Diving in Bohol


Bohol is famous for its chocolate hills, limestone hills uplifted above sea level and formed by streams and the smallest monkeys – Tarsiers (Tarsius syrichta) with its huge, disproportional eyes  to the rest of the body. Bohol also has a beautiful, white sandy beaches.
The mountains are in the center of the islandd with the rain forests growing on them.
The largest city is the port of Tagbilaran (has a connection to the airport and capital of the Philippines – Manila), the city is not that interesting to explore, but you can shop in a huge shopping mall, exchange currency and do all the necessities. The real wonders starts about 2 km south of Tagbilaran, where You can find the island of Panglao, connected to Bohol with the causeway and a bridge running along a belt of mangroves. The most famous tourist spot is called Alona Beach with lots of hotels in various standards and with numerous diving centers.


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Panglao is rich in interesting diving spots. For many years the Island constitutes as a mecca for divers. The most interesting ones lie along the southern part of the island around Alona Beach and the surrounding islands: Balicasag, Pamilacan and Pungtud. Dives aren’t deep and oscillate between 5 to 30 meters. Most of the dive spots luck of very strong currents which makes the beginners diving very easy and they can try their hand here.

Dive sites around Panglao

The dive sites are mostly walls, beautifully overgrown with corals. Diving back to the reef, we can see the spectacle of a tornado forming by horse mackerel’s and barracuda’s shoals. The dive sites are visited by sharks – mostly white tip reef shark. But you shouldn’t just tune  in only to watch the “big fish”. There are not as many of them as in the Maldives or Palau, but the quantities are comparable with Red Sea’s  hits such as the Elphistone, Brother Istands or St. John’s. The largest attraction is the small reef fish and the “macro” – from the smallest seahorses called pygmies (Pygmy sea horse) with a length of 0.5 to 1 cm cleverly hiding among the tangle of gorgonian’s “arms”, through countless species of gastropods, bivalves, shellfish , scorpionfish, triggerfish or cephalopod.


The most interesting scuba diving sites:

Black Forest

Location: Balicasag Islands, 10 km from Alona Beach

Requirements: divers with MDC and for snorkling.

Visibility: 15 – 30m depth: 8 – 40m

Description: A large number of mosaics of hard and soft corals in shallower parts forest of black coral (Antipathes) at a depth of 35-45 meters. A large number of reef fish: grouper, angelfish, snapper, barracudas, whale shark, scorpion fish, parrot fish, jack fish, garden eals, tuna and many more.

One of the best dives around Panglao.

Rudy’s Rock

Location: Balicasang Islands, 11 km from Alona Beach

Requirements: divers with MDC and for snorkling.

Visibility: 12 – 20m Depth: 3 – 35m

Description: wall starting at 3 meters and ending on the 35m, nicely covered with soft and hard corals, cut by canyons with numerous small caves. Visible shoals of Carangidae (Jacks and Trevallies), curls into a circle like a tornado schools of snapper and macularis Macolor and waiting for treatments at “cleaning station” Grunts Haemulidae (Sweetlips).

Diver’s Heaven and Cathedral

Location: Balicasang Islands, 10 km from Alona Beach

Requirements: OWD divers holding.

Visibility: 12 – 25m Depth: 3 – 45m

Description: The wall, starting with the 3 meters gently sloping to the bottom at 30 – 40 meters. Places are rich in sponges, colorful Ellisella (sea fans) and gorgonians sticking out from the walls, among them you can also meet frog fish. In the shallows one can find Kyphosus cinerascens, below rises all the “aquarium” rich in reef fish, snails, crustaceans. You may encounter turtles, triggerfish, pufferfish, and many others.

Arco Point

Location: Libaong, Panglao Islands, 4 km from Alona Beach

Requirements: OWD divers holding.

Visibility: 10 – 25m depth: 4 – 27m

Description: Wall with caves.  Planty of moray eels, eels, scorpion fish or frog fish, can be found there.

For more info about dive sites in Panglao click here


While in Bohol don’t miss out the Cabilao Island. For more information, please check out this article: cabilao world renowned macro

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2 thoughts on “Diving in Bohol

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