Duikstekken Filippijnen


Escarceo Point

(5-28m) / Air / Nitrox

Pristine reefs line these monolithic cliffs in a thrilling series of dives, boasting some of the best coral in the area. The shallows are home to huge table and staghorn corals spread to catch the suns rays. These corals have been spared the bleaching that has devastated reefs in many other parts of the world. This is probably due to cold water emanating from Verde Island passage. Above the corals hover fishes in their thousands! Photographers can find endless subjects for wide angle and macro shots here too! Worth more than just one visit this area is a favourite of both new and experienced divers alike


Hole in the Wall

(10-13m) / Air

Just off Escarceo Point is the short swim-through known as 'Hole in the Wall'. This natural tunnel through solid rock is an exciting dive and emerging from the hole is a great way to surprise the large schools of drummer and sweetlips that play in the current. Sheltering behind a coral wall, divers kneel on the sand allowing the fish to come ever closer. They seem unafraid of the divers as they tumble in and out of the current. From time to time larger ocean going pelagics such as tuna, mackerel and giant trevally dash overhead.


The Canyons

(28-30m) / Air / Nitrox

With strong currents blowing through these beautiful coral laden trenches it is an exciting dive to challenge even the most experienced of divers. Drifting past ‘Hole in the Wall’, at 28 m/ 90ft, you enter a series of three bowls. In them you can find many species of sweetlips, snapper and drummer, all in large schools. If that wasn't enough there are also many leatherjackets, angelfish, clown triggerfish, lionfish and the occasional green sea turtle. Overhead, wheel schools of jacks and trevally.

Increasingly, even more massive animals are being seen above the canyons. Mantarays, thresher and hammerhead sharks have all been seen there. Standing at the end of the canyons is large coral-encrusted anchor; an ancient relic leftover from the Spaniards that once controlled this area; marking the end of a world class dive. The canyons dive is best made on Nitrox breathing gas - the extended bottom time gives you a great chance to explore and take in all the sights.


The Boulders

(10-25m) / Air / Nitrox

Just across from the sleepy fishing village of Sinandigan on the way into Varadero Bay lie three slumbering giants, huge boulders completely covered with hard and soft corals. A series of small caves and a short swim through are host to many beautiful fish and invertebrates. The ribbon eel can sometimes be found here as can large groupers and green sea turtles. Large schools of emperorfish and leatherjackets play in the current and are hypnotizing to watch. The biodiversity on this dive is truly awesome.


Japanese Wreck

(42m) / Air / Tech

Just past the boulders on the sandy sea bed lies the remains of a WW2 Japanese patrol boat. It was attacked by American airplanes and destroyed so badly that the majority of the hull and ribs fell to pieces and are now gone! The massive engine block, propeller shaft and propeller still remain and are home to some rather large moray eels. Oblique and painted sweetlips are common here in small schools also. The very short NDL on this dive means that although diving this is possible, it’s best done as a tech dive.


Sinandigan Wall

(5-30m) / Air / Nitrox

This wall drops off from five metres to about thirty. It is home to a huge range of invertebrates and so is popular with both naturalists and photographers. Dives here often turn into Nudibranch hunts. Nudi (naked), branchs (lungs) are brightly coloured sea slugs that eat sponges. Many fish avoid eating sponges because of the powerful chemicals in their cells. The nudibranchs can also store these chemicals in their own bodies making them bad to eat. Hence the bright colour is a simple warning sign ‘I taste bad’.

In the shallows the wall is covered in pastel coloured soft corals. The flower like arms of the soft coral all beat in unison filtering the water of its plankton. Cuttlefish are also common in this area. Like chameleons they have cells in their skin which enables them to change colour to blend in with their surroundings. As divers approach they become stressed causing patterns to flash in waves across their skin.


Coral Cove

(5 – 25m) / Air / Nitrox

This beautiful reef boasts a whole host of coral and fish life. Schooling emperorfish, leatherjackets, drummer and Trevally are seen regularly here. Occasionally turtles and barracuda visit these pristine hunting grounds in search of an easy meal. Large oyster clams, soft corals and tube sponges cling to rocky outcrops and walls adding to the overwhelming sense of ancient tranquility the divers feel as they multilevel around this stunning reef.

Some of the rarer creatures that have been encountered here include the blue ringed octopus, the robust ghost pipefish, barramundi cod Thresher Sharks. This reef is also an underwater kindergarten; the diver with a keen eye can find juvenile red toothed triggerfish and tall fin batfish who are experts at camouflage (they do a great leaf impression!) The delightful young harlequin sweetlips spend their infancy playing under table corals before progressing into spotty adolescence. Once they have matured enough they school in the stronger currents and are commonly found around many of the dive sites in the area.


The Sabang Wrecks

(18-20m) / Air

These wooden wrecks lie in 18m/60 ft and are home to friendly schools of batfish and surgeonfish. On the decks, scorpionfish and frogfish patiently wait for a meal to swim too close. At night, these wrecks transform into a mesmerizing display of colours and many small crustaceans and other macro subjects can be seen scurrying around in the holes around the wreck. Buried in the sand can be found the rare stargazer. A mouth and two eyes point towards the stars, while a tongue flicks in and out - a lure to attract over curious fish.

