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Panglao - Bohol

Beautiful Reefs

Dive around the beautiful reefs in Panglao at Balicasag - Pamilacan - Doljo!

Panglao - Bohol.

Real easy to get to, and you might just end up diving your whole holiday trip here!

Visit the famous Balicasag island, and don't forget about Pamilacan Island, and Doljo!

Harlequin Shrimp
Harlequin Shrimp


Getting to Panglao - Bohol.

To get to Panglao in Bohol you can easily fly directly from Manila or Caticlan in Boracay. When coming from Cebu, a 3-hour boat will bring you to the port of Panglao/ Tagbilaran.

From there you can arrange a transfer by car or trike, which will cost you between 400-500 pesos regardless of where you're going.

Panglao is a beautiful place, made for tourism. There are numerous accommodations and restaurants along the main road and back roads. As well as on the beach itself. The beach stretches across the island of Panglao and you can pick your stay, although I recommend Alona or Tawala, just because you will find the largest selection of diving centers and tourist attractions.

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Dive site map Panglao
Dive site map Panglao

An impression of the diving scene in Panglao-Bohol.

Visiting Panglao in Bohol is a bucket list thing for many divers.

Many divers come to Panglao - Bohol for 1 reason: Balicasag Island. This island has 5 dive sites around it, featuring 2 or 3 of the best dive sites in the Philippines. You can either stay on Balicasag island, but I would actually recommend Panglao because there is so much more to see than only Balicasag!

To start there is Pamilacan Island just south-east of Panglao. and then there are the reefs at Alona beach and Doljo to the north side of the island. The only place that has access to all of these dive sites is Panglao.

There will be boat trips going to the islands and dive sites every day, so not just once a week.

Wilfred Roth

Dive boat
Dive boat


Balicasag island:

Trips to Balicasag island take around 40 minutes by boat, depending on what side of the island you are diving. The ride is usually calm and there is a good chance to spot dolphins! Snorkeling is also possible, and day trips include the transfer, a snack, lunch, and water, tea, and coffee as you please.

Expect to pay around 5000 pesos ($110) per day for 3 dives and all of the above! Not bad, right?!

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Dolphins from boat
Dolphins from boat

Pamilacan Island:

Trips to Pamilacan Island usually take 1 hour by boat but prices tend to be similar. You can do 2 dives at pamilacan island and 1 dive at snake island, just west of Pamilacan. 5000 pesos ($110) for 3 dives, lunch, snacks, coffee/tea, and drinking water, equipment included!

Panglao Reefs:

Then you of course have the Panglao Reefs! These reefs in front of the beach at Alona and Tawala are excellent. Diving can be done multiple times per day with a small speedboat traveling back to shore between dives. Prices are much cheaper since no lunch, drinks, etc. are involved. Expect to pay between 1400 and 1600 pesos ($30) per dive.

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Panglao Beach
Panglao Beach

Doljo & Napaling:

Doljo on the other side of the island (north) will take around 30 minutes and usually offer 3 dives again, starting at 8 AM and finishing back at the dive center at 3 PM. Doljo is mostly a wall diving area, featuring sardine schools and the fish hunting them, like trevally!

Cabilao Island:

There is also 1 sad note: Diving at Cabilao island is not what it used to be anymore. After the typhoon Odette hit, almost all the corals on the island have been destroyed. They are currently very busy replanting them, but it will take time.

Trips to Cabilao are not supported by many dive centers anymore, since it's far and not in the best state.



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The most memorable dive sites!

There are many very good dive sites in Panglao - Bohol. Below I will summarize my favorites. Some of them are reason enough to book that airplane right now.

A few good spots to go diving are:

  1. Balicasag - Royal Garden

  2. Balicasag - Cathedral

  3. Pamilacan Island

  4. Doljo

  5. Panglao Reefs

1. Balicasag - Royal Garden.

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. After a little while, you can spend your safety stop in the bay and see 6-7 turtles per dive if you're lucky!

2. Balicasag - Cathedral.

This is perhaps one of my favorite dive sites of all time! The landscape just makes you want to admire it constantly and look up at this immense wall, full of life, caverns, and crevices. I didn't want this dive to end, and I will come back to Panglao soon, to do this dive again, and again probably!

3. Pamilacan Island.

Pamilacan Island is not as well known as Balicasag, but nonetheless, very beautiful. Diving is remote, secluded, and exclusive. The number 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!

4. Doljo.

Doljo is the northern side of Panglao Island. Like most diving around Bohol, it's mostly wall diving, my personal favorite! The marine life and landscape are just stunning, and I shot some amazing videos to proof and show it to you!

I highly recommend watching this video!

5. Panglao Reefs.

The Panglao reefs are the reefs on the Alona beach front. The reef drops down and you will have some amazing wall diving, very close to town, with a wreck dive even! I have been diving quite a few of these reefs and decided to make a compilation, featuring my highlights on those dives.


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