Dive Center Excellence Awards
| PHILIPPINES |
Welcome to the first annual Scuba Excellence Awards, which are rewarded to the best dive centers and resorts in the world, based on the highest standards in multiple categories.
The categories in which the winners of this award excel in, will be listed below, but consist of nothing less than excellence in customer service, safety, and environment protection.
For most scuba travelers, it can be a little daunting when planning a trip, because you really don’t know who you can trust. You don’t want anything to go wrong, which can ruin an expensive holiday, or worse. You want the most safe, trustworthy dive operator possible, in the location you choose to dive.
That’s where we come in. Our team has tested out countless dive resorts, dive centers and operators all over the world, to weed out the bad ones, and give light to the very best for our readers. Our goal here is to reward dive operations that deserve recognition, and who should be considered role models of the industry.
So, how does a dive operator make our list? What is the criteria to be on this coveted list?
A dive operator must meet or exceed the following:
- Safety | Every company on this list must meet the HIGHEST safety standards, set by us and PADI, both in and out of the water, with qualified guides and instructors, and a safe environment, and little to no accident record.
- Equipment | As a extension of safety, all operators must offer good quality rental equipment, that is up to date on maintenance, and tested constantly. They don’t have to have the most expensive, top brand gear, but it must be working perfectly and suitable for new divers.
- Dive boats | Same as the equipment, dive and transfer boats must all be regularly maintained and completely safe for all divers. If an operator’s boat regularly breaks down or is unsafe, it wont make this list.
- Guides and Instructors | All dive operations must have qualified guides, PADI Divemaster (or equivalent) and above for guides, and qualified instructors. Group size & diver/guide ratios on group dives must be within PADI regulations, with no more than 4-5 students per instructor, and 4-5 divers per guide.
- Staff | We have to throw the staff on the list, because even if everything else is perfect, rude office staff or boat crews can ruin your experience as well. So if a shop has a boat captain that gropes woman, they wont make the list (hey it happens).
- Accommodation | It’s not required for a dive operator to offer their own accommodation, but for the ones that do, the must have safe and secure rooms, that are in a safe location with locks on doors, and relatively comfortable. No matter the quality of rooms, we look down on operators that completely misrepresent their facilities. We don’t want our readers to be sadly surprised when they arrive.
- The Environment | Touching, manipulating, harassing etc of marine life and corals, is highly forbidden by any of the guides or staff of the award recipients below, and is just as important ad all the other requirements. They should also not allow their guests to touch reefe or fish either.
There are so many excellent dive operators in the world, that we decided to organize them by country. For this awards page, we are listing the top dive centers of Philippines.
To be even more organized, we are also listing their locations within the country, that way you know where each is located, and you can plan your perfect dive trip!
If you are wondering where you should be diving, and what location is the best in the country, check out our comprehensive guide to scuba diving Philippines.
Anilao is a huge favorite for underwater photographers, due to its huge amount of rare macro critters, and world class muck diving. Be sure to check out our Guide to Scuba Diving Anilao, if you want more information.
If you are heading to Anilao, which is a underwater photographer’s dream, and want a bit of luxury, then this is our favorite place to stay and dive. Swiss owned and operated, you will not be disappointed here.
Aiyanar is the epitome of a stylish resort that strives to make staying ashore as pleasurable as diving itself. Strategically situated on the mountainside, Aiyanar presents you with a grand panoramic view of the sunset against the ocean’s vast expanse.
Bohol is a popular tourist destination, but not all know that it also offers amazing diving. The most popular spots being around Panglao Island, with Cabilao just off shore. Be sure to check out our Guide to Scuba Diving Bohol, if you want more information.
Tropical Divers is a 5 star PADI dive centers right on the famous Alona beach. It is next to the Tropical resort, where they can make bookings for you, if you want to stay close to the center.
Boracay is one of the most popular tourist destinations, and known as the party island, but if you want to do some diving while here, you can. Be sure to check out our Guide to Scuba Diving Boracay, if you want more information.
Sea World Dive Center is located in the heart of White Beach on Boracay Island in the central Visayas of the Philippines. Founded in 1995 and moved to its current location in November 1999, this PADI Dive Center has been operating for 22 years.
