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Cebu

Dive Map Cebu MalapascuaGatoCapitancillo Olango Mactan Island Moalboal Sumilon Apo Island
Cebu is the most accessible island in the Visayas - the group of islands making up the central part of the Philippines Archipelago.

It is home to Cebu City, the Philippines' second largest city plus some excellent diving, particularly in its more remote corners.

This long, thin island has four main diving areas - Mactan Island, Moalboal, Semilon & Malapascua - where Thresher Sharks are found.
Anemone Diver Lionfish Nudibranch Dive Map Cebu
 
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Gorgonian Seafan Mactan Island, just to the east of Cebu City, is the most easily reached and popular destination. The east of the island drops into a deep, narrow channel that brings plenty of nutrients and good diving.

Marigondon & Pang Pang are wall dives, where divers drift in the current and admire the colourful corals and sponges that cling to the walls. Large Gorgonians are a feature of these sites and Marigondon has a large field of Garden Eels. Manta Rays and Whale Sharks occasionally pay a visit.

In between these two sites is a large cave at 26m that experienced divers can visit. It is home to curious Flashlight Fish that use bio-luminescence to attract their prey in the darkness. Further to the north, the wall becomes a gentle slope. Across the deep channel is Olango Island. This has a couple of good sites, with a nice drop-off at Santa Rosa and the chance to see Sharks and other larger species around Baring.

On the western coast of Cebu is Moalboal. The star of the Moalboal area is Pescador Island. This small island has a huge variety of marine life and very interesting topography. The Cathedral is a funnel-shaped cave pierced by the sun’s rays. The shallow fringing reef gives way to an impressive drop-off, where Whitetip Reef Sharks and sometimes Hammerheads can be seen. Very occasionally, Threshers & Tiger Sharks are spotted too. Numerous colourful reef-fish call this island home and Spanish Dancers are sometimes spotted floating along the reef.

Badian Island is another good site, while for experienced divers, the deep sea-mound of Lambung is a great place to find large schools of fish & plenty of action in the blue, including Manta Rays. There is also good shore diving from the beach around Moalboal.

To the north of Cebu, a number of good sites can be reached. Malapascua Island has excellent diving & some interesting wreck dives. South of Malapascua Island is a site called Monad Shoal, otherwise known as Shark Point. As the name suggests, this is a great spot to find Sharks. Beautiful, elusive Thresher Sharks are frequent visitors to this underwater plateau, as are Silvertip Sharks & Manta Rays. The site is quite deep, starting in 18m, so is not recommended for beginners. It is one of the best spots in the world to see Thresher Sharks.

Capitancillo Island has an excellent wall dive. Again, this is a pretty good spot for Manta Rays, as well as Tuna & large Groupers. The reef here is teeming with life. Kimod Reef is another good spot for larger sightings, including several Shark species, Eagle Rays & Mantas. Quatro Island has beautiful coral gardens and interesting caves to explore.

Gato Island has an unusual tunnel going right under the island. Whitetip Reefsharks are common, both in and out of the tunnel. The site has plentiful soft corals, plus good macro life.

In the south of Cebu, Sumilon has more fantastic diving. The Philippines’ first marine park has gin-clear water, plummeting drop-offs, huge gorgonians and plentiful pelagics., including Hammerhead Sharks, Manta Rays and occasional Whalesharks.

To the south, Apo Island teems with life of every shape & colour, making it one of the most popular dives in the Visayas. Numerous hard corals & sponges compete for space on the fringing reef and impressive Gorgonians cling to the walls. Both Black & Whitetip Reefsharks are common here, as are Barracuda, Tuna & Dorado. There is also good wall diving around Santander on the main Cebu Island.

The best time to visit Cebu is between October & May. The area lies in the Typhoon Belt, meaning there is a risk of Typhoons in June & July.

  Anthias Shark Eagle Ray Gorgonian Seafan
 
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The dive bases around Cebu mirror the diving spots, with local operators near every popular dive area. Many dive operators run Safari trips around the Visayas, stopping off each night in a different place rather than staying on the boat.

Dive centres from Dumaguete in southern Negros also visit the sites of southern Cebu.
  • Mactan Island
  • Moalboal
  • Santander
  • Malapascua

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.

Dive Map MoalboalDirectory Find Dive Centres in Moalboal

Moalboal is a sleepy town on Cebu's west coast - around 4 hours drive from Cebu City. The area's popularity is based on its outstanding diving & beautiful beaches.

Dive Phuket  Dive
There is a well established dive industry & a wide range of dive centres to choose from. All the dive centres make daily trips to Moalboal's local dive sites and some make safari trips other sites around the Visayas.

Stay Phuket  Stay
There is a wide range of budget & mid-range accommodation around Moalboal, from nice hotels to simple but comfortable cottages. There are also a few high-end luxury hotels. The resorts are generally spread out along the beaches.

Travel Phuket  Travel
The best way to reach the area is to fly to Cebu Mactan Airport, which has flights from both domestic and international destinations. From here, it is possible to travel by car or bus to Moalboal. It is also possible to get to Cebu City by ferry, but this is a much slower option.

Do Phuket  Do
The main activities are diving, snorkelling & enjoying the beautiful beaches. It is also possible to try other watersports or simply explore the area. There are plenty of nice restaurants & bars, but the atmosphere is generally laidback rather than lively.

Dive Map SantanderDirectory Find Dive Centres in Santander

Santander is a small region in the south of Cebu Island, 135km drive from Cebu City. It provides the closest access on Cebu to the Sumilon area, as well as Apo Island near Negros.

Dive Phuket  Dive
There are a small number of dive shops in the area making daily trips to local dive sites, including Apo Island.

Stay Phuket  Stay
There are a few places to stay in Santander, but not a wide choice. Most of the resorts offer budget or mid-range accommodation.

Travel Phuket  Travel
It can be reached through Cebu Mactan International Airport, which has many both domestic flights and some international connections. From here, simply take a bus or taxi south.

Do Phuket  Do
Away from the reefs, Santander is a nice place to relax and enjoy beautiful sunsets over Negros Island to the west. Visit's can be made to Negros, which is only 6km away across the channel.

Dive MapDirectory Find Dive Centres in Malapascua

The charming little island of Malapascua is just off the northern tip of Cebu in the Visayas. Malapascua actually means 'bad christmas', a name given by a group of Spanish sailors who arrived here one Christmas Day. It is a very relaxed island, with no cars & minimal infrastructure.

Dive Phuket  Dive
There are a handful of dive operators here, making trips to Monad Shoal to see the Thresher Sharks and other local dive sites. It is also possible to arrange Dive Safaris around the Visayas.

Stay Phuket  Stay
There is a good range of accommodation here. Most of the resorts have small mid-range or budget cottages along the island's beaches.

Travel Phuket  Travel
Cebu City's airport is the main gateway to Malapascua. This airport has many domestic flights and some international connections as well. From here, a journey by bus or car takes you to Maya in the north of Cebu where you can catch a boat to the island.

Do Phuket  Do
Aside from diving, there are many beautiful beaches and it is possible to walk around the island in around a couple of hours. There are some nice restaurants and quiet bars, but not too much else in the way of tourist facilities.

 
Bohol         
Philippines
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. The area's diving is also a major attraction, with great macro life & plenty of bigger encounters...

Read more...
 
The Seas of Asia
Discovery

Asia is caught between two huge oceans, the Indian Ocean to the west and the Pacific to the east. In between is a complex geography of land & water that has given rise to some of the most fascinating & species rich seas on our planet...

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