Cabilao is a chill out place off the typical tourist destinations of the Philippines, with amazing dive sites around Cabilao island.
The perfect place to slow things down combined with world class diving. Pygmy seahorses, critters as well as hard and soft corals of various species have made that island a must-see, especially for scuba divers.
Cabilao island consists of five barangays (villages), Talisay, Cambaquiz, Looc, Pantudlan, and Cabacongan. The island has a roughly 3,500 inhabitants, who mainly live from fishing and animal husbandry. More than a few of the inhabitants of left the island, and now work in the cities, or abroad, from which they often remit money back home. Just walking on around on this island without much motorized travel is an attraction in itself.
Diving on some of the wonderful reefs that surround the island is one of the main attraction here. You can seek out the undisturbed reefs, the peaceful atmosphere, and especially to see Cabilao’s famous shoals of hammerhead sharks. And even snorkeling out from the beach is much rewarding.
Current View Point
This plateau in approx. 25-30m depth is located on the north-western corner of the island, where quite often there is current. The sandy bottom is full of broccoli and some fan corals and if you look hard enough you will find the rare Pygmy seahorse. It’s also a good dive to see white tipped reef and sometimes other sharks, schools of barracudas and jackfish. The bottom is home to ghost pipefish, many different nudibranches and thorny seahorses.
Next to Current View Point is a slope covered with sea grass and corals going down to 20m. This is a highlight for under water photographers as it has a great variety of rare marine life. Several kinds of scorpionfish, different ghost pipefish, pegasus, stargazer, crocodile snake-eel, sea snake, many different kinds of shrimp and crabs and the fascinating lightning file shell are all regularly sighted. Do not miss any day or night dives at this fantastic dive site.
This wall runs 100m out from and parallel to the shore. It starts at 5m and goes down to 60m and is completely covered with different kinds of corals, giant gorgonians, sponges and has many small caves and overhangs. Plenty of coral fish, rare nudibranches, frogfish and pygmy seahorses can be spotted. Occasionally large napoleon wrasses are cruising by. This easy dive is especially recommended for afternoon dives.
Fallen Tree and Talisay Tree
A gradual slope from the shore to 18m and then a steep wall which slopes down to approx. 50m makes this a great drift dive for the advanced diver. Off the wall and in to the blue, you can sometimes meet schools of large barracudas or even turtles. Frogfish, pegasus and rare nudibranches are also be found on the slope. At the end of the dive in the shallow area we can spot the beautiful pyjama cardinal fish and other colorful fish in the hard corals.
This wall at the northeastern tip just in front of Pura Vida Cabilao goes from 10m down to ca. 70m. In some of the many caves you can find baby sharks and at 30m, there is a large cave which you can enter. A gentle slope on the east side of the wall is rich with reef fish and quite often turtles. Great night diving in the area with stargazers, sometimes wonderous and many different kind of crabs and shrimps.
It is a good dive site for macro lovers right in front of the dive center, many different species of nudibranches can be found here as well as the famous Long nose hawk fish. There is always a good variety of anemonfish as well as scorpion and stonefish. We often see sea turtles during our dives here. The dive site is also suitable for novices, photographers and is recommended for night dives.
Excellent spot for the afternoon dives when the sun is in the right angle. Lots of hard coral and caves in the shallow part together with loads of coral fish. There’s a big area with huge table corals. A steep wall down to -50 meters is covered with plenty of soft corals and gorgonians – home of small frogfish and different kind of nudibranches.
Beautiful muck diving area in the shallow part between the rocks at around -3 to -6 meters. It is the home for pegasus, devil scorpion fish and various nudibranches. A steep wall is starting at -7 meters down to -60 meters with soft and hard corals. Here we usually have sightings of harlekin ghostpipe fish, ribbon eels, juvenile batfish and nudibranches. Occasionally a few whitetip reef sharks and eagle rays are passing by.
Nice coral garden with sandy spots, sea grass and coral blocks. There’s big chance to see stargazers and different kind of nudibranches, crabs and shrimps. The slope is slowly going down to -30 meters. Frogfish, Turtles and often barracuda are spotted here. It’s perfect for a morning dive when the sun is still rising.
This reef is a perfect spot for afternoon or night dives. There’s a Seagrass area from -3 – -9 meters with coral blocks, sponges and soft corals. Many anemones give home to various species of anemone fish and shrimp. This spot is suitable for beginners as well as experienced divers. During evenings you can see different kind of octopus and cuttlefish and also big turtles.
A nice wall/slope combination forms our dive spot Paradise. Mostly hard coral along the wall and soft coral and sponges in the shallow are characteristic for Paradise. A big sea grass area with sandy spots and coral blocks is fantastic for the muck diving fans of you.
It is a steep slope and wall down to more than 60 meters with interesting hard coral formations. Many nudibranches and reef fish call this place their home. Also a group of barracudas is generally seen here in this area. The shallow part is covered sea grass and blocks of corals.
This one is a very nice slope with sandy bottom, which is partially overgrown with sea grass and individual coral formations. It gently declines from shore to the wall to a depth of approximately -20 meters. It is home to a great variety of species, e.g. devil fish, leaf fish, robust and harlequin ghost pipefish, little sea moths, stone fish, eels, sea kraits, harlequin shrimps, mantis shrimps, an extraordinary variety of nudibranchs, occasionally eagle rays, sea turtles and octopus (blue-ring, mimic). In about -26 meters you can also see different kinds of pygmy seahorses.
It’s a great wall with overhangs & caves which is totally covered in corals & it drops down to approx. 60 meters. The dive site is located at a “corner” where slight currents can occur. Spectacular formations of hard corals at a depth of 5 to 12 m have been growing here undisturbed for centuries. Observe the “fight for light” between the corals and the “construction of different floors”- home to an abundance of coral fish. Along the reef schools of mackerel & many other fish are patrolling. In flat caves in 20m you have a chance to see whitetip reef sharks.
Another dive spot with coral gardens is Balay Reef – a good mixture of soft & hard corals. The wall runs about 100m parallel to shore, starts at 5m & drops down to approximately 60m. The wall is entirely covered with corals of all kinds & has numerous small caves & overhangs. This is the place where you can still find really beautiful big gorgonians! Countless coral fish in all colors are always present plus Napoleon fish & rare nudibranches as well as frogfish can be seen. Diving is always feasible here. It’s best in the afternoon, when the sun illuminates the wall.
Bohol’s only natural lake, lake Lanao, near the barangay Pantudlan, ia a lake which also serves as a bird-sanctuary. From one of the resorts, it is a nice half-hour stroll to this lake, and, after following a small path through a nipa-covered swamp, you’ll reach two observation huts, from which you can observe birds.