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Philippines :: Marinduque

With Luzon to the north and Mindoro to the west, this circular island is famous world-wide for its annual Moriones festival in April. The diving here and further afield in the remoter areas of the Sibuyan Sea can be spectacular.

There are wrecks, walls and reefs to suit all tastes and opportunities for photography are excellent. A large percentage of this area is still largely unexplored and to reach the best sites, you will have to arrange dive safaris from either Puerto Galera or Boracay.

Marinduque Island
Directly around the island itself, there are a number of sites worth mentioning. Natanco, to the north, has good walls and drift diving. Corals and gorgonians are abundant. Closeby, is the wreck of a Japanese torpedo boat. It rests in 36-40m of water and a number of features remain intact, including a multi-barrelled gun. This dive is not for beginners.

Off the west coast, is Balthazar with a cave at 20m that is worth exploring, but be careful of the stonefish. Nearby, nightdiving is good. To the south is Elephante Island, a private resort with good walls, coral formations and fish life. Currents can get strong here and depths reach 40m. Conditions for photography are good. To the east, is Torrijos with plenty of canyons and fissures to explore and where the fish life is prolific. You can expect to encounter barracuda, grouper, tuna and shoals of tropical fish.

Maestre de Campo Island
Situated to the southwest of Marinduque, this small island has some good sites, one a wall on the west coast and another the wreck of the MV Mactan, a ferry boat, off the east coast. The wreck is in good condition on a sandy slope that descends to 35m. It is home to a variety of fish, including grouper, barracuda, lionfish and plenty of tropical species. Off the south coast, you will find more interesting Japanese wrecks and the remains of some WW2 planes.

Banton Island
Slightly further southeast, Banton offers some great diving in pristine conditions. On the west coast, you will discover an amazing array of coral and fish life. Large pelagics, including shark and rays can be seen here. Dolphins are also common. You will find a world-class wall on the east side, but as conditions can become unpredictable, it's best to visit this exposed area between February and May. There are other truely spectacular sites around this small island that make it well worth the effort of getting to.

Sibuyan Sea
The outlying areas to the south and east of Marinduque are fairly unexplored, but those lucky and adverturous enough to have ventured there report some tremendous diving. Puerto Galera is the best place from which to organise trips to these frontier areas.


Marinduque at a glance

Accommodation : various

Currents : moderate to strong

Average cost of a dive : n/a

Dive Sites : 25+

Dive Operators : 3+ or in Puerto Galera and Boracay

Getting there : internal flights from Manila to Marinduque or 5hr by road and ferry south of Manila.

Off Season : July-February

Sibuyan Sea battle

The map below is interactive so click on the dive site to get more details.