Scuba Diving Philippines: The Top 16 Locations

Philippines diving
School of Sweetlips, Apo Island, Philippines | © / Mike Vietch Shutterstock

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.

Watch our full Philippines SCUBA diving documentary

diving philippines
Play Video

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.

  1. Anilao
  2. Dauin
  3. Malapascua
  4. Moalboal
  5. El Nido
diving in philippines
Hairy Frogfish, Anilao Philippines | © / Bass Supakit Shutterstock

Anilao

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.

Read more: Scuba Diving Anilao | Best SCUBA Diving in the World

Dauin

Dauin offers some of the best muck diving in the world, with chances to see a lot of rare critters, such as flamboyant cuttlefish, frogfish, blue ring octopus and much more.

Read more: Scuba Diving Dauin | Fun Things to do in Dumaguete

Malapascua

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.

Read more: Scuba Diving Malapascua | 25 of the Best Places to Learn to Dive

Moalboal

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.

Read more: Scuba Diving Moalboal | 10 Fun Things to do in Moalboal

El Nido

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.

Read more: Scuba Diving El Nido | Guide to Diving Puerto Princesa

Boracay

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 Boracay | Fun Things to do in Boracay

Subic Bay

Located on the western side of Luzon island, Subic Bay was a former US naval base that is now a seaside town best known for it’s wreck dives, many of which include ship wrecks from WWII.

Read more: Scuba Diving Subic

Ticao

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

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

Tubbataha

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?

Romblon

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.

Donsol

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

Bohol

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

Puerto Princesa

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.

Read more: Puerto Princesa diving |  Things to do in Puerto Princesa

Puerto Galera

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

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.

Read more: Scuba Diving Siquijor | 16 Things to do in Siquijor

Best times for Philippines Diving

philippines seasnakes
Banded Sea Krait, Dauin, Philippines | © / Paul Cowell Shutterstock

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:

More Destinations

Pin it for later!

philippines diving
scuba diving philippines