Discover the Top 10 Best Scuba Diving Spots in the Philippines

Philippines, a Diving Paradise

The Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, is acclaimed as a world-class diving destination. Renowned for its rich biodiversity, magnificent coral reefs, and crystalline waters, it’s a treasure trove for scuba enthusiasts of every skill level. Each dive site in this nation presents a unique blend of underwater beauty, hosting an array of exotic marine life and captivating landscapes. This guide delves into the top 10 dive sites in the Philippines, highlighting the distinct features that make each location a must-visit for scuba enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a curious beginner, the Philippines has something special waiting for you. Solitude Liveaboards – Solitude One and Solitude Gaia, and Solitude Acacia Dive Resort can help you craft your dream diving itinerary, ensuring a comfortable and unforgettable experience in the Philippines.

Top 10 Diving Spots in the Philippines

1. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Our first stop on this journey through the Philippines’ underwater wonders is Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a mecca for advanced divers. Nestled in the middle of the Sulu Sea and accessible only by liveaboard, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park spans a vast 10,000 hectares. Divers can expect encounters with over 600 fish species, 11 shark species, and around 13 species of dolphins and whales. Divers also can expect dramatic underwater topography, including steep walls and drop-offs, vibrant coral gardens, and a plethora of pelagic species. Visibility here is exceptional, reaching up to 40 meters between March and June, making it the prime time for spotting sharks, turtles, and schools of fish.

Experience Tubbataha in unparalleled comfort and style with Solitude One. This vessel spends part of the year visiting the best dive sites in this world-class diving destination. Let Solitude be your guide as you discover the wonders of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.

2. Apo Reef

As the world’s second-largest contiguous coral reef system, Apo Reef in Mindoro Strait is a diver’s paradise with more than 30 dive sites. This natural park features a 34-kilometer reef teeming with marine diversity, including over 500 species and a staggering 285 varieties of coral.  Apo Reef’s vertical walls are full of vibrant soft and hard corals, offering opportunities to explore vast coral gardens and encounter sharks, barracudas, and manta rays. Crystal-clear visibility makes exploration a joy, while night dives unlock a whole new world of fascinating nocturnal sea creatures. Whether you’re a seasoned diver seeking a thrilling adventure or a beginner captivated by the underwater world, diving in Apo Reef promises an unforgettable experience.

3. Malapascua Island

Malapascua Island, off the northern tip of Cebu, is world-famous for its thresher shark sightings, particularly at Monad Shoal. Divers flock here for the rare opportunity to see these elegant sharks with their long, whip-like tails. The island boasts a diverse range of marine life, including eagle rays and the occasional hammerhead shark, making it a true haven for underwater enthusiasts.

4. Anilao, Batangas

Solitude Acacia Resort

Just a few hours’ drive from Manila, Anilao – a haven for macro diving and underwater photography boasts over 50 incredible dive sites.  Anilao’s diverse underwater landscapes encompass coral slopes, sandy bottoms, and volcanic terrain.  A dazzling array of nudibranchs, seahorses, and rare critters like frogfish await discovery, making it a dream location for macro photographers.  The area’s renowned clarity and rich biodiversity also extend above the surface, attracting snorkelers and non-divers to experience the wonders of Anilao. Consider staying at Solitude Acacia Resort, a premier dive resort in Anilao, for a comfortable and convenient base to explore this underwater haven.

5. Balicasag Island, Bohol

Balicasag Island, a small, circular island off Bohol’s coast is renowned for its vibrant coral gardens with colorful fish life. Divers can explore dramatic wall dives teeming with schools of jackfish, barracudas, and snappers, and keep your eyes peeled for the island’s almost-guaranteed turtle encounters.  The island caters to both beginners and seasoned divers.  Shallow coral gardens provide the perfect playground for new divers and snorkelers, while deeper waters offer challenging dives with strong currents and encounters with larger marine life.

6. Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera, nestled on the northern coast of Mindoro Island, is famous for its remarkable diverse diving.  This haven for underwater enthusiasts boasts over 30 dive sites, each offering a unique experience.  Embark on thrilling drift dives, or delve into the fascinating world of muck diving.  Puerto Galera’s rich biodiversity caters to all preferences.  Encounter everything from the delicate beauty of nudibranchs and seahorses to the majesty of larger pelagic creatures like sharks and rays.  Whether you’re a complete novice or a seasoned diver, Puerto Galera has something to offer.

7. Coron, Palawan


History and underwater wonder collide in Coron, Palawan, a must-visit diving spot in the Philippines.  This paradise within the Calamian Islands is renowned for some of the most spectacular wreck diving experiences globally.  World War II Japanese shipwrecks, now encrusted with vibrant coral and teeming with marine life.  These historical wrecks cater to a range of divers, from shallow depths accessible to snorkelers to technical dives for experienced adventurers.  Beyond the wrecks, Coron offers clear lagoons and vibrant coral reefs, providing a well-rounded diving experience.

8. Moalboal, Cebu

Moalboal, Cebu secures its place among the Philippines’ diving spots not only for its marine life encounters but also for a truly unique underwater phenomenon.  This haven for divers and snorkelers is world-famous for its sardine run, a mesmerizing spectacle where millions of sardines form swirling bait balls. Witnessing this year-round event is an unforgettable experience.  Beyond this natural wonder, Moalboal offers captivating dives at Pescador Island.  Explore cathedral-like caverns, encounter turtles and reef sharks, and marvel at the vibrant array of reef fish.  The beauty doesn’t stop there – Moalboal’s House Reef offers a vibrant and accessible dive right off the beach.

9. Dauin, Negros Oriental

Located on the coast of Negros Island, Dauin has earned its reputation as a muck diving paradise. Nestled on the coast, Dauin boasts sandy bottoms and artificial reefs are home to an extraordinary array of rare and fascinating creatures.  This “muck paradise” is renowned for sightings of blue-ringed octopuses, flamboyant cuttlefish, and various ghost pipefish species.  Deeper dives aren’t necessary here; Dauin’s dive sites are relatively shallow, allowing for extended bottom times to observe these unique critters in detail.

10. Verde Island, Batangas

The “centre of the centre” of marine biodiversity lives up to its name – Verde Island, nestled within the Verde Island Passage, presents a thrilling conclusion to our exploration of the Philippines’ top diving spots.  The area is known for its strong currents and rich marine life, including schools of jacks, barracudas, and the occasional shark. The dive sites feature drop-offs, overhangs, and vibrant coral formations, providing an adventurous diving experience.

Visit These Famous Diving Spots in the Philippines

Solitude Gaia under a stunning pink sunset accessorised with a pontoon pool and waterslide.

Each of these top diving spots offers a distinct aspect of the Philippines’ underwater beauty, from the remote atolls of Tubbataha in the Sulu Sea to the easily accessible shores of Anilao in Batangas.  Each location boasts a distinct underwater personality, catering to a range of diving preferences. Remember, responsible diving practices are crucial to preserve the Philippines’ underwater paradises for generations to come.

To experience the Philippines’ best diving in style and comfort, consider exploring via liveaboard. Solitude Liveaboards, with their renowned vessels Solitude One and Solitude Gaia, offer unparalleled access to remote dive sites and ensure an unforgettable adventure.  For those seeking a more land-based experience, Solitude Acacia Resorts provides comfortable accommodations in key diving destinations throughout the Philippines.

Book your Philippine diving adventure now and embark on a journey to discover the wonders of the underwater world like never before. Solitude’s Reservations Team is here to assist you in crafting the perfect itinerary,  matching your preferences with the ideal dive spots and Solitude services. Contact us today to start planning your dream escape!