Philippine Dive Primer (Philippines Tourism)
The Philippines is the gateway to the Coral Triangle, the world's center of biodiversity. From the USA, this translates into less time (and money) spent on long international flights to get to many of the world's best dive sites. The 7,107 Philippine Islands are a diverse mixture of Asian, European and American cultures, making its people some of the world's warmest, friendliest and most helpful who speak English fluently.
Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental is a 45-minute flight from Manila. The Ducomi Pier is a most-memorable dive site with pilings covered in spectacular soft corals and inhabited by so many critters--a sensory overload! This site has a myriad of sandy sites (muck in other places) featuring rare and fabulous critters, such as the flamboyant cuttlefish, red ghost pipefish, needle shrimp, frogfish in every color, mandarinfish and seahorses. Apo Island, the "model marine sanctuary to the world," and a "speedway" of sorts because of the profusion of schools of fish, has pristine coral reefs and is divable year-round.
Puerto Galera in Mindoro Island is a 70-mile drive and a 45-minute scenic boat ride from Manila. There are 35 world-class dive sites around Sabang Beach where pygmy seahorses, frogfish, ghost pipefish, stargazers, many species of nudibranchs and soft corals abound. Verde Island, with its great visibility and pelagics, is a must-dive. Schools of fish, huge sea fans and walls of soft coral make Coral Canyons one of the most-spectacular dive sites.
Anilao, a two-hour drive from Manila, is a "hotbed of evolution." Walls explode with anthias, and every inch is covered in beautiful substrate. Mimic octopuses, ghost pipefish, flamboyant cuttlefish, bobbit worms, frogfish and a myriad of nudibranchs inhabit this area. There are four marine sanctuaries teeming with fish.
The Reefs of Tubbataha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is high-voltage diving. The walls seem to drop off into forever, and you will encounter turtles, sharks, mantas, big schools of fish, big fish, whale sharks and perfect coral gardens. Visibility is often 200 feet. Tubbataha is accessible via live-aboard from March through May.
Donsol, located near Legaspi City, Albay--the home of the spectacular, perfectly cone-shaped Mayon Volcano--is the whale shark capital of the world. Between every November and April, the gentle giants can be seen in the waters of Donsol as they return to feed.
Amazing dive sites, combined with fabulous service, great food, inexpensive spas and incredible critters, provide lasting memories and more-spectacular sceneries than your memory card can store: Diving in the Philippines is simply the best.
Accommodations: The Philippines offers a "beyond the usual" selection of accommodations--ranging from on-the-beach rustic lodging to opulent dive resorts that will satisfy your every whim.