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Bohol - Panglao & Anda

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Best months for diving Visayas/ siquijor

Bohol - Panglao & Anda

Diving Bohol

Bohol has been a great diving spot for many decades. Although, the latest typhoon destroyed a lot of corals and even made some dive sites in ruins, diving is still top notch. 

You can dive in 3 major spots, from which 1 is less attractive now.

The main places to go diving are: Panglao & Anda.

Cabilao island used to be a great place to go diving for its coral and hammerhead shark sightings, but since the latest typhoon some dive shops even chose to close(!).

Panglao/ Alona Beach:

This is the most famous, as Balicasag is nearby. You will have pretty much every dive center organize day-trips to this beautiful island. Diving is only allowed 2 times per day on Balicasag and Pamilacan island. So if you want to see the best dive sites, 2 day-trips to Balicasag is definately recommended. You can usually tell your dive center which dive sites you prefer, and they will hopefully accommodate.

Below you will find a list of the dive sites I find are most appealing.

Panglao

Panglao is probably most famous for diving in Bohol. There is the world famous Balicasag as well as Pamilacan Island and on the other (northern) side of the island you will find Doljo, which is great for diving, freediving and snorkeling.

Most accommodations are centered around Alona beach and Tawala. You will have no problem finding your perfect place, clicking below.

Panglao has a nice beach boulevard with many bars, restaurants and hotels. If you walk into the city there is also a main road with many more places to relax and indulge yourself. Dive centers are plenty, but I can highly recommend BoholDiversclub.

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Anda

Anda is an unexplored gem in the diving scene. And not even hard to get to, I found out! 

If you're looking for white sandy beaches, solitude, and personal service during diving. This is the place to be.

Anda is the proud owner of a 12-kilometer-long reef, where most dives will be wall dives. The area is extremely well known amongst Makro aficionadas. 

Diving is done mostly from resorts, so accommodation can be quite expensive. You could also very well, opt to stay in Poblacion, with a large selection of cheap(er) hotels and homestays, and just rent a scooter for a few days. 

Scooter rental usually is 400 pesos per day, but I've managed to arrange it for 350 pesos or 300 pesos per day for 3 or more days.

Reef View

How to get there?

To get to Bohol you have different options, depending where you're coming from:

Panglao:

By Air: You can fly to Tagbilaran airport or Cebu, straight from Manila.

From Tagbilaran airport you can get a transfer to any hotel for 500 pesos ($10).

From Cebu City, you can take a boat which will bring you to Tagbilaran in about 3 hours.

By Sea: There are multiple daily ferries from Cebu City or Dumaguete to Tagbilaran Port. Check out this website for general information!

Anda:

From Manila: 

1. Fly to Tagbilaran

2. Take a trike to Dao Terminal

3. Take a van or bus to Anda Poblacion/ resorts (2,5 hours/ 200 pesos).

From Cebu:

1. Take a boat from Cebu to Tagbilaran port (800/1000 pesos)

2. Take a trike to Dao Terminal

3. Take a van or bus to Anda Poblacion/ resorts (2,5 hours/ 200 pesos).

From Panglao/Bohol:

1. Take a trike to Dao Terminal

2. Take a van or bus to Anda Poblacion/ resorts (2,5 hours/ 200 pesos).

Alternatively, you can rent a car in Tagbilaran for about 2500 pesos.

Anda beach
Bohol island

Bohol is a pretty big island, with very specific spots that you can go Scuba diving. Panglao is most famous in the south western part, and to the east there is Anda. And you can organize lots of different day trips, like snorkeling, jetski rental, sailboats, etc.

For excellent diving see below and check out Bohol Divers Club on Alona Beach in Panglao.

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Panglao

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My Favourite Dive Sites in Bohol!

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"Snake Island"

Snake island is the perfect name for this dive site. The currents can make it a challenging dive, but nothing to dangerous. The dive site is a sloping reef with mostly sandy bottom from 8 - 30 meters. You will encounter a sea snake almost certainly! We saw 8-9 in 1 dive, some very large specimen!