Calypso Dive Resort is a PADI 5-Star IDC Center with multi-lingual instructors. They offer PADI scuba diving courses at all levels. Calypso also has a great resort and restaurant right on the white beach.
Award Recipients from Donsol
Donsol Eco Tours
Donsol Eco Tours is one of the top rated tour operators in Bicol, offering dive trips to the famous Manta Bowel and whale shark watching. They are a small but good operation.
If you want to dive lots of different ship wrecks, then Coron is the place you want to be. It also has a lot of other great dive sites and islands to explore. Be sure to check out our Guide to Scuba Diving Coron, if you want more information.
Neptune is a PADI 5 star dive center in Coron, that takes divers to all the great local sites, and also offers other trips such as island hopping and fishing.
Dauin offers some of the best muck diving and rare critters in the world. Be sure to get here during cephalopod season, or frogfish season, and you will see some awesome critters! For wide angle lovers, there is also the famous Apo Island just off shore.
El Nido is one of the most popular destinations in Palawan, for both scuba divers and islands hoppers. You can get in some amazing dives, and spend your surface intervals on pristine beaches. Be sure to check out our Guide to Scuba Diving El Nido for more information.
Tabanka is a great German owned dive shop right on the popular beach in El Nido, that has great guides and boats, and take divers to all of the top dive sites available.
Submariner Diving Center specialise in scuba diving and has been rated Number One on Trip Advisor among all the dive centers in El Nido, Palawan, for five consecutive years. We are also fully certified PADI diving center.
Malapascua is where divers go who want to see the incredible thresher sharks, one of the funniest sharks there is. But there is also El Gato Island and lots of other great dive locations around Malapascua. Be sure to check out our Guide to Scuba Diving Malapascua for more information.
Evolution is a great dive resort, right on a white sand beach, with boats right out front. They have nice rooms, but really specialize in diving, with highly experienced guides and instructors.
Exotic is actually neighbors to Evolution, and is more luxury oriented than budget. They have a great dive center and boats as well, although tec and specialty divers probably will prefer Evolution.
Moalboal is famous for the big Sardine Run, which lets divers swim amongst millions of tiny sardines. There is also tons of other amazing dive sites around, including Pescador Island. Be sure to check out our Guide to Scuba Diving Moalboal for more information.
Turtle Bay is a pretty dive resort a little out of the noisy and crowded Moalboal, with its own great dive center. If you want a all inclusive experience in a much quieter trip, go with these guys.
Savedra Dive Center is a spacious and modern Dive Center for scuba diving, PADI dive courses, beach resort accommodation, dive safaris, dive travel and just plain fun diving in Cebu.
Puerto Galera is just south of Manila, and near Anilao. Subsequently, the dive sites in the area have a ton of great chances to see some rare critters, such as blue ring octopus. There is also the great Verde Island nearby. Be sure to check out our Guide to Scuba Diving Puerto Galera for more information, as well as Top Things to do in Puerto Galera.
BADLADZ Dive Resort has been serving the Puerto Galera scuba diving industry for 19 years and is highly ranked as one of the best dive resorts in the Philippines. They have a great location on Puerto Galera Bay with beautiful views of the bay and the Yacht Club.
Marco Vincent Dive Resort is located in White Beach, a serene and beautiful cove found in Puerto Galera. It’s located 100 meters from the shore where you can explore the numerous natural attractions and aqua sports activities.
Siquijor Divers is a smaller dive shop, that offers smaller group tours with great guides and instructors. They are now building rooms right on the beach as well.
Coco Grove is a large dive resort, that sits right on the beach, and has nice big rooms. If you want a small, more budget friendly operation, head to Siquijor Divers, and if you want a big resort vibe, Coco is for you.
Award Recipients from Subic
The Arizona Dive Shop is located in Barrio Barrettoin Subic Bay. The Bay Dive Shop is part of the Arizona Resort which has 33 air conditioned rooms, the best food in the area, and a great view of the bay.
Camayan Divers and Camayan Beach Resort sit on what has been called “The Best Beach in Subic” and is surrounded by lush rainforest and a protected marine sanctuary. We’re also next door to Ocean Adventure Marine Mammal Theme Park.
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