Not only is Cebu one of the most economically advanced in the Philippines, but it is also has become one of the major dive site destinations as well. For divers and scuba diving enthusiasts, be sure to check out the following on your next voyage to the south.
If you are on Malapascua Island, it would be only a 40 minute ride by boat to get to Gato Island, one of the loveliest marine sanctuaries in Cebu.
Gato Island itself is enveloped by several large rock formations, impressive enough, but the real highlights are the assortment of reefs lying beneath the waters, and the exotic life forms living amongst them, the most notable being the whitetip reef sharks and several bamboosharks. You can also dive through a tunnel and see even more marine wonders.
Panagsama Beach, Moalboal
Driving to the western border of Cebu lies the town of Moalbaol, which is where you can begin the journey to Pnagsama Beach, which is just some 3 miles (5 km) away.
Although this beach has been a favorite destination of tourists for more than two decades, it has not lost its appeal, and in fact more people are coming to vist every year. It is also suitable for beginners, because you only need descend a few meters down before you come upon the wall that goes for on for over 30 meters (100 ft).
Once there a vast array of coral reefs, myriad types of fish, anemones and corals will greet you. Even with the passage of time, Panagsama Beach in Cebu continues to be one of the most highly regarded dive sites in the province.
Lying between Malapascua Island in Cebu and the island province of Leyte, Calangaman Island is one of the up and coming diving
attractions in the Philippines.
The fact that it is still relatively not as well known makes it ideal for the tourist who wants some solitude and quiet. Not only is it unspoiled, but there are actually several dive sites on the island for you to choose from, each one serving up plenty of fish and corals that would make for beautiful underwater photography.
The Wall of Death
This ominously named dive site, located on the southern tip of the island, is actually one of the most beautiful, with a diversity of aquamarine life forms that few sites can match.
Due to fluctuations of the current, and also because the walls are precipitous, it is recommended that you take this dive with an experienced companion. But once you get to the lower levels, you will see some of the most wide-ranging and distinct sea creatures.
Nudibranchs, corals (soft and hard), reefs, sponges, frogfish, sting rays, mantas, eels and lionfish are just some of the colorful denizens you will come face to face with.
Cebu’s Sumilon Island is known as being one of the best maintained marine preserves in the Philippines, making it not just for tourists but also for those who wish to learn more underwater life.
The walls beneath its seas can go to lengths of over 35 meters (over 100 ft), and there is also plenty of sand around them. Among the numerous types of creatures you will see include coralfish, sharks, lionfish, various types of ribbon eels, and more. There are also several undersea caves to explore. If you are feeling adventurous, you can try diving during the night of the full moon, as it brings on stronger currents.
This Cebu dive site is quite near to Malapascua Island i(directly to its south side), and as the name makes clear, a great place to see thresher sharks, and more.
Beneath the waters of Shark Point is a giant plateau, going down some 60 meters (over 200 ft), but there are also a huge number of manta rays, Trigger fish and various corals and sponges. Diving at the site by night is also enjoyable.
It is just a 15-minute banca ride off the white beach of Copton Peninsula. The water condition is usually calm with occasional strong to fierce water currents. The visibility is as far as 100 feet, the average depth is 80 feet, and the maximum depth is 130 feet.
This diving site in Cebu is quite similar to the neighboring Copton Point but with less wall and more slopes. Reef fishes and corals are quite in abundance with the majority of the population is occupied by feather duster worms, nudibranchs, anemones, clownfish, and pipefish. There are lesser sightings of bigger fish since the current is usually calm.
The diving site is just five minutes away by banca from the shore of Copton Peninsula or you can just swim your way going to the site. The name Bas Diot is actually referring to the Moalboal Reef Club drop-off, however, the description is suited for the reef edge along the Panagsama Reef in Cebu. The water condition is always calm with the flow of gentle water current. The visibility is 65 feet away, the average depth is 50 feet, and the maximum depth is 130 feet.
There is a gentle slope down to the depth of 16 feet and a gradual drop-off followed down to 130 feet. Various kinds of sponges, corals, and reef fishes can be seen with the occasional sightings of sea snakes. The caves around the area are really full of different surprises for any diver.
The diving site is just 15 minutes away by banca from the southern tip of the Copton Peninsula. Since the area is thoroughly sheltered during the months for northeast monsoon, therefore, diving here from October to March is still safe and possible when other dive sites in Cebu are impossible to dive due to rough water conditions. The average depth is 80 feet and the maximum depth is 130 feet.
At the northern portion of the area is a succession of coral arches at the depth of 13 feet to 25 feet. At the southern portion of the area far from the drop-off are large buttresses that you can explore freely. Numerous number of invertebrates as well as coral life are abundant here. There are times that the water current is somewhat difficult particularly in between tides.
