Centre of Marine Biodiversity
Fancy a dip? The Philippines is blessed with more than 7,641 magnificent islands. The country is not only part of the rich Coral Triangle, it is also the world’s centre of marine biodiversity. The diving is phenomenal! For every square kilometre or mile, the Philippines has the highest concentration and diversity of marine life anywhere on the planet. It boasts 5,000 species of clams, snails and mollusks; 488 species of coral; 981 species of bottom-living algae; and five of the seven turtles. It has 1,815 fish species or 85% of the 2,145 fish species in the world.
Here are some of the most popular diving destinations.
Apo Island Negros Oriental
The island may be a tiny volcanic island, but is considered to be one of the finest dive destinations in the Philippines for its protected marine sanctuary. Beyond witnessing manta rays and colourful coral gardens, divers will find delight in swimming with giant sea turtles and over 650 species of fish.
Home to an abundance of aquatic flora and fauna, Balicasag is a small tropical marine sanctuary where novice snorkellers and veteran scuba divers can swim with sea turtles, silvery jack fishes and watch playful dolphins from the boat. Its impressive submarine cliffs are studded with corals, sponges and anemones that house a variety of fish, mollusks and crustaceans.
A diving paradise on the west coast of Cebu Island, it offers numerous diving spots including Pescador Island where coralline walls support a variety of marine life such as sea fans, ferns, anemonefish, sponges, barracudas, and sharks including thresher and whitetip. Turtle bay is another underwater hotspot that offers a respite for sea turtles, while Panagsama Reef’s steep underwater slopes feature gigantic sea whips and a massive school of sardines.
Anilao is known as the birthplace of scuba diving in the Philippines. A paradise for underwater photographers, especially macro photography, its marine landscape makes up for its mostly rocky shores. Boasting more than 50 dive sites, Anilao is one of the best places to get up close with the hundreds of species of coral, pelagic fish and tiny nudibranchs.
Sogod Bay Southern Leyte
Sagod Bay is composed of 22 dive spots replete with rich marine life, from multicoloured corals to pygmy seahorses and the occasional whale shark. Its most famous dive site is Napantao, where unspoiled coral gardens and caves dot the seabed. It welcomes all levels of divers for its marine diversity and varied underwater topography.