The Wreck Diving Capital of the Philippines

Season: January through to April

Visibility: Mostly good

Water Temperature: 25C

Diving the Okikawa Maru (Sangat Resort)


Palawan Province – the largest province in the Philippines in terms of geographical size and jurisdictional control – is composed of the main island of Palawan as well as 1,780 additional smaller islands and island groups.

The most predominant and well known island cluster within this scenic region is the Calamines Island Group. Located directly northwest of the main island of Palawan, the Calamines Island Group – which includes Busuanga, Culion, Coron and Sangat Island, among others – marks the extreme northern boundary of this enormous 1,703,075 square hectare province.

Bordering the southern and western boundaries of this region include Balabac Island, the Cuyo Island Group and the politically disputed Spratly Islands which, located in the South China Sea between the Philippines and Vietnam, is home to over 650 reefs, islets, atolls, cays and tiny uninhabited islands.

What do people envision when someone mentions Palawan? Probably dreamy little islands studded by coconut palms and ringed by white sand beaches, crystalline, bathtub-warm waters and an ever-changing kaleidoscope of tropical marine life.

But that's not all. Other hallmarks of this jewel-like province include shard-like limestone rock formations, land-locked geothermal lakes, and a thriving population of some of the most interesting wildlife and tropical bird varieties on the planet.

Palawan Island

Palawan Island proper is a long, narrow landmass which, measuring 450 kilometers long by 50 kilometers wide, neatly bisects the South China and Sulu Seas. Island terrain ranges from coastal plains to craggy foothills to soaring mountain peaks.

Palawan's nearly 2,000 kilometer circumference of irregular coastline is edged by 1,780 tiny islands and islets, rocky coves, and white sand beaches. Palawan Island also contains large, unbroken tracts of virgin forests and mountain ranges.

In 2007, Palawan was rated by National Geographic Traveler magazine as the number one island destination in Southeast Asia, and the 13th best island in the world due to it's "incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes."

This article also went on to note that Palawan is "One of the most biodiverse (terrestrial and marine) islands in the Philippines…" After being awarded "Biosphere Reserve Status" in the early 1990's, Palawan continues to show "local interest in conservation and sustainable development".

Over the past 10 years, Palawan Province in general and the Calamines Island Group in particular has earned an extraordinary and well deserved reputation for unparalleled beauty, wildlife conservation and ecological sustainability.

As an example, Code Nast Traveler magazine voted the beaches, coves and islets of this province the "Very best in all of Asia", and famed underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau singled out this provincial region as home to some of the most beautiful seascapes in the world.

Philippines’ Wreck Diving Mecca – Sangat Resort

Sangat Island Dive Resort, which opened it's doors to the general public in 1994, occupies quite nearly the entire southwestern cusp of Sangat Island. To date, this perfect little slice of paradise offers guests fourteen native-styled, ecologically "low-impact" accommodations, restaurant and bar facilities, and an internationally-renowned water sports and scuba diving center.

Edged by a 300-meter span of white sand beachfront, postcard-perfect tropical waters, and coral reef gardens brimming with sea life, Sangat Island Dive Resort has become, in just a few short years, one of the premier resort destinations for eco-conscious paradise-seekers and scuba diving enthusiasts the world over.

One of the more extraordinary aspects that Sangat Island Dive Resort offers it's scuba diving clientele involves the island's close proximity to eleven World War II era wrecks. Ten of these wrecks are historically significant Japanese War and Supply ships sunk by American forces during the "Battle of Coron Bay" in 1944.

Of these ten World War II wreck sites, eight have found their final resting place a scant 5 to 30 minute boat ride from the beach at Sangat! 

These include:

Sangat Sub Chaser

This wreck, located on the eastern-side of Sangat Island, is a perfect location for beginner divers, underwater photographers, or as a quick and easy dive before or after deeper wreck locations.  With the bow laying a scant 3-meters below the surface, this location can also be enjoyed by snorkelers. Overall depth: 3 to 18 meters.

Please Note: due to it's overall size and shape, this wreck has historically been referred to as The Sangat Gunboat; the recent discovery of an onboard sonar unit now indicates, however, that this vessel was in all probability a sub-chaser.

Olympia Maru

This 160 meter site offers a large variety of marine life; large shoals of tropical fish including Banana fish, Giant Bat fish, and Giant Puffers can frequently be seen around the bow, stern and mast areas. Sitting upright on the seabed, this wreck offers many options for easy penetration into various cargo-hold areas. Overall depth: 18 to 30 meters.

Please Note: this wreck was – until recently – unidentified and therefore simply called The Tangat Wreck; recent historical reexamination of the wreck's location and physical characteristics now confirm that this vessel is The Olympia Maru.


