Palawan is known for so many things and one of them is as a world famous diving destination. On the Philippine map, Palawan is that long “arm-like” island on the western border of the country, stretching from Luzon and down to Mindanao. The capital city is Puerto Princesa, which is considered the cleanest and most orderly city in the Philippines. All tour packages going to several exciting places in the island begin in the capital city. Diving in Puerto Princesa is the jump-off point to several world-renowned dive spots beginning with Red Cliff.
Just 10 minutes away from the Puerto Princesa Bay by tricycle or “multi-cab” jeepney, Red Cliff is most ideal for beginners. This is usually where open-water dive training sessions are conducted. The wall is only about 20 feet deep and a newbie does not need to dive very deep to see colorful corals, reef fishes and turtles swimming around them. As one goes deeper, one gets a better chance of seeing manta rays, whale sharks, and hammerhead sharks. Another nearby dive spot and similar to Red Cliff is White Beach.
Further south is Taytay Bay, about 2 hours away from the capital city. Water here is smooth and full of colorful marine wildlife. From the bay is a number of amazing dive sites, the most famous in the area is Apulit Island, where divers swim alongside sharks, reefs and corals. Taytay Bay also offers white sand beaches, beach resorts and shops.
And then there’s Coron Island, which is fast gaining popularity as one of the most important destinations in Palawan. It is a short distance away and may be reached from Puerto Princesa by motor boat. Aside from the breathtaking limestone cliffs, crystal clear lakes, white sand beaches, and candy-color corals, divers are treated to an amazing surprise underwater: shipwrecks! There are a dozen of sunken World War II Japanese warships. Swimming around them is like visiting a gigantic submerged museum.
The second most popular dive spot in the island is El Nido. There are 30 amazing dive sites here offering spectacular coral formations and an assortment of fishes. The lucky diver gets to see a passing a whale shark and swim alongside it. El Nido is famous for a lot more attractions such as marble cliffs, deep mangroves, lush forests, unexplored caves, enchanting lagoons, and white sandy beaches, 50 beaches in all. El Nido is 7 hours away from Puerto Princesa by bus, but is accessible by plane or vessel from and to Manila.
The most popular dive site is the Tubbataha Reef, which is made up of two atolls. Marine life is amazing and each dive promises to always offer something new. The reef is popular not only for its tourism but also as a well protected haven for many of Palawan’s endangered species.
Divers in Tubbataha get to see and swim with hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, tiger sharks, white sharks, eagle rays, manta rays, barracudas, moray eels, parrot fishes, clown fishes, and more, making the 12-hour boat trip to this marine paradise worth it.
Beginning and expert divers should not fail to visit Palawan and its many dive sites. There are several shops and centers for diving in Puerto Princesa that sell necessary scuba equipments and services.