Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Living Up to the Reputation - Scuba Diving in the Phillippines

To give it its full name, The Republic Of The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 separate islands, and covers an area of just over 300,000 square kilometres (115,000 square miles). Its population of 77 million people makes it one of the larger South East Asian countries, but recent political unrest, and sporadic outburst of militant activity have resulted in the tourist figures for the Philippines being lower than for many of their South East Asian neighbours. The main island groups in the Philippines are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and the capital city is Manila, where over 10 million of the Philippino population live.

Due to the size of the Philippines, the weather patterns are relatively diverse, however they can be roughly divided into the dry season, which runs from September through until May, and the wet season, which runs from June to September. The average temperature across the Philippines is 78 degrees F (25 degrees C) ranging up to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) in the drier months.

Diving in the Philippines is possible at any point in the year, although it may be wise to avoid the monsoon months which run from July to September. When considering whether or not to go diving in the Philippines, the figures are very compelling. 34,000 square kilometres of coral reefs, and over 400 species of fish means the Philippines undoubtedly holds a great deal of potential for novice and expert divers alike. The unique location of the waters of the Philippines, means that they are constantly enriched by the currents of the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Celebes Sea.

The diving in the Philippines can be split into five main regions, Luzon, Palawan, Puerto Galera, the Sulu Sea and Visayas. The diving ranges from fresh water cave dives in the inland lakes, through to some of the best drift diving available along one of the Philippines numerous coral reef walls.

The best diving in the Philippines is considered to be at the Visayan Islands, which are towards the centre of the archipelago. Popular dive sites within the Visayan Islands include Bohol and Moalboal. The is also excellent diving to be in the multitude of dive spots around Puerto Galera, where the Canyons is rated is widely rated as a 'must do' dive. Drift diving through the three deep canyons, accompanied by a multitude of barracudas, tuna, jacks and trevally, make this a truly enthralling dive. Add to this the comman sightings of giant manta rays, hammerheads and white tips, and you'll see why many people dive the Canyons more than once.

Overall, the diving in the Philippines is of the highest standards, and the difficult travelling between the various sites is more than compensated for on the actual dive sites. It caters for all standards of scuba diver, from novice up to the most experienced pro's, and undoubtedly leaves all wishing they had booked their stay in the Philippines for longer.

About the Author

Mark Burns is Director of Scubaworld.tv, a specialist scuba diving web site proving extensive information on scuba diving in the Philippines and scuba diving holidays throughout the world.