There are several destinations in the Philippines where you can enjoy dolphin watching.
With all the islands in the country, the Philippines is definitely a treasure trove of marine flora and fauna. It is also a hotspot for various water activities such as diving, snorkeling, and skiing as well as swimming with fantastic marine creatures such as whale sharks, stingless jellyfish, and of course, dolphins.
Dolphins in Bohol Sea
One of the most popular dolphin watching destinations in the Philippines is probably Bohol Sea. Dolphins have chosen this body of water in the Visayas as their playground all year round. Several motorized outriggers carrying tourists trying to catch sight of these creatures in their natural habitat is therefore a common scenario every morning. Additionally, Pamilacan Island and Balicasag Island, both located in Bohol Sea, are two of the most popular diving destinations in the Philippines. So when you venture in this part of the country, you will be seeing not only dolphins but also submarine cliffs and many other marine creatures such as whales turtles, various fish species, and colorful corals.
Verde Island Passage
Verde Island Passage is the richest marine resource not only in the Philippines but the whole world as well. So rich that it is recognized as the “Center of the Center of Marine Shore Fish Biodiversity” in 2006 after a team of marine conservationists ventured into its unexplored areas. The exploration resulted in the discovery of approximately 100 new marine species. Of course, dolphins also thrive in the rich waters and you can even catch a glimpse of them swimming and jumping near the boat you are on when you cross the passage from Batangas to Mindoro.
To avail of dolphin watching tours, you can find tour operators and businesses in Puerto Galera.
Dolphins in Tañon Strait
Separating the islands of Negros and Cebu, Tañon Strait is the largest marine protected area in the Philippines. It is connected to Bais Bay, which along with Tañon Strait, is known for dolphin and whale watching. The tours to see these majestic creatures operate from Bais City, which is located 45 kilometers away from Dumaguete City and is nicknamed as the “City of Whales and Dolphins”. Species of dolphins found in the area include bottlenose dolphins, spot spinner dolphins, and spotted dolphins.
The area is actually part of Guimaras Strait but is nearer the coastline of Bago City and Pulupandan in Negros Occidental. The waters is home to the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, one of the endangered dolphin species in the world. There are only about 20 of them in Bago-Pulupandan Waters and considering their shy behavior, sighting is not always guaranteed. To see the dolphins, you can arrange a tour with Pulupandan or Bago City tourism office.
Puerto Princesa Bay
Puerto Princesa and the whole Palawan province remain to be the top tourist choice for various marine-related destinations. In addition to the subterranean river, another attraction in Puerto Princesa is the sightings of various species of dolphins in the waters of Puerto Princesa Bay. You can book a tour via agencies and operators such as Palawan Days.
Babuyan Channel is located in the Luzon Strait at the northern tip of the Philippines. The channel separates the main Luzon Island from Babuyan Group of Islands which consist of Babuyan, Calayan, Dalupiri, Fuga, and Camiguin. A few species of dolphins have been spotted in the area year round while dwarf sperm whales, humpback whales, melon-headed whales, and short-finned pilot whales are often sighted from February to April.
Facing Celebes Sea, Sarangani Bay is one of the busiest areas in the Southern Philippines due to the presence of Makar Wharf, an international port connecting Mindanao with the Southeast Asia region. Just over a decade ago, environmentalists started seeing and monitoring the bay for spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, dwarf sperm whales, pygmy sperm whales, and sea cows. Additionally, the bay is also blessed with various species of corals and seagrass.
General Santos City is the jumpoff point for this destination.
Apart from Puerto Princesa, another destination for dolphin watching in Palawan is Malampaya Sound, an inlet on the northwestern coast of Palawan Island. It is a protected area with rich marine biodiversity where over 100 fish species and three species of dolphins thrive.
The jumpoff point for this destination is Taytay, a town in the 1st district of Palawan.
Other lesser known destinations for dolphin watching in the Philippines are Mati Bay in Davao Oriental and Divilacan Bay in Isabela. Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park has Dolphin Island, a refuge for rescued dolphins that were released to the open sea once their condition allows. The park allows guests to swim with the dolphins but is closed until further notice.
Dolphin Show in Ocean Adventure in Subic
Subic Bay’s Ocean Adventure is probably the most popular among tourists as sighting is 100% guaranteed and getting up close and personal with the dolphins is possible however, some question the ethics of this experience stressing that dolphins and all other animals shouldn’t be kept in captivity to prevent altering their natural tendencies as well as prevent them from acquiring diseases carried by humans.
READ MORE: Activities & Adventure in the Philippines