Top 13 dive sites in the Philippines

From thresher sharks to exotic coral atolls in the Sulu Sea, Gutsy Tuason reveals the secrets of the deep

Photos by Gutsy Tuason

Shark Airport, Tubbataha Reef, Palawan

Shark Airport

“Such a scenic site. Few spots in the world can rival it. It’s loaded with sharks, turtles and corals. Every dive here is a spiritual experience.”
Book Palau Sport (liveaboard vessel) 

Coconut, Anilao, Batangas

“A gentle sand slope just packed with critters of every variety and it’s two hours away from Manila by car.”
Book at Bambu Villa Resort 

Monad Shoal, Malapascua, Cebu

A thresher shark up close in Monad Shoal

“The only place in the world to see thresher sharks up close and personal.”
Book at Sea Explorers Philippines 

Delsan Wreck , Tubbataha Reef, Palawan

Whale sharks in Delsan Wreck

“Not a wreck dive, as the name implies. Just a classic site where just about any big animal underwater can be seen.”

Book Palau Sport (liveaboard vessel) 

Secret Bay, Anilao, Batangas

“Not a secret anymore, this is the most famous ‘muck diving’ site in Anilao. The list of critters goes from A to Z.”

Book at Bambu Villa Resort 

Moalboal, Cebu

A school of sardines surround a turtle in Moalboal, Cebu

“The largest school of non-migratory sardines can be found here. A sight to behold!”
Book at Club Serena or Aquaholics 

Dauin, Negros

“Just about any house reef from the resorts is crawling with macro subjects. Spending a week here would not cover all the spots.”
Book at Sea Explorers Philippines

Black Forest, Balicasag Island, Bohol

“Best place in the Visayas for schooling jacks and barracudas.”
Book at Sea Explorers Philippines

Club Paradise house reef, Coron, Palawan

“Turtles here are the friendliest around and you might even see a dugong (sea cow), if you are lucky.”
Book at Club Paradise or Dugong Diving Center 

Gutsy’s Reef, Katumbao, Sarangani, Mindanao

Gutsy's Reef in Sarangani

“A friend and I found this deep reef back in 2008, and it’s pristine and not dived by anybody because we’re the only ones who know the coordinates. You’ll see pelagic fishes, some sharks and pristine corals.”
Book at Lemlunay Resort 

Cabilao Island, Bohol

“A stunning mix of macro and wideangle photography subjects. Hard to decide what camera to pack.”
Book at Sea Explorers Philippines

Verde Island, Batangas

Verde Island passage boasts the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world

“Spectacular corals and small fish life, and in the center of the Verde Island passage, the most diverse marine ecosystem in the world.”
Book at El Galleon Resort 

Donsol, Sorsogon

“More of a snorkeling site than a dive site, but it’s still the best place in the Philippines to see whale sharks behaving naturally in their environment.”
Book at Donsol Visitor Center 

About our Insider: Gutsy Tuason
Gutsy Tuason was interviewed for this story by Inflight Traveller magazine to celebrate its 13th anniversary this year. Winner of the Palme d’Or award at the 27th World Festival of Underwater images in Antibes, France for his portrait of Anilao, Batangas, Tuason has some 4,000+ dives to his name. “The Philippines is one of the best dive destinations in the world. It is part of the coral triangle, which means it has one of the most bio-diverse marine ecosystems on the planet,” he said. View Tuason’s work on the Squires Bingham Sports Facebook page

Originally published in InFlight Traveller April to June 2015. Updated June 2015