Un­der­wa­ter Utopia

Div­ing for All

Asian Geographic - - Philippine­s - Text by Shreya Acharya

The Philip­pines is of­ten re­ferred to as the “Pearl of the Ori­ent Seas”, and aptly so, con­sid­er­ing its beau­ti­ful dive sites that are open to divers of all lev­els. The coun­try has lit­er­ally thou­sands of dive sites over 7000 is­lands that of­fer ex­pan­sive ma­rine life, vi­brant reefs, and wrecks that hold many sto­ries con­vey­ing the na­tion’s rich and event­ful his­tory. Whether you’re new to the deep blue and ap­pre­cia­tive of easy beach en­tries, or if you’ve been at it for a while and as­pire to ex­plore sunken wreck sites, the Philip­pines has it all in store for you.

DIV­ING IN THE PHILIP­PINES Okikawa Maru Coron Bay, Palawan

The Okikawa Maru is the largest wreck in Coron Bay, which briefly served as a har­bor for Ja­panese war­ships dur­ing World War II. The for­mer civil­ian tanker was sunk in 1944 by an Amer­i­can air raid, and it now lies up­right in 26 me­tres of wa­ter. The main deck is only around 12 me­tres deep, how­ever, mak­ing this a shal­low and easy wreck dive as long as you don’t ven­ture in­side. Ad­vanced divers will want to en­joy var­i­ous deep pen­e­tra­tions and swim- throughs. There’s abun­dant ma­rine around the wreck, in­clud­ing groupers, sweet­lips, li­on­fish, and nudi­branchs.

Why visit: Wreck div­ing How to get there: Fly to Busuanga Air­port, Palawan. From there, it’s an hour’s drive in a jeep­ney to Coron Town. Best time to go: Year round Dif­fi­culty Level: Begin­ner to ad­vanced

Ba­sura Ani­lao, Batan­gas

Ba­sura is the orig­i­nal muck site, and ar­guably the best. Af­ter all, the word ba­sura di­rectly trans­lated from Ta­ga­log is “trash”, so you know it’s the real deal! The dive site is a sand reef that is cov­ered muck, but there is noth­ing “yuck” about this! Be mes­merised by flam­boy­ant cut­tle­fish, har­le­quin shrimp, mimic oc­to­pus, and xenon crabs, but also ex­pect to see frog­fish, Cole­man shrimp, sea moths, won­der­pusses, bigfin reef squid, ju­ve­nile brown bam­boo sharks, and Span­ish dancers by the bushels.

Why visit: Muck/crit­ter div­ing How to get there: Fly to Ni­noy Aquino In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Manila, then do a three-hour drive. Best time to go: Novem­ber to May Dif­fi­culty Level: Begin­ner to ad­vanced

MAIN A beau­ti­ful sun­set over Ani­lao wa­ters

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