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Top Tip: Starting A Dive Trip to the Philippines

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Nudibranch sex peaks in the coolers water months of January and February. This couple is the Dorid, Halgerda sp

A dive trip to the Philippines can be a major adventure involving stop-offs at numerous destinations scattered across the vast archipelago of more than 7,000 islands - many of the top sites are on remote and tiny resorts or on liveaboards.

Most international flights from Europe or the US will arrive at the capital Manila, and a top tip is to find a suitable dive centre nearby to chill out, do some great diving and thoroughly check out your kit and camera equipment before heading off to more isolated and far-flung resorts.

You can discover which small, but vital charger you left behind. Be sure the camera kit that functioned perfectly well at home, doesn't fail you at the crucial moment hundreds of miles from the nearest spares shop. Or just recover from the gruelling flight, do some fun dives and get in the mood for the diving adventures to come.

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 A pair of Coleman's shrimp Periclimenes colemanion a fire urchin, Asthenosoma varium

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Spiny tiger shrimp, Phyllognathia ceratophthalma

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Mimic octopus

Thankfully just a shortish (couple of hours max) drive from the airport is the world-class diving of Anilao. Not only are the electronics and camera shops of metropolitan Manila nearby where you can replace that vital piece of kit with ease or rent a replacement, but the muck diving is superb.

Anilao is also one of the best places to muck dive in the Philippines, on a level, if not better than Dauin in my opinion

My favourite resort is the Santos family-run Buceo Anilao, right in the heart of the nudibranch capital of the world –  an incredible 588 species have been described in the area. Check out, Anilao Nudibranchs and Other Sea Slugs, by Anderson, Bartick and Behrens, updated in 2019 and available on Amazon.

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View from the spa at Buceo Anilao

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Macro master guide Jimson Belen

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Nudibranch Risbecia tryoni

The resort is laid back, low key and very welcoming. Buceo employs excellent local dive guides who are masters of the muck and well used to finding the most desirable weird and wonderful denizens of the deep for divers and photographers. The diving is easy, shallow, and very rewarding. Simply a great place to start your trip to the Philippines.

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A yellow goby living in a discarded bottle

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A hairy frogfish

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Flamboyant cuttlefish

Philippines Airlines (PAL) flies non stop to Manila five times a week from London Heathrow, the only non-stop service to the country. PAL also flies non-stop from Dubai to Manila.

From North America, PAL flies direct to Manila from New York, Vancouver, Toronto, San Fransisco and Los Angeles.
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