For the active type of person, scuba diving can be one exhilarating, as well as fascinating, activity. Good thing for scuba diving buffs that Cebu has a number of sites where they can enjoy their favorite pursuit. Dive sites in Cebu are concentrated in a few key areas such as Mactan, Malapascua and Moalboal. Aside from the Mactan dive spots that were featured previously on Everything Cebu, below are some more for your consideration.
On the northern part of Mactan’s east coast, the Shangri-La Marine Sanctuary is considered one of Cebu’s best dive sites. A marine sanctuary since early 2007, it is under the stewardship of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa (as it is the resort’s house reef), Dive Scotty and the Lapu-lapu City government. The resort also has an affiliation with K.I. Marine Sports Center.
At the Tambuli dive site on the other side of Mactan island from the airport, you can drift dive to a small plane wreck at 18 meters. Coming from Dive Scotty’s dive center at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort, you can get to this site via an eight- to ten-minute boat ride on a calm day. The plane was sunk artificially, and plenty of reef fish (like angelfish and mandarin fish) can be seen in its vicinity. The dive site is great for macros and is recommended for underwater photographers who love to take close-up shots.
Talima Marine Sanctuary is a protected area off the west coast of Olango Island, which is near Punta Engaño, Mactan. At ten to fifteen minutes by boat from a Mactan-based dive center, it is quite conveniently located. Talima has a plummeting deep wall, an abundance of tropical fish and a small shipwreck.
Also close to the western shore of Olango Island is the dive site known as Santa Rosa. Since it is just south of the Talima sanctuary, many of the species that have made Talima their home are also in Santa Rosa.
Hilutungan Marine Sanctuary is one of the oldest of its kind in Mactan and has thriving populations of fish that include batfish, damselfish, parrot fish, and anemone fish. It is located due south of Punta Engaño in Mactan and southwest of Olango Island. A cruise from Punta Engaño to the sanctuary takes less than an hour aboard a banca or traditional outrigger boat. Boyla Diving Resort seems popular with the foreigners and celebrities who go to the Hilutungan sanctuary area. Another place on Hilutungan Island that offers scuba diving is Island and Sun Beach Resort.
If you’re an intensely sporty person, then maybe you would even like to swim with sharks. Evolution Diving can make it possible for you to have a personal encounter with the thresher sharks (Alopias vulpinus) of Monad Shoal in Malapascua. Evolution’s daily dives scheduled in the wee hours of the morning to see the sharks are their most popular excursion. Manta rays also swoop into Monad Shoal. Kimud Shoal, which is Monad Shoal’s “little brother,” also has thresher sharks as well as schooling hammerheads.
Another scuba attraction you can visit with Evolution Diving is Gato Island, a sanctuary and protected breeding site for the sea krait (a genus of sea snake). This island also has almost-guaranteed encounters with whitetip reef sharks (Triaenodon obesus).
Malapascua Exotic Island Dive Resort, founded in 1997, was Malapascua’s first dive shop. It offers a PADI thresher shark specialty course too.
Pescador Island is a marine park near Moalboal where thresher sharks and tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvieri) may be sighted, though perhaps less frequently than in the Malapascua sites. You can pay a visit to Pescador Island with pro divers from the Visaya Divers Dive Center at Quo Vadis Dive Resort.
Those who wish to enjoy a Moalboal scuba diving experience could do so when they stay at the local resorts like Eve’s Kiosk, Hannah’s Lodge, Sumisid Lodge, and Dolphin House. Sumisid Lodge in particular has been in operation since 1981, making it one of Moalboal’s first dive lodges. It is affiliated with Sea Quest Dive Center. Hannah’s Lodge also has an affilation with this dive center.
Dolphin House has its own PADI dive center and a world-class house reef with puffer fish, longnose hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus) and an occasional whale shark (Rhincodon typus) in the south end, not to mention the yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus), striped venomous lionfish and nudibranchs that populate the north end. Its dive center can facilitate dives to Pescador Island, too.
Although it’s quite far from Moalboal, Marine Village in Lilo-an, Santander, also gets mentioned as a scuba diving location. It offers mid-length excursions to Malabuyoc, to Caceres Reef in Oslob, and to Sumilon Island.
Keep all these featured areas in mind for your diving trip. Live the life aquatic with scuba diving in Cebu.
A. Dive Scotty, c/o Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa
B. Tambuli, Mactan
C. Talima Marine Sanctuary
D. Hilutungan Marine Sanctuary
E. Evolution Diving, Malapascua, Daanbantayan
F. Pescador Island, Moalboal
G. Quo Vadis Dive Resort, Moalboal
H. Dolphin House, Moalboal
I. Marine Village, Lilo-an, Santander