One of the world’s best spots for snorkeling is the Philippines. With over 7000 islands dotted around the Philippine Sea, this south-east Asian country offers so much for water lovers and snorkeling fans. When you picture idyllic white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and tropical marine life, it could be that you are actually thinking of the Philippines. In many places, you can just snorkel out from the beach without having to go on a boat, before you find some colorful marine life gobbling at the lively coral.
Most international visitors will likely fly into Manila, the country’s capital. A stark contrast to the beauty of the coastline, this mammoth city is busy but has a lot to offer. If you want a break before you fly off to one of the islands, it’s worth checking out some of its food markets or its numerous shopping malls.
As well as being known for its shopping and food, Manila is also one of Asia’s most important gaming hotspots. If you’re new to gaming, you should familiarise yourself with the fundamentals of the most popular card games like poker or blackjack before you go, so as not to look like a novice.
Take care when planning your travel routes through Manila city. It’s one of the most congested cities in the world, so make sure to leave lots of spare time if you need to travel by car or taxi.
With so many places to choose from, you’ll want to know the best ones for your snorkeling needs.
Puerta Galera, Mindoro
Puerta Galera is the gateway to the Verde Island Passage, which is known as one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. This strait runs between the Mindoro and Luzon islands, and is often called the ‘center of marine biodiversity’, making it the perfect spot to discover marine life as you’ve never seen before.
Sitting in between San Antonio and Boquete islands, Muelle Bay offers the shallow area of the Coral Gardens. These gardens feature vibrant coral reefs with a vast variety of species, such as the clownfish (from the film Finding Nemo), groupers, trumpets, and starfish. This marine garden even has its own unique type of coral, Anacropora Puertogellerae, which can’t be found elsewhere.
Coron is the island located above popular Palawan. It’s a beautiful and laid back island, which is particularly known for its snorkeling and diving. Walk through the palm trees, hip eateries and coconut sellers until you come to the shore. From here, you can take a trip to snorkel above the famous East Tangat and Lusong Gunboat shipwrecks,surrounded by an eclectic mix of tropical fish.
The Lusong Gunboat shipwreck hails back to World War II and lies just below the water’s surface. This offers an up-close view of this war-era wreck, and you can really imagine the dramatic event from those turbulent days.
You can also take a trip to the Lusong Coral Garden, where you’ll swim amongst schools of many different varieties of fish in between the bright colors of the coral.
If little colorful fish just aren’t doing it for you, then head to Sorsogon, where you can snorkel with huge whale sharks. The best times for whale shark sightings are between November and June.
Donsol in Sorsogon hosts the largest gathering of whale sharks in the world, meaning that your chances of seeing one while snorkeling are pretty high. They meet at the mouth of the Donsol river each year to swallow the rich nutrients that it provides.
Swimming over a whale shark is exclusively for snorkelers, as scuba diving is not permitted for safety reasons. The whale sharks swim on the surface or in mid-water, and their size makes them hard to miss.
Apo Island, Negros Oriental
This small island is a protected marine sanctuary, which means that it offers some of the most impressive snorkeling experiences in the Philippines. You will find hundreds of different types of coral here and over 600 species of fish. It’s a great spot to swim alongside gentle turtles and marvel at the diversity that Apo Island’s waters offer. This quaint and underdeveloped island also offers white sand beaches and hospitable locals.