Divesites in the Philippines
Subic Bay: Three hours from Manila is Subic Bay. This duty-free area is a former American naval base. On the bottom of this natural harbour lies more than 20 shipwrecks, everything from a Spanish galleon, a Japanese patrol boat, a troop transporter, a landing craft and an American battlecruiser from first world war. Visibility is between 5-20m. Bottomtype: Sand/mud. No, or slight current. Varied fish life, few corals.
El Capitan (****): She is a 3,000-ton freighter, about 130m long. The wreck is situated near the inner channel marker of Ilanin Bay. A small freighter, the El Capitan lies on its port side with its stern in 5 meters while its bow rests in 20 meters.  A large hole makes it easy to penetrate the wreck in its entire length. The wreck is home to many lionfish, sweetlips and groupers. In a 60 minute dive I saw four different species of nudibranches.
USS New York (****): This vessel is a World War I vintage battle cruiser built in Philadelphia in 1891 and scuttled by the US Navy at the approach of the Japanese in 1941. She saw action in the Philippine-American war, W.W.I and the Chinese revolution. Situated between Alava Pier and the northern end of the runway, the New York lies on its port side in 27 meters (85 feet) of water. There is no curent and the visibility ranges from 5-15 meters. Experienced divers can penetrate the wreck, but the main attraction is the four battle guns which are still erect and in position. The propeller also is impressive. The hole from the dynamite makes it easy to penetrate the wreck that can be explored from within in its entire length. In the wreck lives lionfish, sweetlips, groupers and cuttlefish.
F4 Phantom (****): American jet fighter aircraft at 43 meters on the sandy bottom at the entrance of Subic Bay. Nose and tip of wings are missing, otherwise the plane is intact. There is little coral and marine life on the wreck, but if you take a rest in the pilots seat watch out for scorpion and lionfish. Its an openwater descent and deco so the dive are not for the inexperiensed.
LCU (**): Landing Craft Utility sitting upright on the sloping sandy bottom at 10-21 meter. The small wreck is abouy 35 meter long and has two cramped roms which can be pennetrated, but its hardly worth it. There are plenty of lionfish, scorpionfish, rabbitfish, jackfish and nudibranches around. This is an easy and shallow beginners wreckdive.
Grande Island Barges (Wreck * / Fish ***): ~15 barges which was used by the american navy for dry dock are scuttled in front of the resort on Grande Island on the sandy bottom between 4-33 meter. Most of the barges are around 10 meter, so this is a shallow easy dive. This is the divesite in Subic Bay with the most marine life. Expect to see plenty of nudibranches, stingrays, lionfish, scorpionfish, schools of smaller snappers and fusiliers. Larger sweetlips and snappers are abundant as well as rabbitfish and batfish. If you are lucky you will see leaffish and schools of barracuda and jackfish.
St. Quintin (Wreck * / Fish ***): Spanish warship from around 1870. She is a wooden steamer gunboat scuttled during the American / Spanish war in 1898 in a futile attempt to block the channel between Grande and Chiquita islands against the invading Americans. She is around 100m long and lies between 12-16m under water. The wreck itself is nothing special. It has collapsed completely and not much is left, but the two big boilers are still intact. The fish life around the wreck is good with groupers, angelfish, grunts and nudibranches. I saw a white leaffish at this site. Since it is the closest wreck to the open sea the visibility is better than at the wrecks in the inner harbor. The schools of fish near the open sea seems to be larger and there is a more varied marine life.
Seiam Maru (***): This vessel is situated between Alava Pier and the northern end of the runway. A Japanese cargo vessel of approximately 30,000 tons sunk by the American Navy in 1945, the Seian Maru lies on its portside in 27 meters. The boat is quite damaged with a lot of holes, good for penetration. The fish life includes schools of jackfish, groupers, lionfish, pufferfish and nudibranches. Visibility from 5-15 meters, depeding on the tide. 

Nasugbu: Two to three hours south of Manila in the Batangas province is Nasugbu, Matabungkay and Calatagan situated on a coastline facing the South China Sea. In most places the diving here is not good due to extensive damage by dynamite,  cyanide and over fishing. However a few good places remain, mainly close to Nasugbu.
Punta Fuego (**): A small peninsula on the coast north of Nasugbu. An impressive number of nudibranches but not much else of interest apart from smaller fish like fusiliers. The corals are mostly intact.
Awash reef (***): A channel between two minute islands off the coast north of Nasugbu. This site also have a large number of nudibranches and a few territorial fish like moray eels, royal angelfish and schools of fusiliers.
