Diving in Philippines in December
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jun 23, 2012 8:27 PM Last Post By: jmbouchard
Jun 16, 2012 11:49 PM
Diving in Philippines in DecemberHi
I am planning a trip in Asia in december with my 17 year old son.
I want to make it extra special since we don't spend much time together.
I want to initiate him to diving and the Philippines has been a dream of mine. We will only have a week for diving therefore we need to focus on one place only.
Could anyone recommend a diving spot that would boast the best diversity?
Thank you in advance,
Jun 16, 2012 11:54 PM
1I haven't dived at all but I have friends who dive, and they all tell me that Anilao beach in Batangas is a cheap and beautiful diving spot! :)
I've snorkeled in Apo Reef in Mindoro and the marine life is absolutely breathtaking. although it would take a whole day to get to the island and since you only have a week, i stay stick with places that wont require you to long travelling hours :)
Jun 17, 2012 12:35 AM
Jun 17, 2012 2:49 AM
Surfboy and Ayzprincess have very good recommendations. I have dived in many of the ones cited. I would add a place they didn't mention for its diversity. It's Coron in Palawan. I was there recently and I cannot recommend that place enough! It has it all. Well nearly. It's only lacking the big fish that you would have in let say Bohol. Saying that, it's easy to go on a liveaboard from there to Apo Reef.
But would you decide to stay just in Coron area, you'd have plenty to see already.
There are amazing reefs, some marine sanctuaries.
You can dive in surreal lakes on the beautiful Coron Island. You can also dive on Japanese war ships from world war 2.
One week there is perfect. I can share with you the place with stayed in if you are interested. It's a dive centre with accommodation. hope that helps.
Edited by: jmbouchard
Jun 17, 2012 3:04 AM
Jun 17, 2012 5:15 AM
5Wow thank you all for your quick answers! It does help a lot. I had a look at the places you recommended and they all seem to offer great prospect. Could you tell me more about Coron?
Can we do more than just diving? Can we rent bikes, kayaks...
Please JM, let me know about the place you mentioned. I would like to stay in a resort with a pool and good amenities. I know I might ask for a lot but I only take a holiday every 2 years! I hope I can find it in Coron. I must say the diving looks amazing. Especially the wrecks part!!
Thank you again all for your replies. Keep them coming.
Jun 17, 2012 5:30 AM
6@Ayzprincess: Anilao good and cheap? No way. Anilao was one of (only) 2 places in the Philippines which i did not like. Very expensive accommodation (I mean expensive for what you get, probably because it's not far from Manila) and no really good dive. There's one good place called Dive and Trek where all divers are taken to (which is far from Anilao village and have to get a boat to get there), but other than that diving options are not very good, compared to the other amazing places this wonderful country has to offer. I was there 2 months ago.
I really loved Apo Island, just off Dumaguete. It's one of the best diving spots in the Philippines. Very small island with limited options for restaurants and nightlife (and the electricity there is only between 6-9pm but you'll find out that you really don't need more), but very nice. In the afternoon you can just walk 5 meters into the water from the shoreline and swim with many huge turtles, as I did almost every day. Really good diversity there, great diving, though beaches are not very good, as it's mostly corals and rocks. Both Lonely planet and Rough Guide guidebooks (which write about the places they've never been to), say that there's only 2 places to stay on Apo Island, both expensive resorts. This is so not true. Once you'll get to Apo Island you'll see other Room for rent signs.
I stayed at Mario's place, which is really nice and is a great value for money. Nice rooms, good food, great vibe. Mario is a PADI scuba diving instructor and has its own dive shop right there, and offers dives and dive courses for very reasonable prices. Mario used to be a mayor of the Apo Island village and has a great knowledge of the underwater world around. You can find his contact info here
Jun 17, 2012 5:30 AM
7Do you mean diversity of diving or diversity of things to do beside diving.
I don't dive at all but I have been told that the area near Panglao Island Bohol has some of the best diving in the world.
