Diving in the Philippines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Philippines’ underwater landscape is what every divers dreams are made of…

If you never tried scuba diving or snorkeling in the Philippine Islands then you have really missed out on something! The Philippines is a scuba diver’s fantasy come true, with more than 36,000 kilometers of coastline. It has one of the most productive marine eco-systems in the world. The diversity is phenomenal and caters to all levels of dive enthusiast – be it a novice or professional.

The warm waters surrounding the Philippine’s 7,107 islands offer a showcase of underwater marine life from rare nudibranchs to 27 species of clown fish, rays, gorgonians, turtles, and even the very rarely seen exotic fishes like harlequin ghost pipefish, Spanish dancer, fire gobies, frog fish, not to mention the gregarious colors of the soft corals and the vivaciousness of the hard corals. Discovering shipwrecks also adds to the thrill of exploring the Philippine under water. If large fish is a fascination then schooling sweet lips, Thresher and Hammerhead Sharks and barracudas will not frustrate you. Even mammals are commonly seen, both dugongs (sea cows) and dolphins. The mighty whale shark, the largest fish in the world also frequents Philippine water.

You will find here everything you could possibly imagine from the WWII shipwrecks in Coron to Spanish wrecks in Subic and Puerto Galera, to comparatively unspoilt reefs of Tubbataha, and the whale shark of Dansol, the Philippines is undeniably blessed with infinite natural beauty and splendor. No wonder, the Philippines was internationally recognized as one of the best 3 diving spot in the world together with Palau and Maldives.

The convergence of the waters of the South China Sea, Celebes Sea and Pacific Ocean gives the Philippine water plethora of over 2000 species of marine fish as well as 500 species corals.

The Philippines is divided into 3 geographical areas: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. All regions are an absolute smorgasbord of world class dive sites that gives you so many options that every dive will be diverse and mind- blowing. Scuba diving in the Philippines has everything to satisfy the fussiest divers.

Almost all the islands in the Philippines cater for divers of all levels of experience – be it easy shore diving to advance wreck diving or technical diving. Dive centers in the Philippines are well equipped and are authorized by distinguished agencies for upholding standards of professionalism and safety measures. The varieties of courses offered in Scuba diving are highly validated by certifying agencies like PADI, NAUI, SSI and USAC. For beginners, the Philippines provide the highest level of instructions with teaching in all major languages. But compared to other country diving here is very reasonably priced.

The Philippines have a beautiful landscape and even more beautiful underwater.

 

Best time to Dive:

Diving in the Philippines is all year round however, the most suitable time is generally December – June. the monsoon season is July –September. The hottest months are April, May and June with temperature of 33°c. Water temperatures are 27-31°c all year round. There are factors that could extremely affect the visibility, but in general you will be diving in relatively clear waters with a visibility range of some 20-40 meters.

 


TOP PHILIPPINE DIVE SITES


TUBBATAHA REEF IN THE PHILIPPINES
“Philippine’s diving jewel in the crown”.



Tubbataha’s trademark among the world divers is its coral ”walls” with extensive colonies of fish, where the shallow coral reef abruptly ends giving way to great depths. Underwater visibility can often exceed 30 meter seascape with underwater caves teem with marine life.

Situated in the heart of the Sulu Sea between Palawan, Negros and Malaysian Borneo, 181 km (98 nautical miles) south of Puerto Princesa, the capital province of Palawan is the main gateway to Sulu Sea. The term “tubbataha” is derived from two Samal words which means “a long reef exposed at low tide”. It is composed of two coral atolls (with inner lagoons) the North and South reef, separated by an 8km wide channel. Its landscape includes crevices, cavelets, stony corals and overhangs and gradual slopes, with 300 species of vivid corals and 379 species of fish at least 40 families.

Tubbataha Reef is a protected marine sanctuary and home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. The seemingly diverse ecosystem of this sanctuary rivals the Great Barrier Reef.

