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These 8 Dive Spots in the Philippines are known to be the best in Asia

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The Philippines has, once again, been declared as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination by the 28th World Travel Awards. This is now the third consecutive year that the country won this title. It has undeniably some of the best diving spots in Asia, with adventures that await beginners and professional divers who want to experience the thrill of roller-coaster drift dives. Underwater photography enthusiasts will enjoy documenting the diverse marine life that thrives in the clear tropical waters.

The archipelagic state is part of the heart of the Coral Triangle, the world’s center of marine biodiversity. It has the third-largest area of coral reef in the world at 25,060 km2 that is home to 75% of the world’s coral species and an abundant biodiversity that includes 3,000 species of fish. The government, environmental organizations, and local residents are working together to protect this rich marine biodiversity.

“We are very happy that the country’s mesmerizing dive spots remain the best among Asia in the recent 2021 World Travel Awards. On behalf of the Philippines Department of Tourism and our tourism workers and stakeholders, we thank everyone who voted for the Philippines. We will continue to protect and preserve our seas and marine wildlife so that more people can witness our rich and mesmerizing underwater resources,” said Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat.

The Philippines is a vibrant, colorful country and this extends to the marine life that is thriving under its seas. More Fun Awaits in the Philippines as the Philippines Department of Tourism is preparing its popular diving sites and at the same time developing its new dive attractions and circuits that promote sustainable tourism. Health protocols are also being put into place at each destination for the safety of travelers while showcasing the breathtaking beauty of the Philippine seas.

In fact, The Department of Tourism (DOT) has announced the vaccination of more than 95% of tourism workers employed in accredited dive establishments across the Philippines, signalling the readiness of this niche market to the eventual reopening of the country to foreign visitors.

Get ready to dive into these amazing underwater spots waiting for your visit when international travel resumes.

  1. Tubbataha Reef, Puerto Princesa

Copyright: Wowie Wong

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is said to be one of the country’s oldest ecosystems. It covers 96,828 hectares of underwater adventures. This atoll reef has a very high density of marine biodiversity, with more than 700 fish species, over 360 coral species, 11 shark species, and 13 dolphin and whale species already been recorded, and its North Islet serving as a nesting site both for birds and two species of endangered marine turtles – the green turtles and hawksbill turtles. The site has a spectacular 100-m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands, with exciting pelagic action involving white tip reef sharks, manta rays, and whale sharks.

  1. Anilao, Batangas

Copyright: Dennis Corpuz

Anilao, in the Municipality of Mabini, is located just a short drive away from the Philippines’ capital of Manila. This has made it a haven for weekend diving enthusiasts from the city, especially those who are into underwater photography. It is located along the Verde Island Passage between Batangas and Mindoro, which is considered as the center of marine shore fish biodiversity with 319 species swimming in its blue waters that coral taxonomist Douglas Fenner says is home to 74 genera of hard corals. Anilao is a destination for both macro and muck diving enthusiasts, with rare critters like rhinopias, and colorful nudibranchs. It is also a perfect place to perfect blackwater and bonfire diving skills in macrophotography.

  1. Dauin and Apo Island Dumaguete

Copyright: Wowie Wong

The Municipality of Dauin has many dive spots for different levels of enthusiasts. These spots are protected marine sanctuaries that look after the sea’s biodiversity. Dauin is a big draw for those who are into muck diving, owing to the fascinating tiny creatures that dwell camouflaged along the corals, sea grass, and rock formations. Exciting sightings can start close to the shoreline, and these include different kinds of pipefishes, razorfish, frogfishes, sea horses, wasp fishes, snake eels, sea moths, dragonettes, flounders, snappers, stargazers, and crabs and turtles.

A scenic 30-minute boat ride from Dumaguete brings divers to Apo Island, a marine sanctuary organized by its local community. It offers myriad opportunities to explore on the ground with its volcanic rock formations, and undersea where 400 coral species where over 650 species of fish reside. There is a community of sea turtles that don’t mind swimming serenely alongside divers and having these awesome moments captured on camera. For a feeling of exclusivity, book a stop at the Marine Sanctuary found southeast off of Apo Island, where only 100 divers are allowed per day to preserve its ecological balance.