Blue Hole, Fortune Island (****): One hour west of Nasugbu is Fortune island host to an expensive resort. Due to the resort most of the corals around the island are intact. The Blue Hole is a cave with an opening in the top and side. Porcelain crabs and boxershrimps lives on the wall of the cave and a large grouper just outside. Several species of both moray eels and boxfish as well as other territorial fish hang around. I saw giant clams, a large conch and a manta ray near the surface.
The deep reef (***): In front of Fortune Island resort. Several species of both moray eels and angelfish are seen. Especially pygmy angelfish are common. Giant clams, egg cowries and a few schools of fusiliers.
Calatagan the Wall (****): Situated on the southernmost point of the peninsula this is the areas only wall worth diving. The corals are nice both soft and hard coral. Several species of nudibranches. Blue triggerfish and schools of fusiliers are abundant. I saw a few small tunas and jackfish, a clown triggerfish and a 20cm helmet shell. 
Calatagan Artificial reef (**): A local family concerned about the condition of their local reef have started build this artificial reef. A large number of hollow concrete slabs have been build into pyramids, the largest with a cross on top commemorating the founder of the reef who was killed by local fishermen whom opposed reef conservation. It has attracted a good number of fish, and corals are beginning to appear. Its not a top divesite yet but an interesting place never the less. Blue triggerfish and several species of nudibranches are common. I saw a few boxfish and a 60cm grouper.

Anilao: Two to three hours south of Manila also in the Batangas province is Anilao. The peninsula is situated opposite Puerto Galera on the strait separating Luzon and Mindoro. The divesites here are quite varied ranging from deep waters with strong current (around Maricaban island) to muck dives off Anilao village. 
Bahura (*****): Off Maricaban island. The reef consists of slopes and small drop-offs down to 40 meters. Both hard and soft corals are in good condition. There is a lot of feather stars around. The current can be fierce, but the fishlife including pelagics is proliffic. Whitetip reefsharks, groupers, jackfish, moray eels, batfish, clown triggerfish, angelfish and schools of anthias. Due to the depth and current, this is a dive for the experienced.
Layag Layag (****): A steep slope down to 15-20 meters east of Bahura. If the current is right after diving Bahura one could swimm  to Layag Layag doing the decompression here. This site has fewer pelagics but expect to see all the smaller reeffish and nudibranches. Both hard and soft corals are nice. The currents can also be fierce here.
Twin Rock (***): A sandy slope with some boulders and nice hard corals. Expect to see mantis shrimps, several species of moray eels, scorpionfish, giant clams, nudibranches and if you are lucky a frogfish.
Diving Trech (***): Situated on the other side of Anilao village this divesite is also a sandy slope with nice hard corals and a small pinnacle. At different locations are placed a statue of the virgin Mary and two crosses, one on top of the pinnacle. Here are also plenty of moray eels, giant clams and nudibranches. A school of jackfish are resident in this area. 
Beatrice Rock (****): Off Maricaban island. This site is a slope with nice hard and soft corals and barrel sponges. Expect to see the usual nudibranches, moray eels, lionfish, seastars, chrinoids and mantis shrimps. The current can be fierce.
Kirbys Rock (***): Kirbys rock is a pinnacle that sticks out of the water. Around the rock is a small wall down to about 40 meters. The top 10 meters of the reef is a gentle slope with good coverage of both hard and soft corals. You will se all the smaller reeffish, moray eels, snappers, nudibranches and a few pelagics.
Basura (****): This literally means trash or bin in tagalog. The divesite is just in front of Anilao village, and is therefore littered with trash. However this sandy slope is a realy good muckdive. In one 100 minutes dive I saw several species of pipefish, ghostpipefish, seahorses, porcelain crabs, box crabs, several species of mantis shrimps, commensal shrimps, boxershrimps, gobies with their associated snapping shrimps, octopus, cuttlefish, fireurchins and moray eels.
Mainit Point (****): Mainit (which means hot, named so after the small hotspring) is the southernmost point on the Anilao peninsula. The site is a sandy slope with some rocks, boulders, nice hard corals and a lot of chrinoids. Blacktip reefsharks are resident in this area. Expect to see the usual nudibranches and moray eels.
The Cathedral (***): Sandy slope with nice hard corals, especially the top 8 meters. From the bottom at 30 meters two pinnacles rises. In between a small cement cross has been erected. The cross was blessed by the pope Johannes Paut II before it was put in place by former president Fidel Ramos at the time when he was chief in command of the Philippine army. Around the pinnacles you will see moray eels, lionfishes, scorpionfish, angelfish and frogfish if you are lucky.

