The island of the Philippines has some of the best scuba diving sites in the world.
Located in Indo-Pacific’s Coral Triangle with over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is home to pristine coral reef, huge schools of fish and some pretty rare species.
With so many dive spots in the Philippines, it’s hard to choose which one to visit. Which is why we recommend visiting more than one…a Philippines diving holiday is the best way to explore the islands.
No matter which dive spots you choose, make sure to include the Anilao diving spot! Here’s why:
The birthplace of Philippines scuba diving: Anilao
Anilao in Mabini, Batangas is regarded as the birthplace of Philippines scuba diving. Just 2.5 hours drive south of Metro Manila via the smooth SLEX – South Luzon Express Way, it remains the most popular weekend getaway for Manila diving folks to get their fix for compressed air.
Anilao has one of the highest concentration of marine biodiversity in the planet so it has something for everyone. From the beginner divers who have their check-out dive in one of the many beautiful shallow reef, to the advance divers who enjoy drift dives on strong current, to those training to be technical divers, it has deep sites that goes down to 140ft (43m).
Underwater photographers are a common lot in Anilao. It isn’t rare to find a group of divers each carrying his own transformer like uw camera setup. It is a haven for macro-photographers for wide range of nudibranch species and underwater critters. It will neither disappoint wide angle enthusiasts as Anilao water is teeming with pelagic and beautiful walls and gardens of corals, both hard or soft.
Some of the most famous (reasonably priced) Anilao dive resorts are:
There are over 20, maybe 30, dive resorts situated beside each other to suit every type of budget.
How to get to Aniloa
Hop on any bus bound for Batangas and ask to be drop off at Mabini or Bauan. Take a tricycle and be drop off at one of the 20-30 dive resorts scattered around the cliff.
Search for transport options to Batangas below:
Insider travel tip
For travelers, or new divers with no group yet, log into one of the many dive forums/scuba board online and join planned weekend divers. You can hitch a ride and contribute on gas, and share boat and DM costs.
There is NO beach in Anilao. You have a cliff and a reef. You snorkel here or scuba dive. Or catch the spectacular sunset by the resort deck.
More spots for Philippines scuba diving
Here are a few more great diving spots in the Philippines:
- Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
- Coron Bay, Palawan
- Dauin, Dumaguete
- Malapascua, Cebu
- Moalboal, Cebu
- Puerto Galera, Mindoro
- Anda, Bohol
Not into scuba diving? Try helmet diving at Boracay
Boracay is an island of the Philippines located south of Manila and off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines.
It was orignally home to the Ati tribe and later a couple took over the ownership of the island around 1900 and cultivation and development of the island began.
Currently named the world’s second best beach after Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the award winning Boracay Island and its beaches is said to be the Maldives of Asia.
And if you do not have a diving license, you’ll definitely not miss the underwater scene at Boracay, Philippines.
For an average of about 600 to 700 pesos, you can opt for a leisure helmet dive instead and still get to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the underwater world. You can look forward to a casual walk amongst the fishes on the sea bed lead by experienced divers and even take a shot with the beautiful corals and fishes as memento to bring home with you.
Aside from helmet diving, you can expect other water activities namely like para-sailing, banana boat, Discovery dives, island hopping and snorkeling trips. In my opinion, one should never miss a visit to Crystal Cove and enjoy an afternoon there.