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Featured Content by Lonely Planet

Editor’s note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government advice.

A worn white catamaran diveboat in the Philippines sits in shallow water dappled with light. In large rainbow letters on the side the name of the boat reads Swedman.
An example of a bangka, a kind of outrigger canoe used for island-hopping tours and to access dive sites in the Philippines © Michael Ballard / Lonely Planet


At the thousands of dive sites scattered throughout the Philippines, you’ll be enchanted by the more than 1,200 macro and pelagic species that live in these waters. In fact, the incredible biodiversity of Tubbataha Reefs National Park in Palawan earned it Unesco World Heritage Site status.

Board a liveaboard in Puerto Princesa City, then sail to dive sites like Amos Rock, Washing Machine and Black Rock to experience 600 species of fish, 360 species of coral, 11 species of sharks and 13 species of dolphins and whales, along with manta rays, barracuda, nudibranchs, pipefish and seahorses.

If a liveaboard isn’t in your budget, you can still see a boatload of sea life at Moalboal on the island of Cebu, where you’ll sail on a traditional double outrigger canoe called a bangka. Moalboal is world-renowned for its sardine run, an enormous bait ball of approximately seven million small fish that attract larger marine life in search of food. While you can dive the warm Philippine waters year round, you’ll witness the most wildlife and avoid monsoons if you visit between March and June.