Best freediving spots in the Philippines

El Nido:

Best for beginners and exploration

It’s safe to say that El Nido is the perfect place for those who want to learn freediving in the Philippines. Enjoy ideal freediving conditions, with flat water, no current and great visibility almost all year around. For this reason, it is specially suited for beginner and intermediate level freedivers. The one downside is that depth is somewhat limited and for expert freedivers, it can be difficult to find more than 50m. If you are just here to have fun, having so many islands and one of the largest marine protected area in the country gives amazing options for exploration. The amazing scenery completes the picture.

Coron:

Best for wrecks and lakes

Famous for it’s WW2 wrecks Coron has some of the most special dive sites in the Philippines. Many of them lay quite deep so remember to check first which ones you will be able to see. In any case, don’t miss diving in Barracuda lake. There is not much life there but the underwater landscape makes for great pictures. Past 12-15m you will encounter a strong thermocline. While this is an interesting feature, it also makes it uncomfortable to dive deeper as the water does become very hot (think hot springs hot!). Being so close to El Nido it makes sense to allow time for both places as they are unique in their own way.

Panglao:

Best for competitions

The touristy epicenter of Bohol has the highest concentration of freediving centers in the Philippines. It is also the venue for the main competitions in the country and during that time, a great place to meet fellow freedivers. Keep in mind that most centers here tend to focus on Chinese and Korean guests. This can be good or bad news depending on whether or not you speak the language. In any case the water is usually calm and clear… and deep. The area is very developed and like other victims of mass tourism, it makes up in comfort what it lacks in authenticity.

Mactan:

Best for easy access

Even though you don’t imagine the typical freediving spot to be in the middle of a large city, this one is worth mentioning. Surprisingly that side of the town offers several resort on it’s shore line. It is probably the only place where you can experience freediving in the Philippines while not sacrificing on the conveniences of the big city. Just a quick ride away, you will find large malls, a vast array of restaurants and even an international airport. This can make the difference for those who are looking for easy access and don’t mind being in the city.

Moalboal:

Best for serious training

This is where the first freediving center in the Philippines opened. Freedivers have been coming here for a long time to train. Access to depth is very easy. Just a quick swim from the shore, you can find yourself in 100m of water. This is perfect for advanced and competitive freedivers but not so great for beginners as the current can be very strong at times. If you are traveling with your dive buddies and your equipment training here will cost you very little. Scuba diving is the main reason people visit the town. The sardine ball is another highlight in that spot.