The best endorsement for diving in the Philippines isn’t from a UNESCO heritage listing or Conde Nast Traveler awards, but from people who’ve experienced it. We’ve seen friends’ eyes grow wide with excitement when they talk about Tubbataha. We chat with divers who’ve been all over Southeast Asia who say the Philippines has “hands down” the best diving ever. Now and then we meet a seasoned diver, steely-eyed and tight-lipped, who chooses to keep the best dive spots in the country a secret from the world.
Here are seven reasons you will love diving the Philippines:
Every morning off Malapascua Island off northern Cebu, thresher sharks drift into the shallow depths of Monad Shoal to be groomed by cleaner wrasses. The threshers make lazy circles above a 35-meter deep shelf, hypnotizing divers with their waving ribbon tails. The Philippines is one of the only places in the world where you can see threshers every day.
It’s been documented that over a thousand identified whale sharks visit the Philippines as part of their migratory patterns, and you’ll find them in Donsol, Sorsogon in southern Luzon off the Pacific Ocean, in Oslob, Cebu in Central Visayas, and are sighted in every Hello PH! dive destination. Once you get into the water with these giant, gentle creatures, you’ll never forget that moment.
Sardines, Sardines, Sardines
Another spectacular sight that awaits you are our incredibly photo-worthy sardine runs. Want to watch a school of sardines swim by in a two-block long, two-story high formation, or see a glittering wall of fish form a vortex right before your eyes? You can catch this awesome show any day of the year in Moalboal, Cebu in Central Visayas.
Who doesn’t gasp at the sight of sea turtles? They’re the ocean’s ultimate “cool dude.” If you’re cool too, they’ll hang out and let you chill with them. Start messing around though or sending bad vibes and watch them jet away with a goodbye wave of their strong flippers.
Mantas are the stealth bombers of the sea. As they swoop by and say hello with a wave of their flaps, you’ll be impressed be their impressive wingspan and shape. Mantas are known for their endearing curiosity, and resident mantas in Donsol, Sorsogon, the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park, and Monad Shoal, Cebu will love it if you pay them a visit.
It’s no secret that the Philippines is one of the best countries for macro-diving. The exquisite combination of beauty and design found in the most miniscule of creatures in areas like Dauin, Negros Oriental and Mabini/Anilao, Batangas will send your social media feed into a tizzy once you post. If you’re looking for courses in UW photography, the Philippines has some great teachers we would gladly introduce to you.
The Coral Triangle
The Philippines has one of the most diverse reefs in the world, and that claim is not without basis. For instance, scientists have acknowledged the Verde Island Passage between Batangas and Oriental Mindoro as the “Center of Marine Biodiversity in the World” within the famed Coral Triangle, which the Philippines is a part of, along with waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and the Solomon Islands. You’ll see a dazzling array of hard corals, soft corals, sea pens, sea whips, sea fans, and sponges of all different sizes and colors gathered in just in one square meter. Imagine that square meter multiplied over the whole surface of the reef like Tubbataha Reefs Park, in the Sulu Sea at 97,000 hectares or Apo Reef, in the Mindoro Strait at 32 square kilometers — the third largest contiguous reef in the world — and you’ve got a marine heaven waiting for you to explore it.
The Philippines is one of those countries that draws you back more than once, especially if you’re a diver. With more than 7,500 islands, there’s always more to explore. Not sure where to go first? Check out our Destinations page. « Destinations » linked to Destinations/Tours page.