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Bohol

Dive Map Bohol Cabilao IslandNapalingPuntadBalicasagCervera ShoalPamilacan Island
The island off Bohol lies just to the east of Cebu in the Viasayas region of the Philippines.

It is a home of the Tarsier, a very rare little monkey that is only found in this region of the world, as well as the Chocolate Hills, a popular Philippine tourist attraction.

The area's diving is also a major attraction, with great macro life & plenty of Sharks, including visiting schools of Hammerheads.

Seafan Diver Dive Photo Dive Photo Dive Map Bohol
 
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Turtle The most easily accessible spot around Bohol is Panglao Island - just a short distance from the capital, Tagbilaran. Here, there are shallow reefs that hide Nudibranchs, Ghost Pipefish, Frogfish & Stonefish. There is also good wall-diving at Napaling & Puntod. Banded Sea Kraits are common in this area.

Off the south-western tip of Panglao Island is the Balicasag Marine Park. Balicasag is often compared to Sipadan in Malaysia and some people consider this island to have the Visaya's best diving. The small island’s reefs drop-off into oblivion (721 fathoms to be precise) and are a great place for big fish encounters. Turtles and Napoleon Wrasse are common and Schools of Trevally sometimes engulf the unsuspecting diver. Sharks are not uncommon and the wall has superb hard & soft corals.

To the east, Cervera Shoal, while not the area’s most beautiful site, has a colony of Banded Sea Kraits and is another good place to look for Sharks. Due to the profusion of Sea Kraits, it is also sometimes known as Spaghetti Shoal. Further east again, Pamilacan Island means ‘resting place of Mantas’. These days, they are only occasional visitors, but even if they don’t make an appearance, the diving is still very good.

Up the coast of Bohol is Cabilao Island - another famous diving spot. The area has strong currents, which feed impressive soft coral gardens, but the real attraction here is the Hammerhead Sharks, which often gather around the island between December & April and make for quite a spectacle. The area has excellent macro life as well - with Pygmy Seahorses, Frogfish & plenty of Nudibranch’s hiding amongst the corals.

The best time to dive here is between October & May, with the best chance for Hammerhead encounters between December & April.

  Dive Photo Dive Photo Dive Photo Dive Photo
 
Dive Bases Icon Dive Bases Pygmy Seahorse
The Bohol region has two main dive bases - Panglao & Cabilao. Both are on the western side of the island, which has most of the diving and most of the tourist facilities. Dive Centres from Mactan Island on Cebu also visit the area.

The eastern side is more remote with less explored diving. Project Seahorse, an excellent marine conservation organisation is based in the north-east of Bohol.
  • Panglao
  • Cabilao
  • Mactan Island

Dive Map PanglaoDirectory Find Dive Centres in Panglao

Panglao is a small island connected to Bohol in the Visayas. It is the most popular spot in the area for tourists, with a large range of activities and tourist facilities.

Dive Phuket  Dive
There is excellent diving in the waters surrounding Bohol and the number of dive shops reflects this. It has calm waters for those learning to dive as well as excellent dive sites for experienced divers, including Balicasag, Bohol's rival to Sipadan in Malaysia.

Stay Phuket  Stay
This is one of the Philippines' top tourist areas and has a range of accommodation to match, from simple bungalows on the beach to very expensive hotels. Most of the options are around Alona Beach, while Dumulan Beach further up the coast & Dauis in the north have more upmarket options. There is also a dive resort on Balicasag, right on top of the area's best diving.

Travel Phuket  Travel
To reach Panglao Island, first you need to get to Tagliaran City, the capital of Bohol. The airport here connects with Manila, while it is also possible to get a ferry or speedboat from Cebu. Once in Tagliaran, it is a short journey to Panglao, which is connected to Bohol by bridge.

Do Phuket  Do
Diving is not the only activity here. There are plenty of activities around the beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, treks and nature trails plus the Chocolate Hills, Bohol's most famous landmark.

Dive Map CabilaoDirectory Find Dive Centres & Resorts in Cabilao

Cabilao is a little island just of the west coast off Bohol in the Visayas. It has some superb diving and makes a great base for divers.

Dive Phuket  Dive
The handful of dive centres in Cabilao are mostly based in resorts. They make daily trips to the sites around Cabilao, including visiting the Hammerhead Sharks in season. Safaris are also run to Apo Island to the south & other parts of the Visayas.

Travel Phuket  Travel
To reach Cabilao, take a plane or boat to Tagbilaran, the capital of Bohol, from either Manila or Cebu. Then take a bus or taxi to Loon and from there you can take a boat to Cabilao. Flying from Manila to Tagbilaran is probably the quickest option.

Stay Phuket  Stay
The accommodation on offer is comfortable and reasonably priced, starting around US$35 per night.

Do Phuket  Do
The island is small and the main activity is the superb diving. Snorkelling is also good as the island is almost completely encircled by reef. Otherwise, the island is a place for quiet & peaceful relaxation. There is plenty of exploring & activities on Bohol itself or in Panglao if you get restless.

Dive Map Mactan IslandDirectory Find Dive Centres in Mactan Island

Mactan Island is just to the east of Cebu City and is one of the most convenient places to dive in the country. It is also one of the country's most popular tourist spots.

Dive Phuket  Dive
Due to its popularity, there is a well established dive scene here with quite a few dive centres, which visit the sites on Mactan's east coast as well as Olango Island across the channel. There are also dive centres in Cebu City itself which also make trips to the dive sites of Mactan Island.

Some dive centres also run trips to Bohol's dive sites to the east.

Stay Phuket  Stay
There is a wide range of accommodation options in Mactan and also in nearby Cebu. Near the beaches, most accommodation is more upmarket.

Travel Phuket  Travel
The island is very easy to reach, as Cebu City's airport is actually based on Mactan Island. The airport has many domestic flights & some international flights, including connections to Singapore, Hong Kong & Tokyo. From here, a simple bus or taxi ride will take you to your resort. Alternatively, for those with more patience, it can be reached by ferry from most parts of the Philippines. Bus routes connect here to other parts of Cebu.

Do Phuket  Do
Aside from the diving, there are many activities around Mactan, including sporting activities, sight-seeing, shopping & good nightlife.

 
Leyte         
Philippines
Leyte is the most easterly & remote island of the Visayas, the Philippines' central island group. Diving here is concentrated around Sogod Bay on the southern tip of the island, which is gaining a reputation as one of the best spots in the world for Whaleshark sightings...

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Are you addicted to the thrill of big marine encounters? Do you crave up-close & personal encounters with gentle giants or apex predators? Then check out our guide to Asia's best spots for big fish encounters...

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