Coron, Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines
What to see: 10 WWII wrecks of a Japanese supply fleet which was sunk in September 1944 by the US navy (coronwrecks.com)
Level: From entry-level to experienced diver, depth of the wrecks varies from shallow to over 40 m, the dive guides will choose the dive sites and dive profiles (including wreck penetration) based on the divers experience level, Nitrox recommended for the deeper wrecks
How to get there: Flight from Manila to Busuanga (price depends on season, can be anywhere between PHP 7000 and 20’000, book early) and transfer to town (40 minutes, PHP 150) or ferry (2GO Travel) which runs 2 x per week from Manila or Puerto Princesa both take 15 hours and cost from PHP 1000 to 2000.
Where to stay: A wide range of accommodations are available in Coron town. Alternatively it is possible to stay and dive with resorts like Sangat Island Dive Resort closer to the dive sites avoiding the long boat rides.
Climate: Around 30°C all year round, rainy season June to September
Water temperature: 30°C in summer, 26°C in winter
Exposure protection: 3 mm or 5 mm full suit, also as protection from scratches when penetrating wrecks
Visibility: 10 to 20 m
Season: Best season is dry season November till May, diving is possible all year round
Diving price: Day trip with three dives from Coron including lunch cost around PHP 3000
Favorite dive site: The wreck of the supply ship Irako which is the deepest wreck lying on 43 m. Due to the depth less has been salvaged, so more to explore inside. In addition it is one of the largest wrecks as well with an original length of 145 m.
My trip: I took the ferry from Manila as the flight prices were around USD 400 last minute. The ferry ride is an experience itself especially staying at the cheapest class in a huge dorm room just under the karaoke bar. In Coron I stayed at Coron Visitors Hotel for USD 30 per night including breakfast, a basic hotel which is good value for money and has the best hot shower I had in a while. The hotel is situated close to the dive shop I was diving with. Rocksteady dive center is a very professional, German-owned operation I can fully recommend. The guides are experienced and do know the wrecks by heart. They will learn quickly what your needs are, put you in small groups of similar experience levels and show you around the wrecks. The dive boats are big enough to allow everyone to get comfortable during the rides to the dive sites and surface intervals. With the slow boats it takes one to two hours to get to the dive sites. To allow longer bottom times the surface intervals will be 1 1/2 hours normally. The lunch prepared and served on the boat between dives was always just delicious.