The Calamian Islands are a group of small islands lying off the northern tip of Palawan and an area of outstanding beauty. Comprising of jungle clad limestone cliffs and escarpments, low lying rounded hills, hidden inlets and coves, thriving mangroves and of course clear blue seas this really is one of the most stunning parts of the Philippines. The Calamians are also one of the best places in the world for diving and have a reputation being an incredibly fascinating dive destination because of the sheer number of different experiences on offer. Remaining mostly of the beaten track for tourists - apart from divers in the know - the islands have seen a steady growth in tourist numbers in recent years as domestic flights and accommodation offerings have risen to help fulfill demand.
The islands though still remain a place for exploration and wonder. Endless sunny days of island hopping, beach combing, trekking and of course diving and snorkeling make this a thrilling destination for outdoor activity lovers. Coron Town on Busuanaga island is the main gateway for the area and it is here that many of the best three star and economy Resorts and Dive Centers are based. Coron is a small fishing town that is overlooked by hills to the north and the jagged limestone Coron island to the south. This is the best place from which to explore the islands, reefs and bays of the area.
To the north of Busuanga and hidden amongst the blue coastal bays can be found these rare and elusive dugongs - some our featured resorts can help you look for these lovely creatures.
Further out of Coron are a number of luxury Resorts and hidaways often based on private islands that provide guests with the very best in private tropical lifestyle escapes.
The diving for so many visitors is the main attraction and the presence of many WW2 wrecks in fairly shallow waters combined with pristine reefs and unique freshwater dives mean that this continues to be one of our favourite dive locations in the Philippines.
Busuanga is easily accessible from Manila with approximately 3 -4 daily flights. Journey time from the airport to Coron Town is just 30 - 45 minutes. A number of Resorts in the area also run charter sea plane flights - contact us for further information.
Coron and the Calamian islands is a year round diving destination. December through to March are the cooler months and come with slightly more windy conditions. April to June are the hottest and July to November can sometimes mean rain but also usually see the flattest seas and best visibility.
In September 1944 the US 3rd Fleet under Admiral 'Bull' Halsey was heading north through the Philippines to towards Manila. Reconnaissance planes from Aircraft Carriers in the Fleet discovered a large of Japanese Cargo boats anchored in Coron Bay. Halsey immediately ordered air strikes and Fighter Bombers subsequently destroyed and sunk 15 -18 boats in the shallow waters around Busuanga.
Today these boats, still lying mostly intact, are the homes for extraordinary amounts of marine life and for divers probably the most easily accessible group of historical Wrecks in Asia Pacific. Some of the smaller wrecks, especially the small gunboats East Tangat Wreck and Lusong Wreck are in shallow water and perfect for training dives and introductory wreck dives. The surrounding reefs are also home to fascinating marine life including giant clams. Olympia Maru lies on it's side at a maximum depth of 25m and with the top of the wreck at just 12m depth this makes a good multi-level dive for relative beginners. Visibility can be mixed but generally there is low current and lots of species to see including Batfish, lionfish and scorpion fish.
The Tae Maru is one of the larger wrecks at 168m length. It is an Oil Tanker that is sitting broadly upright and with correct training and certification is a exciting wreck to explore both inside and outside. Currents can be quite strong here - especially in the afternoons but there is an extraordinary amount of marine life and the wreck itself is quite beautiful in sunny overhead conditions.
The deepest of the wrecks is Irako which was a refrigeration Ship. The upper vdeck sits at 28 -30m so bottom time is relatively short even when diving on Nitrox. The wreck can be penetrated under the right conditions and training and in the surrounding waters you may well see schools of jacks and Barracudas.
Akitsushima is a seaplane tender lying on its side with anti-aircraft guns still visible lying of the sea bded next to the wreck. Schools of jacks and tuna circle the wreck and there are swim-throughs for the most experienced of divers.
The Kogyo Maru lying on its side has wide open cargo holds that are perfect for easy penetration and exploring. Kyokuzan Maru Wreck is a deeper wreck close to Club Paradise Resort on the northern side of Busuanga island. It is a huge cargo ship in deep waters and has the remains of cars and vehicles in the holds. This wreck is often dived as part of a two tank trip.
All the wrecks have permanent ascent and descent lines to ensure diver safety.
Away from the Wrecks the favorite dive for nearly all guests is also the only dive of its kind in the Philippines , Barracuda Lake is genuinely a unique experience. Following a short walk with equipment over limestone rocks from your dive boat you arrive at the lake which is a mix of freshwater from hot springs and rains and sea water. This means that the lake has extreme sin water temperatures and as you swim along you can see visible thermoclines and haloclines. It's a memorable experience.