It’s a wonder that the Philippines never runs out of interesting places to see. The profound natural resources and immaculate geographical beauty of this archipelagic island is home to a multitude of marine life and continue to gain popularity for having fantastic dive sites. Plunge deep into the wonders of the Philippine seas and be captivated by the incredible life underwater.
People from across the world come to Malapascua Island in the Visayas region for its pristine beaches. This remote island is more than just a beach bum’s paradise. It is also the perfect gateway to the numerous dive sites within the area. This marine sanctuary houses a great variety of fish and coral growth. Though sea snakes, eels, rays and tunas are often seen here, regular sighting of Thresher sharks is the major draw for divers. These sharks are known to navigate the deep waters and the best site to spot them is at Monad Shoal, hailed as one of the best shark dive sites in the country. The surrounding waters of Malapascua also have fascinating wreck sites which include WWII cargo carrier, landing craft and the sunken Dona Marilyn passenger ferry.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a marine protected area located in the south east of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, is one of the world’s best dive sites. Situated within the Coral Triangle, a global focus for biological diversity, the park offers an unimaginable underwater world of beauty and abundance. With roughly 10,000 hectares of coral reef, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a high density of marine life – reef fishes, sharks, tunas, mantas, dolphins and a lot more. This area is also host to nesting and feeding seabirds and endangered sea turtles such as Hawksbill and Green sea turtles.
Donsol and Ticao Island in southern Luzon are popular destinations for water activities such as swimming with one of the sea’s giants – the Whale shark; and diving. Locally called Butanding, whale sharks feed mainly on plankton and since the waters of Donsol have high concentration of microscopic organisms, it has become their perfect feeding ground. Donsol Bay is known to have regular sightings of these beautiful creatures – swimming around and just feeding. Whale shark interaction is strictly a snorkeling activity, touching them is not allowed as it may scare them away. Ticao Island on the other hand is has two popular dive sites – the Manta Bowl Shoal, hailed as the Manta capital of the Philippines; and the San Miguel Island, famous for its limestone formations, mini caves and an array of marine lifeforms.
From reefs blessed with marine biodiversity to remains of the archaic WWII Japanese warships, Palawan’s Coron Bay is a haven for all divers. It has been recognized as one of the best wreck dive sites in the country. Apart from a variety of ships, the waters of Coron also offer interesting dive sites like the Barracuda Lake, The Cave in Barracuda Lake, Cathedral Cave and the Seven Picados Reef teeming with different coral formations, schools of reef fish, and even barracudas.
Why go far for an exciting weekend dive when Anilao is merely less than a three-hour drive from Manila? Anilao is a part of the Batangas province and famous among divers, snorkelers and underwater photographers, where a range of macro life is in abundance. With occasional sighting of octopuses, sharks and tunas, and a variety of corals, a dive into the beautiful underwater world of Anilao is certainly a must-try.
Truly, Philippines is more than just a paradise; it is also home to a plethora of marine life. And as the country continues to grow as a favorite among divers and tourists, it only proves itself worthy of becoming one of the world’s best diving destinations.
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