Ticao Island is part of the Masbate province. Geographically, Ticao Island is closer to Sorsogon. Given that Ticao Island is part of the Masbate province which is a well known for its ranches and the rodeo. Situated 1.5 hours (by boat) from Donsol, this is the place to go if you are looking for a peaceful getaway and a diving heaven – white beach, clear water, sprawling grounds, and the dive sites only 10 to 30 minutes away. The most popular among the dive site is Manta Bowl, which is a feeding and cleaning station for Manta rays.
Ticao island is known for its cattle industry. The majority of the beef in Metro Manilla comes from Ticao Island and the main Masbate island.
There are 3 main areas to dive in Ticao Island – The Manta Bowl, San Miguel island and Udoc Island.
The Manta Bowl Shoal is an underwater atoll which covers a 7 to 8 hectare flat area. The shoal is in the middle of the ocean and does not have much protection from the winds or waves. Manta Bowl is the Manta Ray capital of the Philippines, the habitat of the world’s biggest ray. Ticao Pass has one of the world’s highest concentration of plankton due to the strong currents from San Bernardino Strait. These currents push large groups of plankton and other organisms to gather in the area, making this an ideal cleaning and feeding station for the Manta Ray. The Pass is the deep sea “big-boys’-alley” which also attracts Whale Sharks, Hammerheads, Tresher Sharks, and other pelagics.
San Miguel is located on the northern part of the main Ticao Island, about 45 minutes by boat away from Manta Bowl. There are 7 known dive sites in this area, with lush soft coral growth and various walls and slopes. There are coves with beautiful white sand beaches where one can enjoy a nice barbecue lunch or can do some sun bathing during surface interval. For groups diving with non divers or for families with children, the San Miguel area is also great for snorkeling, swimming and kayaking. The dive sites at the tips of San Miguel Island ar known for their moderate to strong current and this serves a s a highway for eagle and Mantas rays.
Udoc Island is small island just behind San Miguel island. This island was made popular by photo journalist Mike Bartick because of his contribution to discovering a variety of macro critters in the area. Given that Donsol and Ticao Island’s popularity stemmed from the big creatures, the local dive master and local dive community took the little critters for granted. Currents here are very mild and a variety of critters can be found in the shallows.
In addition to the three areas for diving, Ticao Island Resort has dive sites just 5 minutes away for the resort’s shore.