These picturesque tropical atolls, host an amazing variety of tropical reefs, turtles and large pelagics. There are schools of jacks, surgeons, sweetlips and snappers everywhere. It is however, the delightful draw for so many divers are the turtles, tuna, white and black tip sharks, eagle rays and mantra rays, barracudas, leopard and hammerhead sharks and shovel nose sharks are very common. It is indeed an amazing explosion of life and color making this an experience never to be forgotten.

Night diving- when the currents have slowed- is very popular. Lovers of macro life are always impressed by the number of nudibranch, shrimps and pipe fish in the waters.

As the Philippines only National Marine Park, Tubbataha is protected as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and reputed as country’s best dive spot with its ample marine life, provides neophyte divers with their first encounter with a Tubbataha shark.

Divers visit Tubbataha to experience the splendid creation of Tubbataha’s exceptional underwater world.

Travel Brief:

Liveboards are the only way of accessing Tubbataha Reef. Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan as the main departure point. Puerto Princesa is served by domestic flight from Manila (1 hour flight) by Philippine Airlines, Air Philippine and Cebu Pacific.

Diving Season:

The dive season runs from March until June. This time of year typically gives outstanding diving conditions clear skies, flat seas and excellent visibility (30 to 45 meters).

 

 

ANILAO , BATANGAS IN THE PHILIPPINES
“Described as the macro photographer’s paradise”



Anilao is regarded as the origin of diving in the Philippines and the cutting edge of the Philippine diving industry. Anilao is the diving courtyard of Manila and neighboring towns, a mere 140 km away and just about 3 hours travel time from the city. Anilao is a world class diving destination. The waters here practically have everything most divers craved for, shallow coral gardens among sandy patches, coral slopes, and steps of small drop-offs.

Anilao is legendary because of its outstanding corals and reef life, astonishing diversity of fishes and captivating dive sites. This diving site is excellent for novice or amateur divers as well as veteran divers and a great snorkeling site as well.

You can choose from 24 dive sites between the coast of Anilao and Maricaban Islands. Anilao dive sites are exceptional for photography because of the good visibility.

Travel brief:

From Manila there are daily buses to Batangas City, the terminal is located at Pasay City. From there a jeepney ride for Mabini Town, then another ride bound for Sulo. You can get off your resort of choice once you are in Sulo.

Diving Season:

Diving is good all year round.

 

Dive sites in Anilao

 

The Cathedral

The Cathedral is situated in the south portion of Anilao along the west coast of the Calumpan Peninsula. It’s the most popular dive site in Anilao, with a depth of 10m-18m (33ft-60ft.). The Cathedral is a roofless cavern consisting of two large sea mounts. The Cathedral is a warm-up for most open water student divers and for advanced navigational night dive. With a moderate current usually south bound and visibility can reach 24m (80ft.). Cathedral underwater panorama is lively and multihued. There are puffed up soft corals and multicoloured feather stars all around especially when the current is running.

The Cathedral dive site is a marine park sanctuary. They have countless of vibrant sponges, sea squirts, Christmas –tree worms in the corals, hydroids and nudibranchs. Sometimes a pygmy sea horse, giant black frog fish and marble sting ray can be chance upon, as well as pair of grey bamboo sharks at the depths of 38m.(125 ft.).

Cathedral’s main attraction is fish feeding and the famous cross planted by ex-Philippine President Fidel D. Ramos in 1983 and blessed by Pope John Paul II, hence the name ”Cathedral” was obtained.

Beatrice Rock

Beatrice Rock presents a sequence of small drop offs with channels in between. This site is densely teeming with reef fish including schools of snappers, triggerfish, surgeon fish, jacks and anthias, and blue-ringed octopuses and turtles could be seen from time to time.

Beatrice Rock is located North of Sepok Point, the northern end of Maricaban Island, the condition is generally calm with strong currents, but it could get very intense at times. Visibility can reach 24m (80 ft.). It’s best to dive during neap tide.

Sumbrero Island

Sumbrero Island is one of the best dive for novice divers, underwater photographer and as well as for all divers. Sumbrero Island has a depth of 8m-25m (26 ft.-82 ft.) and visibility can reach up to 25m (82 ft.). They called this place a coral garden of Anilao, the underwater landscape is full of life with thousand of assorted kinds of fauna.

