With 7,100 islands making up the entire country and the fifth-longest coastline in the world, the Philippines has some of the most beautiful diving spots. Coral nurseries renew and replace areas affected by pollution.
As a diver, what should you know about diving in the Philippines? What kind of gear should you bring or look for? Let’s look at it through the kinds of dives you’re most likely to experience there.
Some of the best wreck diving in the Philippines is in Boracay, Bohol, and Cebu. The waters are known for warm temperatures of up to 88°F. These sites are some of the best for experienced divers and regardless of whether you want wreckage diving, some of our favorite diving locations in the Philippines.
You need a 3 to 5 mm-thick wetsuit, because of scratches you might receive from swimming through the wrecks. Choose a light, body-hugging air tank harness, to reduce your size and allow greater flexibility. If you’re going for a night dive, pack a torch as well.
Depending on which wreck you choose, you might need a dive computer or depth gauge for light decompression calculations.
When diving with sharks, keep in mind that you will spend most of the dive time hidden and not moving. As sharks are attracted to movement, the best way to observe them in their natural habitat is hidden or unmoving.
To prolong dive time, bring or use Nitrox on the dive. Make sure your gear also supports Nitrox. Don’t use anything with a flash or strobe; most of the sharks are nocturnal and will be blinded. Let your guides provide the light. Wear something comfortable to reduce your need to move.
Reef diving is done to experience incredible underwater landscapes. It is usually nearer the surface and is a non-decompression dive. This means you don’t need a depth gauge or dive computer for that purpose.
Bring standard gear: a wet suit, gloves, fins, mask, and of course regulator and air tank. (You can also rent them.) It’s best to bring your own mask, to avoid a badly-fitting mask and the annoyance of clearing it often.
The scuba gear you rent might seem heavy, but reef water is extremely buoyant. Once you are face down, the water takes the weight of your gear and you can watch the show freely.
Cave diving, because of the riskier area, is best for technical or experienced divers. It usually requires diving to a certain depth to reach marine life, so it is a decompression dive.
Important gear: A torch for seeing, and a dive computer or depth gauge (for very experienced divers) to calculate the decompression stops. It’s colder (but still the tropics), so a standard 2 to 3 mm wetsuit should do the trick.
Diving in the Philippines: Simple and Fun
Diving in the Philippines is not complicated. The many snorkeling spots even provide areas for freediving. Simply take note of the gear you need for each kind of climb. Ideally, whatever gear you’re most picky with (mask, wetsuit, etc.), bring your own instead for the best experience.