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Philippines Diving

The Philippines is ideally suited to diving. A tropical land and seascape of dramatic volcanoes (many still active) and sparkling white sand beaches, The Philippines' turquoise sea, 80% of the country's area, is rich in marine life and vibrant coral reefs -- more than 2,400 species of fish and 10 times as many coral varieties as in the Caribbean are found here.

Only 1,000 of the Philippines 7,107 islands are inhabited. There are thousands of deserted islands to explore. Political and natural crises have slowed development in rural areas and kept mainstream tourism at bay. Even the most famous Philippines beach, Boracay, is accessible only by boat and its cabanas are tucked in among the palm trees. On the surface the Philippines seems more like South America than Asia, with its population of handsome, English-speaking Filipinos who are an exhuberant blend of Spanish, American and Asian -- a unique legacy of their turbulent colonial history.

The Philippines is ideal for travel off the beaten track, with its little-known tribes and scattered islands. It also provides magnificent opportunities for sport: mountain-biking, kayaking and some challenging caving. However, marine sports predominate in this country of natural seafarers and Scuba diving is a recognised Filipino speciality.