Mainit Point

Mainit point is located at the southern most part of Calumpan Peninsula. Dive here is certainly with current because of proximity to Maricaban Straight and current can be very fierce and can spoil the visibility. However during good condition visibility can reach 24m (80 ft,).

There is a cave in Mainit point in which a Whitetip Shark has been spotted. There are vivid corals and the fish life includes powder blue surgeon fish, scorpion fish, wrasse, snappers, Moorish idols, porcupine puffer fish as well angelfish and butterfly fish.

Mainit Point is ideal for short go with the flow dive and barracuda watching.

 

Ligpo Island

This dive spot has a small drop off made up of slanted walls of rocks with sandy bottom sloped. Ligpo Island is a tiny island and diving can be done in a day. Basically the water in Ligpo Island is calm however, it can have a very intense current that change swiftly and not an ideal dive site for amateurs when current is running. But there’s a brighter side if the current is running, a variety of oceanic species can be seen, with the usual yellow gorgonians, vibrant sea fans and a long nose hawk fish. Visibility can reached up to 24m (80 ft.). Ligpo Island is good for night diving during neap tide that occurs semi monthly.

Twin Rock

Twin Rock is a popular choice of professional underwater photographers with a depth of 5m-15m (16 ft.-50ft). Visibility can reach 65 ft. Twin Rock dive site is generally calm with slight current. A good sight is the remains of a capsized barge lie here on a steady slop with algae, feather stars, small reef fish, sponges, and schools of barracudas are a common sighting too.

Other superb and fascinating dive sites in Anilao are Mapating Rock, Eagle Rock, Red Rock, Bahura, Kirby’s Rock, Merriel’s Rock, Sepok Wall, Bethlehem, Layag-Layag, Devil’s Point, Red Palm, Koala, Arthur’s Rock, Caban Cove, Darly Laut, Bonita island and Malajibomanoc Island.

 

 

VERDE ISLAND IN THE PHILIPPINES
The epicentre of marine biodiversity”

 

 

Do you know that the center of marine biodiversity in the universe is in the Philippines?

Yes it is! And Verde Island is the “center of the center” of the world’s marine biodiversity in a joint study by America’s Smithsonian Institute. Verde Island is known to have the most number of species per square meter of corals and more than half of the worlds shore fish species inhabiting its water. Verde island can be considered the marine counter part of the Amazon River Basin according to Kent Carpenter, global marine species coordinator for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Verde island is located between Batangas City and Oriental Mindoro in Luzon Island, a mere two hour drive from Manila and 30-minutes boat ride from Batangas City Port.

Visibility in Verde Island is endless, it could reach up to 80 meters. Corals are exquisite and marine life so prolific. The Verde island Passage Marine Corridor boasts 1,736 species and one had the feeling of diving in an aquarium and indeed spell binding.

Verde Island is also home to such threatened species as hawksbill, giant grouper, olive ridley, humphead wrasse, giant clams and green turtles.

Given the low cost diving amenities offered by local dive operators in this world class diving site, and the underwater adventure in this marine Eden would surely gratify both discerning scuba divers and of course those who are running on a tight budget and looking for rock bottom rates.

Verde Island is a major destination for fun loving travelers who seek sun, sand and sea.

 

Diving sites in Verde Island

 

The Pinnacle

The Pinnacle or Drop-Off Verde Island dive site is 80 meters deep and you can do a maximum depth of 30 to 40 meters depending on your experience level. You have to monitor the condition here as the current are moderately strong and unpredictable. But under good condition, exploring the pinnacle could be rewarding, corals are marvelous and marine life are abundant and seeing schools of pelagic fish is an awesome sight and perfect site for photographer too.

 

The Washing Machine

The washing machine dive site is a supreme adventure that gives you adrenaline rush that looks like you are in for a roller coaster ride. Washing machine dive site not only give you spectacular view of the marine life but also this site is a number of small interlocking canyons that set off a washing machine effect that would rip you indiscriminately, you will be yanked in all directions could be thrilling and definitely not to inexperienced who will not see this as fun diving.

 

 

APO REEF IN THE PHILIPPINES
“The Largest coral reef in the Philippines and the second largest contiguous coral reef
in the world after the Great Barrier Reef.”


