Dive Locations : Cebu


Eastern Cebu and Mactan Island

Dive Sites

1. CAPITANCILLO ISLAND - 4 star

Location: 100 km north of Mactan Island, 10 km southeast of Bogo.
Access: 2 hr by banca from Mactan, 1 hr from Sogod or by road to Bogo on Cebu's east coast and 30 min by banca.
Conditions: you would not normally make this journey in bad conditions, but even in good conditions fierce currents can be a real problem. Advanced divers pick spring tides in the hope of spotting larger pelagic species, but less experienced divers should choose neap tides and be with an experienced divemaster. Visibility can reach 100ft.
Average depth: 80 ft
Maximum depth: 150 ft

There are three sites here with similar profiles:

A) The Ormoc Shoal, 5 km to the northeast of Capitancillo; B) The Nunez Shoal, 3 km southwest of Calangaman Islet, which is to the northeast of Capitancillo Island; & C) Capitancillo Island's own Southwest wall.

All have shallow reef-tops at 33 ft leading to drop-offs with colorful soft corals, gorgonian sea fans, caves and black corals. The main interest of the dives are the walls, with their many caves and overhangs, small shoals of pelagic fish, all varieties of reef fish, Whitetip and Grey Reef Sharks and the ever present possibility of encounters with larger pelagic species.

Shallow reef-flats extend 3km all around Capitancillo Island, but these three dive sites are the best in the area.

2. TALONG ISLAND - 4 star

Location: 55km north-northeast of Mactan Island, just north of the northwest point of Pacijan Island, the westernmost of the Camotes Island.
Access 2 hr by banca from Mactan Island or 1hr by banca from Sogod.
Conditions: Normally choppy with medium currents, but it can become really rough with fierce
currents. You would not normally make the journey in rough weather. Visibility can reach 130ft. Average depth: Open
Maximum depth: 130 ft plus

Talong in the dialect is eggplant. The north and northwest sides of the island have long slopes out and down with fields of stony corals, particularly large table and boulder corals. Deeper down there are gorgonian sea fans, whip corals, black corals and Dendronephthya soft tree corals. There are all expected reef fish, including Bumphead Parrotfish and small shoals of jacks, snappers, batfish and fusiliers. On the sand are stingrays, flounders, lizardfish, Sand Perch, sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins. When the currents are running, novices should stay close to their divemaster. This is a good area to spot pelagic species.

3. MACTAN ISLAND - TAMBULI - 3 star

Location: Off Tambuli Beach Resort.
Access: 15 min by banca from whatever local resort you are using.
Conditions: usually calm with some current, though it can get rough with strong currents. A dive mainly for novices. You would not normally dive here in bad conditions. Visibility can reach 65 ft. Average depth: 65 ft
Maximum depth: 115 ft

You descent to an easy dive, sloping to a shelf at 70 ft. - where the reef fish are used to being hand fed then the slope continues off into the depths. All the smaller reef fish will approach you looking for handouts, and there are many sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, nudibranchs and flat worms. A good dive for macro photography.

4. OLANGO ISLAND - MABINI POINT - 4 star

Location: Situated at the northern tip.
Access: 20 minutes by banca from Mactan Island.
Conditions: Strong surges and fierce unpredictable currents; a site for advanced divers only. Visitibility can reach 100ft.
Average depth: 115 ft
Maximum depth: 130 ft plus

This is a dive where one hopes to see larger pelagic species. There is little to see in shallower water, so get down quickly to 115ft on the drop-off, settle down in some shelter and look out- anything can pass by. Sharks are common, but Hammerhead Sharks are the highlight and Whaler Sharks have been seen.

5. OLANGO ISLAND - MABINI POINT TO BARING - 4 star

Location: Between the northern tip of Olango and the village of Baring.
Access: 20 min by banca from Mactan Island.
Conditions: Strong surge and fierce unpredictable currents, not for novice divers. Visibility can reach 100 ft.
Average depth: 115 ft
Maximum depth: 130 ft plus

There are several spectacular drop-offs and there are large caves about 100 ft to 115 ft down. There is little to see in the shallow water, so get down quickly to 100 ft and either have a fast drift at this depth or settle down in some shelter and watch the world go by.

Whitetip Reef and Grey Reef Sharks patrol the drop-offs and sightings of tuna, barracuda, snappers, surgeonfish and jacks.

6. OLANGO ISLAND - SANTA ROSA - 4 star
7. POO - 4 star

Location: 400 m offshore from the villages of Santa Rosa and Poo.
Access: 20 min by banca from Mactan Island.
Conditions: Normally strong currents. Novices should be with a divemaster. Visibility can reach 100 ft over the drop-off.
Average depth: 100 ft
Maximum depth: 130 ft

It is possible to snorkel on the reef flat at 30 ft to 40 ft but it is muddy well offshore and has strong currents, so you require banca cover.

