The best places for snorkelling in the Philippines is not necessarily where the best scuba diving is.
The Best Snorkelling Places in the Northern Philippines
The best snorkelling places in the northern Philippines can be found around the One Hundred Island National Park (Pangasinan) and Bolinao. The One Hundred Islands National Park can provide weeks of snorkelling pleasure, without ever seeing the same area of coral or seabed twice. Snorkelling trips to the One Hundred Islands are available from most companies offering vacations Philippines. Snorkelling equipment available for hire.
For a unique and compelling experience, try snorkelling along the reef South of Bolinao (Zambales) - the reef edge has abundant marine life but at your shoulder is the expanse of the South China Sea where dark shadows of large pelagic fish morph amongst the deep blue in the corner of your eye. Or, further South along the Zambales coast at Hermana Mayor, where the collection of islands within warm, shallow waters offer enjoyable snorkelling. Most of the best Zambales beach resorts are well equipped to provide snorkelling equipment and snorkelling guides. Note: at Bolinao and Hermana Mayor renting snorkelling equipment is not quite so easy as elsewhere around the Philippines, we would recommend that your bring you own snorkelling equipment to these Philippine holiday destinations.
In the Verde Island Passage, Anilao (Batangas) offers some interesting snorkelling opportunities but watch out for tide races near the South of Anilao peninsula, opposite Maricaban Island. Across in Muelle Bay, Puerto Galera (Mindoro) snorkelling over the giant clams is an eye opener, as is snorkelling the Puerto Galera's famous Coral Garden, fronting Long Beach. Snorkelling trips to Puerto Galera can easily be arranged by hotels in Manila; snorkelling equipment is readily available at beach resorts all along the Verde Island Passage.
Snorkelling In The Philippines With Whale Sharks
If you have never been snorkelling with whale sharks then this is an experience you should not miss in the waters off Donsol (Sorsogon) during the Spring months, from February through to May. Donsol has the largest population of whale sharks in the World
. Snorkelling trips to Donsol offer face-to-fin encounters with as many as 40 whale sharks, that return to Donsol every year and, in Donsol, only snorkelling is allowed. Donsol is proud of its whale sharks and is happy to maintain the peace and tranquility of their habitat here in the Philippines . . . the objective is that everyone in the World may have the chance to enjoy snorkelling with the whale sharks of Donsol; snorkelling equipment readily available. The nearest airport to Donsol is Legaspi City airport
, about a hour's drive away. There are air-conditioned buses from Manila to Legaspi City but we recommend that you fly.
The Best Snorkelling in the Central Philippines
The best places for Snorkelling in the Central Philippines? Romblon, Tablas and Siquijor islands offer good snorkelling experiences and the inherent beauty of these tropical islands adds a level of romance that only a near-virgin Philippine holiday destination can impart. You may consider bringing your own snorkelling equipment here.
The waters off Dumaguete (Negros) offer some of the best snorkelling in the Visayas and then of course there is Moalboal (Cebu) and Panglao Island (Bohol) and its close neighbours. Snorkelling trips to Dumaguete, Moalbaol and Panglao Island offer exciting experiences and come complete with snorkelling equipment.
Still a bit of a backpackers paradise with little infrastructure but a very friendly demeanor is Bulalacao, southeast Mindoro Island. The snorkelling here in Bulalacao is quite astonishing: brilliantly coloured corals, reef fish plus caves and crevices to explore, especially around Buyayao Island, Tambaron Island, Target Island and Aslum Island. Boat rental in Bulalacao is inexpensive but bring your own snorkelling equipment when snorkelling Bulalacao.
The Best Places For Snorkelling in Palawan
You have to start a Palawan snorkelling adventure at the El Rio y Mar Island Resort on Busuanga Island / Coron, for Busuanga is the start of possibly the best snorkelling in the Philippines. Thence across to El Nido and all the way down the East coast of the main island of Palawan. You may take a side trip to Malampaya Sound, where snorkelling with an indigenous group of dolphins is always possible (bring your own snorkelling equipment to Malampaya Sound).
On down the East coast towards Puerto Princesa, go snorkelling around Snake Island and at beautiful Honda Bay. Finally, you will arrive at the Balabac Islands, where you can step ashore and wonder at the Philippine Mouse Deer - the smallest hoofed mammal in the World. Snorkelling trips to Palawan offer the best snorkelling experiences, with snorkelling equipment supplied at almost every beach resort.
The Best Snorkelling in Southern Philippines
Finding the best snorkelling in Mindanao is a bit like finding the best places to scuba dive - because most of Mindanao has not enjoyed high volumes of tourists until recently, classifying the best places for snorkelling in Mindanao is somewhat subjective. However, Samal Island in the Davao Gulf is definitely catering for snorkelling trips and has much to offer. The waters around Samal Island are crystal clear and there are scores of hectares of prime snorkelling areas, with brilliant corals and marine life such as turtles and star fish in profusion - the very best snorkelling around Samal Island can be found off the southwest and East coast beaches. Snorkelling equipment is available from most beach resorts on Samal Island.
Siargao Island offers scuba diving, snorkelling and surfing in holiday packages designed for the adventurer. Snorkelling equipment is available from most beach resorts on Siargao Island.
For many people, once they have tried snorkelling in the Philippines they will want to learn to scuba dive because they will know for certain that to fully appreciate Mother Nature's bounty, go deeper they must.