The Apo Reef Natural Park is the largest atoll like reef in the Philippines. The 27,469 hectares Apo Reef is located in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro South of Luzon and is surrounded by mangrove forest and also a sanctuary of birds. Apo Reef Natural Park is a protected area. The main geographical feature of the reef is submerged.

Its varied corals are more or less 34 sq. km of reef of extensive marine fauna with high density of coral growth and nearly 500 psychedelic coral species. And has an island with terrestrial vegetation.

The coral island is separated by a channel that opens to the west and it has a shallow lagoon. Divers will enjoy the steep walls that are covered with aquatic invertebrates and crustaceans like the tunicates, slugs, sponges, and nudibranch. Hawksbill and green and turtles, batfish, fusiliers and butterfly fish are common. Sighting of different sharks, great barracudas, tunas and mantra rays frequent this reef especially when the current is strong.

Getting to Apo Reef is quite a long journey but it’s definitely worth all the trouble for you will be surely enchanted with this island paradise.

Travel Brief:

From Manila: take the bus plying Batangas in terminals in Cubao or Pasay City to Batangas pier (more or less 2 and a half hours travel time in a traffic day).
From Batangas Pier: take the RORO boat travelling to Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro (2 hrs and a half travel time)
From Abra de Ilog: take a van or bus going to Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro (another 3hours).
From Sablayan: 3 hours travel by pump boat but first go to the local government eco-tourism office and register and pay there.

Diving Season:

To be able to relish the captivating Apo reef, visit Apo between March and June. Water is generally calmer and visibility is heightened.

 

PUERTO GALERA IN THE PHILIPPINES
“One of the world’s most beautiful harbor.”


Puerto Galera is a place of exceptional beauty with picturesque scenic views, first rate pristine beaches and sheltered coves. There is always something to mesmerize the divers and tourist in this paradise called Puerto Galera.

Puerto Galera is in the province of Oriental Mindoro, South of Luzon and approximately 150 km from Manila. Puerto Galera means Galleon Point in Spanish, this port was used by the Spanish explorers and colonialist during the long period of Spanish rule in the Philippines.

Puerto Galera is famous for magnificent and adrenaline charged drift dives and is home for over 30 dive sites, abundant with thousands of different species of fish, shells, walls coated with soft and hard corals and the stunning ship wrecks. There are shallow coral reef gardens, easily reached and perfect for snorkeling and underwater photography.

The Hole in the Wall, the Canyon and the Escarceo Point are some of the “must do” dives in Puerto Galera. Escarceo Point is the favorite area of both novice and experienced divers, and macro life photography is perfect at this site and has the best coral in the area. The Hole in the Wall is home for large varieties of aquatic invertebrates. The Canyon on the other hand needs a good dive guide with its strong current making this perhaps a thrilling dive for experienced divers.

There’s no limit of activities in Puerto Galera for thrill seekers and for those who wants to have a relaxing holiday.

Travel Brief:

Puerto Galera is more or less 4 hours from Manila, two hours by bus and 2 hours by boat. From Manila: Take a bus bound for Batangas at Pasay or Cubao terminal to Batangas Pier, from which you will transfer to a boat bound for Puerto Galera.

Diving Season:

Because of the tropical climate, diving is good all year round with the hot and dry season from March-June.

 

MALAPASCUA ISLAND IN THE PHILIPPINES
“The only daily sighting of the friendly TRESHER SHARK in the world”


Malapascua Island is a paradise where time almost stands still. If you’re looking for a little more privacy in your vacation then Malapascua Island is the place for you.

Malapascua is a tiny island about 8km north east of Cebu in the middle of the emerald green water of the Visayan Sea, blessed with splendiferous immaculate stretch of white shore line and crystal clear waters. It is small that you can walk around the island for just 3 hours. It could be a good exercise to start your day in the quiet island.

