Monday, June 7, 2010

Best Snorkeling and Diving Locations in Visayas island Philippines

Philippines are an archipelago of 7107 islands. It lies near the equator, it is a tropical country characterized by only two seasons: dry and wet.

If you are traveler into these islands particularly in Visayas islands; you might be interested in doing some snorkeling and diving into the Visayas island crystal clear waters.

Below is the best snorkeling and diving locations into these islands based on my experience (best during dry season: February to May).

1.) Balicasag Island Bohol

What you can do: Snorkeling and Diving
How to get there: You need to go to Cebu, Philippines. Then board a ship to Bohol islands via a ferry boat. Then board a vehicle to Panglao Bohol. Once you are in Panglao, you can rent a boat as well as diving/snorkeling equipments to Balicasag Island.

What you can see: Really stunning fish sanctuary and walls of coral reefs.

Cost of Travel:

a. Panglao accommodations are around 1000 pesos per night
b. Boat rental for diving is around 800 pesos.
c. Scuba dive master is around 1500 pesos per dive (do not go with the expensive dive shops).
d. Ferry boat from Cebu to Bohol is around 500 pesos.
e. You can save a lot in food if you do not dine in restaurants.

2.) Malapascua Island Cebu

What you can do: Snorkeling and also Scuba diving

How to get there: If you are in Cebu City, Philippines you need to ride a bus at the Cebu City North Bus Terminal to Maya Cebu. Board a bus with a signboard (Maya-Bagay).

Then, upon arriving in Maya sea port, ride a boat to Malapascua Island. The travel from Maya to Malapascua takes around 45 minutes in boat.

What you can see: If you are a certified open water sea diver, you can see Thresher Sharks in deep waters which can be best seen in the early morning. You need to rent a boat to go to Monad Shoal, a place where Thresher sharks are found. These sharks are big but they are friendly.

There are also numerous reef sharks around Gato Island (within Malapascua reach). You can also have a chance to dive a 1982 passenger shipwreck and a Japanese Naval ship destroyed during WWII.

If you are into snorkeling, you can enjoy the Malapascua sanctuary on garden corals which is one of the best I have seen in the Visayas Sea. The corals reef gardens are a collection of blue, red and a mixture of bright colors, along with numerous species of fish.

Cost of Travel:

a. Bus from Cebu City to Maya- 100 pesos
b. Boat from Maya to Malapascua – 50 pesos (high tide) but in low tide, you need an additional 10 pesos to board a small boat prior to riding the big pump boat.
c. Accommodation: There are some cottages there that charge 800 to 1000 pesos per night.
d. Boat rental for Snorkeling and diving- 800 pesos
e. You can save a lot in food cost if you do not dine in expensive restaurants.

3.) Moalboal Cebu

What you can do: Snorkeling and diving in Pescador Island.

How to get there: Ride a bus from South bus terminal Cebu City to the town of Moalboal Cebu, or alternatively you can ride either a taxi or V-hire.

What you can see: Sea turtles and reef fishes if you are doing wall diving in Pescador .Wonderful coral reefs can also be seen along the shallow waters.

Cost of Travel:
a.) Taxi- 2000 pesos
b.) Accommodation: 2000 pesos per night (not air-condition)
c.) Boat rental- may vary but 500 to 1000 pesos is ok.
d.) Diving equipment rental- similar to other diving locations mentioned previously.

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