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You can probably imagine that a country with more than 7,000 tropical islands must be a diver’s paradise, and if you’re talking about the Philippines—you’d be right! No matter where you choose to SCUBA in the Philippines, you won’t be disappointed, but here are five of the best dive destinations to get you get your Philippine vacation plans going.

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1. Anilao, Mabini, Batangas

If you want a great diving destination that is easy to get to, look no further than Mabini, reachable in under three hours from Manila. You won’t be disappointed by the dive sites but check out the video if you want to be sure! Anilao’s coastline is known for having one of the highest concentrations of diverse marine life on Earth—in fact, around 90% of the species of coral on the planet can be found here.

Padoy’s Dive Camp is a perfect dive shop for new and experienced divers alike. Padoy can take you to all of the wonderful dive sites in the Anilao area including Cathedral Rock, Sepok Wall, and more.

2. Manta Bowl, Ticao Pass, Masbate

Manta Bowl consists of five separate dive sites that are a must if you want to spot manta rays. Manta Birostris rays, found at this dive site, are the largest in the world, growing up to 30 feet!

The area is also known for its plankton-rich waters, so it’s a good spot for whale shark, hammerhead shark, and tiger shark sightings too.

3. Tubbataha Reefs, Palawan

The name for Tubbataha Reefs is taken from the local language meaning “long reef exposed at low tide.” It’s both a national park and has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. The area consists of two atolls and one remote reef with plenty of diving to keep you busy for a week or more.

It’ll take a bit of work to get to Tubbataha considering that it’s a 12-hour boat ride away from Puerto Princesa. This isn’t a year-round dive destination so you’ll want to aim for the March to June high season, and book well ahead as live-aboard charters often sell out a year in advance.

Boat docked at Balicasag Island, Philippines

Boat docked at Balicasag Island, Philippines

4. Balicasag Island, Bohol

Balicasag Island is the most popular of the many great dive sites near Panglao Island, located in the North Bohol Sea. It’s known for its beautiful reefs, stunning coral, and rich biodiversity. Diver’s Heaven is the most popular dive site, featuring a wall that drops from 6 to 40 meters. Currents generally aren’t strong at Diver’s Heaven and there’s so much to see at all depths so it’s a great dive site for both advanced and beginner divers.

If you’re looking for somewhere a little less popular, nearby Doljo Point and Pamilcan Island are both great destinations nearby. Doljo Point is known as a great wall dive and Pamilcan Island offers amazing visibility and the possibility for spotting dolphins, whales, and mantas.

White tip reef sharks close up at Malapascua scuba diving in he Philippines

White tip reef sharks close up at Malapascua scuba diving in the Philippines

5. Monad Shoal, Malapascua Island, Cebu

For those of you who would rather get your adrenaline pumping with a shark sighting, don’t miss Monad Shoal. The coral plateau (20m deep) is the only place in the world you can see the thresher shark up close and personal within recreational dive limits. Peak season for spotting these sharks is between July and October. Keep in mind, a successful sighting will require an early morning: The sharks are usually gone by 9am.

A local dive shop offers a unique Thresher Shark Diver PADI Specialty Course for those looking to learn even more about these beautiful creatures.

No matter your diving ability and interests, the Philippines has you covered.

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Tagged: Asia

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Caroline Lupini
Caroline's passion for travel isn't limited to hopping from country to country, but goes beyond the plane and into her everyday life. She's mastered the points and miles arena which has enabled her to travel far and wide, to 70+ countries including Iraq, Myanmar, Brazil, Russia, and many more. From writing for some of the most highly acclaimed travel blogs and news sites, to speaking at travel shows, Caroline's love of exploring the world has lead her to wanting to help others get out there to experience it too. To find out more, visit Caroline on Instagram (@caroline.lupini) and on her site (

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