The Philippines has always been a dive destination favorite and with new resorts on new island destinations popping up along with the tried and true, it is becoming one of the most popular places in the diving world to visit. Toss in reasonable prices and a normally favorable exchange rate for most of the world’s leading currencies and you have a real gem dive destination to explore.
It is one of the most diverse countries in Asia. Sitting along the eastern reaches of Oceania, it has the Pacific Ocean (Philippine Sea) at its lengthy east coast. Malaysia and Indonesia are south and southwest and the South China Sea is to the west. To the north are Taiwan and China.
This convergence of sea and various landmasses has formed the richest coral reef area in the world. Known as the “Coral Triangle”, the Philippines is at the northern point of the triangle that also includes Papua New Guinea and Indonesia/Malaysia. In this cradle of diversity more species of both corals and fish can be found than in any other place on the planet.
Then within the vast Philippine isles are smaller seas… the Sibuyan, Sulu, and Visayan. Each has its own biosphere and characteristics, many odd and unusual creatures thriving in their own special worlds
In the Philippines, the birth of sport diving is generally said to have taken place in Anilao, which is still a popular dive destination to this day. The pioneering Aquatropical Divers opened in 1966 and scuba tourism was born. That makes sport diving here one of the earliest founded anywhere on the globe. Since then, the sport has blossomed, expanding to areas like Puerto Galera and now pretty much all across the country.
Divers used small traditional outriggers back then to get to the dive sites and many beach dive areas were found. The Philippines was also at the forefront of the technical diving revolution in the mid-1990s. Puerto Galera, well placed logistically from a gas and equipment point of view and with deep water just offshore, was the starting point
There’s a saying that the Philippines “has it all” and this is certainly true above the sea (as well as below). Northern terraced mountains give way to the steamy southern rainforest. In many parts of the country, rice fields sit in the shadow of volcanic cones (some are still active). Their past eruptions have created some extremely fertile regions making farming popular for nearly half of the Philippine land. And the Philippines boasts over 7,000 islands (the official count is 7,107) and some stunning, coconut-covered atolls. 2,000 of the isles in the Philippines have inhabitants.
In contrast, it is said 2,500 don’t have names. Luzon and Mindanao are the largest islands making up two-thirds of the country’s landmass. 66% of the country’s land is found on these two islands. In fact, most of the islands here were formed from past and current volcanic and tectonic activity
Language & Culture
Language: A total of 182 native languages are spoken in the country and four languages have been classified as extinct. There are 13 indigenous languages with at least one million native speakers: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, Kapampangan, Coastal Bikol, Pangasinan, Maranao, Maguindanao, Kinaray-a, and Tausug.
One or more is spoken natively by more than 90% of the population. The good news for visitors is that English is also very widely spoken. So communication in the Philippines is normally very easy. Menus are in English at restaurants and hotels and stores have English signage and English-speaking staff. Thus, the Philippines is considered one of the most visitor-friendly countries in Asia.
Culture: The Philippine culture is famous worldwide for its colorful dances, songs, and tasty cuisine. The culture of the Philippines has been heavily influenced by both Asian and Western cultures. The Philippines was first settled by Melanesians.
Today, few in number, they preserve the traditional way of life and culture. After them, Austronesians, or Malayo-Polynesian, arrived on the islands. Today the Austronesian culture is very evident in the ethnicity, language, food, dance, and almost every aspect of the culture. While dance, cinema, music, and indigenous art are strong, travelers are most likely to encounter the many Filipino food dishes