When it comes to looking for wonderful beach experiences, you have a huge number of choices for perfect spots for diving. Philippines’ various resorts and more adventurous vacation tours offer lessons with accredited instructors who would be delighted to introduce you to the pleasures of island living and the heart of our turquoise waters. There are, however, some things you should think about before you decide which spot is right for you, and these tips will help you figure out where you should go and what considerations you should have—excitement and fun await!
Tip#1: Think about the kind of vacation you envisioned which involves diving.
Philippines’ islands can take you to two extremes of the diving experience pole: you can either learn about scuba diving in a less explored area which has much of its incredible flora and fauna intact and camp on the beach afterwards for a close experience to nature, or go to a more well-known location with plenty of resorts, a greater degree of comfort and the likelihood of getting more thorough basic instruction from the surfeit of local teachers about scuba diving.
Philippines’ new popular spots, for example, are Pandan in Mindoro Occidental—which hosts the beautiful Apo Reef—and Malapascua in Cebu, with its thresher sharks, if you want something with a little more adrenaline. For a more supervised experience that isn’t too far from Manila, nothing beats Anilao and Nasugbu in Batangas.
Tip#2: Remember that you can choose to do different kinds of diving.
Philippines’ varying locations lend themselves well to different diving experiences—you can easily pick between recreational, wreck and technical diving. Recreational diving is more leisurely, requires the least degree of training to enjoy, and is best for the novice diver who wants a very safe and controlled experience, or simply someone who just wants to try it over a holiday. Wreck diving is exciting because you get to explore sunken structures on the bottom of the sea that are archeologically important and serve as artificial reefs, but it requires a great degree of care.
Technical diving, the most challenging of all, is done in depths deeper than 130 feet, but for those who have the training and experience, it is a rush like no other. Think about which of these you’ll enjoy more over the amount of time you’ll spend in that area.
Tip#3: You can combine your diving with other experiences.
Wreck diving is an example of combining your basic scuba diving with exploration of sunken ships and tanks—so if you want to explore caves or go for whale shark sightings, look for islands which offer that. Similarly, if you like underwater photography, going to the diving sites with the most well-preserved reefs and most diverse fauna would be your choice for memorable shots.
Tip#4: Consider how near you should be to more urbanized areas.
This is in case you need access to health services or need quick runs to buy food or medicine. If you’re used to traveling off the beaten path, you can go for a more remote location that has untamed beauty—but if you’re new to it, it’s best to stick to a resort that offers supervision and is accessible from the city when it comes to diving. Philippines’ diving is a wonderful experience, but it carries its own risks like any other activity, and you should be prepared to handle anything while diving. Safety first!
Tip#5: Think of places that offer budget-friendly packages.
Diving is amazing, but there’s still your wallet to consider at the end of the day. Certain areas attract more vacationers at specific seasons, so it may be harder to book accomodations that fit your budget unless there’s a number of places there that give good diving-accommodation promos—these usually combine payment for supervised diving with an instructor on top of your stay, which is great if you don’t have time to micromanage details. La Union, for example, is becoming more and more popular, so more resorts are offering dive packages that are great value for money.