As the only place in the world with dedicated thresher shark dives and offering abundant marine megafauna, the Visayas is one of the best Philippines dive regions. Dive among millions of sardines, experience some of the world’s best muck diving or just immerse yourself in this Coral Triangle wonderland.
This peaceful water sports hotspot, with white sands and clear waters, offers easy diving and beach resorts for true relaxation. Discover pretty reefs, walls and gentle drift dive sites busy with abundant reef fish, macro treasures and schooling pelagics. It’s simply paradise.
With numerous resorts and dive centres, plus easy access to the Philippines best dive areas, Cebu is a great central hub for all divers. Choose from thresher sharks dives, Moalboal’s famous sardine bait balls, vivid macro dives and drop-offs plunging to over 200m deep, with schools of hundreds of hammerhead sharks.
There’s something for all dive levels at Mactan; from exciting drop-offs, caves and deep walls to easy coral gardens, wrecks and seagrass meadows. A great destination for shore dives and day boat diving, there are plenty of resorts and an array of thriving reef and pelagic life to encounter.
Famous as the world’s only thresher shark dive destination, Malapascua offers reliable encounters with threshers as well as the famed hammerhead sharks. Beautiful reefs and Coral Triangle macro treasures delight avid reef divers and you can also spot mantas and sea turtles with ease.
Boasting more species than Japan and the Mediterranean combined, Panglao is famous for its marine biodiversity and healthy coral reefs. As well as numerous dives for beginners, you can enjoy adventurous wall and wreck dives, explore numerous small caves or visit Snake Island for encounters with banded sea snakes.
Thriving reef life, famed macro night diving and healthy corals await all experience levels at this marine protected area. Adventurous divers can enjoy deep walls, swim-throughs and caves, whilst new divers explore pretty coral gardens busy with reef fish, macro treasures and passing sea turtles.
Diving in the Visayas
The Visayas are a group of islands located in the central Philippines. They consist of the main island groups of Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros, Guimaras, Panay, Romblon, Samar and Leyte - with many small islands to explore in between. The Visayas are a disparate bunch, with each island offering a unique flavour.
Scuba diving in the Visayas has long been one of the most popular activities in the region. It is a well-developed diving area too, with many different dive centres, dive resorts and liveaboards to choose from. There is a mix of easy and more challenging diving but there are plenty of easier reef dives for those wishing to undertake beginner dive courses and deeper ones for those wishing to continue their education.
Located in the coral triangle, the waters are rich and the species are diverse - some dive sites offer one of a kind animal encounters, like the near-guaranteed sightings of thresher sharks off of Malapascua. Dramatic wall dives, huge bait balls of sardines off Pescador Island, vibrant coral gardens and some of the best muck diving in the world means that you will be sure to find your perfect dive.
Best places to dive
Visayas diving is some of the best and most varied in the world. Though there are thousands of excellent dive sites, here are some of the best. Bohol is known as a turtle paradise and you will most likely see them on every dive. Off the coast, it has 3 additional islands - Panglao, Balicasag and Cabilao.
Panglao Island’s picture-perfect beaches and unparalleled coral reefs make this an ideal destination. On Balicasag and Cabilao Islands you can find lots of dive sites rich in animals which make these islands a photographer’s dream. Pamilacan Island in the Bohol Sea has some fantastic drift diving as well as some of the best chances to see a manta ray. The abundance of life and the depth of the water means it’s also a great place to spot whale sharks, dolphins (there are over 11 species!) and whales out in the blue.
Malapascua in northern Cebu is world-famous for its thresher shark encounters - it is one of the only places in the world where you can see them regularly at the site Shark Point. Shark Point is also the best place to see reef sharks and manta rays in Cebu. It is also rich in wreck diving, with five available to dive including a Japanese Warship from WWII.
Mactan Island has some fantastic reef diving which offers close encounters with all kinds of reef fish, turtles, reef sharks and even the occasional thresher shark gliding over the reef. For macro hunters, the array of nudibranch and pipefish will keep you occupied for hours.
Moalboal is located on the south-western side of Cebu. Pescador Island is maybe the best known dive site, and it is a marine protected area. This means that the variety, and volume, of fish and marine life is simply breathtaking. The caverns, tunnels and swim throughs will satisfy the most playful divers. It is also an excellent spot to see the elusive whale sharks in the right season. Another seasonal treat is the annual sardine run which features millions of sardines in tightly packed bait balls - an unforgettable experience as a diver.