Puerto Galera: Located on the north coast of Mindoro, just 4 hours from Manila this is the dive capital of the Philippines. Although not the best divesite in the Philippines, this is certainly the most popular with around 30 dive operators. The corals are prolific and there is a good variety of fish life. Visibility is up to 30m. Some places have strong current.
The Canyons (*****): This is the best divesite in Puerto Galera. The strong current attracts schools of big fish like sweetlips, batfish, snappers, long nosed emperors, tuna, jackfish and barracuda. Solitary groupers, angelfish, moray eels and clown triggerfish hide near the bottom. The corals are prolific and sponges are host to numerous species of nudibranches.
Dungon (****): This is a beautiful coral garden on a gentle slope. There is no reason to go deeper than 20m. Schools of big sweetlips, batfish and jackfish patrol below 10m.
Small La Laguna (**): This house reef should only be used for training. There is a small sunken outboard here.
Sabang Point (****): Prolific coral garden on a gentle slope between 5 and 20m. Feather stars, sea whips, sea pens, anemones and sponges hosts numerous species of nudibranches. Crustaceans are also numerous especially mantis shrimps.
Monkey Beach (****): An extension of Sabang Point. At 30m the slope becomes a sandy bottom where bluespotted stingrays hide. If you are lucky you may see turtles, and schools of tuna and jackfish.
Eanies Cave (***): An extension of Monkey Beach, but the corals are not as good.
Shark Cave (**): Some caves at 28m. The current is strong but the coral and fish life are not impressive. It might be worth the effort if you get to see any sharks. Try instead or combine this divesite with the nearby
The Atoll (****): This big rock jutting out of the water at around 25m is encrusted with corals, sponges and anemones. Both the coral and fish life is prolific. Big lionfish are lurking everywhere and groupers and other big fish hang around. Its not so big and you can circle it in about 10 minutes.
Sinandigan Wall (****): Its a bit of an exaggeration to call this a wall, newer the less its a good divesite. The corals and sponges are prolific, and there is a abundance of nudibranches, crustaceans, shells and smaller fish. Moray eels, mantis shrimps, scorpionfish and juvenile batfish hide among the corals. There are especially many three-spot angelfish.
West Escarceo (***): Slope whit nice corals ending in a sandy bottom around 30m where bluespotted stingrays hide.
Pink Wall (***): This tiny wall is covered in soft cauliflower corals. Its fun to swim around the rock formations close to the shore. Especially if the weather is rough you can feel the powerful surge from the waves above.
Hole in the Wall (*****): This is some rock formations at around 12m where there is a hole big enough for one diver to swim through. The current is strong so schools of sweetlips, snappers and jackfish hang around and some times turtlesScorpionfish and moray eels hide in the rocks.
MV Alma Jane (***) and Small Laguna (*): This purposly sunk wreck is standing upright at the sandy bottom at 30 meter. The wreck is only around 30 meter long. Pennetration of the cargo rooms are possible, but its only a minut swimm through. Snappers, sweetlips, moray eels, cleanershrimps and a school of batfish live in and around the wreck. It is a 100 meter swimm to the coral reef in front of Small Laguna which start at a dept of 15 meter (comming from the wreck). The few hardcorals are nothing special and there are few fish but many mantisshrimps. Spend as long time on the wrech as possible and swimm to the reef for a deco stop.
Manilla Channel (***): Similar to Coral Garden (See below) but the channel have protected the corals from damage. Corals down to around 18 meter. Easy dive for beginners and macro photographers.
Coral Garden (**): Patches of coral on a sandy bottom between 2 and 12 meter. The corals were damaged by a typhoon, but many nice both hard and softcorals remain intact. Few large fish like snappers and sweetlips and moray eels. If you are lucky you can see a turtle. Many mantisshrimps, nudibranches and small reeffish.
Hibo (****): Wall starting at 18 meter ending below 90 meter. It is an openwater descent to the plateau at 16-18 meter. There are usually a light to strong current. The hardcorals are nice and there are som large gorgonian seafans. A whitetip reefshark are often seen around a small cave where the wall starts. Turtles, tuna, jackfish and frogfish are common as well as the usuall smaller reeffish.
Birdie Island Dropoff, Verde Island (*****): This dropoff is situated on the south-east side of Verde Island which is a one hour sail east of Sabang. Nice hard and softcorals but strong and unpredictable currents including up and down currents. Not a beginners dive. Expect to see tuna, large jackfish, snappers, sweetlips, groupers, moray eels, angelfish, millions of anthias and blue triggerfish. All the smaller reeffish and nudibranches are prevalent. If you are lucky you will encounter mantarays, turtles and napoleonfish.

