Cover Dumaguete, Apo Island | Photo: Department of Tourism

A year after the on and off COVID-19 restrictions, people miss many outdoor activities like going to the beach for a good and refreshing dip; fortunately, some diving spots in the country are already open to a limited number of people.

In many ways, diving is not only a good sport but a way to visit an entirely new world underwater. In the ocean, there are different coloured coral reefs, schools of fish, and other marine animals ready to mesmerise us in every way they can. 

When travel restrictions have been imposed in the Philippines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, life wasn't the same for lovers of the sea. Good thing the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced that some diving spots are now open and safe for a limited number of visitors. We have listed some of them below: 

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1. Malapascua, Cebu

The azure waters of Malapascua Island is one of the Visayas’ most popular places to go for a dive. The place is filled 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.

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2. Boljoon and 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.

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3. Moalboal, Cebu

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.

Sardines also spawn in the cool waters of Moalboal. The sardines would typically gather in front of the Savedra Dive Centre which is very accessible to tourists. They hover just 30 minutes off the coast so divers find it easy to spot them.

The Moalboal Sardine run happens during Dry Season or from November to May. 

Read more: Cebu All Around

4. 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, cuttlefish, barracuda, turtles, and so much more.

One popular spot is the Sunken Island, which reaches down to 40 metres and is suited for experienced divers—though both beginners and veterans are welcome in Siquijor’s various dive spots.

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5. Dauin, Negros Oriental

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, cuttlefish, 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.

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6. Tubbataha Reef, Palawan

The Tubbataha Reef in Palawan is a popular diving spot. The area was established as a marine park in 1988 and was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. The place has amazing biodiversity. It is home to 360 coral species and provides shelter to 600 species of fish, and 13 species of whales and dolphins. 

Note: All domestic tourists are allowed to enter El Nido for leisure travel. It is open to tourists of all ages without underlying conditions and comorbidities, provided that minors are accompanied by their parents or guardians.

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7. Sogod Bay in Southern Leyte

Southern Leyte, which is known for its diving sites along Sogod Bay, has also opened its doors for tourists. At the right time of the year, guests can witness the gigantic white sharks, pygmy seahorses, sea turtles, frogfish, and even octopi. 

The place also offers over 25 unspoiled dive sites featuring pristine reefs and healthy corals. 

Note: For Southern Leyte province, requirements include valid ID, Southern Leyte QR Code, and health assessment upon arrival.

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For more information and updates on Dive Philippines programs and activities, like the Dive Philippines page on Facebook or follow @dotdivephilippines on Instagram.

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