Palawan is considered to be the Philippines`last frontier´. Its group of islands harbour very diverse and endemic plants and animals. According to the Philippine Department of Tourism, Palawan´s tourism potential relies heavily on its natural assets. The Calamianes Group of Islands is to be found off the northern tip of Palawan, is home to a majestic bio-diversity where you can experience….. Nature at its best!

A variety of Dive Sites can be explored, there are eleven Japanese Shipwrecks from World War II found at the south west side of Busuanga and one at the north east. There is Apo Reef Natural Park, where you can dive the Walls and see a lot of pelagic such as sharks, tuna, barracudas, mackerel, and mantas. The diversity of marine life is so wide that it is a paradise of different species from micro-very small to macro- the largest fish you could ever find. Other Dive sites offer a good variety of soft corals where you can find nudibranchs, pigmy seahorses, angler fish, and ghost pipe fish. It is also the only place in the country where most Dugongs (Sea Cows) can still be observed in the wild. On land, there are many islands where sea turtles don’t feel threatened and can still lay their eggs undisturbed, hence the name “Turtle Islands”. In Coron, you can find huge and dramatic limestone cliffs with beautiful lagoons and fresh water lakes. You can also still find many endemic species like the Palawan Bear Cats, Calamian Deer, Mousedeer in the Calauit Natural Reserve. Others are freely roaming in the wilderness such as fruit bats, white breasted sea eagles, anteaters, monitor lizards, and all kinds of tropical birds, which makes the area…. A Real Paradise!

You can reach the Calamianes from Manila by plane to Busuanga Airport or by Ferry boats via Coron Town.
 
 

Dugong (Sea Cow)

The Dugong Dive Center at El Rio y Mar offers Dugong Watching Trips with a very good chance to see the gentle mammals in the wild. They can live up to 75 years of age. A young female takes 10 years to mature before they can gestate. Gestation period takes up to 13 months, and after giving birth to 1 calf (baby) it suckles from the mother until 18 months. Adults grow up to 2-3 meters in length and can weigh up to 300-400kgs. They breathe air from the surface every 4 to 5 minutes. They are the only herbivore mammal that feeds on seagrass, they can eat roughly 25 kgs per day. Dugongs are said to be the true mermaids of the sea!

     
 

Kyokuzan Maru

A Japanese Auxiliary Cargo Freighter is just one of the 11 shipwrecks sunk in World War II during the American Air strike in Sept 24, 1944. It is a “wreck diver’s” haven. Besides the majestic wreck itself, there is good coral cover where plenty of marine life inhabits with in the sponges, shells and tunicates.

     
 

Pigmy Seahorse

“The Rock” as it is called, is one of the dive sites we offer and is found in Tara Island, north eastern side of Busuanga. A variety of soft corals, sponges, feathers stars and fan corals can be seen. In some fan corals you could find Pigmy Seahorses and is normally found in deep waters where it is most enjoyable to dive longer preferably with Nitrox.( Which The Dugong Dive Center also offers).

     
 

Apo Reef Natural Park

The Reef itself has an area of roughly 25 square kilometres where you can have choices which area to dive first. On the north side there are the “Walls”, the best site to look out to the deep blue and spot sharks, barracudas, tuna, mantas and jacks passing by. On the South side a wide plateau, where you can hover on top of a nice coral garden. Apo Reef has by far the best corals reef in the Philippines.

     
 

Angler Fish

Also known as Frog Fish can be found at the El Rio y Mar House Reef, Hunter’s Rock, Tara Islands, Diboyuyan Island and Siete Picados.

     
 

Ghost Pipe Fish

You can find an abundance of different pipe fish species in the area. Shown above is a Ghost pipe fish you can often see camouflaged in reefs. Harlequin Ghost Pipe fish and other nudibranchs are also found even on the ship wrecks.

     
 

Barracuda Lake Aerial

There are several lakes in Coron Island but only two can be visited by tourists. Barracuda Lake where you can go diving and experience extreme “thermocline” levels at 14 meters up to 40 degrees Celsius. And see awesome limestone formations underwater. The other one is Cayangan Lake where you can swim and kayak around and be mystified by its natural beauty. It was declared as the “Cleanest Lake in the Philippines” for several years.

     
 

Monitor Lizard

     
 

Rufus Night Heron

     
Seasons
1. Visibility : The best Visibility at the open sea is from May to November (no plankton). In costal waters the visibility can be bad after rain. (Rainy season July to September) Plankton Season is from December to April (better chance to see Manta Rays, Wale Sharks and Wales).
2. Marine life : December to April , Cuttlefish Mating time (many cuttlefish come to the House reef to mate and lay eggs in the shelter of the corals). January to March is the best time for plankton feeders. January to May usual Ghost Pipe fishes and young Angler fishes, are in the area.
3. Philippine Summer : From March to May is the time with most sunshine hours.
     
   
For more information visit Dugong Dive Center
     
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