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Scuba diving in Leyte

With superb corals and the allure of the ever-elusive whale shark, Leyte has become one of the Philippines’ premier destinations. From graceful pelagics to macro oddities, Leyte is sure to delight.
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Diving in Leyte

Quick facts

Four major areas make up the extent of diving in Leyte. All of them are in the extreme southern tip of the island.

Limasawa Island sits just off the southern point of Leyte. This area is perfect for all levels of diving. Environments include deep canyons, steep walls and healthy reefs. The current can be strong, but the variety of fish and huge black corals make any effort worth your while.

Panaon Island and Sogod Bay are the main drawcard for the region. It’s here that whale sharks are spotted every November until May. When the whale sharks are not present, whales, dolphins and manta rays serve as entertainment. In addition, the Napantao Fish Sanctuary is home to barracuda, turtles, sweetlips and huge gorgonian corals.

Further north from Panaon Island, Libagon is a pelagic-lover’s dream. Everything from manta rays to whale sharks and dolphins can be seen here if you are lucky.

Finally, the area around the southern peninsula of Leyte is home to a wide range of dive sites. Most of these sites, around Tangkaan and Padre Burgas, play host to schools of barracuda, sweetlips, fusiliers, tuna and jacks as well as gorgeous gorgonian, hard and soft corals.

Because of the variety in diving offered by Leyte, it’s best to schedule a few days for diving in the area. Your dive log will thank you.

When to go

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What to see

With a wide range of marine life, from macro to pelagics, Leyte is sure to please every interest. Many sites are teeming with nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses and red starfish. Giant fans and gorgonian, hard and soft corals make even life-less dives beautiful.

Of course, the reefs are home to a plentiful variety of fish. Lionfish, glass fish, fusiliers, frogfish, schooling jack, moray eels, triggerfish, emperor fish, garden eels, sea snakes and bat fish are commonly seen.

As for pelagics, divers come here looking for whale sharks and often succeed. Additionally, lucky divers might encounter barracuda, turtles, reef sharks, dolphins and even manta rays.

When you look back on your log books from Leyte, you will wonder if there is a more diverse dive destination anywhere in the Philippines.

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