Diving the Philippines

21 September 2016
The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7100 islands. It is part of the "coral triangle", in which live 76% of the world's coral species, 6 of the world's 7 marine turtle species and at least 2,228 reef fish species.1. The central Philippines also has a particularly high number of species which are found nowhere else in the world.

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Diving highlights include the World Heritage site of Tubbataha, thresher sharks at Malapascua and big pelagics at Panagatan.

Thresher sharks at Malapascua in the Philippines
Sharks at Malapascua in the Philippines.
Photo credit: David Collins

There is shore diving along the Philippines 36,289 km of coastline. Also boat and liveaboard diving.

For wreck diving head to Coron Bay in the north of Palawan. In 1944 the Americans attacked and sank 24 Japanese vessels. These include the Lusong Maru, Nanshin Maru, Tangat, Kogyo Maru, Olympia Maru and Okikawa Maru. They are decorated in marine life and fairly intact. As well as wrecks you might see Dugongs.

To the east of the Philippines is the Pacific Ocean; to the south are the Sulu Sea and South China Sea.

When to Dive the Philippines?

You can dive in the Philippines all year round however the best time is generally December to April. July to September is the monsoon season. The hottest months are April, May and June with temperatures over 32 oC. The wind swings from NE to SW for June, July, August and September and this opens up some places that are not so accessible for diving in the drier months. Water temperatures are 27-31 oC all the year round.

In February the whale sharks and manta rays arrive at Donsol and stay around until April or May. From June to August you may see turtles nesting. The turtle eggs hatch from September to November.


Using credit cards often attracts a surcharge of around 7% - 10%. Banks and foreign exchange outlets rarely accept travellers' cheques.

English is widely spoken.

There are four international airports: in Manila, Angeles City, Cebu and Davao City.

The British FCO is currently advising against all travel to south-west Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of on-going terrorist activity Their website gives the latest travelling advice for the area.

Find out more…

Philippines Dive Sites | Philippines Dive Operators | Diving Malapascua | Diving Puerto Galera | Philippines Underwater Photo Gallery

1Source: WWF