Why Scuba Dive the Philippines?
The Philippines has been an outstanding dive destination for decades. It was a favorite diving destination for ex-pats and for those who were willing to give up some things in order to have great dives. In the past, There were not many dive destinations, few scuba dive centers and many places were difficult to get to. However, recently things have changed and it is now being accepted as a mainstream scuba dive destination.
In 2009, the Philippine government passed a new tourism law. While there were many goals of the new law, three items helped the dive industry expand. The law required the Department of Tourism to develop tourism in areas away for the big cities, it provided a source of funding to improve the infrastructure that tourism relied on and it gave the Philippine Commission on Sport Scuba Diving (PCSSD) an oversight role.
If you love great tropical diving with abundant marine life, then you probability have heard of the “coral triangle”. The WWF describes it as “The Coral Triangle, the global centre of marine biodiversity, is a 6 million km2 area spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands. Within this nursery of the seas live 76% of the world’s coral species, 6 of the world’s 7 marine turtle species, and at least 2,228 reef fish species.”
The Department of Tourism was quick to discover that scuba diving was a rapidly growing international tourism activity and it was very possible given their location in the Coral Triangle they were missing the boat. A plan was developed to promote scuba diving and the rest is history. Remote destinations, that had a small domestic market, found that new roads were being built so tourist could travel there. Locations, that only a few locals knew about, were now being promoted internationally. PCSSD started to invest in developing a network of hyperbaric chambers, and established standards for the industry. They also started to attend international scuba diving trade shows and provided a means for small dive centers to be represented at these events.
For the diver, the Philippines offers a great deal. There are many outstanding dive sites for both recreational and technical divers. While the reefs and the vast diversity of the marine life are the major draws, there are also outstanding wreck sites. Prices for diving and other expenses are lower than most scuba diving destinations. As a dive destination, the Philippines is growing, and it is on its way to over take some of their neighbors as being the place in Asia to dive.