Scuba Diving: Philippines| Recommended dive centers

As you may know the Philippines has THOUSANDS of islands. It is impossible to see everything in one trip. We focused this trip on scuba diving within our budget. Here is a current list (as of January 2016) of diving centers we chose and recommend. I won’t be listing prices as they can change and we all know sometimes you can get special deals on 2+ dives. Or if you stay at the dive center’s accommodation. Our budget is pretty small but we wanted to make sure we did our dives with reputable, safe companies.

Scuba Diving: Philippines Recommended dive centers

 

Palawan| El Nido

la salange dive center el nido

La Salangane Dive Center

I think what we most appreciated from this dive center honestly was its prices. We walked around El Nido for a whole afternoon stopping to get dive prices from the places we’d read were the best/top rated, and La Salangane really did have the cheapest prices. Of course you don’t want to sacrifice safety but we didn’t feel this was the case.
 
Likes: Best prices around for what we did (3 dives)  Our dive guide was friendly, the lunch on Helicopter island was really good, and overall we had a great time with our group.
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Dislikes: The day of our dives our divemaster only seemed to have one long wetsuit & many short ones. Myself and Michael had to wear short ones, and our friend who was diving with us got the long one. We did not check beforehand the wetsuits they had available as we assumed we could pick between short and long. This ended up being a disaster for me as I got stung repeatedly on our first dive and the marks lasted for WEEKS.
Helicopter Island
 
Dive spots: Paradise Reef, Helicopter Reef, & Nat Nat Reef
 
To contact La Salangane click here.
 

Cebu| Moalboal

Cebudivecentre

Cebu Dive Centre

Again, when we finally got to Moalboal, we spent the next day having a walk around the scuba shops and asking for prices. We somehow stumbled onto the Cebu Dive Centre, they aren’t on the main street but we instantly took a liking to the owner Cameron. What a nice guy. He gave us a great price on the 1 room available now (they are building more upstairs and the other room had a broken a/c) so we booked in for a few days (try to book in advance as we couldn’t get the room right away) which was fine since we already had reservations to stay at another property for a few days.

Likes: Cameron is the owner and he had a great cheery attitude to doing the dives and having fun. He also ran a bar on the property of the dive centre, which incredibly, was right next to our bedroom window and I’m not sure how they managed it but I could barely hear people at the bar. Granted, the bar only stayed open till about 9 or 10pm but this was good to get a good night’s sleep before an early day of diving. We also did the sardine run dive which was so cool. Imagine a few million sardines in huge groups trying to stay together as they move through the water. In places it turned the water dark. We got great gear, this place was so organized, everyone was super friendly, and we ended up staying 5 days or so even though we didn’t dive, we’d still socialize with the other divers on the property. He did also recommend a fantastic dive centre at our next destination so that was a huge bonus. He also reserved a hotel for us in Cebu city that he uses himself and we LOVED it.

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Dislikes: Maybe we just didn’t do the right dives (only 2) but our last dive was kind of disappointing as far as what we were expecting to see, so we decided not to do any more dives here. I know there are probably amazing dive sites in Moalboal but we really didn’t get to experience them. However some other scuba divers said they got great shots of all kinds of fish and other critters, so maybe we just had to do more diving.

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Dive spots: House reef (in front of Cebu Dive Centre) & Talisay

To contact Cebu Dive Centre, click here. Please tell Cameron we say hi!

 

Malapascua Island

French Kiss Divers Malapascua

French Kiss Divers

Cameron from Moalboal had recommended them so highly so we went to check them out. We wanted to do the Thresher Shark dive at Monad Shoal and I won’t lie, it was our most expensive dive. Expect to pay a lot for this dive. You leave very early in the morning (5am-ish) and you do the shark dive first. A break and another dive, and you return to Malapascua for a lunch break (lunch is not provided in the dive price.) Then another dive.

Likes: Julien & the crew at French Kiss are awesome. Jenny, she’s the best at explaining and getting information from. We had some issues with something not related to scuba diving and I came to ask for her advice and she was so sweet, translating for me & giving me tips. This is what I am talking about, people do not have to be nice to you! When they are- genuinely enjoying their jobs and what they do- it will show.

Dislikes: I have not one thing to say here! Ok lets say that the price was pretty steep. Actually discouraged us from doing more diving. If we had more money, we would have definitely done more dives. We did some amazing things here. Definite highlights of our trip to the Philippines. Anyway, we did get prices from other resorts and they were all more or less the same.

Dive spots: Monad Shoal, Gato Island, & Gato Tunnel

To contact French Kiss Divers please click here.

 

Leyte Island| Padre Burgos

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Peter’s Dive Resort

We came to Peter’s dive resort on another recommendation because it was supposedly the only place where it was environmentally friendly to interact with the whale sharks. No feeding, no crowds, and no touching the whale sharks. We were sold. Although getting here was quite the ride, we were very pleased with the accommodations at the dive resort. Also deserves a mention that the restaurant serving food was delicious and cheap, as we had friends staying close by who came to visit us and they said we had a way bigger, cheaper menu than at their dive resort. Which was nice to know. Cause, the budget and all. Overall, the communication here was excellent, emailing back and forth, making the reservations for the type of room we wanted (like a little beach house!) clean and friendly, we really liked it here. Shelani and Dino were efficient and although the price for the whale shark day was a bit steep we decided it was worth it. We were at the end of our trip so we really wanted to make sure we gave ourselves the chance to see the whale sharks. In the end, we arrived the day after a few days of pretty bad storms from Malapascua so for whatever reason the whales were not around. We spent 5 hours looking. This gives us a good reason to go back.

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Likes: Our accommodation, the food, the friendly staff, the organization and quality of the dive gear.

Dislikes: Can’t think of one thing. Perhaps the first dive site they took us to was a bit meh, but boy I did 2 dives after that were hands down the best 2 dives of our entire trip as far as the colors and what I saw. I mean, nothing beats seeing sharks but this was completely different.

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Dive spots: Sonoc Point, Napantau North Wall  1 & 2

To contact Peter’s Dive Resort click here.

 

While I wish we could have spent more time scuba diving, we are super grateful we spent 1 month exploring this beautiful country. Really, one month isn’t even enough! If you’d like to contact us directly I could tell you what we paid for things, but I would just contact the dive shops themselves and ask for a discount (for multiple dives)- Peter’s dive resort already discounts the beach bungalows if you scuba dive with them.

I hope this scuba diving guide comes in handy for my fellow divers! If you have other questions on where to say on any of those islands, or things to do, please leave a comment below and I’ll give you some good advice!

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Side note: I didn’t get paid a single thing to write this article. No sponsored anything here, not that it would have changed my opinion on anything anyway. I just thought- this is the kind of information I would have been looking to read when I was searching for information on where to go scuba diving in the Philippines.

Have you been to any of these places? Would you like to scuba dive at any of these sites? If you could pick one or two, which would you pick?