Why The Philippines is the Best Place for Scuba Certifications

Recently, I visited the island country of The Philippines, which was an ideal destination to embark on my Open Water Scuba certification. I opted to do my training with Cebu Dive Center in the quaint beach village of Pangsama Beach, Moalboal on the island of Cebu. My experience was truly top notch – from instructor, to premier dive sites, to an unbeatable price. Below are a few reasons to consider the Philippines for your desired Scuba certifications.

Coral galore
Amazingly beautiful coral reef of Apo Island Marine Sanctuary

Accessibility to Amazing Diving

The first time I ever scuba dove was in the Philippines, so I was ignorant to how amazing the diving there is until I dove again in Indonesia. From day one of my training I was able to walk the 7 meters from the dive shop and wade into the spectacular house reef that is simply brimming with life. Most scuba courses start students in a pool to learn the basics, but I was able to mingle with the sea life within the first few hours. The only down side of the easy accessibility to world class diving is that it may place high expectations for future diving that will be difficult to match.

Entering for a night dive just outside Cebu Dive Center
Entering for a night dive just outside Cebu Dive Center

Cost Effective

Overall the Philippines is a cheap country to travel – with the exception of the more touristy areas like Palawan. Scuba seekers also benefit from the low cost when training or diving. In the US, a full Open Water certification can run you upwards of $600, since you must pay for your mandatory 4 dives separately. In total my certification cost approximately $250 USD including my mandatory dives. Also, because of the accessibility to the ocean and the fantastic dive sites, by the end of my course I had about 9 legitimate dives, verses the normal 4.

I like turtles
I actually lost count at how many sea turtles we spotted.

High Quality Dive Shops

Since the diving is so excellent, naturally there’s a plethora of dive shops throughout the country to choose from. Even in the small village of Pangsama there were at least a dozen different shops, so finding a high quality shop with experienced instructors is easy. Since there is so much competition, it keeps the shops striving for excellence – which is another perk. I highly recommend Cebu Dive Center for their wonderful, thorough instructors and close knit atmosphere.

So rich in life!

Endless Options for Future Dives

Since the country is made up of islands, there truly are seemingly endless options for diving once you complete your certification. As I mentioned, the cost to travel the Philippines in general is low so hoping on a boat to dive for the day is much more affordable than most countries. Comparatively to Australia, New Zealand and the US, the difference is massive, for diving that is more than likely far better. Even diving in Bali, Indonesia costs about $50USD per dive, which is over double what I paid in the Philippines. Additionally lodging is cheaper, so staying on or near the dive sites is very doable.

One of the many stunning beach accessible for diving.
One of the many stunning beach accessible for diving.

If you’ve got Scuba on your mind, consider the Philippines for your diving explorations, it is a worthy and affordable investment!

Kate Townsend

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  • We got certified on Koh Tao in September last year and did some beautiful dives there! Since then we only did a couple of dives in Amed, Bali. Truly amazing! We met our first turtle under water there We’ve indeed heard a couple of times that the Philippines are a great spot for diving as well. It’s on our bucket list! I’ll make a note of Cebu Dive Centre and your blogpost with it. Thanks for the tip!

    • Thanks for the read, Birthe! I wish I got to dive more in Indonesia, I know there is amazing diving there, but unfortunately not as budget friendly for long term travel! I hope to do as much as possible, but definitely got a bit spoiled in the Philippines. Definitely keep it on the bucket list, my personal favorite was Apo Island Marine Sanctuary off Negros Island – we went on a day trip with Bongo, Bongo dive, they were wonderful too.

  • COMMENTS (3)

    1. Birthe 24th February 2016 at 2:10 am -

      We got certified on Koh Tao in September last year and did some beautiful dives there! Since then we only did a couple of dives in Amed, Bali. Truly amazing! We met our first turtle under water there We’ve indeed heard a couple of times that the Philippines are a great spot for diving as well. It’s on our bucket list! I’ll make a note of Cebu Dive Centre and your blogpost with it. Thanks for the tip!

      Reply
      • Kate in Wanderland 24th February 2016 at 2:24 am

        Thanks for the read, Birthe! I wish I got to dive more in Indonesia, I know there is amazing diving there, but unfortunately not as budget friendly for long term travel! I hope to do as much as possible, but definitely got a bit spoiled in the Philippines. Definitely keep it on the bucket list, my personal favorite was Apo Island Marine Sanctuary off Negros Island – we went on a day trip with Bongo, Bongo dive, they were wonderful too.

        Reply

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