  1. Apo Reef Natural Park, Occidental Mindoro

Apo Reef is the largest atoll-like coral reef in the Philippines. Covering an area of 34 square kilometers, it is the second largest connecting coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. The pristine waters of the 30-meter deep channel are teeming with 385 species of fish have been identified in the area, including angel fishes, parrot fishes, jacks, and trevallies. Divers can also encounter reef sharks, moray, giant squid and giant clams. It has a mangrove forest which serves as source of food, spawning ground, and sanctuary of several marine and bird species.

Among that activities available for travelers are scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, lagoon rafting, and watching the birds, dolphins and turtles that abound in the area.

  1. Puerto Galera, Mindoro and Verde Island

The name Puerto Galera is Spanish for Port of the Galleons for the trading vessels that would anchor off its shores of this place. Today, it is popular for its numerous diving spots as part of the Verde Island Passage of the Coral Triangle of Asia. Its clear waters allow for high visibility that is perfect for diving among the hard and soft varieties of corals that house about 60 percent of the world’s shore fish. Puerto Galera is part of the Dive and Drive tourism circuit that has been developed by the Department of Tourism that includes important dive sites like Ticao Island in Masbate and Anilao in Batangas.

If the Coral Triangle is considered as the underwater Amazon Forest, Verde Island is at the center of its heart. The Verde Island Wall –two rocks jutting out southeast of the island is considered as the best dive sites in the Philippines, with excellent visibility and lot so nooks and crannies to explore. Colorful corals are home and playground to white tips and other sharks, mantas, tuna and jacks with pelagics like parrotfish, unicorn fish, and Napoleons adding even more color to the visual impact of clouds of anthias. For a spinning good time, head out to the Washing Machine, so-called for its wild current that is popular with divers who are looking to enjoy a unique thrill.

  1. Cebu (Malapascua, Moalboal)

Located at the Northern part of Cebu, Malapascua Island is a must-visit for divers to enjoy the rare and thrilling experience of swimming with thresher sharks. The pristine waters of this tropical island paradise offers more unforgettable adventures. After a 5 a.m. thresher shark dive, enthusiasts can also go on shipwreck explorations, deep and tek dives, dusk mandarin fish spotting, and night dives to observe rare nocturnal creatures. Another dive attraction is the underwater tunnel that runs through the length of nearby Gato Island, a home to white tip sharks. Here, divers can explore undercuts and small caves to discover the secret lives of marine animals such as cuttlefish, banded sea snakes, crabs, anthas, and lionfish. The beach life is just as grand, where you can walk anywhere in flip-flops to enjoy the charming, relaxed life on the island.

Moalboal in the local dialect means bubbling waters, owing to its freshwater springs. Its dive sites offer an array of exciting experiences, with Copton Point already offering two – the Copton Deep that has an aircraft wreck to explore and Copton Shallow that has table corals and shallow corals through which dart a wide variety of fish. Likened to the effects of stained-glass windows at church, Pescador Cathedral is a magnificent cave that captures shafts of light at midday to bathe the surroundings with a heavenly glow.

  1. Bohol (Anda, Balicasag, and Cabilao)

Beautiful Bohol, with its breathtaking natural wonders such as the Chocolate Hills and Man-Made Mahogany Forest, along with historic sites such as its centuries-old churches is also a haven for divers. The warm sands of Bohol’s AIona Beach is the jump-off point for dive safaris to Anda, Balicasag, and Cabilao.

Anda is a relatively new dive destination and it is being developed with sustainable tourism in mind. Conservation efforts are supported by the friendly community, with guides who expertly help divers find the best spots. Coral-covered shallow flat reefs are home to a host of creatures such as hawkfish, fire urchins, and Coleman shrimp. Schoolers such as snappers, groupers, puffers and turtles like to converge in these clear waters. Cabilao has the small island charm. It has only five barangays or communities, but 20 dive sites. Underwater life ranges from small soft corals to large gorgonian sea fans. The Lighthouse 1 and 2 are popular dive photography sites. Balicasag is a protected area because it is a sea turtle meeting, breeding, and feeding area. There is a site that is literally named Diver’s Heaven, because here, each dive is a good dive.

