The region of Bohol is known for its steep wall dives and home to the great diving areas of Alona Beach and the islands of Panglao, Balicasag and Pamilacan. Its impressive hard and soft coral gardens are shown off fabulously in an area host to a large range of dive sites. The region also offers dive sites more open to currents. This combination of coral gardens, walls and drift dives therefore offers something to divers of all experience.
Regrettably not full of chocolate, cherries and cream, but still as beautiful, the renowned dive site of Black Forest lies within the marine sanctuary of Balicasag. Full of large Black corals, anemones, schooling jackfish and turtles, this dive site is reached via a 40 minute boat ride from the Alona Beach resort where 2 or 3 dives are normally undertaken per trip.
Alona Beach house reef
Alona Beach resort’s house reef offers a relaxing and interesting dive, gently sloping to 20 metres depth. As well as giving you great freedom for when to dive, the site offers a fantastic night dive, as the macro life springs to life amongst the hard and soft corals.
Lying a 40 minute boat ride from Alona Beach, this area can offer sometime thrilling drift dives and is the best chance to encounter the larger, current loving pelagic species. There is a good chance of spotting Manta Rays, and a whale shark if you are lucky (usual season November to April) as you cruise across the beautiful coral gardens around 20 metres depth.
Anda, on the eastern side of Bohol, is something of a hidden gem for divers. The area is less crowded than other parts of Bohol, making it a perfect place to escape the crowds and enjoy the amazing biodiversity of the local reef life.
Divers in Anda can expect to see a wide variety of marine life, including frogfish, ghost pipefish, sea snakes, black corals, turtles, barracuda, and eagle rays.
Yet more suggestion of the sweet stuff, but again you will not be disappointed with as long as you visit them in the dry season. The unusual geological phenomena of grass covered limestone conical hills turn brown in the dry season, hence the name, but can of course be visited year round. Hundreds of them are scattered across Bohol and they are a signature attraction and image of the country of the Philippines.
At only 3 inches tall, if you spot a Tarsier Monkey in the wild, ensure you take a picture and let us know! This species is indigenous to the Philippines and mostly sighted nocturnally in Bohol’s lush forests. For those with less patience or time, trips to a sanctuary may also be arranged.
Getting to Bohol
Alona Beach is best reached via arrivals into Cebu International airport. The fast ferry from Cebu City takes you to Tagbilaran in around 2 hours. From there, it is another 30 minutes by taxi or tricycle, to Alona Beach. Total transfer time approximately 3½ hours.
Cabilao Island is best reached via arrivals into Cebu International airport. The fast ferry from Cebu City takes you to Tagbilaran in around 2 hours. From there you go by taxi or jeepney to Sandingan Island, and then outrigger boat directly to Cabilao. Total transfer time approximately 4 ½ hours.
Singapore Airlines offer connections to Cebu via Singapore. Emirates offer daily connections to Cebu via Dubai. Cathay Pacific offer connections to Cebu via Hong Kong.
Refer to Travel Info page for further international flight information.
If you reach Cebu after about 14.00 hrs, an overnight may be required as it is not possible to transfer out of daylight hours.
Overnights in Cebu
These can be arranged as part of your package with transfers, typically at the Marco Polo hotel. Cebu is a bustling but laid back town with a busy sea port and makes for an interesting stop in itself.
Marco Polo: A decent 3+* option, located just 25 minutes from the airport close to the business district with a restaurant and bar, and plenty of other local choices.
Magic Oceans Dive Centre
Magic Oceans Dive Centre is a PADI-affiliated dive centre located in Anda, Philippines. The custom-built dive centre can accommodate up to 35 divers, and each diver has their own area and kit box. The centre also has showers, large rinse tanks, and camera tables with charge points and airguns.
While macro diving is high on the agenda, you can also explore walls, caverns, and reefs teeming with marine life ranging from tiny critters to large pelagic species. Notable dive sites include Magic Point, the vibrant house reef, the deep cave and blue spotted stingrays at Neptune’s House, Mandarin Garden, Lamanok Island, and Dap Dap for its flying gunards and magnificent wall dive.
We recommend that you book your dive packs with Regaldive prior to departure, in order to secure your diving or course and so that the dive centre is expecting you. Magic Oceans Resort provides two morning boat dives each day, and an optional third dive in the afternoon. Night dives can be arranged with the dive centre upon request, while guided house reef diving is also available. Please discuss your requirements with the Regaldive team, who will prepare a quotation suited to your requirements.
Both DIN and INT 12L tanks are available, as well as Nitrox.
A full range of courses, daily boat and shore diving are available at Magic Oceans Dive Centre. The 30+ dive sites along the Anda coastline and beyond are varied and suitable for divers of all abilities. Snorkellers are also welcome.
EXTRAS IN THE RESORT
Prices listed below are an indication only, and subject to change.
