Freediving is a form of underwater diving that does not use air tanks as opposed to scuba diving. Instead, the diver is required to hold his breath for as long as he can until he resurfaces.  Although there are key differences, freediving is sometimes referred to as skin diving.

Freediving has become an increasingly popular recreation for travel enthusiasts. As a result, freediving centers that offer introductory classes, crash courses and licenses have been increasing in the last 2-3 years.

Freediving’s increasing popularity could be due to its overall low cost. There are only at most three things you will need to freedive: mask, snorkel, and fins. A whole set of gears may cost as low as PHP 2,000 – 3,500 depending on the fin length, while a crash course can be as low as PHP 1,200.

View this post on Instagram

From the depths.

A post shared by Erwan Heussaff (@erwan) on

After obtaining the necessary skills and gears, you are now ready to explore top freediving spots in the country.

ANILAO, BATANGAS

Only 3-4 hours away, Anilao is the nearest diving spot from The Metro. Anilao faces Balayan Bay, a part of the Verde Island Passage, which was declared “center of the center” of the world’s marine shorefish diversity in 2005. Anilao also boasts more than 50 dive spots that include The Cathedral, Devil’s Point, and Mainit Point among others.

Photo credit: World Wildlife Fund – Philippines

 

CORON, PALAWAN

Coron is one of the most interesting freediving destinations in the country. Coron offers a wide variety of freediving experience – from lake diving, wreck diving and diving with dugongs. Barracuda Lake is a popular destination for its crystal clear brackish waters. Wreck diving is also possible due to Japanese shipwrecks from World War II. Black Island Wreck, Lusong Gunboat, and Skeleton Wreck are the recommended wreck diving spots. Meanwhile diving with dugongs would require an overnight trip since it’s a bit farther north.

BAUAN, BATANGAS

A mere three hours away, Bauan is also a spectacular dive spot near The Metro. Bauan offers an amazing underwater view for city dwellers with regular spottings of schools of jack fish. For people who are looking to stay away from the Anilao crowd, Bauan is a great option.

MOALBOAL, CEBU

Moalboal is a small town located in Southern Cebu. It is three hours away from the city center, but it offers a one of a kind underwater experience. The top of the list is the sardine run where you can swim with millions of sardines with just one dive. Add to this the colorful corals and sea turtles for a truly unique experience. Also, unlike in South Africa where the sardine run is seasonal, those in Moalboal are available all year round.

View this post on Instagram

🧜🏽‍♀️: @dstartee Ito ang pinaka nakaka-duling na edit na ginawa ko, dahil may nag saboy ng mermaid dust dito sobrang dameee. . 1st day dive sa Sardines nung trip na ito, dapat mag canyoning kami kaso may mga nilagnat at nag alburuto ang tyan katakawan sa lechon. Ayun shempre, ang shokoy at serena pag nagkakasakit, dalhin mo lang sa dagat okay na. Hindi muna kami tumuloy sa canyoning na yun at pinagpabukas na kaya dito kami nag punta. . Nataon naman na huling araw pala nila @banggumalo @badjaw_ sa Moalboal edi naka pag shoot pa kami sama sama! . Tanghaling tapat, tirik ang araw, maganda ang vis, ayun kitang kita din sa larawan ang mga produkto ng digestive system ng mga sardinas at tuwang tuwa kaming lumalangoy at naglalaro sa pa confetti ng nila. #freediveph #teamfreediveph #sawumfreedivers #moalboal #cebu #angelsofthesea

A post shared by Jake Alejandre (@jakealejandre) on

APO ISLAND, NEGROS ORIENTAL

Photo credit: institutemarineresearch.org

If sea turtles or “pawikan” is your main reason to dive, then you need to go to Apo Island in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. Divers’ accounts say that they can spot sea turtles after every few meters or so. Please don’t chase them though because they can get stressed too. Moreover, Apo Island is home to over 650 species of fish and over 400 species of corals, securing its place as a top dive spot in the Philippines.

APO REEF NATURAL PARK, OCCIDENTAL MINDORO

Apo Reef is the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world. It is a protected area under the classification Natural Park and it is tentatively listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of course, it is included in this list! Apo Reef boasts over 385 marine species of fish, sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, sea slugs, morays and corals among others. A small shipwreck is also available for the public to explore.

Photo credit: Department of Tourism Official Instagram