Malapascua Island is famous tourist who wants to swim and snorkel, but also a famed dive center which offers divers an everyday sighting of the friendly big Thresher Shark. The Thresher Shark live in deep waters but a cleaner fish in that area attracts the Thresher to come out of his turf to seek its service to be cleaned almost everyday, and this paved way for the daily sighting of the Thresher shark. But aside from that divers will be dazzled by the striking unspoiled coral garden, the ship wrecks and the vast diversity of the marine life.

Malapascua Island have some dive sites worth exploring, like the Gato island, Shark Point and Dona Marilyn, indeed a little paradise that has everything for those who adores the sun and want adventures and also for those who seek refuge from daily stress and with the concrete jungle they lived in and once you’ve gone here- you’ll always keep coming back.

 

Dive Sites in Malapascua Island

Shark Point

Set your alarm clock for a pre-dawn start to take a 20 minute boat ride to the sunken island of Monad. The island has a diameter of just 1.5km, with a sloping depth of 12m dropping to 45m. Shark Point is where thresher sharks are frequently spotted, with the occasional Hammerhead and Manta ray too! This dive site is well worth the early start.

Gato Island

Gato Island is 40 minutes by boat, where fishing is not permitted so allowing underwater life to thrive. The island offers beautiful swim throughs and terrific macro life, with seahorses, pipefish and many different nudibranches. Fan corals provide the perfect environment for the camouflaged pygmy seahorse.

Dona Marilyn

A typhoon in 1982 sank this cargo ship, which now sits at a comfortable 32m. The wreck is 90m long and lies on its starboard side on a sandy bottom. There are a good variety of corals, lionfish, scorpionfish and batfish, along with occasional sightings of nurse sharks, whitetipped reef shark and species of ray.

Travel brief:

By air: There are international flights and domestic flights to Cebu-International Airport in Cebu City, the main gate way to Malapascua Island. Silk Air (Singapore Airlines), Cathay Pacific, Malaysian Airlines and Qatar Airlines are the four international airlines that fly to Cebu.

By bus from Cebu City to Maya: Take taxi from the airport to Cebu North bus station. Two companies the Ceres and Rough Riders goes to Maya, the travel time takes 3 ½ hours.

Maya to Malapascua: At Maya pier an outrigger boat will bring you to the island in 30- 45 minutes. Regular boats leave for Malapascua until 4:30 PM.

Diving Season:

Diving is ok the rest of the year, but to avoid the occasional rains, come at the driest climate between March to June.

 

CORON, PALAWAN IN THE PHILIPPINES
“Famous for wreck diving destination in the world”

 

When most divers think of wrecks, places like Truk Lagoon and wrecks like Egypt’s Thistlegorm spring to mind. Coron is the main port of a tiny eastern Filipino Island called Busuanga. During WWII this dusty island and its immediate locale was occupied by Japanese invaders. On 24th Sept 1944 some 120 Hellcat fighters and Helldiver bombers took flight on a mission to destroy Japanese targets in the Philippines. Travelling 350 miles to reach their target, the strike was to be the most distant at that point of history, yet 45 minutes after reaching Coron Town the 15-18 Japanese vessels at anchor there were left behind burning, exploding and sinking.

Coron, is one of the most mystical islands in Palawan with a length of approximately 30 km. Found in waters surrounding the island are limestone walls which rise to heights of 22 meters offering a spectacular view above and below water. One of Coron’s attractions is “Barracuda Lake” wherein all who dare, get the chance to meet the “lonely” fresh water barracuda. He’s a biggy, 1.5 metres long.

Coron is one of the most famous wreck diving destinations in the world. From the 24 ships that sank during the bombardment of American Forces on Japanese warships during WW II, only 12 wrecks have been located in dive able depths ranging from 25 – 40 meters.

 

Dive sites in Busuanga & Coron

 

Barracuda Lake or Thermal Lake

Located on Coron Island, is a reverse thermal lake, the water temperature at surface, is 28 Celsius (80 F). The temperature stays constant to approximately 14 meters at which point a very visible thermocline separates the “cool” upper water from the 40 degree [104 F] water below. The deeper one penetrates, the hotter the water becomes. Normally, the hot water should rise, but in the case of Barracuda Lake, the lower water contains considerable limestone salts, which create heat. The scenery in the lake is spectacular, both above water and below surface. If you are lucky, you will see one of the barracudas that make their home in the lake. Barracuda Lake is one of the most beautiful and strangest dives you will ever make.

