Diving in Leyte – Facts Sheet
Destination: Leyte, Visayas
Temperature: 27 – 30°C (80 – 86°F)
Typical Visibility: 20 – 35 m (65 – 130ft)
Season: December to May
How to go: Regular flights from Manila to Tacloban Airport (1 hour)
The historically significant province of Leyte in the Visayas region of the Philippines was the scene of the largest naval battle ever and as such, there are a number of historical sites including MacArthur’s Landing Memorial and the St. Nino Shrine.
Much of the land is covered with trees and plant-life in the mountainous parts and rice paddies in the flatter lands. Locals on the coast are either fishermen or tour operators catering for the number of dive tourists that visit annually. Leyte has 5 dive sites described as perfect by many a tourist.
Liloan is one of the more difficult dive spots as there are strong currents but below the dive site are a number of caves and coral arrangements. This site is recommended for experienced divers as drift diving is needed to explore the wonderful, underwater gems.
An excellent dive location is Limasawa Island; a 6-mile long island that offers divers the chance to view some species that can only be found in Philippine waters. Of course, you can also see some of the more usual marine life such as mackerel, barracuda, tuna and sharks.
Limasawa Island and Panaon Island are two of the better spots for marine photographers and tourist wanting to get close to exotic fish and to experience the thrill of diving in the coral. Panaon Island also has caves and turtles which attract many people, however it is a 2-hour boat ride and there tourists are requested to donate a small amount to ensure the protection and monitoring of the dive sites. Panaon Island is listed as one of the top 5 diving sites in the Philippines.
The remaining diving and snorkeling locations provide a blend of colonial attractions (both above and below water level) and a less advanced spot for the new-to-diving. Malitbog is an old town that really shows its Spanish heritage. There are a number of old churches, ruins and a museum in the town and also an underwater cemetery and other sites covered with magnificent coral formations and a large number of marine creatures.
Tangkaan Point is ideal for beginners as it offers shallow coral gardens in which to snorkel and has many large fish and turtles in the area. There are also anemones and sponges living on the high walls of Medicare and Heaven’s Gate.
The beaches in Leyte are as idyllic as any other in the Philippines; many seem to go on for miles and amaze visitors with their pure white sand. The beaches are often quiet and secluded and retain the feel of a paradise untarnished by the outside world. One beach is aptly named White Beach and is a great example of this. It’s an ideal location for some sunbathing, swimming, diving or just picnicking with friends.
Another area worth a visit is the Amihan Cebu Woodlands which has a peaceful beach adjacent to woodland filled with animals of all description and trees ranging from acacia to coconut to a mangrove swamp. The sounds coming from the woods really does enhance the feeling of serenity found in Leyte.
Whether it be a dive in the warm waters off the coast to view turtles and exotic fish or a relaxing snorkel session near the beach followed by a seafood barbecue, Leyte offers visitors a touch of something special.