Depth: 8 - 30 meters

Current: low - medium

"Pamilacan Island"

This island, just 1 hour by boat from Panglao is a really nice spot that offers a lot, even if it's less famous than Balicasag. You can dive at Snake Island, and around the island, At Spanish tower for example. The dive sites are sloping reefs, with beautiful coral gardens with soft and hard corals and plenty of small, and larger marine life, like Turtles, pipefish, frogfish, and schools of jack fish to name a few.

Depth: 8 - 35 meters

Current: low - medium

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"Napaling"

Napaling is a beautiful dive site on the Doljo coast on the north side of Panglao. The dive is mostly a wall dive with a plateau at 8 meters, where you can see sardines, and the jackfish hunting them. The wall is full of life and colors!

 

Maximum depth: 30 meters.

Current: low.

"Doljo"

Maybe one of my favorite dive sites near Bohol! This wall into slope diving site is just a rainbow of colors with frogfish, snakes, turtles, schooling fish, you name it. The sheer amount of fish will fill up your camera's memory card faster than your air will be depleted!

Maximum depth: 30 meters

Current: low

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"Kalipayan, Danao Wall, Gak Ang & Garden Eel"

This dive site is actually a compilation of sorts, in that, about 12 dive sites are stretching along the Panglao southern coastline, all originally from the same reef/ wall. No two are the same though and it's an excellent dive site to chill out and relax on the days you're not diving Balicasag or Pamilacan island.

Maximum Depth: 28 meters

Current: low

"Balicasag: Royal Garden"

Royal Garden is probably the dive site you will be diving in Balicasag. The dive starts in the bay at 8 meters, and after swimming a bit you will drop down and follow the wall and sloping reef, coming back into the bay area after 45 minutes or so. The soft and hard corals are simply stunning and the amount of fish and wildlife is amazing!

Maximum Depth: 40 Meters.

Current: low.

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"Balicasag: Cathedral"

For sure one of the best dive sites, I have ever seen! Not necessarily because of the fish, but mostly because of the landscape. The wall is gorgeous, with caverns and small caves you can discover. Don't forget to look up once in a while to appreciate the stunning views!

Maximum depth: 40 meters.

Current: low

"Balicasag: Black Forest"

The Black Forest is a dive site starting much like Royal garden, it's almost a 45-degree angled sloping reef/ wall. Unfortunately, the typhoon in 2019 detroyed a lot of coral, but the dive site is beautiful nonetheless.

Maximum depth: 40 meters.

Current: low

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Anda

Anda is a beautiful remote location to do some diving and boast about to your friends back home, who most likely have never even heard of this paradise! Diving is easy, versatile, and very rewarding.

Anda
"Virgen East, West & Cave"

Virgen is a marine turtle sanctuary. Fishing is not allowed and therefore you will see a huge amount of fish, turtles, and perhaps even a whale shark passing by! The dive site is mostly a beautiful healthy wall dive with sloping parts, where you can find Robust pip fish and different kinds of rare creatures!

Maximum depth: 40 meters.

Current: low

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"Bacong & Neptune"

Bacong is next to Neptune. Neptune starts with a beautiful sandy bottom, with many spots to see crabs, scorpionfish, and other macro life. Bacong is more of a sloping reef, with beautiful, huge corals older than most humans!

Maximum depth: 40 meters.

Current: low

"Night Diving House Reef"

Night diving the house reefs is something you should definitely do in Anda. The underwater life is simply stunning and you will probably see more at night, than during the day. That is saying something since the day dives are amazing in themselves. Corallimorph crabs, octopus, squid, cuttlefish, different pipefish, and scorpionfishes in many varieties. You name it!

Maximum depth: 15 meters.

Current: low

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Below some photos and impressions

If you want to share your impressions and/or photos you're more than welcome to share them!

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