Beginner Diving in the Philippines

The Visayan Islands make up the central region of the Philippines and are home to some of the country’s best beginner diving. In the Philippines, diversity is king, and with more than 7,000 islands and over 100 languages, there’s always something new to experience. For new divers, the gentle dive sites of the Central Visayas can allow first sightings of turtles, sharks and giant manta rays. Topside, there are Chocolate Hills and tarsiers in Bohol; waterfalls and lakes in Negros; and once the dive boats are out, empty white-sand beaches on Malapascua.

The Philippines was named after King Philip II of Spain at the beginning of the nation's period of Spanish rule and was briefly under the control of the United States before gaining independence at the end of World War II. The Spanish and American influence is still evident today, with the Philippines being one of only two Catholic countries in Asia (alongside East Timor) and the English language being widely spoken.

Below the surface, the reefs in the Philippines are as rich as its history. Sitting in the centre of the Coral Triangle-the global centre of marine biodiversity-ensures the Philippines has plenty to offer the discerning diver, whether you are experienced or a relative beginner. Diving in the Philippines is a colourful affair, and our team of diving specialists loves the gentle coral gardens of the Central Visayan Islands.


The island of Malapascua is famous among divers for its daily thresher shark sightings. While the thresher shark dive is a little too deep for first-time divers, it's a great dive to enjoy on your Advanced Open Water course. Meanwhile, the local sites closer to the island itself are perfect for newcomers, and are packed with cool critters of every shape, size, and colour. Turtles can be seen munching on bubble coral, seahorses large and small cling to the colourful corals and day trips to Gato and Kalanggaman Islands allow glimpses of white-tipped reef sharks and the chance of lunch on a stunning desert island.


Nearby Bohol also boasts some of the best beginner diving in the Philippines. The reefs around Panglao Island and Anda are particularly impressive. Gentle coral gardens inhabited by turtles, frogfish and seahorses are perfect for padding out your logbook, while the island's famous Chocolate Hills are as bizarre as they are beautiful.


Dauin and Dumaguete, on the island of Negros, are also ideal for less-experienced divers. The relaxed shore dives are ideal for getting back into the water after a longer-than-expected surface interval and are perfect for critter hunting among the colourful corals. Frogfish, seahorses, octopus and cuttlefish will keep you company as you perfect your buoyancy from the beach before heading to explore the resplendent reefs and colourful walls of Apo Island.

Read more
Show less


Where to go

Related Collections

Start creating your tailored trip today

Emily C and Eleanor are our 'Beginner Diving in the Philippines' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

Call us on 1-800-652-1972