Coron: The wreck divers Heaven. On the 24.september 1994 American carrier based dive bombers sunk 12 Japanese ships in Coron bay. 8 ships have been found and 6 of these are within easy reach of Coron town. The wrecks are in good conditions although propellers and engines have been salvaged. Fish life around the wrecks is prolific. The visibility is up to 20m, but usually much less. Inside the wrecks vis is not less than 15m. Coron town can be reached by plane or boat from Manila.
Kogyo Maru (****): Cargo ship lying on the starboard side at 34m, hull side at 22m. Length 160m, tonnage 6352t. The wreck is home to groupers and batfish, and lionfish and leather jackets hide among the corals. One of the cargo holes is filled with bags of cement and a small bulldozer. Its possible to enter/exit the propellershaft although the hole is narrow.
Olympia Maru (****): Cargo ship lying on the starboard side at 25m, hull side at 12m. Length 140m, tonnage 5617t. The wreck is encrusted in corals, sponges and anemones. Lionfish and scorpionfish hide among the corals as well as pipefish, razorfish, nudibranches and other sea slugs. Groupers and batfish hide inside the wreck. The engine room and bathroom is easily accessible.
Tangat Wreck (*****):Cargo ship standing upright at 32m, main deck at 21m. Length 120m, tonnage ca. 5000t. Except for the bridge the wreck is intact. Good variety of corals, especially soft corals and sponges. The wreck is home to lionfish, groupers, flatworms, leaffish and nudibranches. Around the stern and bow schools of fusiliers, bigeye jacks and golden jackfish hang around. The wreck is easily penetrable.
Irako (*****): Refrigeration ship standing upright at 42m, main deck at 34m. Length 152m, tonnage 9570t. The cargoholes is divided into two decks, some of them containing a lot of rubble. The wreck is in very good conditions with few holes for penetration except the cargo holes. Since it is also quite deep it is very dark inside. A few groupers hang around, otherwise there is not many fish. Not a dive for beginners.
Akitsushima (*****): Seaplane tender lying on the starboard side at 36m, hull side at 20m. Length 150m, tonnage 4665t. This is the only warship among the wrecks. The wreck can be penetrated in its entire length. The hydraulic room and the engineroom are interesting. The big crane used to put the flying boat in the water is intact. Schools of snappers, batfish and jackfish swim around the wreck and inside groupers, lionfish and sixbanded angelfish hide. 
Taei Maru (*****): Oil tanker standing upright at 26m, main deck at 16m. Length 160m, tonnage 10,045t. Usually the current is strong, otherwise its a easy dive. The wreck is covered in corals, sponges and anemones. The fish life is prolific with schools of jackfish, snappers and fusiliers hanging in the current. Batfish, groupers, lionfish, scorpionfish and sixbanded angelfish hide inside or among the corals. The bow and top deck is badly damaged. The wreck is easily penetrated. Inside pipes and pumps can be seen. Look at the top of the oiltanks where some oil can still be seen.
Baracuda Lake on Coron Island (*****): To get to the lake, you have to climb limestone cliffs for around 15 minutes with all your gear. Not an easy task! The lake is volcanic and the temperature varies between 27°C at the surface and 38°C below 12m thermocline. The lake is host to a 1.2m very curious barracuda that will follow you during the dive, tiera batfish and cleanershrimps. The real attraction here is the limestone cliffs. Diving in the lake is like swimming around stone forest in Kunming. The Island itself is reminiscent of Halong Bay.
The rock (**/****): Wall/Slope. The corals are very disappointing. Most have been killed by El-Nido, dynamite fishing and typhoons. But fish life is surprisingly good. I saw several schools of squid, bumphead parrotfish, razorfish, batfish, a green turtle, a mantis shrimp and six species of nudibranches.

Bohol: One hour from Cebu City is Bohol, known for its Chocolate Hills. The divesites are varied with walls, slopes and an undersea island. Many belong to the best in the Visayas. Visibility is 10-40m. Some sites have strong current.
Shark Point, Cabilao (****): A gentle slope ending in a drop-off at 10 meters of water. On the slope lives dragonfish (pegasus), scorpionfish, schools of squid, hermit crabs, porcelain crabs, banded pipefish and shrimps. Along the drop-off are schools of barracuda, Spanish mackerel, and nudibranches. On both my dives at this site I saw several juvenile Pinnatus platax batfish.
