The Mimaropa region, encompassing Palawan, Mindoro, Romblon and Marindique, contains within it some of the best diving in the Philippines - indeed the world. These vastly different islands all offer unique flavours and fantastic diving.
In the Calamian archipelago, descend onto the numerous wrecks accessed from Busuanga Island, suitable for everyone, from the novice to technical divers. Enter tunnels to find yourself in caves lit only by the sun's rays escaping through cracks in the ceiling, and watch as dugongs search shallow seabeds for their next meal.
Coron Island has fast become the prime place for wreck diving in the Philippines. With 14 intact wrecks located in Coron Bay as well as the chance to discover mandarin fish in pristine reefs and explore the incredible rock formations in caverns and lakes - Coron Island is the ideal location for divers seeking adventure.
Mindoro has over 75% of all known coral species in its sparkling waters - with diversity like that, what diver wouldn’t love to dive here? For the advanced diver, it is a veritable playground - it has penetrable wrecks, deep drift dives and stunning walls. Meanwhile, beginners will adore the beautifully sloping reefs with their kaleidoscope of fish and macro critters.
Palawan has been voted the world’s most beautiful island, and it’s easy to see why. The sight of the jagged islands rising from the azure waters, vibrant forests and the stunning diving all combine to make an island otherworldly in its splendour. It boasts the world-famous Tubbataha and Apo Reefs, WWII wrecks in Coron, pelagic life, macro critters… Truly this is some of the best diving in the world.
Diving in Mimaropa
The Mimaropa (also known as the Southwestern Tagalog Region) is an administrative region of the Philippines, made up of Mindoro, Marindique, Romblon and Palawan. The name stems from the first letters of these places. Within these locations lies some of the best diving in the Philippines.
Coron in Palawan has the best wreck diving, arguably anywhere in the world - the seabed is littered with WWII wrecks. As many lies all or partly above 18m, it offers a rare chance for open water divers to explore these relics. It also has halocline lakes, with the weird mix of hot saltwater and cooler freshwater.
Puerto Princesa on Palawan has the opportunity to dive in a subterranean river - the largest in the world. This region also encompasses Apo Reef, the second-largest barrier reef in the world and Tubbataha Reef which has massive diversity and pelagics. Mindoro is most famous for the diving resort town of Puerto Galera which attract thousands of divers year-round to its stunning reefs, buzzing atmosphere and white beaches. Verde Island also offers some beautiful wall and drift dives in deep water.
Marinduque has some very unspoilt diving. It has myriad delights including a Japanese torpedo boat wreckage. There are also several cave dives here to explore. Romblon is a macro haven. The area is pretty undiscovered by tourists and only has a couple of dive resort, but underwater photographers will adore the tiny critters than can be found on the rocks, reefs and sand here.
Best places to dive
Palawan: Located in Coron, Akitsushima is an aircraft carrier which sits at 36m and can be penetrated in several places, as well as observing the crane and anti-aircraft guns. Barracuda Lake is a surreal dive which is really interesting from a geological standpoint and has a unique feature of a jungle hike. Puerto Princesa has the longest underwater cave system in the world which makes for a one of a kind dive experience. EL Nido and Tubbataha Reefs are also excellent places to dive in Palawan.
Mindoro: One of the favourite sites in Puerto Galera is the Canyons which sits at 32m and features deep canyons over which you can drift, taking in all the marine life. Verde Island has some great advanced dives including deep walls and a site dubbed “The Washing Machine” due to the currents. Apo Reef is the longest barrier reef in the world and offers some spectacular reef dives for all levels.
Marindique: Balthazar Cave has its entrance at 20m and is full of stonefish. There is a Japanese tornado boat found near Natanco, known for its walls and drift diving. Maestre de Campo Island, Banton Island, Elephante Island all provide a variety of excellent dive sites.
Romblon: Anchor Bay provides the great macro opportunities for which the region is famed - nudibranch in particular are found in abundance. There are lots of turtles found in this region too. There is a blue hole here, the entrance is located at around 18m for a topographically interesting dive.