Cathedral Cave

A cavern under Coron Island, Palawan directly connected to the sea. Location: South end of Coron Island on the East side. Cathedral Cave is a beautiful dive spot. It starts 6 meters deep at a hole in the bottom of the sea next to the sheer rock wall of Coron Island. You enter a tunnel and descend to 12 meters. If you take the time to look, you see the antenna of juvenile lobsters waving from holes in the tunnel above and out from under the rocks below and cowry shells clinging to the ceiling of the tunnel. Then you pass out of the tunnel and see a shaft of daylight penetrates the interior of a cave. The roof of the cave has collapsed sending down a full sized tree. The skeletal trunk and main branches of the tree rest on top of the sand mound in the middle of the cave. You follow the light and surface inside a big underground cathedral. You pass over the sand dune and continue ahead and left to another passage that leads to a chamber with an air pocket above ocean level. Back through the tunnel into the open sea and you dive among corals with 15 to 20 meter visibility.

Akit Sushima Wreck

Akit Sushima sits on her side and the diver is treated to spectacular cathedral like views. A well lead tour will take you around the engine room and point out many interesting features. The main part of the penetration here is easy wide uncluttered decks lying on her side the spaces are wide. The more experienced you are the tighter spots you will found yourself being led into. Most people have ended up the wrong side of a jammed toilet door on dry land, but not many have been unable to find their way out of the toilet due to a silt-out 18m below the surface.

Concepcion Wreck

This is a wreck of a Japanese cargo ship sunk by American submarines during World War II. The cargo ship was on its way to Leyte Gulf from Japan, laden with war materials for the beleaguered Japanese forces during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Some of the portions are still intact although the valuable fittings have been salvaged. Its location and the fact that the main deck is only 9 meters deep make the wreck an interesting dive site. The wreck is host to an amazing number of fish.

Dumumpalit Island

This 90-meter high island site on a reef extends northeast and southwest, with the latter offering the best diving. The bottom slopes gently from the shoreline to 24 meters and the slope is covered by a whitish-pink soft coral garden. Visibility is ussually around 30 meters.

Framjee Bank/Magallanes Bank

An experienced boatman is needed to locate these sites which lie beneath the surface with no convenient navigational landmarks close by. The shallowest sections are in about 6 meters of water, with gradual slopes leading off into infinity. The areas are known for big pelagic fish and sharks. When currents are running, here are big bonito and tuna.

Northwest Rock/Sail Rock/Kalotoko Rocks

All three are prominenet landmarks with a dense fish population, including big jacks, fusiliers, barracudas, Spanish mackeerels and small, black and whitetip sharks. There are a few small reeef fish. The short drop-offs end at around 4.5 to 8 meters deep, with slopes studded with coral pathes running down to around 18 to 28 meters. Kalotoko is reportedly a good area for shark observation.

Brown Rock

More appropriately called Butulan Rocks, these two barren, brown-colored rocks are 50 meters high and are easily identified. The eastern and western sides of the southern rock make interesting dives with a good coral garden on the western side. Parrot fish are common and hammerhead sharks measuring up to 2.5 meters long have been seen.

 

Other dive sites around Coron & Busuanga

  • Tangat Wreck
  • Mamiya Maru (WW II Wreck)
  • Irako (WW II Wreck)
  • Taee Maru (Concepcion Wreck)
  • Akit Sushima (WW II Wreck )
  • Dimalanta Wreck (WW II Wreck)
  • Olympia Maru (WW II Wreck)
  • Black Island Wreck
  • Gunboat at Lusuong
  • Gunboat at Tangat
  • Malajon Island
  • Matay Island
  • Delian Island
  • North & South Cay Island
  • Tana Island

Travel Brief:

By Air

By Boat

  • SuperFerry stops in Coron on its way to Puerto Princesa. Leaves Manila on Friday afternoon and arrives in Coron early Saturday morning. Heads back to Manila on Sunday night. Wait until a couple of days before it departs to get cheaper tickets. Don’t wait too long, though.

