Diving in the Philippines is an incredible experience, offering spectacular views of the vibrant coral reefs that thrive along the coast. The fascinating and diverse coral reef ecosystems found in the Philippines are home to more than 500 species of corals and more than 4,000 species of fish. Diving in the Philippines gives wildlife enthusiasts with a chance to observe some of the most amazing creatures on earth. And among those creatures are the various species of sea turtles that thrive around the islands’ coral reefs.

@visit The coral reefs of the Philippines are a completely different world 🐠 @Pema #turtletok #Philippinestravel #divingtok #na ♬ original sound – Visit

In recent years, the country and conservationists within it have made a concerted effort to protect and restore habitat for these majestic animals so they can continue to flourish in their natural environment. This means diving in the Philippines is a win-win situation for divers and species like turtles: divers get to enjoy some of the healthiest underwater ecosystems on earth, and the reefs benefit from the fact that tourists like clean reefs — the more money scuba diving tourists bring in, the more money gets spent on protecting the places divers want to be.

Of course, it’s not just sea turtles that live in the reefs of the Philippines, though the country’s Sula Sea is home to southeast Asia’s highest concentration of green sea turtles. The Philippines’ coral reefs are some of the most spectacular diving spots in the world, boasting an incredibly diverse range of aquatic life, from vibrant anemones to colorful tropical fish. The coral in the country’s reefs is particularly spectacular, with hard and soft colonies displaying a pallet of dazzling colors.

mantis shrimp seen while diving in the Philippines

Photo: Ethan Daniels /Shutterstock

For diving enthusiasts, the islands of the Philippines provide an abundance of stunning opportunities to explore beneath the ocean’s surface. Popular places for scuba diving in the Philippines include El Nido in Palawan, Apo Reef on the island of Mindoro, and Balicasag in Bohol, near Cebu City.

Visitors to El Nido will find numerous rocky reefs and wreck dives with abundant sea life and vibrant coral gardens, while the area around Apo Reef is ideal for advanced divers seeking thrilling drift dives. Diving off Balicasag Island is great for viewing a diverse collection of macro life and the occasional passing pelagics. The sheer variety of locations to dive in the Philippines ensures both novice and expert divers can count on an unforgettable underwater experience — and if you want to make a bucket-list diving trip out of it, you can fly from Manilla straight to other nearby world-class sites like Raja Ampat, in Indonesia.

But diving in the Philippines isn’t just about admiring the color. Divers willing to give the reefs a closer inspection will likely notice delicate starfish, anemones swaying in the current, and clever crustaceans scuttling into their hideaways when disturbed. All these creatures rely on the health of the reef, so remember to always use reef-safe sunscreens and take steps to be a better friend to the oceans.