The diving site is about three kilometers away from the southwest side of Tongo Point within the Tanon Strait. From the Panagsama Beach, the area is about 45 to 50 minutes ride in a banca. The water condition is a little bit choppy with water currents that range from strong to rough to fierce. The visibility is about 130 feet away, the average depth is open, and the maximum depth is 165 feet.
This is the best dive site that Cebu can offer to diving fanatics because it gives almost everything that you wanted in a dive within a small location. The island is surrounded by a healthy coral ledge that ranges from 10 feet to 30 feet in height. The famous attraction here is the Pescador Cathedral which is shaped like an open top funnel at the depth of 50 feet to 115 feet. Lots of healthy coral life, fish life, and other sea life including the sharks and manta rays. Night diving is pretty popular in the site due to the presence of Spanish Dancer nudibranchs.
Located about a kilometer away from the north side of Badian Point, the diving site is just a five-minute banca ride away if you are staying on the island and a 45-minute banca ride away from Panagsama Beach. The water condition is usually choppy with strong water current to rough and fierce. The visibility is 80 feet away, the average depth is 80 feet, and the maximum depth is 130 feet.
The drop-off at 115 feet shelves on around the area. Divers will expect to see the beauty of corals, sponges, invertebrates, and reef fishes. Sightings of whale sharks are common between the months of January to March.
Located in the southwest side of Badian Point and about an hour and a half ride by banca from Panagsama Beach in Copton Peninsula. The water condition is usually choppy with some strong water current. An experienced local guide is needed to reach to the underwater reef. The visibility is about 130 feet away, the average depth is 80 feet, and the maximum depth is 165 feet.
This is a diving site in Cebu that is located about 100 meters off the shore of Mactan Island into the Hilutungan Channel starting from Amboucuan Point going to Marigondon. The site is only a 15-minute ride in a banca starting from any of the resorts in Mactan. The water condition is usually choppy with some strong currents, however, there are instances that the water condition becomes very rough with fierce currents. During bad conditions, only the very experienced divers are allowed in the area. It is recommended that less experienced divers should always have the companionship of an expert divemaster. Careful planning is needed when the water is in a moderate condition. The visibility is up to 80 feet, the average depth is 100 feet, and the maximum depth is 180 feet.
This diving site is ideal for a regular night diving in Cebu but with much careful planning beforehand. The most famous destination here is the Marigondon Cave due to its huge entrance measuring up to 90 feet at the top, 130 feet at the bottom, and 40 feet in diameter. The entrance of the cave has the presence of sponges, black corals, Tubastrea cup corals, soldierfish, lionfish, and squirrelfish. The entire length of the cave is about 150 feet and the measure at its end is about 80 feet in width. On the right side of the cave are numerous grottoes where school of bigeyes and flashlight fish are taking shelter. It is pretty much splendid to make a lookout at the entrance of the cave.
East Side Of Paganan Islet, East Side Of Caohagan Islet, and East Side Of Nalusuan Islet
These three marvelous diving sites in Cebu are lying close to each other on the eastern side of a vast reef that stretched from the southern portion of Olango Island up to Nalusuan Islet. These three places are just 30 minutes away from Mactan on a banca. The water condition is normally choppy with the presence of some strong and confined currents. Diving here during rough conditions is strictly prohibited. For safety purposes, divers are only allowed on the eastern side of this vast reef within Olango Channel since the western side within the Hilutungan Channel is pretty much tricky and dangerous. For novice divers, a good banca cover is a necessity since the area is somewhat too far from shore. The visibility is about 100 feet, the average depth is 60 feet, and the maximum depth is 130 feet and deeper.
These diving sites are best for drift-diving over the drop-off areas. At the depth of 65 feet, wonderful stony corals are present. Going deeper, crevices, overhangs, and some occasional caves are filled with colorful gorgonian sea fans, soft corals, sponges, lionfish, soldierfish, snappers, squirrelfish, surgeonfish, jacks, small groupers, and parrotfish. In order to find the best places to dive amidst this vast reef in Cebu, an experienced local guide must go with you.
The diving site is an underwater island located right at the center of the Olango Channel on the eastern side of Nalusuan Islet. You can reach the place on an average of 50 minutes by banca from Mactan. A Global Positioning System is actually needed in order to locate the underwater island quickly. This diving site in Cebu is open water with some fierce currents and if you get mistaken with the tide tables, a fierce surge will be experienced. Only the most experienced divers are allowed in the area going in small groups and bringing heavy cameras underwater is not a good option. The visibility is up to 130 feet, the average depth is 100 feet, and the maximum depth is 165 feet and deeper.
