of dive resorts and some of the best critters in the region.
Ideal for viewing: giant frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish, spotted eagle ray, green turtle, flamboyant cuttlefish
Excellent for: Resort based diving holidays, Muck diving
Located in the Mindoro Strait, in the west of the Philippines, Apo Reef is a 34 km long reef featuring magnificent drop-offs and overhangs with resident turtles, barracuda, snapper, whitetip and grey reef sharks.
Ideal for viewing: green turtle, spotted eagle ray, whitetip reef shark, grey reef shark, barracuda
Across the channel from Cebu is the beautiful island of Bohol, a tropical haven of natural beauty with its pristine beaches, the Chocolate Hills and some amazing underwater attractions for both divers and snorkellers to enjoy.
Ideal for viewing: green turtle, western clownfish, banded sea krait, giant frogfish, barracuda
Excellent for: Resort based diving holidays, Reef diving
Located to the west of Bohol, the small island of Cabilao is renowned for the rich biodiversity of marine life found on its fringing reef. It’s a great escape, and the island can be explored on foot or if you prefer, you can simply enjoy life from your hammock.
Meaning ‘bubbling stream’, Moalboal is a small town on Cebu Island. There are about 25 recognised dive sites and many more being discovered all the time. The range of diving is excellent, with vertical walls, a cathedral like cave, healthy coral reefs and plenty of macro life. whale sharks are occasionally encountered.
Ideal for viewing: green turtle, whale shark, giant frogfish
Excellent for: Resort based diving holidays, Reef diving, Underwater photography
Panglao Island, which is connected by a causeway to Bohol, is the place for divers to stay, with good coral gardens near the surface and steep walls complete with caves, overhangs and crevices harbouring teeming fish and invertebrate life. Surrounding islands are known for big fish encounters as an added draw.
Ideal for viewing: green turtle, western clownfish, banded sea krait, giant frogfish
Excellent for: Resort based diving holidays, Snorkelling
Siquijor island is a macro photographer’s dream, and enthusiastic night divers will long remember the unrepeatable marine experience. The towering limestone landscape is home to adventures including climbing and exploring the many caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites, tiny waterfalls and pools.
Ideal for viewing: giant frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish, spanish dancer, common cuttlefish
Excellent for: Resort based diving holidays, Muck diving, Snorkelling
Withdraw to the tranquility of nature on an island with crystal blue waters, white sand beaches and the shade of hundreds of coconut trees. The local reefs are teeming with colourful creatures and corals, but the area’s signature site is the Manta Bowl, a cleaning and feeding station of the oceanic manta.
In Sorsogon Province near Donsol there is a rare opportunity to interact with anything up to 20 whale sharks at any one time. For this, Donsol is now being dubbed by many as the ‘whale shark Capital of the World’. Visit between the months of October and May.
Ideal for viewing: whale shark
Excellent for: Resort based diving holidays, Shark diving, Whale sharks
The island province of Palawan is known as the Philippines’ last ecological frontier offering remote jungles, rugged scenery, pristine beaches, secret coves, underground mysteries and world-class diving. Highlights include the wrecks of Coron and Tubbataha Reef – accessible only by liveaboard between March & June.
Ideal for viewing: green turtle, dugong, hawksbill turtle
Pura Vida Cabilao (formerly Cabilao Brach Club) is a small eco-resort featuring four double, one single and a triple bungalow, all with ocean views and in a tranquil tropical garden setting on the beachfront.