South Point, Cabilao (****): Drop off. Below 15 meters big leopard groupers, big snappers, schools of barracuda and big mackerel are seen. Especially the top 10 meters have excellent and varied hard coral growth, while there are a lot of big seafans deeper.
Looc, Cabilao (****): Wall. At 20 meter of water big groupers, snapper and mackerel hang around. In the top 10 meters the hard corals are exquisite and plentiful. Besides the usual reeffish are lots of nudibranches, flatworm and shrimps.
Coco Point, Cabilao (****): Wall. Below 10 meters mackerel, batfish, angelfish, snapper and other big fish are seen. Beautiful hard corals. In the surface lives schools of razorfish and catfish.
Heaven, Balicasag (****): Drop off to more than 100 meters. Many scorpion- and lionfish. Schools of trevaly (big eyed jacks), snapper, unicorn, batfish and angelfish. Beautiful and varied corals, both hard and soft coral
Black Forest, Balicasag (*****): A gentle slope ending in a bottomless drop-off  at 10-14 meters of water. At the slope there is a varied fish life with garden eels and many schools of smaller fish and juvenile batfish (tallfin, Pinnatus platax) , nudibranches and shellfish. Along the drop-off schools of trevaly, snapper, unicorn-, angel- and batfish is seen.
Snake Island (**): A underwater island 10-12 meter below the surface. The corals are damaged because of dynamite fishing, but it is the seasnakes witch is the big attraction. In a 75 minute dive I saw more than 20 banded seasnakes. Besides the snakes there is a lot of cowrie shells and moray eels.
Napoleon Point, Pamilican (*****): Slope. The name is no coincidence. In a one hour dive I saw more than 20 napoleonfish, the biggest 130 centimetres. Below 15 meters of water a lot of other big fish hang around, like batfish, jackfish and groupers.

Moalboal: Three hours by bus from Cebu City on the west coast is Moalboal. This is one of the first divespots in the Philippines, and there are about ten diveshops on Pangasama beach. Here I worked as a divemaster for Savedra Great White. Visibility: 10-50m. Some places very strong current.
Pescador Island (*****): Moalboals jewel. Extremely varied drop-off until 40 meters ending in a gentle slope. There is a cave called "the cathedral" between 20 and 30 meters. Beautiful soft corals and many sponges. On 10-20 meters a lot of groupers, big snapper, leopard sweetlips, angelfish, tuna, trevally, moray and ribbon eel is seen. Scorpionfish and frogfish hide in the corals. At 30-35 meters king barracuda and 40-50 meters sharks can be seen.
Sunken Island (*****): World class diving, only for the experienced. The top of this underwater island is 27 meters under the surface, usually with a lot of current. On a 30 minute deco dive you will see king barracuda several species of tuna and mackerel, big groupers, schools of trevally, octopus, 60 centimetres Spanish dancers and lots of smaller nudibranches. The biggest lionfish you will ever see hoover above the bottom and scorpionfish, moray eels and frogfish (giant angler) in all colours hide on corals and sponges. Here all the fish are bigger!
Airport (***): A small aeroplane have been sunk here therefore the name. Slope until 20-25 meters ending in a drop-off. Turtles are often seen at this site. Like White Beach.
Housereef (*): Drop off. Big gorgonians. With a little luck you will see a turtle, but nothing special.
White Beach (****): Slope until 10-15 meters ending in a drop-off. Nice hard corals in the top 10 meters. Many big gorgonian seafans (some more than 3 meters wide) at 20-25 meters.
Tongo Point (****): Drop off. At 10-20 meters green turtles (followed by suckerfish) are usually found. Deeper tuna, trevally, schools of small barracuda, groupers are seen.
Tuble Point (***): Slope until 10 meters ending in a drop-off. Schools of razorfish swim around in the surface. Juvenile bat- and angelfish lives on the slope. Deeper groupers, tuna, big angel- and batfish is seen.
Badian Garden (**): Slope. Big titan triggerfish guards their territory. The corals are slightly damaged possibly by dynamite fishing. Most smaller reef fish especially many spotted trunkfish and nudibranches.
Looc (***): Slope until 10 meters ending in a 60-70 meters drop-off. Beautiful hard corals grows on the slope. Schools of razorfish and catfish swim in the surface. Often you will see turtles. Along the drop-off batfish, mackerel and groupers are seen.
Ronda Bay (****): Slope until 15 meters ending in a drop-off. In the top 10 meters Moalboals most beautiful hard corals grow. Watch out for the big titan triggerfish (up to 50cm).


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