So, if you want diversity of things to do other than diving. Bohol is the place. Bohol has
- The Chocolate hills
- Rice paddies
- White sandy beaches
- Cheap accommodation
- Whale and dolphin watching
- Tarsier sanctuaries
- Butterfly sanctuaries
- Wild life sanctuaries
- Fire fly tours
- Adventure tours including zip lining
- Historical sites
- Several waterfalls
- Swimming underground in the Hinagdanan cave
- Lunch tours on the Loboc river
- Hanging bamboo bridges over the Loboc river
- The Bohol Bee Farm where you can see mats, clothes and knick knacks being made then eat a meal with edible flowers
Jun 18, 2012 1:34 AM
8I would second those who have suggested Bohol (Alona beach).
It has about 30 dive shops - operated by Filipinos and foreigners (mostly Germans, Swiss, Aussies). Diving is closeby - just 10 minutes bangka (outrigger boat) ride from the beach
Puerto Gallera too has some good dive schools - but the marine diversity is lesser. Waters of Bohol are clearer.
Jun 19, 2012 12:05 AM
9Anilao good and cheap? No way. Anilao was one of (only) 2 places in the Philippines which i did not like. Very expensive accommodation (I mean expensive for what you get, probably because it's not far from Manila) and no really good dive. There's one good place called Dive and Trek where all divers are taken to (which is far from Anilao village and have to get a boat to get there), but other than that diving options are not very good, compared to the other amazing places this wonderful country has to offer. I was there 2 months ago.
I have been pointing this out time and time again. Anilao is NOT cheap! It only becomes cheap for the Manila divers because they go there in big groups (10 in a room) and divide the costs for themselves not to mention they have their own gears.
Can I again, point out the OP wants to initiate the son into diving? Coron, particularly the wrecks, are not for novice divers.
I second the Balicasag, Apo Island and Puerto Galera.
Jun 21, 2012 4:05 AM
10Oh wow thank you all for your in detail replies. I am now spoilt for choice. Bohol now seems like a possible destination. But I have to say I am also keen on diving the wrecks of Coron.
Would that be selfish of me to bring my son there? Aren't there any good reefs to dive around Coron? Can't he dive some of them even as a beginner?
if i choose Bohol, do you have a place to recommend where I can stay. 3 to 4 star hotel with pool?
Thank you so much for all your replies.
Jun 21, 2012 9:49 PM
12Hi Joan Hill,
The map on this page of Bohol bikers shows most dive schools here. http://www.boholbikers.com/undergroup%20pages/map/map%20alona%20beach.htm
Genesis, sea quest and aquatica are good -Genesis is run by a German Engineer who has been there for the past 15 years, but the other dive schools along Alona are good too. I would suggest that you see their webpages and decide based on the credentials of their dive instructors. All of them have posted their dive master profiles on their webpages.
Costs are similar all over, +- 500 pesos - one certified dive costs 1500 pesos, 3000 pesos for 2 dives. For OW, they all charge between 10 to 15,000 pesos. No point trying to save money there.
Most resorts have a small pool, but frankly, since they are nearly ON the beach, you might as well just walk over to the sea (the waters on the beach are shallow for nearly 500 metres and the house reef is close by) and take a swim. The waters should be warm and calm in december.
Jun 23, 2012 8:27 PM
Sorry for the late reply.
Your 2 options are real good ones. I went to Bohol as well and to be honest it would be difficult to choose between the two. Personally I prefered Palawan because I found it more relaxed and laid back.
The dive center I went to in Coron is Corto Divers, you can find them here www.cortodivers.com
The dives are the same price as the one Davidonwheels quoted for Bohol. Their rooms are around 1200 a night. When I went there, they were finishing up the construction of a hotel and I remember correctly, it should open in July.
Regarding the level required for wreck diving, you do need to be somewhat advanced, but there are some wrecks accessible to all.
Edited by: jmbouchard
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