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Diving Cabilao, the Visayas | the Philippines

DESTINATION OVERVIEW

Tiny Cabilao island sits just off the north-west side of Bohol and facing Cebu island. Many of the islands near Bohol are joined to it by bridges but Cabilao can only be reached by boat so has remained a quiet and traditional sort of place – there are no cars and local communities still farm and fish.

Scuba diving is the island's only tourism business and even that is a small industry with just three dive resorts. All are located on beaches that lead to the impressive surrounding reefs. Across the northern coast, reef tops are shallow with patchy seagrass and sandy areas that lead down to sloping reef walls. These are fabulous hunting grounds for small critters – one minute you can be eyeballing a tiny shrimp hiding in a mushroom coral and the next you realise a sea snake has slid beside you to do the same thing.

In contrast, the south west of the island is affected by strong currents that run through the channel so the reefs are thick with hard corals. It has been said that you can see schools of hammerheads here, but sightings are rare.

Cabilao at Sunset
Cabilao dive photo gallery Scuba diving features
Marine Life Hard corals
Pygmy seahorse
Frogfish
Shrimp
Top dive site Lighthouse Reef
Seasons All year round
Visibility 15 – 30 metres
Water temperature 28 – 30º C
Deco chambers Manila and Cebu City
Flights Flight to Cebu City then 2-3 hours by road and ferry
Dive operators and accommodation We have not stayed on Cabilao but visited from Alona Beach on Panglao and with Philippine Siren.
INFORMATION EXPLORE
PROS and CONS

The Philippines are a long way from Europe or the USA but everything is good value once you arrive. Resorts tends towards the mid-range with many dive centres run by Europeans. All island destinations are charming and many of the ones near Bohol are close enough together to allow day trips to others.

SCUBA DIVING Being located just to the north of Bohol and slightly closer to Cebu, visibilty tends to be a little lower here and dives along Cabilao's west coast are subject to slightly stronger currents. However, that all dependis on the the day and weather patterns and whenever we have been the currens have been minimal and the visibilty was good.
OPINION With shallow topped reefs and nice drop offs, the diving around Cabilao isn't so different to other parts of the Visayas but the incredible number of critters in the shallows are a delight. However, what really differentiates it from others nearby are the pristine hard corals around the southern coast.
Liveaboard
report
We recently revisted Cabilao from first liveaboard in the Philippines, Philippine Siren. We loved it as we saw a great variety of dive sites across the region in complete comfort.
Diving video Press > to play
This video is 3 minutes long. For the full length video with diving right across the Visayas, click here.
More Philippines diving destinations
LUZON Anilao
Ticao
MINDORO Apo Reef
Puerto Galera
PALAWAN Coron
Tubbataha
VISAYAS Bohol/Balicasag
Cabilao
Dumaguete/Apo
Moalboal/Pescador
MAP
Locate Cabilao with google maps
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