Ever since the scuba was invented in the 1940s, man has taken daily forays into the rich mysteries of the underwater world. Armed with diving gear, and for the so inclined, a camera, a diver is surrounded by water creatures that swim by you. You forget you are on earth. You think you are on a different planet and everything is alien.
You later realize that in the sea, you are the visitor, and that school of fish that swam by you are the locals. Something primordial is stirred in you. Amidst sharks, sea monsters and coral reefs, you feel, strangely, at home. And as you get back on land, you long for your next chance to dip into the depths. Few recreational activities give you this sense of the otherworldly as diving. And few dive sites in the world equal the marine paradise of Palawan. Here are the best dive sites in Palawan.
1. Kalambuyan Reef, Coron Bay
Thirty minutes on boat off the NW Okikawa Maru, this site flourishes with unparalleled diversity of colorful coral reefs and bursting sea life. It is quite far from Coron Town, so plan your trip well. During the summer months, the current may be strong. Make sure you do not forget to bring your underwater camera. Get flights to Coron now!
2. Tagbao Island, El Nido
El Nido stands out as one of the premiere diving spots not only in the country but all over the world. North West off of Miniloc are two tiny islands called Tagbao. There are three important reefs nestled between these islands. This place is perfect for beginner level divers as the water can be comfortably shallow. Be prepared to be greeted by bountiful crayfish and corals.
3. Tubbataha Reef
This Natural Marine Park part of the island municipality of Cagayancillo, Palawan was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in December 1993, and is known as the global center of marine biodiversity. Covering 97,030 hectares, Tubbataha boasts of no less than 600 fish species, 360 coral species, 11 shark species, 13 dolphin and whale species and 100 bird species. It about 150km southeast of Puerto Princesa, or 10 hours away by boat. Park entrance is at around Php3,000 or USD $75.00 for tourists, while locals can enter the reef for free. Troop to this amazing dive spot declared by CNN Travel as one of the best dive spots in the world.
4. Cuttlefish Shawl, Puerto Princesa
For those looking for a more challenging dive, Cuttlefish Shawl in Puerto Princesa is the dive sit for you to dip into. This site is for the more experienced divers in terms of depth. Make sure to find a local guide as the site is may prove difficult to find. Your efforts are rewarded with sights of various sea turtles, angel fish, barracuda, and of course, it’s namesake, the cuttlefish.
5. The Wall, Roxas
Ominous and daunting though it sounds, do not be thrown off by its name. The Wall, a twenty-minute boat ride off the main island, provides scuba divers of all levels excellent marine biology. While the site is excellent for beginning divers, more experienced scuba divers are always surprised by new things they find each time they dive at this site. Underwater photographers regularly explore these depths, and for good reason. Its beauty and diversity of marine life is worth the plunge.
6. Bulawit Bay, Linapacan
The dive site for those on a budget. Bulawit Bay has shallow waters up to 150 meters off the pier coast. The sea floor is covered with sea grass and is a great place to spot starfish. Keep moving until you reach the drop-off point. There you are rewarded with spectacular marine life, from eels, barracudas, pipe fish, bat fish, ribbon fish and other tropical fish species. So, take the plunge when you are in Palawan. As divers say, "The happiest tourists do not walk on their feet but swim underwater."
There is a daily flights to Puerto Princesa, so getting to your destination shouldn’t be an issue.