Like many industries, the Philippine diving community was hit pretty hard by the global coronavirus pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions. After a year on the shelf, however, it’s good to know that the Philippines is on the way to fully reopening its biodiverse spots to tourists, with some of the country’s most breathtaking dive sites now back in business.

If you’re a diver raring to get back in the water, here are five places you can go for:

Malapascua, Cebu

A diver swims with a thresher shark at Monad Shoal

The azure waters of Malapascua Island is one of the Visayas’ most popular places to go diving, with plenty of dive sites accessible to both beginners and seasoned enthusiasts. Swim with the thresher sharks at Monad Shoal, go through the various underwater caves in the vicinity, or head for the famous resident whitetip sharks of Gato Island.

Boljoon and Alcoy, Cebu

A puffer fish spotted swimming near coral beds. Photo courtesy of the Municipality of Alcoy, Cebu

Macro divers looking for a good, quiet spot should consider the municipalities of Boljoon and Alcoy in Cebu. The reefs that are scattered along these islands house a wide variety of rare marine life, such as

green sea turtles and the Lembeh Seadragon. Admission to these underrated Cebu towns is now open for those looking for a getaway.

Moalboal, Cebu

A school of purple anthias

The beautiful turquoise waters surrounding the islands of Moalboal, located in the south of Cebu, are home to a dazzling array of fish and other marine life! Swim with sea turtles, sardines, Frogfish, white tip sharks, and many more in waters that are accessible to both beginner divers and veterans. The tours in Moalboal are available year-round.

Siquijor Island

The small island of Siquijor is another must-visit diving locale, with over 10 different dive sites in the waters surrounding the isle. Siquijor hosts two marine sanctuaries, breathtaking walls to dive in, as well as spots for muck diving, all with their own sets of marine life which include reef fish, cuttle fish, barracuda, turtles, and so much more. One popular spot is the Sunken Island, which reaches down to 40 meters and is suited for experienced divers—though both beginners and veterans are welcome in Siquijor’s various dive spots.

Dauin, Negros Oriental

A sea turtle swims close to the surface of the shore near Apo Island
Underwater photographer between Ducomi Pier pillars overgrown with colorful sea fans and soft corals

This small municipality half an hour away from the city of Dumaguete in Negros Oriental has 18 different dive spots, with five muck diving sites for those who want to search for life among the silt. Many attractions can be found off the coast of Dauin, including amazing reef fish, cuttle fish, sea turtles, shrimps, crabs, barracudas, and a lot more waiting for all divers. One interesting spot is the Ginama-an, a man-made dive site that’s made up of old car tires which now house a lot of marine life.

Divers concerned about safety will also be glad to know that businesses operating in these areas follow strict health and safety measures, such as constant disinfection and sanitization, limited capacity, and physical distancing.

 To provide a venue for Philippine dive industry stakeholders to promote their products and services in time for the reopening of dive destinations, the DOT recently organized the Philippine International Dive Expo on March 19 to 21. Leading industry experts, guests, and diving enthusiasts from around the world attended the various talks and panel discussions about diving, and also scored good deals on diving equipment, accessories, and experiences in the Expo’s virtual marketplace.

With this overflowing support and the enthusiasm of the local diving community, there’s no doubt that these five amazing Philippine dive spots—and a lot more—will see an uptick in divers soon enough. Be among the first to experience diving in our awesome waters by booking your trips soon!