Marine Park Fees 100 PHP per dive + 15% VAT
Full equipment including computer: €29/day (multi day discounts available)
Divers with DIN regulators should take their own adaptor
Nitrox fills: €9 per fill (multi day discounts available)
You will be requested to fill out a dive medical questionnaire. If you have any pre-existing condition that may affect your diving, please ensure you travel with a fit-to-dive certificate, valid within the last 12 months. Please note that not all localities will have access to a specialist diving medic close by for you to be assessed before diving.
The Philippines is an island nation located in South East Asia with Manila as its capital city. The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. These islands are home to spectacular scenery, pristine beaches, incredible sights and lively cities. Dramatic drop offs, wrecks, caves and a richly varied marine life also guarantee fabulous diving. Combined with the renowned Philippine hospitality and warmth, an unforgettable dive holiday awaits.
You will find a true blend of cultures; the people are generally of Malay descent, but Philippine history has introduced Chinese, Spanish and American elements as well. The Philippines is a predominantly Christian country where eight out of ten Filipinos are practising Catholics. Filipino hospitality is legendary and the Philippines is the fiesta nation of Asia. Fiestas celebrate harvests, births and victories, as well as religious events. The Filipinos like to party and celebrations are found in every ethnic group and may be large regional events or small local happenings.
Resorts have been hand picked, not only for their comfort and surrounding scenery but most importantly, for their proximity to incredible dives sites. Whilst out of the water guests can relax on some of the best beaches in the world, enjoy the local markets, festivals and sights or even spend a night in the exciting and bustling Manila or more laid back Cebu.
As the Philippines is a strong Catholic nation, festive holidays such as Easter are very busy. Either book well in advance, or avoid the main religious holiday periods where possible.
The climate of The Philippines can broadly be described as hot and tropical. Most people visit The Philippines during the dry season. However, many regular visitors attest that the best time to visit is during the wet season and that the proliferation and variety of marine life is best June, July and August.
Dry season: December to May Wet season: June to November
During the dry season, easterly winds prevail and air temperature is in high 20s to mid-30's°C. February to May are generally the hottest. Wet season winds are from the west, with air temperature in mid to high 20's°C. You can often strike lucky and have weeks of brilliant blue skies and unlimited sunshine. On the other hand, the rains, when they come, are impressive and prolonged. There are few rivers, so run off and its effect on water visibility is not generally a problem.
Please note that the Philippines is a large country and has many climatic variations from east to west and south to north.
Best underwater visibility: April to July Water temperature average: 24 - 30°C
8 hours ahead of GMT.
Filipino is Officially the national language of The Philippines. This language is based on Tagalog which is the most widely used of the 70 plus dialects used within the country. English is also prevalent throughout the country, especially in tourist destinations. English is also widely used as the medium for education, communication and business. Eight major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense.
The unit of currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). 1 Peso = 100 Centavos.
The US dollar is the most widely recognised foreign currency. Euros & GBP are also readily exchanged.
The majority of larger towns have ATMs, however, facilities for money withdrawal or changing are far less widespread away from the main centres of population. There are bank machines at the airport. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in most towns, but you may be required to pay an extra 10-15% surcharge for their use. Outside of the main towns, not all places accept credit cards. Please refer to your individual destination notes for each resort, but as a guideline, please see below:
Malapascua:Ocean Vida accepts credit cards. Elsewhere credit cards cannot be accepted, please ensure you carry sufficient cash. USD and GBP are accepted and Ocean Vida has a licensed exchange.
Dumaguete: Banks and ATMs are available in Dumaguete town. Pura Vida and Atmopshere accept credit cards.
Palawan: Accepts credit cards
Sipalay:Accepts credit cards
SY Philippine Siren: GBP, Euro & USD Currency. Credit card payment only possible when docking at the following ports: Cebu, Philippines. 3% charge applies.
Tipping is expected for many services. The standard is 10% of the total bill or optional where there is a 10% service charge.
Regaldive can offer packages to the Philippines on a number of different airlines.
London - Manila: Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines and KLM all fly daily via their national hubs.
London - Cebu: Singapore Airlines via Singapore on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Emirates via Dubai daily and Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong daily.
Carry-On Luggage Restriction: Effective July 1, 2015
Philippines Office for Transportation Security has issued new rules that include 'Scuba Diving Equipment' (including regulators) on the list of blunt instruments that are not to be in carry-on/cabin baggage on flights originating within the Philippines. Please ensure that all scuba equipment is secured within checked-in baggage on all domestic flights and on all departing international flights.
Baggage on internal flights: The below only applies only to extra flights within the Philippines built into your itinerary, not if it is part of your international ticket.
Baggage allowance: Checked bag - 20kg / Hand baggage - 5 to 7kg. Please note that the internal flight to / from Busuanga (Palawan). This is a shorter air strip and the airline may not permit any extra weight.
