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Philippines :: El Nido : Puerto Princesa

This is the capital of Palawan and in itself offers some good diving as well as being a stop-off point to and from El Nido and Tubbataha Reef. There are well established dive centres here and the area is certainly worthy of some exploration.

Honda Bay
There are several sites around here, the most noteworthy being Helen's Garden. This is a small, shallow reef and there is a good variety of hard and soft corals. It is a breeding ground for blacktip sharks and juveniles are often seen. You are also likely to encounter sergeant-majors, snapper, wrasse and trevally. It is also a good night dive. Henry's Reef is closeby and is a shallow dive to 10m. Lionfish, cardinals, snapper, sweetlips and nudibranches are found here. Around Honda Bay you may be lucky enough to spot manta rays and the small Pandan Island is as good a place as any to encounter them. The area also sees juvenile whale sharks, although their exact location is kept a close secret for obvious reasons.

Taytay Bay
About a 5 hour drive north of Puerto Princesa, there are some excellent sites here and dive centres and resorts are numerous. This area is certainly worth a visit.

Port Barton
Again situated about a 5 hour drive north of Puerto Princesa and on the west coast of Palawan, this area is largely undiscovered and offers some rewarding experiences for the intrepid. Shark Rock is furthest away and offers good opportunities to see blacktip and whitetip sharks. Whalesharks have occasionally been spotted here as well. Royalist Shoal can reach depths of 40m, but at 12m the coral is amongst the best in the area. Marine life is plentiful. At Ten Fathoms you may see hammerheads, leopard and nurse sharks. Corals are everywhere and grouper and snapper are regularly seen.


Depth: 10-40m+

Viz: 5-35m

Currents: can be strong in places

Getting there : 1 hour by boat - 5 hours by road.

Best months: Nov-May.