Updated: Sep 10, 2022
Gooooood morning divers!
After experiencing beautiful Panglao - Bohol, The next stop was one I never heard of, until I was in Bohol. After hearing some stories, I knew my next location: Anda - Bohol.
An easy trip from Tagbilaran, Dao Terminal, the van drove me to Anda, Poblacion in 2 hours, off to my next adventure, and boy, I did not expect this!
In this blog I'll be sharing the following:
Panglao treated me well when I was there. visiting the beautiful Balicasag and Pamilacan islands I felt spoiled. Not knowing what to expect when heading out to Anda, I would be amazed at what I would experience there.
The beaches at Panglao, as well as the dive centers and restaurants, will be in my mind for a while, but always on the move, I had to reset and set out to discover the next great diving sites!
Getting to Anda - Bohol.
Getting to Anda - Bohol, from Panglao is very doable, even easy. I was surprised why not more people chose to take this route. After a short tricycle ride to Dao Terminal, I was greeted by a dispatcher or transportation guide. He asked me where I was headed and guided me to the right van/ bus to Anda - Bohol!
After waiting for 30 minutes, we were off! 2.5 hours later, following the beautiful coastline, for the most part, we arrived in Anda Poblacion/town. I was dropped right in front of my hotel, close to the beach, and absolutely loved the town. Friendly people, good prices, and not many tourists as far as I could see.
I would feel right at home here!
An impression of the diving scene in Anda - Bohol.
Diving in Bohol usually revolves around Panglao, as it's quite famous for Balicasag, however, don't miss out on this gem "hidden in plain sight".
The Anda area is around 2,5 hour drive from Tagbilaran in the south of Bohol. The vans and buses will take you to central Anda Poblacion (the town) directly, or even stop at a resort if you booked one.
Most of the diving in Anda is currently done from resorts, dotted all along the southern coastline of Anda, as most of the dive sites are located there. You can choose to stay at these resorts, some more affordable than others, perhaps. Or you could choose to stay in the town of Anda and rent your scooter there.
The diving sites are mostly around the southern coastline. There are other more west, and north, but the best are south. A big part of the coastline is off limits for fishing even, so you dive between big schools of fish and turtles! I did multiple dives in this area and spotted 5+ turtles, almost every dive, just to give you an idea about the marine life, and health.
For many photographers, Anda is a bucket list destination. The amount of rare fish you can encounter here is simply amazing.
Even if you spotted a lot, for example, Rugged scorpionfish, robust and ornate pipefish, giant frogfish, blue-ringed octopus, mimic octopus, etc. You can try some night diving, and completely start over. Corallimorph decorator crabs, zebra eels, and many different shrimps, and nudibranchs, will make your camera run out of battery, with every dive!
Anda Town/ Poblacion is a lovely town, and not that touristic, as many people choose to stay at resorts. I chose to stay in town because it's cheaper and I actually like the people around me.
I rented a scooter for 300 pesos a day for 5 days, so I could easily transit to my dive center at Anda scuba diving. Alternatively, a motorbike ride costs around 50 pesos, one-way to the dive center.
There are a few western restaurants and a lot of local restaurants. As well as many shops to buy your daily needs. Mylton Coffee imports its coffee from the Philippines and Old Castle on the beach serves the best pizza with a beer for your after diving chill out moments.
Can-Umantad waterfalls is an amazing day trip on your deco days. You can rent a scooter for 350 pesos for a single day, or book yourself a tricycle for 500 pesos roughly.
The waterfalls are about 50 minutes away and getting there, you will be greeted by some nice locals, who will ask for an environmental fee and will direct you to the falls a little further on. Expect to pay 50 pesos environmental fee, and taking a guide at the waterfalls is mandatory, although the cost is completely up to you. I gave my guide 150 pesos.
Something truly special to experience in Bohol is to see the Tarsier Monkey. This is the smallest primate, rarely found and seen in the wild, but you're still able to find and visit them near Anda - Bohol! Don't miss your chance to see these rare and incredible tiny primates.
I wanted to dedicate a section to this amazing place, to night diving! I have had probably the best night diving experience ever, here in Anda. The amount of rare fish and crabs you can see here will blow your mind. Decorator crabs, but also the more rare Corallimoprh decorator crab, who actually places LIVE corals on its back, is simply amazing! Zebra eels, squids showing off their bioluminescence, pipefish, and octopuses, will make you scream with joy at least a few times!
If you happen to make the trip to the waterfalls near Anda, don't forget these beautiful rice paddies, nearby. Luckily, the local checkpoint before the waterfalls will remind you to take this short walk up the hill, close to the rice paddies. The walk is half the fun since you will be balancing on the edges, of the irrigation canals! 100 pesos should suffice to tip/ pay your guide.
The most memorable dive sites!
A few good spots to go diving are:
Night diving the house reefs
1. Virgen East.
I did this dive 2 times, you will start in the bay area at 8 meters until you see the wall dropping down to 40+ meters. In the bay area, you can see many turtles, scorpionfish, and moray eels, and when you drop down the wall, you could see robust pipefish, longtail pipefish and sometimes whale sharks, and larger pelagic fish.
2. Virgen Cave.
Virgen cave is in between the Virgen reef west and east, which makes sense. The area is a protected site, and fishing is prohibited. Therefore, you will see many turtles, larger schooling fish, and just plenty of marine life in general. The dive starts at 8 meters, dropping down to 40 meters, to a sandy bottom filled with garden eels. There is a cave at 32 meters as well for the advanced/ deep divers to explore. It's more like a huge overhang, but still impressive!
Pamilacan Island is not as well known as Balicasag, but nonetheless, very beautiful. Diving is remote, secluded, and exclusive. The amount of fish, turtles, and sea snakes are just amazing and I have a link to my "Snake island" experience below for you to check out, I wouldn't want to miss this dive if you're in Panglao!
Bacong is the dive site between the Virgen reef and Neptune. Starting at around 10 meters deep, you will see many moray eels, often even more than 1 sharing a hole in the rocks, for cover! When going deeper to the sandy bottoms, you can expect to see different species of pipefish, scorpionfishes, and nudibranchs.
I highly recommend watching to Anda, Virgen video, to get an impression of what you can see here!
5. Night diving the house reefs.
Night diving in Anda, and especially at the Virgen reef, is next level! The sloping reef is full of life, like crabs, eels, octopuses, and squids in various colors and rarities. Your camera will overheat from all the videos and pictures you will make!
The next blog will be from The Philippines!
My next planned trip is to Siquijor Island and after that, I'm revisiting Coron, El Nido & Port Barton.
The coming months will be very exciting! I will visit one of the best places for diving In the World, after that, go completely off the beaten path to a very, very remote place. And after that, I will try to visit Thailand and give you all the best places to go diving and perhaps avoid the most tourist places.
This will hopefully make for amazing stories, photos, and travel tips!
Thank you for taking the time to read this, any questions or tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and remember:
"If you can breathe, you can dive"
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