Travel and Leisure — March 11, 2016 at 5:00 am

The 10 Best Dive Sites in the Philippines

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©istockphoto/paulbcowell

©istockphoto/paulbcowell

The Philippines is a fantastic place for people who love to dive, but with so many islands it’s hard to figure out the best places to go. We’ve narrowed down the choices to a select few to help you choose your next underwater vacation destination.

Pescador Island, Maolbaol
Pescador Island is part of Southeast Asia’s Coral Triangle, otherwise known as the Amazon of the sea. The area is home to more than 500 species of reef-building corals. The wall of corals underneath Pescador Island itself houses a large majority of the Philippine’s 2,500 different species of fish. They love to pop out at unassuming divers as they swim along the islands walls.

Sabang Bay, Puerto Galara
Sabang Bay offers a wealth of diversity at shallow depths, making it perfect for those wanting to try diving but can’t stomach the thought of wading too deep. The area is home to dozens of species of microscopic life as well as the occasional sea turtle. All of this can be found just four meters below the surface.

Subic Bay
Subic Bay was once home to a US Naval Base, which is why it’s extremely popular among divers who love exploring underwater shipwrecks. The ocean floor is dotted with WWII Japanese and American warships that have become the homes for miles of coral reefs and vibrant sea life. It’s a history buff’s deep sea dream come true.

Apo Reef
Underwater photographers flock to Apo Reef to capture images of macro sea life, much of which graces the inside of diving magazines worldwide. The Apo Reef, however, isn’t simply a dive site but a marine sanctuary that’s home to one of the largest arrays of sea organisms in the Philippines. Divers here will snap photos of sharks, turtles, manta rays, pelagic fish and barracudas among other incredible creatures.

Monda Shoal, Malapascua
The area around the sunken island of Malapascua is home to one of the most elusive shark species in the world, the Thresher Sharks. Diving here puts you up close and personal with these beautiful creatures, which can grow up to six meters in length. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot them swimming in tandem with schools of manta rays.

Coconut, Apo Island
Coconut is easily one of the best dives spots around Apo Island but is only recommended for experienced divers due to its strong currents and deeper depths. Here you’ll find sea turtles and sea snakes slithering between schools of Jacks. It ain’t exactly recommended for families with small children.

Crocodile Island, Boracay
Crocodile Island serves as the perfect diving spot for both the experienced and inexperienced divers out there thanks in part to the fact that it offers great sights no matter how shallow or deep you go. You can spot moray eels, scorpion fish, lion fish, Gorgonian fan corals and more at depths ranging from five to 20 meters.

Anilao
Anilao is great for those staying near Manila and looking for a little peace and quiet on their diving excursions. The waters around Anilao are famous for the enormous amount of macro organisms to discover, including brightly colored sea slugs, eels and octopus.

Yapak, Boracay
Yapak is a dive that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. The underwater wall is 32 meters long and home to many varieties of ocean life including sharks, tuna, sting rays and, if you’re lucky, you might even spot a pygmy sea horse.

Bohol
Bohol is famous almost as much for its wealth of activities above the water as it is underneath. Not only are there miles of gorgeous coral reefs to explore, but it’s also home to the UNESCO World Heritage site known as Chocolate Hills and the famous Tarsier mini-monkeys. It’s virtually impossible to get bored discovering this gem.

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