Swimming up the reef from these wrecks there is an area of sea grass at 5m/15ft. This harbours many exotic fish rarely seen in other areas such as the short finned dragonfish, the harlequin ghost pipefish or even the cockatoo waspfish. Further West is a small part of the cockpit of a WW2 Zero fighter. This area highlights more than any other area what makes diving in Puerto Galera so special. Many dive destinations have big fish, others beautiful coral and others great variety, but it is rare to find all three in one place.


Shark Cave

(26-28m) / Air / Nitrox

The Shark Cave is nestled under a ledge at a depth of about 26 meters. It is a safe haven for female whitetip reef sharks and their young. Many divers see their first shark in this cave and are amazed by the sheer beauty and grace of these elegantly streamlined hunters. The belief that all sharks are dangerous can clearly be seen to be a myth. While all large wild animals are potentially dangerous, they usually are not aggressive. In fact reef sharks can be seen in many areas of the Philippines and are usually more scared of man than he is of them.

Laying in the mouth of the cave it is possible to approach within a couple of meters of the sharks. If they become disturbed they simply swim away. On the rare occasions that there are no sharks in the cave, blue spotted stingrays can be found on the sand and octopus are commonly seen on the reef above. About 90 metres from the caves stands the atoll. This building sized rock harbours many moray eels, lionfish and scorpionfish. Red toothed triggerfish hover above the rock and duck into holes at the slightest sign of danger.


Kilima Drift

(12-50m) / Air / Nitrox / Tech

At times Puerto gets strong currents which make for electric drift dives. Kilima drift is perhaps the most famous of all. From Sinandigan wall to Escarceo Point can take as little as ten minutes on a fast day, making it one of the fastest drift dives around. Zooming along the undulating bottom, divers are treated to displays from hunters in the current. Schools of barracuda, trevally, Spanish mackerel and even the odd blacktip reef shark hang out waiting for the food to come to them.

One of the most popular routes goes past Pink Wall. Here the current picks up and the reef becomes a blur. Schools of drummer and jacks often swim up from the deeper water at this point to feed. Further on a sharp left turn takes you out of the current and into the more tranquil area of the Hole In the Wall. Like many of the more ferocious drift dives in Puerto Galera this dive is best done in small groups and only with local guides.


The Hill

(5-15m) / Air

A short distance past Batangas Channel lies a dozen or so Giant Clams seeded by the University of Manila some years ago. Now flourishing and multiplying in number these clams are a wondrous site and are interesting to watch as their primitive eyes detect light and basic movement leading them to snap shut their gaping maw and push a strong jet of water out through their orifices!

Adjacent to these, some of the most diverse and healthy hard coral species can be found standing perpendicular to the current. Sea horses, moray eels and sting rays abound in this undisturbed treasure trove of rare marine creatures.


Wreck Point

(5-28m) / Air / Nitrox

So named after a luckless freighter whose bare ribs can be seen on the shore at low tide. Further down at 28 meters are the two hulls of a sailing catamaran, sunk by the dive centers back in 1993. On the hull are myriad colours of feather stars, inside the wreck lie small lionfish and moray eels waiting for their next meal. Further up on the reef there is a nice wall with abundant hard and soft coral. Rooted at one end of the wall is a large clam. Ask many people 'What is an animal?' and they will say 'Something that moves, or thinks or has eyes'. Believe it or not clams have eyes too. Pass the shadow of your hand over the clam and it will close. On its flesh are small primitive eyes that can detect light.

Carrying on from the wall most guides lead their divers into the shallows of Dungon Wall. Here majestic table corals spread to catch the rays of the sun. Amongst them play many of the smaller fish that are so often overlooked. Spectacled hawkfish stand guard with brilliant marks around their eyes. Neon damselfish can also be seen, they boast an irridescent blue that it is rarely seen in nature


Ernie’s Cave

(5-28m) / Air / Nitrox
PADI Open Water Scuba Diver
PADI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver
PADI Nitrox Diver

Ernie was a large grouper who lived under a large coral head which became known as Ernie’s Cave. Alas, Ernie has not been seen for many years, but his memory lives on in the excellent site named after him. Ernie’s Cave is now the roost for a large school of copper bellies. These small copper coloured fish hang around the entrance to the cave during the day, marking its entrance much the same way as bats mark the entrances to caves on land. Sometimes on the reef it is possible to see devil scorpionfish. Many fish school above the site, fusiliers, surgeonfish and unicornfish all feeding in the current. The area is very pretty and is resplendent of a Japanese garden; it also makes a relaxing drift dive.


