Coron and Apo Reef are both located on the western edge of the Philippines, just south of the Island Luzon, which is where Manila is found. Starting with the area of Anilao around south Luzon Island, divers are treated to fantastic muck diving which rivals the most biodiverse and well known dive sites around the world. Further south, just off Mindoro Island, liveaboards reach the Apo Reefs Natural Park, which is considered by some to be the best reef diving in the entire country. And lastly, even further south to the Calamian Islands group, liveaboards visit Busuanga Island and Coron Bay, where 24 Japanese WWII ships were sank by the Allied forces in 1944.
Most liveaboard trips last at least a week, and either start in the south from Coron, or from the north in Batangas on Luzon Island. Either way a domestic flight is needed to or from Coron. The Calamian Islands in the south of the area, including Busuanga, are characterized by beautiful steep limestone cliffs which rise from the crystal turquoise and blue waters of the sea. Much like in Palau, Raja Ampat, and Thailand this region is absolutely beautiful above the waters. Of the 24 Japanese ships sank in the area, 12 are within recreational diving limits and easily accessible. These wrecks are covered in stunning corals and are a thriving habitat for a huge diversity of fish and invertebrate species.
Apo Reef Natural Park is a World Heritage UNESCO Protected Area and is comprised of two large atolls separated only by a 30 meter deep channel. There are three islands which mark the area from the surface. This range in marine and terrestrial ecosystems means that many different reef types and marine habitats exist. From steep walls to slopping coral reefs, to protected areas for juvenile fish in mangrove shallows and sea grass meadows, the entire area supports a broad range and variety of marine species.
The area of Anilao, which is just outside of Batangas City and a short drive from Manila, is a muck and critter divers paradise. Here many new species of nudibranches and invertebrates have been identified. Frogfish, pygmy seahorses, many different varieties of pipe-fish, rare invertebrates, and sometimes even rhinopoias can be found at the dive sites in this region. Because of it's uniqueness, liveaboard trips to the area spend several days diving here.