As the largest island in the Philippines, Luzon, and the surrounding region, has plenty of dive sites to choose from. The best diving is found in areas like Anilao and Subic Bay and it is suitable for all levels of divers. Some of the highlights are stunning soft corals, WWII wrecks and even the occasional whale shark.
The bustling, metropolitan hub that is Manila seems a world away from the peaceful calm of the ocean waves. But, less than 3 hours drive away, lies paradise dive sites, stunning beaches and laid back resorts. The dive sites in this region have something for everyone, from gentling sloping reefs of Anilao and Puerto Galera to the impressive WWII wrecks in Subic Bay
Diving in Luzon
Luzon is the biggest and most populous island in the Philippines, as well as being home to the capital of Manila. The region includes several island groups and provinces which are known for good diving. These include Anilao, Subic Bay, Batangas, Coron, Puerto Galera, Bicol and Verde Island.
Luzon diving is some of the most diverse in the Philippines. There are world-class coral reefs on Apo Reef to explore. Coron offers some fantastic wreck diving, due to the naval base that was located near here during WWII. Most of these diving destinations have plenty of options on how you wish to dive. Dive resorts are available in a variety of budgets, with some aiming themselves at the more extravagant end of the scale. There are also lots of dive centres for those who wish to stay independently. There are several liveaboards which operate around here which allow you to see all of the dive sites, even if they are a days sail away.
Dive courses are common and popular in Luzon. There is a mixture of dive sites available, depending on the region. Beginner dive courses can take advantage of the easy, shallow dives and brightly coloured coral reefs. More advanced divers will enjoy the walls, caves and abundant wrecks found in this area.
Best places to dive
There is plenty to explore in the different regions of Luzon. Anilao is a haven for coral lovers, the Philippines’ prime location in the coral triangle is definitely evident here. The hard and soft corals are a haven for macro life, with ghost pipefish, frogfish and seahorse frequent sights on these reefs. In the deeper waters, there are often barracuda and reef sharks to see while enjoying the drift. Very occasionally, small whale sharks can be seen here too. Batangas, the province in which Anilao is located, has some fantastic diving of its own. It also acts as a stepping stone to other world-class dive destinations like Verde Island and Puerto Galera.
Verde Island is located in the straits between Luzon and Mindoro Island. Its exposed location allows for occasionally strong currents which draw in big fish like eagle rays, tuna and manta rays. Its most famous dive site is The Wall which drops into 70m+ depths. Puerto Galera is a popular diving holiday location, with its pristine beaches, good diving and bustling nightlife.
On Busuanga Island lies the famous destination of Coron. Coron was the site of an air/sea battle between the Japanese and US forces during WWII. As a result, the ocean floor is littered with the wreckages of both planes and ships, some of which still contain live ammunition. Subic Bay is another famous wreck diving destination, found on Luzon Island. It has many famous wrecks including the USS New York.
Bicol is a region known for its macro creatures, long stretches of sandy beaches and close encounters with whale sharks. It is large, with regions like Masbate and stunning, paradise islands like Calaguas.