Monkey Wreck

Air /Tech

Sunk by all the dive centers back in 1993, Monkey Wreck was a local wooden cargo boat of about 28m/90ft resting on the bottom between 40 and 45 metres. Drifting down into the deep water, the first view of the wreck is often an indistinct shadow against the bottom. One of the more difficult dives in the area it should be dived only by more experienced divers. Mostly collapsed it still attracts many divers due to the abundant fish life that shelters within the hull. Large emperorfish, angelfish, schools of red toothed triggerfish and the oddly shaped barramundi cod all take shelter within the bare bones of its ribs. Multi-leveling up the reef, divers can spend more time up on Monkey Beach.


St Christopher and Alma Jane Wrecks

(22-30m) / Air / Nitrox

Another locally produced wreck St Christopher (or St Antoine after its original French owner) has become a favourite with many dive schools. At 22m long it is fairly small but has over the past few years attracted an impressive amount of marine life. Large lionfish prowl its hold and often frogfish can be found on deck. batfish, rabbitfish, pufferfish and porcupinefish are often found sheltering under the hull.

A welcome addition to the dive site is the larger wreck of the Alma Jane. Sunk in March 2003 it is an all steel inter-island freighter. About 30 meters long and 80 tons, it stands uprights and is buoyed. The descent down the line gives a great sight of the mast and bows rising high off the bottom. It has already attracted lots of batfish and a couple of large emperorfish. This wreck makes an excellent subject for wide angle photography.

A short swim up the reef past St.Christopher takes you into Small La Laguna. Here too frogfish are common, ambushing their prey with one of the fastest 'gulps' in nature! In fact they are the only fish able to swallow almost the same size of fish as themselves. The reef here is great not just for divers, but also for snorkelers. Skin-divers usually find it best to enter the water from the jetty at the point, or through the boat channel in front of The Full Moon Restaurant. The shallow areas of the rest of the beach have almost complete coral cover making it difficult to enter from these points.


Batangas Channel and The Hill

(8-16m) / Air

Batangas channel often goes unnoticed by many divers. At first glance it does not have the classic beauty of areas near Escarceo Point. But for the diver that perseveres it may become one of their favourite dives. It is a strange lunar landscape of twisted shapes and undulating plains. Large sponges are host to nudibranchs and other invertebrates, while gardens of barrel sponges stand like sentinels in the current. Further into the channel is one of the largest anemone colonies that it is possible to see.

Almost a hundred clark's and tomato anemone fish live on a colony of anemones that covers more than 10 square metres. These small (but brave) fish defend their anemones against all comers! In nature they can live to be 6-10 years old, while there have been fish that lived to 18 years old in aquarium. Since juvenile anemones are almost never seen it has been suggested that anemones may live to be old as 100! The Hill is also home to rare species of nudibranch, pygmy seahorses and mandarinfish.


The Coral Gardens

(3-12m) / Air

The Coral Gardens boast some of the most magnificent coral in the whole of Puerto Galera. Diving in this area on a sunny day really makes it easy to see why this corner of the Philippines is such a fabulous success with all traveling divers. There are so many fantastic subjects for photography here, so much life and such vivid and vibrant colour that this dive really is quite unforgettable.


Verde Island Drop Off

(5-60m) / Air / Nitrox / Tech

A short hop from the main sites are the dives of Verde Island. About 40 minutes by banca boat from Sabang they make a nice day trip and an opportunity to picnic on the beach. The drop off is a true wall dropping to 60 metres plus, this site sometimes gets strong currents and large waves. Best dived on Nitrox breathing gas or with twin tanks, the wall at 40~50 metres is decorated by enormous gorgonian fans in shades of white, yellow and orange. Schools of bannerfish and surgeonfish swim past in the blue. Occasionally larger fish have been seen here, such as eagle rays and sharks. The wall is also covered in beautiful corals and invertebrates. Frogfish, lionfish and scorpionfish are all fairly common here as are banded sea snakes.

Much like sharks, snakes receive a bad rap from most non divers. Hollywood has done much to further the myth. Sharks can down helicopters and evil snakes will track a family half way around the world. The truth of course is that sea snakes are poisonous for defense. Usually they ignore swimmers and divers, concentrating on looking into holes for small fish and invertebrates and are often found in the shallows of dives like the Verde Island Drop Off. The drop off is now a designated reserve and there is an entrance fee of P200 per diver which is used to protect the area.


The Washing Machine

(12-30m) / Air / Nitrox

Ever wondered what it feels like to be a dirty T-shirt? This dive will answer all those questions. It feels great! The washing machine is a series of five canyons between 12 and 28 metres. Usually dived less than 15m the diver is treated to a rollercoaster ride when the current is running. Drifting into the canyons you are spun from one side to another in the current. Moving from one canyon to another can present problems and it is easy to be swept away. Best to stay close to the bottom and watch the small fish spin. Where they seem to be stationary is probably the best place to cross the current.

However, good buoyancy control is required to protect the corals. More experienced divers often chose to pull themselves forward with their hands rather than risk kicking the reef with their fins. This is more than acceptable if care is taken not to hold the living coral, just the dead coral or rock.