If you are a scuba diving enthusiast, a trip to the Philippines for a one-of-a-kind scuba diving adventure will surely whet your appetite for all things scuba and so much more. An archipelagic country, the Philippines has so much to offer in terms of marine biodiversity. In fact it has been named one of the top three dive sites in the world, as chosen during the Dive and Travel Awards 2006 held in Japan. Among the internationally recognized dive spots in the Philippines include Tubattaha Reef in the Sulu Sea, Malapascua in Cebu (which offers you a chance to catch rare Thresher Sharks), Subic Bay (wreck diving), Balicasag Island just off Bohol, Anilao in Batangas, Boracay Island, Puerto Galera (colorful corals and big fishes abound), Apo Island in Dumaguete, and the islands surrounding Palawan.
From World War II wrecks, colorful tropical fish, diverse corals, and a host of others, Philippine scuba diving has a lot to offer even to the fussiest diver.
The water temperature in Philippine diving spots is nothing short of divine. It’s like diving in a warm bath at home!
All throughout the year, water temperatures range from 22 – 28 degrees Celsius. The warmer months of April to November give you a balmy 25-28 C, while temperatures in the cooler months of December to March range from 22-25 C.
These comfortable temperatures allow the diver to take scuba diving trips wearing Lycra skin suits or 3 mm wet suits. Very comfortable indeed, especially for the diver who has been used to wearing 5 – 7 mm steamers or even dry suits.
Dive operations vary from those operated by international resorts to small ones operating on the sleepy beaches. Diving is done from smaller boats called bancas. Liveaboard is mostly done from the Tubbataha region.
Usually the dive centers have what is called a “house reef,” which is accessible from the beach. These dive sites make for excellent snorkeling or a relaxed dive during the day. The house reef is also perfectly suited for night diving.
Scuba diving in the Philippines is pretty much done year round but a few places have shorter dive seasons due to trade winds. Best times to go diving are from October to June, but April to May is a reliably calm time throughout the country so those are good times to go as well, particularly if you plan to go to several destinations. December to mid-May are typically off season for typhoons. The wettest months are June, July, and August.
Visibility is generally excellent at around 30 (98 ft) on average, depending on the season, currents, and all-around weather conditions.
Both divers and snorkelers should understand the system of the tides and should be confident with currents, receive training in handling currents, or seek advice from dive centers regarding how to find sheltered areas or slack tide times where currents are low.
Scuba diving in the Philippines is everything you want it to be and more. Your expectations will be exceeded, and the possibilities are definitely endless.
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