Diving for All
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