Diving Season

The diving season in Coron/Busuanga is from October to May.

 

SUBIC BAY IN THE PHILIPPINES
“Diving to the relicts of past wars”

Olongapo and Subic Bay in the western portion of the island of Luzon of the Philippines provides a very unique dive and vacation experience.  As a scuba diving destination it provides an outstanding selection of wrecks to dive on. Historical wrecks such as the USS New York, an Armor Cruiser built before the Spanish American war, the Oryoku Maru, A luxury cruise ship converted to use in WWII by the Japanese to transport POW in hellish conditions, one of the infamous “Hell Ships”, and the Seian Maru, a Japanese freighter sunk in the closing days of WWII. These three wrecks are within 500 meters of each other and as close to 300 meters from shore. In addition to these three dive sites, seven other ship wrecks are within Subic bay within reach of the recreational diver. Tech divers can add even more sites. While Subic Bay is known for her wrecks, the bay also has some nice reefs to dive.

 

Dive Sites in Subic

Hell ship Oryoku Maru – On 15 December 1944, she had 1,619 American and British prisoners of war on board when she was sunk, under heavy bombardment by American fighters while on her way from Subic Bay to Japan. She was less than half a kilometer off the Alava Pier when attacked. About 300 prisoners died during the short voyage from Manila and during the attack.

El Capitan was a freighter of nearly 3,000 tons just under 130 meters long. She sank in Subic Bay where she rests on a sloping bottom.

Seian Maru: During an air raid on Subic Bay, the 3,712 ton freighter Seian Maru was bombed and sunk. This was only four days after the sinking of the Oryoku Maru on 19 December 1944.

LST (Landing Ship Tank) This is one of the large LSTs that litter the floor of Subic Bay. She was scuttled in 1946 in the middle of Subic Bay between the southern tip of the runway and Grande Island

The old USS New York (ACR-2) which had been renamed the USS Rochester (CA-2) in 1917. At the onset of the Japanese Invasion of the Philippines this ship was acting as a floating workshop and storehouse. Already decommissioned, the armored hull of the old cruiser was too valuable to allowed to be captured, and so she was scuttled in December 1941 by American forces.

San Quentin: During the Spanish–American war in 1898, the Spanish scuttled their San Quentin in the hope of blocking the passage between Grande Island and Chiquita Islands near the mouth of Subic Bay.

Travel Brief:

Traveling by Land from Manila
Subic Bay Freeport Zone is 110 kms. North of Manila, the Philippines’ capital city, where Saulog Transit and Victory Liner air-conditioned buses provide passengers regular transport services to and from Olongapo City terminal. A short jeepney ride takes you from the Victory Liner terminal to the Freeport, while Saulog Transit terminal is just a stone’s throw away from the vicinity.

Travel via Victory Liner Terminal
Main stations from Manila are Pasay (Edsa, Pasay), Caloocan (713 Rizal Avenue Extension, Caloocan City) and Cubao (EDSA, Cubao). Buses’ schedule (either Zambales or Olongapo) is from 4:00 AM with 1 hour interval.

Traveling by car via Lubao and rural road (Approx. time of travel: 3.5 hours)
From Manila take the North Luzon Expressway all the way to San Fernando exit and pass thru towns of Pampanga (Bacolor, Guagua, Lubao) and Bataan (Dinalupihan) to the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway (Tipo Road, Bataan).

Traveling by car via SCTEx (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) (Approx. time of travel: 1.5 hours) From Manila and any point in Luzon. Take the North Luzon Expressway all the way pass San Fernando through Dau and exits to the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway (Tipo Road, Bataan).

Diving Season:

You can scuba dive Subic Bay pretty much all year round as there is always a wreck sheltered from the elements.

 

DUMAGUETE IN THE PHILIPPINES
“It is a paradise for macro-lovers”

Dumaguete, on Negros Island, with its spectacular variety of dive sites, is making waves among divers for they will find awesome walls, stunning coral gardens and prolific fish life – much of which is accessible from the beach. Just 30 minutes from Dumaguete is Apo Island, popular with divers for its vibrant marine life. Experienced divers know Dumaguete for muck diving where you can discover unusual and juvenile creatures like tiny transparent shrimps, neon nudibranchs and huge basket sponges adorned with hundreds of  colorful crinoids.  Divers wanting to see it all here are in luck because some dive centers offer island hopper cruises to allow multiple dives on different islands.

