What to See in Olongapo and Puerto Princesa (Philippines)

by | July 18, 2022


Olongapo, Luzon island (Philippines)

According to Health Beauty Guides, Olongapo is located on the island of Luzon on the northwestern shore of Subic Bay about 100 km from Manila. In the 19th century, a Spanish military base was equipped in the bay, later it was conquered by the Americans. Until recently, the American naval base “Clark” was located here. In 1991, it was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, after which it has not been restored. Today, Olongapo is a major resort, where infrastructure is rapidly developing. Sandy beaches stretch along the entire coast of Subic Bay, where luxury hotels, golf courses, yacht clubs and sports centers are located. Just south of Olongapo, a special economic zone has been opened, exempt from most taxes.

Subic Bay is one of the best diving spots in the Philippines. There are about 60 sunken ships and planes in the bay, which attract wreck diving enthusiasts from all over the world. Most of them belong to the period of the Second World War, but there are also older ships of the 19th century that belonged to the Spaniards.

The eruption of the Pinatubo volcano destroyed many corals and left many dive sites under a layer of ash. Because of this, underwater visibility in Subic Bay is not very good – from 5 to 15 m. The best visibility is observed from December to May. The Philippine authorities protect the underwater world of the bay, so you will need a permit to dive. The most popular dive site is “New York”, named after the American cruiser that sank here. This place is marked with a green buoy. The cruiser lies at a depth of 27 m. Its length is 120 m. Other most popular dive sites in Subic Bay include the 3000-ton cargo ship El Capitan, 130 m long, which lies in the southern part of the bay at a depth of 5 m, and the oldest the vessel of the bay is the wooden artillery ship San Quentin, which was sunk by the Spanish in 1898 in order to block the entrance to the bay. The Zambale Mountains stretch through Olongapo along the western coast of Luzon. Pinatubo volcano is located 30 km northeast of Olongapo in the mountains .. Its height is 1445 m. On June 15, 1991, the Pinatubo volcano erupted, which is considered the second most powerful in the 20th century. Then hundreds of people died and nearby cities were destroyed. A cloud of volcanic ash covered not only the earth, but also the seabed. Today, walking tours are organized to the volcano, which pass through picturesque waterfalls, hot springs and mountain valleys.

On the territory of the Zambale region, areas of untouched moist forests have been preserved, in total about 10,000 hectares. Hiking is also developed here. Tribes live in the forests, in the villages of which excursions are organized. Zoobik Safari ParkĀ is located in the free economic zone. It covers an area of 25 hectares. Almost all inhabitants of humid forests are represented here.

Puerto Princesa, Palawan island (Philippines)

Puerto Princesa is located on the east coast of Palawan. An airport is located here, where tourists from various cities in the Philippines usually arrive.

Palawan Island is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Philippines. It is famous for its nature: dense tropical forests, coastal cliffs and the underwater world.

From Puerto Princesa you can go to St. Paul’s National Park. On its territory rises the mountain of the same name, in the gorge of which the longest underground river in the world originates (8 km long) and then flows through numerous caves. Taking a boat, you can explore these caves, which are interesting in bizarre stalactites and stalagmites. Mount St. Paul is surrounded by tropical rainforests. The local forests are known for their giant trees, many of which are endemic, about 25% of the animal species living in the archipelago are found only on this island. Also interesting in Palawan is a butterfly farm and a crocodile farm, where you can see two rare species of crocodiles: combed and Philippine; coastal cliffs, which were chosen by numerous birds and, of course, snow-white beaches.

230 km northeast of Puerto Princesa in the northwestern part of the island is the resort area of El Nido, which, in addition to the city of the same name on the coast, includes 45 small islands. The main recreation areas in El Nido are the islands of Maniloc and Lagen. Many resorts have been built here, similar to fishing villages, surrounded by quiet, secluded beaches. Tourists are offered bungalows for accommodation. El Nido is also home to the El Nido Tatay Nature Reserve. It covers about 36 thousand hectares of land and 54 thousand hectares of water surface. The reserve protects tropical and mangrove forests, coastal cliffs, about 50 white sand beaches, about 30 species of birds, 6 species of marine mammals, including dugongs, 4 species of turtles (green, olive, leatherback and hawksbill), 100 species of corals and more than 800 species of fish.

Diving is possible in El Nido all year round. More than 20 dive sites are concentrated here. El Nido offers drift diving, wall diving and large pelagic fish watching. The most popular dive sites are located near the islands of Maniloc (depths up to 20 m), Dilumakad (underwater caves, depths up to 10 m) and Matinloc (depths up to 35 m). The islands of Coron and Busuanga

located north of Palawan are known for their underwater world. Here at the bottom since the Second World War rests a lot of sunken Japanese ships. The ships lie at depths of up to 40 m. Quite strong currents are observed from the outer side of Busuanga Island, and the waters washing Coron Island – calm. The wrecks are covered with hard and soft corals, among which you can see a wide variety of fish. The cargo compartments of some ships are easily accessible for entry. In addition to the numerous wrecks at Coron and Busuanga, dive sites such as Daimaki Island (surrounded by coral gardens), Dibuyan Island (whitetip, blacktip and gray reef sharks), Dumunpalit Island (unique soft pink corals) and Barracuda Lake (underwater hot springs).

Off the east coast of Palawan Island, 182 km southeast of Puerto Princesa, in the central part of the Sulu Sea is the Tubbataha Reef National Underwater Park., where some of the best dive sites on the planet are located. The area of the park is 33200 hectares. The diving season is from March to June. Two coral atolls are protected in the park: South and North. Diving depths reach 70 m, underwater visibility is 40 m. There are about 46 species of corals, many coral fish, Byss turtles and green turtles, barracudas, manta rays, rays, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks.

Puerto Princesa (Philippines)