Scuba diving in Apo Reef
Situated 28km/17mi off the western coast of Mindoro Island, Apo Reef is known as the world's second largest coral reef. It is also a part of the Apo Reef National Park, which was founded in 1996 as a nature reserve by UNESCO. The site features 34km/21mi reef, with a narrow channel running east to west and dividing the reef into two lagoons (south and north). These shallow lagoons surrounded by mangroves serve as breeding pools for many marine creatures. There are about 400 different species of fish and some 400-500 species of soft and branching types of hard corals that can be found here. Numerous divers opt to dive in Apo reef because of magnificent overhangs and drop-offs the reef offers as well as vertical walls going 80m/262ft deep.
When to go
The best time for diving in the Philippines is between November and June, since July till November can be rainy. Water temperatures range between 23-29C/73-84F.
What to see
Pristine coral gardens and huge variety of marine life, ranging from rare macro species to schools of large pelagic fish, also draw crowds of tourists from all over the world. Schools of snapper, tuna, jack fish, stingrays, sharks (white tip, hammerhead, gray reef and whale shark), manta rays, groupers, barracuda, Napoleon wrasse, tropical fish, Green and Hawksbill turtles can be seen here on a regular basis. The steep walls are covered with corals, tunicates, sponges and populated with nudibranchs and sea slugs.