For divers there are two main reasons to go to Palawan: Beautiful coral gardens and the wreck diving in Coron Bay. In Coron Bay a number Japanese merchant ships were sunk during World War II. The visibility here is usually low, but the wrecks are in shallow waters and covered in beautiful coral and surrounded by fish life. The nearest decompression chamber is located in Manila.
Coron Bay and Dimakaya Island
The dive sites around Dimakaya Island are known for their species-rich coral gardens. The 'dugong feeding grounds' are an excellent spot to sight dugongs amongst the seagrass.
In Coron Bay, those who love exploring wrecks will find a WWII Japanese ship cemetery. One highlight is the 'Kyokuzan Maru Wreck', a Japanese freighter from WWII. The interesting coral and other marine growth on the wreck and its cargo (cars and trucks) are worth several dives.
The Tubbathaha reefs belong to the best dive sites in the Philippines. They are located in an exposed area of the Sulu Sea and can only be visited by liveaboard vessels during 4 months of the year (March to June) when the weather conditions are calm enough. The Tubbataha reefs feature an amazing variety of pelagics and such as manta and eagle rays, grey reef sharks, white and black tip reef sharks. Even more rarely sharks such as shovelnose, leopard and hammerhead sharks are often seen here.
Tubbathaha consist of two extended atolls, which are separated by a seven-mile-wide sea channel. All reefs have steep walls that rise from great depths (up to 3000 ft). Most dives are organised as drift dives in the strong currents.
Apo Reef is one of the best dive sites in the Philippines. You will be blown away by the spectacular scenic walls and the abundance of big fish to swim through. It is usually visited by cruises from Palawan or Mindoro. On the small Apo island, there is a research and a ranger station. Divers pay a National Park fee of Peso 1,300+ for up to 2 days of diving.