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A tiny cluster of islands in a far flung corner of the Philippines is home to one of the highest concentrations of shipwrecks in the world. At the bottom of the sea near the island Municipality of Coron is a sunken fleet of Japanese WWII warships accessible to SCUBA divers. In addition to the wrecks, there are some stunning sites to see on these beautiful Filipino islands. Here’s how to make this dream vacation a reality.
 

Bucket list adventures- How to plan a trip to dive WWII shipwrecks in the Philippines - Wikipedia

How the ships got there

In late September of 1944, a fleet of Japanese ships took shelter in the calm waters and protected bays of the Coron Islands. On the morning of September 24th, 1944 the ships were surprised by a squadron of Helldivers, an elite group of U.S. dive bombers. The Japanese ships fought back, but all of them went down.

 
Bucket list adventures- How to plan a trip to dive WWII shipwrecks in the Philippines - GettingStamped.com

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Diving the wrecks

Descending the mooring line running from the surface tied to the sea floor is like traveling back in time. The ships have now laid at rest here for more than 70 years. Some of the ships have started to grow pieces of coral reef and they make a great hiding spot for fish of all sizes. The majority of the ships are still largely intact and in fairly good shape.
 
Bucket list adventures- How to plan a trip to dive WWII shipwrecks in the Philippines - GettingStamped.com

Photo:  GettingStamped.com

Wreck diving has some inherent risks and it’s best to dive with a quality dive shop and a dive master who knows the wrecks well. Make sure to dive with someone who has had at least a year working on the island because they will know the ships well enough to stay safe and also show you the best parts.

Bucket list adventures- How to plan a trip to dive WWII shipwrecks in the Philippines - GettingStamped.com

Photo: GettingStamped.com

Corto Divers & Corto del Mar Hotel is regarded as one of the top dive shops and resorts on the island. There are many swim throughs and advanced divers can access interesting spots deep inside the ship like engine rooms.

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Bucket list adventures- How to plan a trip to dive WWII shipwrecks in the Philippines - GettingStamped 2

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Breaking the surface

In addition to the ships, above water, the islands around Coron are filled with natural beauty. There are many things to do in Coron, but the one thing you can’t miss is the stunning view of Kayangan Lake. One of the most picturesque places on the planet is located just a few miles from the shipwrecks of Coron.

 
Bucket list adventures- How to plan a trip to dive WWII shipwrecks in the Philippines - GettingStamped-5

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Getting there

 A trip to the Philippines will start with an international flight to Manila (MNL), the capital and largest international hub. You may want a night or two in the city to recover from jet lag. There are some interesting sights in Manila and most of them could be covered in a day. However, if you’re short on time, make a beeline for the islands.
 
From Manila, catch a flight to Busuanga/Coron Airport (USU). If possible, the last flight of the day should be avoided in case the Manila Airport is running behind schedule as the Busuanga airport doesn’t have lights which can lead to flight cancellations. From the airport, very affordable ground transport can be found on site; no need to arrange beforehand.
 
Bucket list adventures- How to plan a trip to dive WWII shipwrecks in the Philippines - GettingStamped.com

Photo: GettingStamped.com

Know before you go

  • Have an up-to-date tetanus vaccination because the old ships are full of rusty metal and it’s inevitable you’ll scrape against some, even if you’re careful.
  • In order to access most of the wrecks, be Advance Open Water certifiedIf you’re not certified, Coron is a great place to learn because you’ll have great things to see while doing the training.

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Tagged: Asia

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Hannah & Adam | Getting Stamped Bloggers
Hannah & Adam are travel writers & photographers who have called the road home since 2013. Their passion for adventurous travel has brought them to 60 countries and counting. They blog about their adventures on their travel blog GettingStamped.com.

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