The Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands and boasts 34,000 sq. km (13,124 sq. miles) of coral reefs, over 800 classes of corals, over a thousand species of marine life, and one of the most populous and diverse aquatic ecosystems on the planet, making it a sure hit for true snorkeling enthusiasts.
Of the 500 known coral species in the world, 488 are found in the Philippines. Some of the unique aquatic life includes the gorgonian butterfly fish, gigantic sponges, seafans, and starfish. Some snorkelers are lucky enough to have the chance to swim with kind-tempered whale sharks, or the rare dugong; an endangered species of water-dwelling mammal whose intelligence rivals that of the dolphin.
The best season for Philippines snorkeling is March until June when the waves are generally the smallest and visibility tends to be best.
Some of the most popular diving and snorkeling locations in the Philippines are:
Moalboal in Cebu - A wide variety of soft and hard corals are abundant. Sea turtle sightings can be expected with almost every trip into the water. Whale sharks, while not nearly as common, can also be found here on occasion.
Puerto Galera in Mindoro - Known for its shallow coral gardens, interesting rock formations, and colorful species such as crabs, shrimp, sea anemones, moray, and trumpet fishes.
Bacuit Bay and El Nido in Northern Palawan
Miniloc Island in Northern Palawan
Taytay Bay in Northern Palawan
With such a vast number of unique snorkeling opportunities spread across this fascinating archipelago, a well-planned trip to the Philippines has the potential to leave a lasting impression on snorkelers of any experience level.