The diveresorts around Dauin are also the starting-point for full daytrips to the well knows surrounding islands like Apo Island, Sumilon Island or Siquijor Island. The dark volcanic sand is home to a enormous variety of critters. The 15 divesites around Dauin can be reached within 15 Minutes with a speedboat. Some of them are accessible even as a Most operators are offering up to four dives daily and additional Night dives and Mandarin fish-dives. All divespots in this area are protected areas, so calledMarine-Sanctuaries

 

Dive Sites in Dumaguete

Apo Island

South of Dumaguete City is Apo Island which features walls and coral mounds. Pelagic fish frequent the area inclusing the black-tip and whitetip sharks. Care must be taken particularly during full moon as currents are strong and unpredictable. To reach Apo Island, one can take a 35 minute ride by outrigger from Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental.

Sumilon Marine Sanctuary

Sumilon Island, just off the southern tip of Cebu, lies approximately 12 kilometers northeast of Dumaguete City. On its western side is the Philippine’s first marine sanctuary, which is the laboratoryfor marine biologists of Siliman University. who undoubtedly are inspired by its magnificent coral gardens and drop-offs. Crystal waters account for oustanding visibility. Varied and abundant marine life provide endless numbers of interesting dives for pleasure as much as for scientific observation. Sea snakes, turtles, sting rays, mantas, barracudas, garoupa, schools of jacks and even whale sharks – they are all here.

Dumaguete

Another first for the country is Dumaguete’s aritficial tire reef built from old tires and laid just off the beach in front of Dumagute City by marine biologists of Siliman University in 1977.

Travel Brief:

Negros Oriental is accessible by land, sea and air transportation: It is one hour and 15 minutes by plane from Manila, and 40 minutes from Cebu to Dumaguete City, capital of Negros Oriental. There are daily direct flights from Manila and Cebu. There are also daily sea voyages to and from different points in the Visayas and Mindanao and twice a week to and from Manila.

Diving Season

All-year round, outside of typhoon belt.

 

MOALBOAL IN THE PHILIPPINES
“Island of Micrcosm”



A three hour trip from Cebu City at the southwest coast of Cebu Island is Moalboal. White sandy beaches offer a relaxing atmosphere. Most of the resorts and Hotels there are in the in the middle price-class. But it is also not to hard to find some budget accommodations. Diving and snorkeling is good along the Panagsama Beaches between Capton und Tongo Point..

The main attraction of this region is Pescador Island. The tiny little island is like Cabilao and Pescador Island a microcosm by itself. Pescador Island is the main-focus of the Moalboal dive-operators. During peak-season, like holy week or Chinese New Year it can get quite crowded under water. Under water, the narrow coral reef surrounding the Island and it slopes gently between 3 and 9 meters before it drops vertically down to 40 meters and more. The corals in shallow waters are in good conditions and the big variety makes the waters around Moalboal and Pescador Island a great spot for Snorklers and Scuba divers.

Pescador Island is unprotected from waves and weather in the middle of the ocean. The surface conditions can be quite rough and the currents strong. Visibility can reach 40 meters (130ft) and more.

Travel Brief:

From Manila you can fly to Cebu International Airport, then you can take taxi to Moalboal but it will cost you around P2,500-3,000, the ride takes around 2.5 hours. Other ways to get to Moalboal would be to take a taxi to the Liberando bus terminal or the South Bus station across the road. Librando and Ceres buses go to Moalboal,. Make sure you are on a bus going via Barili, or you will end up in the South of Cebu.

In Moalboal most tourists stay at either Panagsama Beach (Basdiot) or White beach (Basdako). There is plenty of accommodation near either beach, although Panagsama has the most bars and restaurants.

Diving Season

November until June is the best month for snorkeling and diving if you are planning to visit the Moalboal area