The Philippines is an extensive network of over 7,600 islands in all shapes and sizes and is set in a warm tropical climate. Surrounding the vast archipelago are coral reefs stretching further than the eye can see and teaming with a wide variety of characters, legends and experiences that form an integral part of the scuba diving Philippines experience.
Divers come from across the globe to take a glimpse at the historic wrecks lying a mere 10 meters from the surface. The migration of whale sharks is another life changing encounter as is taking an afternoon to marvel at the charming styles and colorings of the many nudibranch species, which have often been called “sea slugs”, although this is not exactly correct.
If you are fortunate enough to come this way for your next diving adventure prepare yourself for total immersion in an almost alien environment where beauty seems to exist for its own purpose. In the following article we will explore some of the majestic underwater attractions lying beneath the pristine Philippine waters.
The Wrecks of Coron Bay
Coron Bay is a popular diving location for divers from beginner to intermediate experience levels and provides the opportunity to explore the final resting place of a WW2 Naval Convoy sunk in a predawn air raid. The coral reef that covers the dilapidated hull of the sunken vessels contain some fascinating marine life that include a wide variety of shrimp and nudibranch.
During WW2, the Philippine Islands were an important strategic position for dominating the South Pacific. Geographically, these islands were in the very “backyard” of the Japanese Empire and the Imperial Navy was intent on maintaining their control here. By the same measure, the US Navy fully understood the importance of undermining Japanese control in the Philippines.
US Helldivers reduced an important Japanese Convoy complete with tankers, supply ships, auxiliaries and the “Akitsushima” a heavily armed, carrier vessel. The fleet was quickly sent to the bottom of the ocean in the surprise attack and the wreckage remains there to this day, complete with tools, kitchen utensils and more.
The US bomber squadron managed to sink these ships all within a relatively small area and this creates a truly unique seascape that is reminiscent of a terrible war but also brightly decorated with a living reef replete with uplifting and inspiring sea creatures. Each of the sunken wrecks can be visited and their own special ecosystem explored and observed.
While there are other wrecks to be visited in the South Pacific, none has been set in such a pristine tropical reef with such a delightful shallow water making this a perfect site for beginners scuba diving Philippines.
The nudibranch is a small creature that attracts a huge audience of diving-enthusiasts and world-class photographers. The Nudibranch is a soft-bodied gastropod that often begin life with a shell that is shed as they mature. They typically feature a display of colorful designs and tones that capture the eye and captivate the mind. There are over 2000 species of nudibranch currently recorded, but many are also extremely rare so many more species may exist. So, grab a good underwater camera before your Scuba Diving Philippines experience.
While they have been confused with sea slugs, the nudibranch species are not closely related to the taxonomic groups to which proper sea slugs belong. The bright colors that identify the nudibranch alert predators to their terrible flavor. Some of the species have been known to develop toxins as a defense mechanism.
One of the best places to appreciate the nudibranch is just off the paradisiacal coastline near the town of El Nido. Paglugaban Islands is home to puffer fish, lion fish, porcupine fish and a wide variety of nudibranch species. The dive site drops 50 meters below the surface and courses through large boulders and reef paths filled with sea creatures.
The area of Boracay is well-known for white sand beaches and shimmering tropical waters. However, it also features a terrific spot to glimpse nudibranch species along a 32-meter wall. Here the diver will also get the opportunity to see whale sharks and tuna as they float through the deep blue. Look closely and you may see pygmy seahorses in Yapak, one of the best places for Scuba Diving Philippines.