It’s no secret that the Philippines has a wealth of breathtaking dive spots. In fact, ours are hailed as some of the best in the world.  The Southwestern Tagalog Region alone, which consists of Mindoro (Oriental and Occidental), Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan (coined collectively as MIMAROPA) has a long list of sought-after diving destinations. From marine conservation areas to lakes and historic underwater landmarks, the region lets you dive right into a wonderful time that will be hard to forget.  

The Philippine’s Largest Contiguous Reef System, Oriental Mindoro. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

The Philippine’s Largest Contiguous Reef System. The Philippines’ largest reef system, which also ranks as the world’s second-largest, is as beautiful as it is important in terms of marine conservation. It is known for its excellent wall diving sites, as well as mangroves and bird sightings. The reef is also listed for the consideration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Palawan Shipwrecks. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Palawan’s shipwrecks. Aside from its award-winning beaches, Palawan offers a unique scuba diving experience. Its renowned shipwrecks, which are hailed as some of the most well-preserved in the world, can be found in the province – particularly in Coron and Busanga, which has a good number of eerily beautiful remnants of Japanese vessels which were sunk by American troops during World War II.

Barracuda Lake, Coron. Photo by Eastgate Publishing Corporation courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Barracuda Lake. Palawan’s lakes are also popular not just among scuba divers, but also free divers. Barracuda Lake  is a crowd favorite because of its underwater cliffs and unusual features that can be traced to its mixture of both saltwater and freshwater. Not for the uninitiated, the lake is popular for the brave and daring.

Sea slug in Verde Island Passage. Photo by Eastgate Publishing Corporation courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Verde Island Passage. This passage between Batangas and Oriental Mindoro is one of the best dive sites – not just in the region, but in the whole country. With reefs at the epicenter of the Coral Triangle, it harbors a rich concentration of marine life such as sea slugs, flatworms, sea urchin, starfish and more – some of which have been hailed as new and rare species.

Tubbataha Reefs natural park. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Located in Cagayancillo, Palawan, This natural park was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 because of its unique example atoll reef which provides sanctuary to a very high density of marine species, bird nesting sites, and gorgonian corals. It covers 96,828 hectares, including the North and South Atolls and the Jessie Beazley Reef, and showcases a stunning 100-m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. It is one of Palawan’s most coveted diving destinations and also one of the best dive sites in the world.

Dugong in Busuanga, Palawan. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Dugong watching in Busuanga, Palawan. Dugong watching is one of the more recent ecotourism attractions included in Palawan’s long list of attractions. Several dive centers, including a community initiative that involves the indigenous Tagbanua people, offers guided tours that not only take you to these gentle creatures’ abode, but also educate on the importance of protecting these remarkable species.

Discover more destinations to see, experience, and savor in MIMAROPA. Visit these links to map out your next journey across the Philippines. 

Travel Safely!

All these tourist destinations have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.

To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, Apple Store, or Google Playstore.