The underwater mountain in the site has the height of 100 feet. Presence of soft corals, stony corals, huge sponges, whip corals, and gorgonian sea fans is abundant. Schools of reef fishes like Moorish Idols, snappers, and jacks.
The diving site is at the western portion of the northern tip of Copton Peninsula in Western Cebu. It is only a 20-minute ride by banca from the northern tip of Copton Peninsula. The water condition is usually calm with an occasional current that ranges from strong to fierce. The visibility is 100 feet, the average depth is 80 feet, and the maximum depth if 130 feet.
At the depth of 80 feet going deeper to 130 feet, a steep sandy slope is present where various collections of corals and sponges can be seen. The clear areas on the slope are used frequently for fish feeding therefore, numerous reef fishes will follow you expecting for some handouts. The kind of dive is pretty much of a drift dive, however, sheltered spots are also present.
It is located about 100 kilometers north of Mactan Island and 10 kilometers southeast of Bogo, Cebu. You have three options to get to the diving site and these are 2.5-hour banca ride from Mactan, one-hour banca ride from Sogod, or 30-minute banca ride from Bogo. The visibility of the site is about 100 feet away, the average depth is 80 feet, and the maximum depth is 150 feet. Diving should not be done during bad conditions. In good conditions, the big concern is the fierce water current of the area. Experience divers must be careful and less experienced divers should always be accompanied with an experienced divemaster.
The three best sites to dive in Capitancillo Island are the Ormoc Shoal, the Nunez Shoal, and the Southwest wall. All the three sites have shallow reef-tops at the depth of 33 feet that extends to about three kilometers around the island. The drop-offs are filled with gorgonian sea fans, colorful soft corals, black corals, and caves. Various reef fishes are abundant to see with some shoals of pelagic fish, sightings of Grey and Whitetip Reef Sharks.
The location of this diving site in Cebu is 55 kilometers north-northeast from Mactan. Reaching the site is through a two-hour banca ride from Mactan or a one-hour banca ride from Sogod. The water current is usually choppy to medium but there are instances that the situation will become rough and fierce. Diving during a rough weather is not advisable. The visibility is about 130 feet away and the maximum depth is about 130 feet and deeper.
The north and northwest portion of Talong Island are full of stony corals such as boulder corals and large table. At various depths you can see the beautiful gorgonian sea fans, black corals, whip corals, and Dendronephthya soft tree corals. Reef fishes are in abundance such as Bumbhead Parrotfish, snappers, jacks, fusiliers, and batfish. On the seafloor you can see some various sea creatures like flounders, stingrays, Sand Perch, lizardfish, sea cucumbers, and many more. The dive site is also known for sightings of pelagic species.
Mactan Island - Tambuli
The location of the diving site is just a few kilometers off the coast of Tambuli Beach in Mactan, Cebu. It is just a 15-minute banca ride from any of the resorts situated within Tambuli Beach. The water condition is usually calm with some occasional current. It is a good site for novice divers to go where the visibility is about 65 feet, the average depth is 65 feet, and the maximum depth is 115 feet.
The dive is normally easy that gradually slopes at the depth of 70 feet. Reef fishes are generally used to being hand fed by the divers and they are really expecting the handouts as you approach them. Lots of sea cucumbers, sea stars, nudibranchs, sea urchins, and flat worms beneath. This is a diving site in Cebu that is excellent for macro photography.
Olango Island - Mabini Point
The diving site of Mabini Point is located at the northern tip of Olango Island which is about 20 minutes away from Mactan, Cebu on a banca. The water current of the area is somewhat strong, fierce, and unpredictable. Only the advanced divers are allowed to dive on the area. The visibility is 100 feet away, the average depth is 115 feet, and the maximum depth is 130 feet and deeper.
Divers here are usually hoping to see some larger pelagic species. The shallower water are quite boring since the excitement is on the drop off depth of 115 feet. At this depth, you can settle down in one of the shelters and look out for the passing of Hammerhead Sharks, Whaler Sharks, and other shark species.
Olango Island - Santa Rosa and Poo
The location of the diving site is about 400 meters off the shore of Santa Rosa and Poo villages. A 20-minute banca ride from Mactan, Cebu will get you there. The water current is normally strong and novice divers should always be in the company of experienced divemasters. The visibility is about 100 feet away, the average depth is 100 feet, and the maximum depth is 130 feet.
Snorkeling is possible to do on the reef flat at the depth of 30 to 40 feet. However, a banca cover is needed because of the strong current and quite muddy. Drop-offs for divers starts at the depth of 30 to 130 feet and experience the abundance of marine life around you such as gorgonian sea fans, soft and stony corals, barrel sponges, Tubastrea cup corals, and Dendrophyllia hard tree corals. Shallower waters are full of various species of reef fish.