Anyone that has tried SCUBA diving Philippines for themselves, knows that in this world, it doesn’t really get too much better when it comes to quality of reef and the number of species, than here in paradise.
It really is THAT great. From world class muck sites with rare and exotic species, to sites with more healthy and vibrant reefs than most countries, Philippines has it all.
I have now spent a few year in Philippines, doing hundreds of dives all over the country, and experiencing things I have not done before. It is my goal to show you why Philippines diving is a dream for anyone.
In this guide, it is my goal to show you all of the best dive locations in the country, how to get there, what to expect, who to dive with, visa information and more.
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There are a ton of options when it comes to diving here, so I will tell you what makes each one unique and special, and once you decide where you want to go, I’ll give you all the information you’ll need to make it happen.
Some locations are better for rare macro critters, like flamboyant cuttlefish and blue ring octopus, while others are known for healthy reefs and bigger things like sharks and turtles.
I will tell you which is which, but I highly recommend combining multiple locations, and creating one epic dive trip!
I’ve put in a lot of hours creating this free guide for you, so if you find it useful, I would love if you use the affiliate links below! If you do, I get paid a small commission, at no extra cost to you!
Top SCUBA Diving Locations in Philippines
If you are looking for the quick answer, here are the top 5 SCUBA diving locations in the Philippines. You can read the whole guide below.
- El Nido
Locally known as the nudibranch capital, Anilao offers some of the best Philippines diving, and a huge variety of species and reef. It offers over 50 awesome dive sites, all with incredible rare critters.
Besides the famous thresher sharks, there is also Gato Island, one of the best dive locations in the country (and world), just off shore, as well as countless other little dive sites where you will be able to see a big number of macro and rare critters.
Moalboal has a ton of awesome dive sites, all a short boat ride from most resorts. The two most known are the famous Sardine Run, which is a giant bait ball, and Pescador Island.
A dive trip to Philippines might not be complete without a stop in El Nido, and it’s countless beautiful islands. In this Palawan destination, expect to bump into sharks, turtles, big schools and more.
Boracay is the most touristy on this list, and is known for being the party and romantic getaway. But we wouldn’t be listing Boracay just for its white beaches and bars. There is a secret location off-shore you might like, which reportedly is a migration route for big fish.
Read more: Scuba Diving Subic
Hard core divers should Ticao on their bucket list. There are not many dive sites here, however it is one of the best places in the Philippines to see mantas rays, whale sharks, thresher sharks, and hammerheads. You’ll also be away from the crowds.
Coron is another great spot for wreck diving. During WWII, 24 Japanese boats were sunk in the area around Coron, as well as some US jets. There is an entire bay full of old wrecks, just waiting for divers.
Read more: Scuba Diving Coron
Discovered in the ’70s, Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park is widely considered as not just the best of Philippines diving, but the best in the world. Tubbataha Reef is the highlight of all biodiversity in Philippines, which is saying A LOT. Is this the best when it comes to scuba in Philippines?
An Archipelago made up of about twenty islands, Romblon is located in the Mimaropa region. This is another one of the lesser known or visited destinations on the list, but is well adored by divers lucky enough to have made the trip.
If you prefer to see your favorite pelagic in the wild, here is a deep channel where you can see the big guys, such as mantas, pilot whales, whale sharks and even humpbacks. Many call this the alternative to Oslob, where whale sharks are fed for tourists.
Read more: Donsol diving
Everyone has heard of the famous Chocolate Hills and the tiny tarsiers, but what many don’t know is that the diving around Bohol is world class. Places like Panglao and more. It’s pretty close to Moalboal & Dauin, so expect greatness.
Read more: Scuba Diving Bohol
Being the gateway to the rest of the popular Palawan, you are sure to spend some time in Puerto Princesa, so you might as well explore some of it’s dive sites! Not to mention, the underground river system.
Think of Puerto Galera as the little brother of Anilao. Its nearby, has great diving, and about the same distance from Manila as Anilao is. This is a popular spot for local divers, and you can either spend your whole trip here or combine with Anilao.
Read more: Scuba Diving Puerto Galera
Siquijor is an island located in the Central Visayas region, and is known among the Filipinos for ‘witchcraft’ and voodoo, but most people come for the sandy beaches and underwater delights. You’ll love exploring the walls and macro critter sites of Siquior.
Best times for Philippines Diving
It is either dry or wet season in Philippines. Wet or monsoon season is from May to October and a dry season from November to April.
Although you can travel and dive Philippines year round, choose between November to April for the perfect weather. Even though the dives are always great, you might get a little seasick from wave action on the boat in monsoon season.
SCUBA Diving Gear you Might Need
Although there are plenty of reputable dive operators in Philippines, it is always a good idea to bring your own dive gear. One leaky mask or bad computer can ruin your dive trip.
We have lots of gear guides with our top recommendations, so check those out below: