The Visayas is a large area that contains a myriad of wonderful dive sites for divers of all abilities. Bohol, Malapascua, Cebu, Leyte, Negros are the most popular areas.
Lying in the heart of the Visayas, Bohol is home to the exotic Chocolate Hills, pristine beaches, hidden coves, friendly people and fantastic divesites. The island is ideal for all types of divers with its gentle slopes, magnificent walls, wide variety. There are a lots of sites that offer excellent diving at Panglaon and Cabilao Island.
Panglao Island is located at the south western tip of Bohol. There’s a shallow reef platform that has depths of between 5 and 6 metres (15 to 20 feet) which later gives way to cliffs that drop to greater depths of about 33-56 metres (100 to 170 feet). You will enjoy the scenery of various hard and soft corals. Marine life close to the reef includes tuna, snappers, groupers, mackerel, surgeonfish, black-tip sharks, dolphins and manta rays on some occasions. It is a great place for snorkeling and novice divers as well as experienced divers.
Cabilao Island, south west of Pangangan Island lies in the Bohol Strait and has a great diversity of dive sites. More than 800 species of underwater life like corals, shells of different sizes as well as sea snakes, barracudas, large groupers, napoleon wrasses and snappers inhabit the dive sites. Also it is home to hammerhead sharks in deeper waters more suited for the experienced diver.
The diving season in Bohol is year-round. Expect some monsoon rains between July and September. But it is generally too far south to be affected by the rainy season typhoons.
Cebu, “the Queen City of the South”, is the oldest and second largest metropolis in the country. It is famous for its fine sandy beaches, ancient forts, exciting nightlife and friendly, hospitable people. Cebu Island is a long narrow island, located in the middle of the Philippines islands, and its extensive reef system offers great diving. There are reef dives, spectacular drop offs, shallow and deep reef dives and caves with varying depths and challenges which make sit possible for novices as well as experienced divers to have their fun. Depth is averaging from 50 to 165 feet (15 to 50 meters). Some of these sites are suitable for drift diving due to the strong current. The more famous dive site are Moalboal and Malapascua Island.
Moalboal is on the western coast of Cebu Islands. Rocky cliffs and drop offs is what characterizes this area On Pescador Island, which is a famous diving spot in this area. The caverns and overhangs located along the cliff are just spectaculars. You can find plenty of sea life like coral, ferns, anemones and sponges as well as groupers, turtles and sea snakes. White tip sharks are common and even hammerhead sharks appear occasionally in deeper dive sites; January to May is when you likely to see these beautiful creatures the most.
Malapascua Island is located north of Cebu. Reefs, drop offs, walls and several WWII wrecks are among the great wreck dive sites here. You are bound to see mandarin fish, countless nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses and cuttlefish just to mention few. The marine life is rich and the variety of depths on the dive sites provide something for everybody, from novice to advanced divers. The marine reserves at Malapascua Island are home to sea snakes, cuttlefish, seahorses, nudibranchs, frogfish, and scorpion fish. The best time to observe sharks is in the winter. In fact thresher sharks can be seen everyday which has made Malapascua very popular with underwater photographers looking for good shark shots.
Leyte is situated in the Eastern and lies to the northeast of Cebu and the north of Bohol. All the diving here is concentrated at the southern part of the island and can effectively be split into three main areas – around and off the coast of Limasawa Island, Pananon Island and Libagon. All the above areas offer good diving, but southern Leyte is best known for the chances to come across whale sharks that migrate through these waters. The best time to see them is from November to the end of May.
Negros Island is considered the fourth largest island in the Philippines. Its white sandy beaches are the gate to very popular dive sites. The famous Apo Island in the southeast is a heaven for scuba-diving; The island consists of well protected coral reef that surrounds a volcanic island. Negros Island is divided into two provinces Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. Its dive sites are home to more than 400 coral species and 700 fish species. Most dive sites are at range from 16 to 98 feet (5 to 30 meters) deep.