  1. Coron Wreck Diving, Palawan

Copyright: Dugong Dive Center

Coron has been described as one of the best spots in the World for wreck diving. There are 24 Japanese ships that were sunk in the area by an American air raid during World War II and the 12 wrecks that have been discovered are now home to corals and other forms of aquatic life. The shipwrecks are very well preserved and are all located in quite shallow water starting at 6 to 10 meters which is perfect for recreational diving. For enthusiasts, there are also dive courses which may be booked through Dugong Dive Center.

Safe and Protected

The Philippines is proactive in protecting its marine resources, not only through government mandates but also through community engagement. The locals of the areas understand the importance of caring for the environment as their source of livelihood and as their legacy to the next generations. The Philippine Department of Tourism works closely with the local government units of the popular dive sites and new circuits in order to ensure that the marine biodiversity is allowed to thrive through responsible and sustainable tourism efforts.

Aside from showcasing these underwater attractions to the world, the DOT is preparing for the return of dive enthusiasts with standardized health and hygiene protocols for a safe journey throughout the country.  In addition, this fascinating destination has received the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) which selects destinations that meet international health and safety standards to travel without worries.

To know the latest updates and travel advisories about the Philippine, visit www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.co.uk or download the Travel Philippines app at the Google Play and Apple Store.

Header Image: Robert Yin

Competitions

WIN an EcoScribe ‘Plastic Free’ Stationary Gift Set!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with EcoScribe to give away a ‘Plastic Free’ Stationery Gift Set as a prize!

Enjoy EcoScribe’s ‘100% plastic free’ stationery gift set which contains 1 A5 kraft cover notebook & 10 kraft paper pens. Once used, it is 100% recyclable – a fantastic, sustainable alternative to everyday plastic stationery!

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we announced the launch of our brand new website www.ukdiveadventures.com, a fantastic new online resource full of scuba diving news, blogs, travel features and deals, plus outstanding underwater photography exclusively about the dive destinations in all corners of the UK and Ireland.

But how many kilometres of coastline do we write that the UK has in the post?

Is it:

A) 22,000km

B) 23,000km

C) 24,000km

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

EcoScribe 'Plastic Free' Stationary Gift Set January 2022

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of EcoScribe and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 09/03/22. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

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News

Stories behind the winning images by Nur Tucker – January NUPG meeting (watch video)

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The January 2022 NUPG meeting saw Nur Tucker take to the virtual stage. Nur has seen huge success with her underwater photography in recent years, winning several high profile competitions. In this talk she was hugely generous to share just how she got the shots. Nur shared what drives her, her dedication to practicing techniques wherever she can, and some of the innovative ideas she has come up with to create images that stand out from the crowd. You can see more of her work here.

The monthly NUPG competition theme in January was “The End of the Dive” and the winner was John Spencer with this split-shot of a diver getting back onto the boat after a dive in the Menaii Strait.

The next meeting is on Monday the 21st February and sees Scubaverse photo-journalist, Sean Chinn, talk about the images he has taken during the pandemic.

For more information about the Northern Underwater Photography Group visit their website by clicking here.

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Situated in Naama Bay, this 4-star hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with a balcony or terrace overlooking the landscaped pool area or Naama Bay. A free shuttle to its waterpark and private beach are provided at specified times.

The resort has 3 bars and an in-house restaurant serving local and international dishes. Guests can also enjoy traditional shisha, and room service is available.

The beach and Naama Bay’s nightlife, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance.

WAS £895pp / NOW from just £760 per person based on sharing a twin room including:

  • Direct flights from Gatwick to Sharm el Sheikh with 15kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in Mountain View room
  • All Inclusive meal plan
  • 5 days’ local reef day boat diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights

*Marine Park fees payable locally

Other departure airports available at a supplement.

Booking deadline: Subject to availability – alternative dates available.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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