Thousands of snorkeling spots are spread out in this vast archipelago, which hosts almost 10% of the world’s coral reefs. Anilao, a 2 hours’ drive south of Manila, is world known for its exceptional macro life, especially nudibranchs, frogfish and seahorses. Puerto Galera, on the neighboring island of Mindoro (and easy to combine with Anilao), is also a good option for shore snorkeling.
The islands of Cebu and Bohol, located at the center of the archipelago, are certainly one of the best snorkeling destination in the Philippines. Moalboal, in Cebu, is known for its “Sardine Run” (a spectacular sight of shoals of millions of sardines), accessible from the beach. Around Bohol, the small islands of Cabilao and Balicasag, are fringed by pristine coral reefs with an abundance of hard and soft coral gardens, are among the best options. The islands of Palawan, Boracay and Pandan are also highly popular with snorkelers.
The climate of the Philippines is warm and humid year-round. With water temperature on average from 78 to 82°F (26 to 28°C), snorkeling is possible all the time, although you need to bear in mind the rain, which can be heavy at certain times.
From May to October, during the rainy season, the temperatures are at their highest, and typhoons may occur, particularly around July to September in Luzon region.
The dry season, June to September, probably represents the best period for snorkeling in the Philippines, with low rainfall and warm temperatures.
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Frequently spotted at reef drop offs, particularly in Balicasag and Moalboal.
Very common at reef in Tubod Marine Sanctuary and Cabilao.
Abundant on reef flats.
Common on reef spots, including Balicasag and Cabilao.
Frequently seen on reef spots, particularly in Tubod Marine Sanctuary.
On all spots.
Common in shallow seagrass meadows.
Reef drop off with sea turtles and huge schools of sardines
Level: Free shore access
Coral reef and seagrass beds with sea turtles and tropical fish
Level: Resort nearby
Vibrant coral reef with colorful fish
Reef drop off with coral, colorful fish and sea snakes
Reef drop off with sea turtles and colorful fish
Reef drop off with huge schools of sardines
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