Diving in Subic Bay – Facts Sheet
Destination : Subic Bay
Country : Philippines
Temperature : 26 – 29°C (77 – 84°F)
Typical Visibility : 30 – 40 m (65 – 130ft)
Season : November to June
How to go : Flight from Manila (1 hour)
Types of Dives : Wreck Dive
Known by many divers as the Pearl of the Orient, the former naval base of Subic Bay in the Philippines couldn’t have been given a more apt name. Just like real pearls, the value of Subic Bay is hidden except to those who know where to search.
While in many parts of the Philippines diving for the biodiversity of its marine life is growing more and more popular, with more and more visitors arriving each year, Subic Bay is becoming equally popular for a different kind of reason.
The dive sites around Subic Bay offer numerous opportunities for some of the world’s most incredible wreck diving, due do its location close to many of the oceanic battlefields of World War Two, while there are also a great many wonderful reefs in the area. With its clear blue waters, the Subic Bay offers supreme visibility that is unmatched by any other famous wreck diving site in the country.
Mention the name Subic Bay to any experienced diver, and instantly you will conjure up images in their mind of shipwrecks, ones that offer visibility and access that is almost perfect.
The dive sites around Subic Bay attract divers from all over the world to see its high quality shipwrecks. Alongside the island of Coron, Subic Bay offers the highest concentration of wrecks to be found anywhere in the Philippines.
Most of the wrecks in the area are here as a result of two wars, the US – Spanish war of 1898, and World War Two. Subic Bay was seen a safe place from the elements, a natural harbor for ships and vessels in both wars to come and collect stores and make repairs, but the bay was also highly vulnerable.
Subic Bay offers nowhere to run or hide in the event of a surprise attack, either sea borne or air borne, which is the reason there are so many wrecks here.
Presently, there are more than thirty highly accessible wrecks in Subic Bay’s waters, each of them suffering from decay to various degrees, yet nevertheless all of them offer wonderful experiences and great visibility.
One of the highlights of Subic Bay has to be the remains of the enormous Spanish War Galleon from the Spanish – US war, called the San Quentin, it is located near to the entrance of the bay, just off of Grande Island. Just to the north of the San Quentin, there is a shallow coral reef that ranges in depth from 5 to 10 meters, and is home to an astonishing variety of colorful corals, fish and sponges.
Another great wreck that is a must-see, the Japanese prisoner ship Oryoku Maru was sunk in 1944, claiming the lives of more than 300 British and American war prisoners. Located at a depth of just 18 meters, the Oryoku Maru is now a tangled mess of steel and iron that provides a home to a multitude of aquatic organisms and brightly colored corals.
An awesome site for bigger marine life can be seen at the Olongapo dive site, just off the island of the same name that is also home to a big naval base. Olongapo’s crystal-like waters offer the advantage of visibility that is over 40 meters, something that is unparalleled almost anywhere else within the Philippines.
As well as a few scattered and interesting wrecks, Olongapo is home to a variety of dolphins, sharks, turtles and sting rays whose presence combines to provide a most enthralling dive experience.