Macro Diving in the Philippines

As an island nation, it’s no shock that the tropical waters of the Philippines are inundated with marine life. While there’s no shortage of the ‘big stuff’, macro diving in the Philippines is second to none, with vibrant coral reefs and mysterious muck sites that are teeming with critters. From Anilao in Batangas (A.K.A the ‘Nudibranch Capital of the World’) to the protected waters of Apo Island in Negros Oriental, there are countless dive sites for macro enthusiasts to discover. Keep reading to find out our top spots for macro diving in the Philippines.


Anilao is well known in the Philippines for being a top spot for macro and muck diving. Although it's not your typical island getaway, beneath the water, Anilao is a diver's dream, with around 40 dive sites to choose from.

A couple of our favourite spots are Twin Rocks, a hugely popular dive site, and Anilao Pier. Twin Rocks is named after two huge rocks (no huge surprise there) which are encrusted with a variety of soft corals, fire corals and sea fans. The site has a maximum depth of around 16 metres, making it a great site for both beginner and advanced divers. Divers can spot almost everything here, from minute porcelain crabs to ostentatious mantis shrimp. Anilao Pier is a great choice for a night dive. The muck site, which is only an average of five metres deep, comes alive once the sun sets, with tiny worms, shrimp and nocturnal fish.

Apo Island

Apo Island is a must-visit for anyone thinking of macro diving in the Philippines. Even though it's renowned for turtles, the island's protected reefs are host to myriad tiny creatures. There are several dive sites around the island, but Chapel and Kan-Uran are both fantastic for macro photography. Chapel begins as a gentle sandy slope leading to a coral wall, with a small cave roughly 20 metres below the surface. Keep your eyes peeled for creatures like sailfin shrimp gobies, frogfish and ribbon eels. Kan-Uran is a lovely wall dive with a mixture of soft and hard corals. Like Chapel, there is an abundance of small creatures such as sailfin shrimp gobies, pipefish and nudibranchs hiding out in the numerous crevices and overhangs.


Dauin is renowned as one of the best places for macro diving in the Philippines. Since it's less than an hour's boat ride from Apo Island, many divers choose to visit both of these spectacular dive spots when they're in the area.

There are numerous dive sites here , but San Miguel North and El Dorado Reef are our top picks for the smaller stuff. San Miguel North is a relatively shallow dive with a mixture of coral, sand patches and seagrass beds. It's a great spot for photographing colourful nudibranchs and juvenile frogfish, with reported sightings of the minuscule pygmy squid. El Dorado Reef has no shortage of interesting creatures hiding out on the colourful reef. It's a diverse site, with everything from pygmy pipe horses and ghost pipefish, to porcelain crabs and garden eels.

When it comes to macro diving in the Philippines, there are countless dive sites to choose from, each with its own charm. If you're looking to spend your next dive holiday on this beautiful archipelago, get in touch with a member of our team for a custom-made itinerary.

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Emily C and Eleanor are our 'Macro 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