Taking the plunge into scuba diving was an exhilarating experience. Imagine discovering a totally different world, where everything is in slow motion, surreal, and magical. The amount of marine biodiversity is abundant in the Philippines, which makes it a great place to try scuba diving.
One of the best places to dive in the Philippines is in Coron, which I visited last August. I decided to get my PADI Open Water certificate since I wanted to go as deep as 18 meters and explore the unique wreck dives.
At the Northern tip of Palawan is Busuanga Island, where Coron town is located. Just a short 45-minute flight from Manila, Coron is renowned as one of the best places to visit when in the Philippines as it boasts some stunning views, beautiful turquoise waters, and of course, amazing dive sites.
Coron is most famous for its World War II wreck diving, and the site has been named in many lists of top dive spots in the world. In September 1944, a fleet of Japanese ships hiding in the harbor were sunk in a daring raid by the US Navy. The result is around ten well-preserved underwater shipwrecks filled up with corals and marine creatures after over 70 years underwater.
Undoubtedly, this place is a great base for adventure, especially for underwater explorers seeking for something new and exciting!
Background view of Coron Island
CORON DIVE SITES
There are numerous dive shops in Coron but I decided to stay at Seadive Resort as they are one of the oldest and most reputable PADI 5-Star Dive Resorts around the area.
When choosing a place to dive, either for the first time or if you’re planning to get PADI-certified, it’s best to research ahead and find out if the dive center is equipped with new and well-maintained diving gear, and if they have experienced PADI instructors and divemasters. Scuba diving is an extremely risky activity, so you want to put your safety into good hands!
Here’s a map of Coron Island and where you can find Seadive Resort (click the pin to get more information about the place). [googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/embed?mid=16Px3ezA_SnC-fCuZ3k4r9Nl4A4E&w=640&h=480]
The dive shop offers numerous dive sites for all levels, as well as PADI certification courses from beginner to advanced. (Rates and other costs at the bottom of the post!)
You can opt to do a discovery scuba diving activity which gives you the basic knowledge on scuba diving without having to go through the course. However, I do recommend to try out getting a PADI Open Water certification as you’ll get to experience more and dive to greater depths.
Guide to the best shipwreck and reef dives you can try:Dive SiteDescriptionLevelMax. DepthOlympia MaruThe ship is 127m long with the main deck around 18m to 24m deep making it a shallow and easy wreck dive.
Beginner to Advanced
Irako WreckA 145-meter food supply ship of the Japanese Imperial Navy. It is one of the deepest shipwrecks in Coron Bay, lying upright near Tangat Island.
East Tangat WreckThe site is believed to be either a tugboat or an anti-submarine sea craft. The wreck lies on a sandy slope near a reef.Beginner22 metersSiete Picado7 islands or Seven Rocks, Siete Picado is located a little east of Coron’s lighthouse. The site is part of an important conservation program and is an excellent place to encounter green sea turtles.Beginner
Twin PeaksAn enjoyable, easy dive site with two rocky outcroppings with a nice reef surrounding it. Twin Peaks also has a shallow area popular with snorkelers.Beginner25 metersBarracuda LakeThis stunning freshwater lake is fed by a hot spring, which makes it great for thermal lake diving. If you go below 12 meters, the water gets warmer (around 38 °C).Beginner to Advanced30 meters
To get a complete guide of all shipwreck sites in Coron, click here: http://scubatechphilippines.com/scuba_blog/the-shipwrecks-of-coron-wreck-diving-philippines/ Interested in getting your PADI certification? Read below to find out how!
PADI OPEN WATER DIVER CERTIFICATION
Before you go through the course, it’s important to know these things:
Allot at least 3 days for the course, and do not fly out at least 18 hours after your last dive.
It’s going to be an intense 3 days of diving (from 9am to 5pm), and you usually can’t drink or stay up too late before your dives. So plan some rest days right after.
It helps if you have a buddy or at least 2 people in your group. You’ll be pairing up a lot, and you might need that extra kick of motivation!
Don’t panic — scuba diving is all about focus and remembering all the safety procedures. But once you get a hang of it, it will be easy and enjoyable.
The course includes three phases:
During the first phase of your lessons, you will be watching videos and learn all the basic principles of scuba diving.
There are 5 sections, with about 40min-1hr long per section.
Each section you will answer quizzes, and by the end of the course, you will have to answer and pass a 60-item exam.
2. Confined Water Dives
You’ll be going through the basic scuba skills (with complete gear) in a pool or confined (shallow) water.
You will learn how to properly setup your own gear and take note of safety precautions before entering the water.
You’ll practice all the essential skills with your dive instructor such as buoyancy control, getting water out of your mask, entering and exiting the water, etc. Once you’re comfortable and passed the tests, you are now ready to go open water.
3. Open Water Dives
You’ll head to “open water,” where you and your instructor will make four dives, usually over two days.
You’ll get to apply the skills you’ve learned while enjoying the amazing underwater world.
Once you have completed and passed all skills given by your dive instructor, Congratulations, you’re now a certified Open Water Diver!
(Info was taken from Seadive website. Prices may change without prior notice):
For non-certified divers or who want to get the PADI certification:PADI Discover Scuba Diving₱ 3,100.00PADI Open Water Diver (up to 18 meters) ₱ 18,350.00PADI Advanced Open Water (up to 40 meters) ₱ 14,850.00
For Open Water divers:1 Fun Dive₱ 1,800.002 Fun Dives₱ 2,800.003 Fun Dives₱ 3,950.00
Whether it’s diving with marine life, exploring shipwrecks or enjoying the open water, scuba diving is an amazing experience. Of course, once you’re a licensed scuba diver, the opportunity to dive around the world is endless – which makes it a great investment!
Leave a comment below and share with us your scuba diving experience!
WATCH MY VLOG AND SEE THE MAGNIFICENT WRECK DIVE HERE: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ9MU9ktcDc&w=560&h=315]
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