The 10 Best Dive Sites in the Philippines


The Philippines is a paradise for scuba divers, offering a diverse array of underwater landscapes and marine life. With over 7,000 islands and a vast expanse of crystal-clear waters, the country is home to some of the world’s best dive sites. From vibrant coral reefs to historic shipwrecks, the Philippines has something to offer divers of all skill levels. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 dive sites in the Philippines that showcase the beauty and richness of the Philippine underwater world.

1. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Located in the Sulu Sea, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best dive sites in the Philippines. This remote and pristine reef system is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, including sharks, rays, turtles, and over 600 species of fish. The park features two main atolls, North and South, both offering spectacular wall dives, drift dives, and stunning coral formations.

2. Apo Island

Apo Island, situated off the coast of Negros Oriental, is a world-renowned dive destination known for its thriving coral reefs and abundant marine life. The island’s surrounding waters are protected as a marine sanctuary, making it one of the best dive sites in the Philippines for observing healthy coral ecosystems. Divers can encounter schools of colorful fish, sea turtles, and even the occasional whale shark.

3. Malapascua Island

Malapascua Island, located in the Visayas region, is famous for its regular sightings of thresher sharks. These unique sharks, with their long, whip-like tails, can be seen at the cleaning stations around the island’s dive sites, particularly at Monad Shoal. Apart from the thresher sharks, Malapascua offers excellent macro diving opportunities, with a variety of nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses, and other tiny creatures.

4. Coron Bay

Coron Bay, situated in the northern part of Palawan, is known for its stunning wreck dives. The bay is home to several Japanese warships that were sunk during World War II, creating an underwater museum for divers to explore. The most famous wrecks include the Akitsushima, a massive seaplane tender, and the Irako, a refrigeration ship. In addition to the wrecks, Coron Bay also offers beautiful coral reefs and limestone cliffs, making it one of the best dive sites in the Philippines.

5. Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera, located on the island of Mindoro, is a popular dive destination that caters to both beginners and experienced divers. The area boasts a wide variety of dive sites, ranging from shallow coral gardens to deep walls and drift dives. Some of the notable dive spots include the Verde Island Drop-off, known for its strong currents and pelagic encounters, and the Canyons, a series of underwater crevices teeming with marine life.

6. Anilao

Anilao, situated in the province of Batangas, is considered the birthplace of scuba diving in the Philippines. This muck diving paradise is famous for its unique and rare critters, such as the mimic octopus, blue-ringed octopus, and various species of frogfish. Anilao’s dive sites are characterized by black sand slopes and coral reefs, providing a perfect habitat for these fascinating creatures.

7. Moalboal

Moalboal, located on the island of Cebu, is renowned for its incredible sardine run. The waters off the coast of Panagsama Beach are home to a massive school of sardines that create a mesmerizing underwater spectacle. Divers can immerse themselves in the swirling, shimmering ball of fish, an experience that makes Moalboal one of the best dive sites in the Philippines. The area also features beautiful coral reefs and wall dives.

8. Bohol

Bohol, an island province in the central Philippines, offers a diverse range of dive sites suitable for all skill levels. The most famous dive spot in Bohol is Balicasag Island, known for its clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life. Divers can encounter schools of jacks, barracudas, and even the elusive mandarin fish. Other notable dive sites in Bohol include the Cabilao Island wall dives and the Panglao Island marine sanctuaries.

9. Subic Bay

Subic Bay, located in the province of Zambales, is another fantastic destination for wreck diving enthusiasts. The bay was once a major naval base for the United States, and several ships and planes were intentionally sunk to create artificial reefs. Some of the most popular wrecks include the USS New York, a massive battleship, and the San Quentin, a former prison ship. Subic Bay also offers excellent macro diving opportunities, with numerous species of nudibranchs and crustaceans.

10. Dauin

Dauin, situated in the province of Negros Oriental, is a hidden gem among the best dive sites in the Philippines. This small coastal town is known for its excellent muck diving, with numerous species of unusual and rare critters. Divers can spot ghost pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish, and various types of seahorses among the sandy bottoms and coral patches. Dauin also offers beautiful coral reefs and the opportunity to encounter sea turtles and dugongs.

In conclusion, the Philippines is a true haven for scuba divers, offering an unparalleled variety of dive sites and marine life. From the remote and pristine reefs of Tubbataha to the historic wrecks of Coron Bay and Subic Bay, the best dive sites in the Philippines cater to every diver’s interests and skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned diver, the Philippines promises an unforgettable underwater adventure that will leave you in awe of the beauty and diversity of its marine ecosystems.