Payment for extra kilos on check-in (guideline): Cebu Pacific: Php 150 per kilo Philippine Airlines: Php 169 per kilo
Whichever island you are staying on, you are met at the airport/ferry port and transferred to your resort. Whether by flight, jeepney or banca boat, there are fantastic sights to enjoy on your journey there and back. Although some transfer can take up to a whole day, most clients pass feedback that this was a very interesting part of their overall trip.
The below information is to give you a general idea of transfer times between regions; actual transfer times may differ slightly according to individual arrangements and ferry timetables, tides etc.:
Cebu - Dumaguete: 4 - 5 hours by vehicle, ferry and hotel shuttle Cebu - Bohol / Panglao / Cabilao: 3 to 4 hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle Cebu - Malapascua: 4 – 5 hours by vehicle and outrigger Cebu – Moalboal: 3.5 hours by vehicle
Dumaguete - Bohol / Panglao / Cabilao: 3 hours by hotel shuttle, ferry and vehicle or 3 to 4 hours by Outrigger conditions permitting Dumaguete - Malapascua: 8 - 9 hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle and outrigger
Panglao - Cabilao: 1.5 - 2 hour vehicle and boat Panglao - Malapascua: 7+ hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle and outrigger
Cabilao - Malapascua: 7+ hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle and outrigger
Manila - Cebu: 1: 15 hour by internal flight Manila - Coron, Palawan: 2.5 hours by internal flight and hotel shuttle Manila - Puerta Galera: 3 hours by vehicle and boat Manila – Anilao: 2.5 hours by vehicle Manila – Caticlan, Boracay: 2 hours by internal flight, vehicle and boat
Please always check your own entry requirements regardless of your nationality. Your passport should always have at least 6 months validity on date of return from travel. Always check for last minute changes in entry requirements and other nationalities should check with their consular office.
British nationals can enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial period of 30 days. You can also get a tourist visa from the Philippine Embassy before you travel, which will allow an initial 59 day stay. Other nationalities should check with their own consulate.
Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up to date advice please consult your travel clinic or GP. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider. We recommend protection, as a minimum, against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio.
"We had a brilliant time in The Philippines, so much so that we are hoping to go back next year.
Alona Vida resort was lovely. Both dive centres were excellent. At Alona Vida the waters were crystal clear with more wall diving and reefs. Thanks to Neil Yahh at Pura Vida for finding me a Mandarin fish; he found it everyone else saw it except me lol. He took my camera and got a picture for me.
We loved the live music at Alona Vida and the fact that you can eat and drink at other places along the beach. You can only really sit on the beach here, as the pool doesn't look out to sea, and there were only two sun loungers which the downstairs rooms monopolised.
The diving in Pura Vida was much more about muck diving with some corals and wall diving. It was our first experience of muck diving we thoroughly enjoyed, visibility was quite poor so we had our work cut out. The boat crews here were very friendly and always helped with our equipment.
We loved the staff at Pura Vida and the fact you could sit on the beach or the around the pool looking out to sea.
We have so many memories: lots of new friends made from all over the world. Seahorses, ornate ghost pipe fish, mandarin fish, nudibranchs, flamboyant cuttlefish: just wonderful.
We booked two different resorts for different reasons. We are looking to go back next year to both. We would certainly use Regaldive again; the organisation of the trip was superb."
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Alona Vida Beach Resort
We Enjoyed the Diversity of Sites on Our Island Hopping Trip
"Island Hopping Trip – Malapascua, Dauin and Alona Beach
Our favourite memories from the holiday ranged from a massive pod of dolphins off Apo Island, to the many turtles in the shallows of Balicasag, spending 20 minutes watching a flamboyant cuttlefish hunt in the shallows, Nicole seeing six whale sharks being fed at Oslob (artificial but seemed well managed from below water), to the view we had out of our apartment at Pura Vida.
The accommodation was as expected - all rooms were clean, tidy and there was enough hot water to go round. We loved the sea view room at Pura Vida and didn't want to move to the back garden room mid-stay, but we knew accommodation was tight for our stay here.
Our diving was pretty much chosen on past experience, the idea was to mix between wall diving, muck diving, some drift diving, seeing big critters, seeing small critters and trying some new dive sites (via Alona Beach). We both enjoyed the diversity of sites and thus the itinerary was fine.
We ate "in resort" and "out of resort", depending upon our location. I'll just limit my response to Pura Vida and Alona Vida for main meals. Alona Vida was fine and Pura Vida was very good. We only ate breakfast at Buena Vida and this was disappointing in terms of quality.
The Dive Centre Staff at each dive centre were different, but all came up to a very high standard. If you asked us if we would recommend Sea Explorers to other divers, the answer would be we would "highly recommend".
The transfers and ground arrangements were outstanding, as we were concerned beforehand about transfers, because the locals have a "relaxed" attitude to organisation at best! Regaldive’s ground agent was superb and needs praise indeed. They even contacted us whilst we were on our way to the airport to see if we were happy with their service.
We were happy with Regaldive's services and will be in touch about our next trip when we have our holiday dates confirmed."