For divers the drop-off starts around 30 ft to 130 ft. It is rich in marine life, stony and soft corals,gorgonian sea fans, barrel sponges, Dendrophyllia hard tree corals and Tubastrea cup corals. There is a good varierty of reef fish in the shallower waters, soldierfish and squirrelfish in caves and under overhangs, and lots of lionfish and scorpionfish, plus small schools of jacks, snappers, batfish, sweetlips, Moorish idols, catfish and fusiliers.

8. AMBOUCUAN POINT - 3 star 9. MARIGONDON -3 star

Location: 100m offshore in the Hilutungan Channel from Amboucuan Point to Marigondon.
Access: 15 min by banca from most of the resorts in Mactan island.
Conditions: Normally choppy with strong currents, but can become very rough with fierce currents. Only very experienced divers would dive here in bad condtions; less experienced divers should be with a divemaster and plan carefully for slack water. Visibility can reach 80 ft.
Average depth: 100 ft
Maximum depth: 180 ft

The area is used regularly for carefully planned night diving and is famous for Marigondon Cave, which has a large entrance some 40 ft in diameter with its top at 92 ft amd its bottom at 130 ft. The entrance has black corals, sponges, Tubastrea cup corals, squirrelfish, soldierfish and lionfish. The cave goes back some 150 ft and is roughly 80 ft wide at the end. There are several small grottoes on the right that contains school of flashlight fish and bigeyes. Looking out of the cave entrance is spectacular.

10. EAST SIDE OF PAGANAN ISLET
11. EAST SIDE OF CAOHAGAN ISLET
12. 13 EAST SIDE OF NALUSUAN ISLET - 3 star

Location: The east side of the extensive reef that extends south from Olango Islant to Nalusuan Islet.
Access: 30 min by banca from Mactan Island.
Conditions: Usually choppy with strong and localized currents. You would not dive here in rough conditions. It is best to keep to the east side of the reef in Olango Channel, as conditions can get really tricky on its west side, in the Hilutungan Channel. Both channels have rip currents. Novice divers are mostly a long way from shore, so you need good banca cover, fully alert to divers surfacing well away from the boat. Visibility can reach 100 ft.
Average depth: 60 ft
Maximum depth: 130 ft plus

The area offers good drift-diving over the drop-offs. Excellent stony corals can be seen down to 65 ft beyond which there are overhangs, crevices and the occasional cave with colorful soft corals, gorgonian sea fans, sponges, soldierfish, squirrelfish, lionfish, snappers, jacks, surgeonfish, parrotfish and small groupers. A good local guide is necessary if you are to find the best points.

13. KANSANTIK - 4 star

Location: In the center of the Olango Channel, east of Nalusuan Islet.
Access: 50 min by banca, depending on how long it takes to locate this underwater Island and allow for its currents. GPS(Global Positioning System) is useful here.
Conditions: Open water, fierce currents and a fierce surge if you get the tide tables wrong. This dive is only for the most experienced divers, in small groups, and not for those with heavy cameras. A good banca operator is essential to find the site and drop a shotline and anchor onto it. Once in a position, the best guides, use a heavily weighted shotline, and some divers use individual lines to tie themselves to the weight on the shotline's bottom. Visibility can reach 130 ft.
Average depth: 100 ft
Maximum depth: 165 ft plus

An underwater mountain rises from the depths to within 100 ft of the surface. Descent the shotline and remember when you leave it that, even if you are presently in slack water, the current will soon pick up again. There are good stony corals, soft corals, whip corals, huge sponges and gorgonian sea fans, and schools of fish in particular jacks, snappers and Moorish Idols.

More Dive Sites

Available Packages:

1. Cebu dive

Dive Sites:

Eastern Cebu and Mactan Island

1. Capitancillo Island
2. Talong Island
3. Mactan Island - Tambuli
4. Olongo Island - Mabini Point
5. Olongo Island - Mabini Point to Baring
6. Olongo Island - Santa Rosa
7. Olongo Island - Poo
8. Mactan Island - Amboucuan Point
9. Mactan Island - Marigondon
10. East Side of Panganan Islet
11. East Side of Caohagan Reef
12. East Side of Lassuan Islet
13. Kansantik

Western Cebu and Moalboal

1. Copton Point
2. Saavedra
3. Bas Diot
4. Tongo Point
5. Pescador Island
6. Badian Island
7. Sunken Island



Images and Diving Information, Copyright Jack Jackson.
Taken with permission from his book "The Dive Sites of The Philippines".