Not only does Bohol give us the majestic Chocolate Hills, pristine beaches, hidden coves, and adventure activities, it also gives us fantastic dive sites. Bohol diving is a rare gem. It offers beautiful dive sites that are close to your accommodations. Majority of scuba diving in Bohol is done along the southwestern end, and the resort island of Panglao is a great base for you to set up and explore the numerous dive sites surrounding the area, including Balicasag, Pungtud, Gakang, and Pamilacan.
If you are looking for drop offs and vertical walls, then there is no place better than Bohol for you. Better still if you like sea snakes. If those two things are up your alley, then make sure to not miss Cervera Shoal. If big pelagic action is more your speed, you may want to try exploring the relatively undiscovered dive sites near Anda Beach. All dive sites are boat dives and can be reached within 30 minutes from the shore. You’ll never run out of dive sites, as there are 18 dive sites to choose from around 14 km of coral reefs.
Bohol is not quite on the typhoon radar so you can dive year round. However, the northern part of Bohol does get wet during the months of June to February, but it is not particularly bad.
The southern part of Bohol has some of the best weather in the Philippines, as there are no real distinctive wet or dry seasons. It is consistently nice year-round, just don’t forget this is a tropical location so rain is generally short and sweet.
Panglao Island: This island not only has some great dive spots but also some beautiful white sand beaches that you will ever see. None of these is more compelling than Alona Beach. This beach has numerous resorts and dive sites for you to explore and enjoy.
Arco Point: A beautiful drop off only a couple of kilometers off Alona Beach, so near that a backwards roll off your banca will put you in about 8 meters of water. Slowly descend to the top of the drop off and locate the entrance to the shaft, which is in about 9 meters of water. The Shaft is vertical and you can exit the shaft at about 18 meters. This is a fantastic site with lots of little critters, including moray eels and trigger fish just to name a couple. If you are lucky you will even come across some curious black- and white-banded sea snakes. This area usually has a bit of current but nothing to difficult.
Cervera Shoal or Snake Island: White- and black-banded sea snakes are plentiful here. The shoal starts on a plateau which is roughly 12 meters, and then drop down to 60 meters. It can have some strong currents here, so you should pick the top of the flood tide to enter the water. Expect to see snakes and garden eel often patrolling just off the shoal, as does larger pelagic fish.
Doljo Point: This area is located on the southwestern side of Panglao Island. The current can sweep around the point, so jump in and let the current take you across the face of the wall. The wall has some great soft coral coverings and drops down to 40 meters. As with all wall and drop off dives, make sure you look out into the big blue as you are likely to see some big fish. Hammerhead sharks have been seen here.
Kalipayan: This is the reef directly in front of Alona Beach and can be either a shore dive or drift dive with banca. The reef starts at 4 meters and gently slopes down to 25 meters, where you will then find a sandy bottom. There is always small fish life to be encountered on this reef which does get a lot of divers. Great for a night dive.
Napaling: Located along the northwestern side of Panglao island is Napaling, a first class dive site that features a great wall dive. The dive starts at 3-4 meters and is covered with hard corals. As you slip over the edge of the vertical wall you will be blessed with sensational visibility and you will be able to see numerous soft corals that collect food in the strong currents. The wall drops down to about 30 meters, from which numerous pelagic fish can be seen, such as reef sharks.
Pungtud Wall: The site is fairly exposed and is comfortably dived when conditions are calm. The beautiful reef starts at 3 meters and drops down to about 20 meters. Hard corals give the smaller reef fish shelter from the large predators that patrol the wall.
Balicasag Island: This relatively flat island sits on top of a coral cay, and you can find it just over 6 kilometers south of Panglao Island. The reef surrounding Balicasag Island is pristine and is good for snorkeling, not to mention scuba diving. Look for the Black Forest, Southeast Wall, and the Dive Heaven.
Pamilacan Island: Located a one-hour banca trip away from Panglao Island, to the east southest, Pamilacan island island is another island that boasts of crystalline waters and abundant marine life such as manta rays, whale sharks, and dolphins. This island’s former main source of income is the culling of these majestic creatures; in fact, the island gets its name from the word pilak, referring to the large bent club used to cull these majestic animals. Thankfully this practice no longer exists as it is prohibited under Philippine Law.
Cabilao Island: Lies just off the western side of Bohol in the straits separating Bohol Island and Cebu. The best dive here is off the Lighthouse. This is a wall dive that drops quite deep. The best way to enjoy this dive is to get down to about 27 meters and let the current take you across the ledge around the wall. This spot seems to consistently attract barracudas, trevally, and sharks. In the cooler months of December to April it is not uncommon to see hammerhead sharks. The best time to see these magnificent beasts is at dawn or dusk. They are usually out of the wall in deeper water, but if you are lucky enough to see, you are sure to get a huge rush.
Anda Beach: This beach is located 100 kilometers from the capital city of Tagbilaran. Usually forgotten amidst other more popular dive sites such as Panglao Island, Anda scuba diving also offers a lot of great dives. Among the dive spots are:
Titanic Rocks: This dive spot, recently detected, is located about 30 minutes from the shore and is very suitable for beginners. Normally the boat will stay and carry tanks for the second dive. Between Titanic Rocks there is a lot of life to detect, and there is also an interesting cave at only 14 meters depth.
Neptune House: Also a boat dive, about 10 min from the shore at about 2.5 kilometers out. This spot is not suitable for beginners. The first dive on this place will always be guided, maximum of 4 divers plus the guide. Having a light source is obligatory. Entry into the cave is at 31 meters, time to spend in the cave is about 8-10 minutes. Sometimes you can find the sleeping Neptune, but there are also several lobsters and other marine life looking for protection here. The roof of the reef is populated by blue spotted stingrays.
Virgin House Reef: A beach and/or boat dive. The steep wall is densely populated by corals. This dive spot is not really suitable for beginners because of the depths and currents. However, experienced divers who are able to explore this site will be able to see rich fish life and a chance of seeing turtles.
Dapdap: A boat dive located about 6 minutes away and 1.5 kilometers out. This is a relatively shallow dive and is suitable as a second dive of the day. This site is also suitable for beginners as an introduction to diving. There is a nicely populated steep wall from which naked snails, sea spiders, parrot fishes, and barracudas may be seen.
Paradise Garden: This boat dive, located at 4.5 kilometers out or 18 minutes from shore, is arguably the best snorkeling spot of all. This area boasts of a fantastically populated wall from 3 to 30 meters. This spot is suitable for beginners when observing depths limits. Here you can follow the typical V profile, or perform a shallow dive (about 8 m) in excess of 2 hours. With a unique coral landscape and strong chance of seeing big fishes, this is a very popular wide lens area for underwater photographers.
Coco White: Boat dive 20min. Simple dive site with nicely populated steep wall. Suitable for beginners when observing the depths limits. Giant shells, Sergeant Majors, Naked snails, Spanish dancing snails, barracuda etc.
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