The Philippines’ Top Water Sports Destinations


Dauin, 15km south of Dumaguete, is a sleepy town that offers one of the best diving spots in the country. For experiences led by local guides, check out Liquid Dive Resort, a small boutique resort that has a PADI five-star Career Development Center and dive center.


Freedive+ in Panglao, established in 2016, has this year reopened at a new location and branded itself as one of the world’s best freediving academies. Its beginner-friendly courses will take you to dive spots on the north side of the island, where sardine runs and teeming corals await. 

Tablas Island

When in Romblon, head to the northern tip of Tablas Island, where you’ll find the famous Blue Hole, a vertical chimney that measures 8m in diameter. Freedive down about 30m and you’ll come upon the large opening of a beautiful reef.


This place is great for diving and snorkeling, as well for coming close to sea animals. Look out for shoal of sardines and sea turtles just meters from the shore. However, refrain from touching or treading on the marine life.


This one’s for the adventurous and fun-loving traveller. Dive to a skeleton wreck, swim with a school of barracuda and trevally, or play with glow-in-the-dark plankton.

Apo Island

Guides here will help with snorkeling arrangements, such as food and gear. Keep a look out for sea creatures like majestic pawikan marine turtles that often appear close to shore. The water activities are also kid-friendly.


The sites here are rich and colorful, and home to diverse marine life. For a unique experience, head to the quiet Verde Island from Anilao (about two hours by boat), the center of the Coral Triangle.

This article first appeared in the August 2019 issue of Smile magazine.

We use cookies for a number of reasons, such as keeping Smile website reliable and secure, personalising content and ads, providing social media features and to analyse how our Sites are used.