Hard coral blankets the port side of this beautiful 120-meter site where Giant Groupers, Sweet Lips, sea snakes and turtles can frequently be found. Scorpion fish are also frequently spotted around this area so keep your eyes open and make sure you're well buoyant! The port side of the hull lies only 14 to 18 meters below the surface with a maximum wreck-depth of 26 meters. The large cargo compartments and engine room allow for easy penetration.

Please Note: this wreck was previously misidentified as The Olympia Maru; recent historical re-examination of the wreck's location and physical characteristics now confirm that this vessel is actually The Morazon.

Kogyo Maru

A wide range of coral cover the port side of this 160-meter site where many types of fish, including big Groupers, frequently congregate. Anti-Aircraft guns remain discernable on the top deck of this wreck; a cement mixer, antique bulldozer and other construction materials can be found within this vessel's large cargo hold areas. Wreck has a depth range of 24 to 34 meters; easy hull penetration can be found in numerous areas.

Lusong Gunboat

Located in front of Lusong Island, this wreck is nicely covered with hard coral and offers a wide variety of fish life. Perfect for snorkelers, the stern breaks the surface at low tide with a maximum bow depth of only 12 meters. This site also holds many creative opportunities for wreck photographers or as a quick dive-between-dives. Overall depth: 3 to 12 meters.

Irako Maru

Located in front of Lusong Island, this wreck is nicely covered with hard coral and offers a wide variety of fish life. Perfect for snorkelers, the stern breaks the surface at low tide with a maximum bow depth of only 12 meters. This site also holds many creative opportunities for wreck photographers or as a quick dive-between-dives. Overall depth: 3 to 12 meters.


Located between Culion and Busuanga Islands, near Manglet Island, the warship Akitsushima is laying on her starboard side after being hit amidships and sinking almost immediately. Her final sandy-bottomed resting place is frequently besieged by Giant Grouper as wall as shoals of Bat fish, Barracuda, Tuna and Yellow Fin. Some of this wreck's most impressive features include a giant seaplane crane structure, deck-mounted anti-aircraft guns, and shell-loading conveyors. Overall depth: 26 to 38 meters.

Okikawa Maru

Located near Busuanga – approximately 2 kilometers from Concepcion Island – this sunken tanker is completely covered in a thick carpet of coral and home to a vast variety of marine life. Since the top deck ranges between 10 and 16 meters from the surface, this wreck is a good site for beginner divers. Wreck divers can also explore inner spaces due to an ample supply of penetration voids. Overall depth: 10 to 26 meters. Strong tidal currents often affect this wreck.

Skeleton Gunboat

This 25-meter wreck, located near Coron Island, provides a shallow, beach accessible dive opportunity perfect for those just beginning their scuba training. Inclined at a 45-degree angle, the reef which surrounds this wreck also makes a pleasant and colorful coral dive. Overall depth: 22 to 25 meters.

Kyukozan Maru

This huge 180-meter wreck, located Northeast of Busuanga in Maricaban Bay, remains generally intact and upright on the sandy seabed. This particular site usually offers 20-meter or more visibility and an exciting dive experience. Depth of upper deck levels range from 22 to 28 meters; penetrations into the vessel's cargo holds are easily made and reveal a number of Japanese staff vehicles and trucks can still be discerned. Overall depth: 22 to 40 meters.

Nanshin Maru

While not a World War II vintage relic of particular historical interest, the 45-meter remains of this post-war Philippine vessel (locally referred to as the Nanshin Maru) still makes for a fascinating dive. Sitting upright on a sandy bottom, this wreck is a perfect adventure for beginner wreck divers with the added bonus of frequent sightings of Scorpion and Lion fish, Trumpet fish, Bat fish and more. The extraordinarily clear visibility of this location also makes this wreck site ideal for night dives and underwater photography. Overall depth: 21 to 32 meters.



Inside the Akikutshima (Sangat Resort)

Red Gorgonian (Sangat Resort)

Irako Wreck (Sangat Resort)

The colourful reefs of Coron (Sangat Resort)

Morazon Wreck (Sangat Resort)

Bubble anemone on the reefs of Coron (Sangat Resort)

Inside the Irako Wreck (Sangat Resort)

Kogyo Wreck (Sangat Resort)

Soft corals of Coron (Sangat Resort)

Morazon Wreck (Sangat Resort)

Divers around the Nanshin Maru (Sangat Resort)

Inside the Nanshin Maru (Sangat Resort)

Coron Reefs (Sangat Resort)

Diving the Okikawa (Sangat Resort)

Coron Reefs (Sangat Resort)

Olympia (Sangat Resort)

Coron corals (Sangat Resort)

Coron corals (Sangat Resort)

Sangat Sub Chaser (Sangat Resort)

Sangat's Reefs (Sangat Resort)

Wreck diving in Coron (Sangat Resort)

Coron reefs (Sangat Resort)

Sangat Sub Chaser (Sangat Resort)

Coron Reef (Sangat Resort)

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