Cabilao Island is one of the smaller islands that surround the bigger Bohol Island. Others include Panglao another popular dive destination. Cabilao lies off the west coast of Bohol, in front of Cebu Island. Fringed by palm trees, covered by sandy beaches, Cabilao Island is a true paradise for divers who want to explore the 800 different species of corals and fishes that the underwater world offer here. It is a government protected area with 8 square kilometers and suitable for people who like it away from mass tourism and commercialization.
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Cabilao offers intact nature and the Philippine way of life, by themselves making a visit worthwhile. But it is mostly the fringing coral reef, more than 12 km long, dropping to 50 m depth, which attracts visitors to the island from all over the world. The fantastic coral growth and the great biodiversity of fish, nudibranchs and sponges can even surprise widely-travelled divers.
There are perfect dive spots for beginners and experienced divers.
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.
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.
It is completely covered with different kinds of corals, giant gorgonias, sponges and has many small caves and overhangs. Plenty of coral fish, rare nudibranches, frogfishes and pygmy seahorses can be spotted. Occasionally large napoleon wrasses are cruising by. This easy dive is especially recommended for afternoon dives.
This dive is best in late afternoon when the sunlight hits the corals directly. Schools of jack fish and many varieties of reef fish are seen. Also this is a good spot for novice divers.
FALLEN TREE & 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.
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 wunderpus and many different kind of crabs and shrimps.
The fast ferry from Cebu City brings you to Tagbilaran in approximately 2 hours. From there you go by taxi or jeepney to Sandingan, where you go by outrigger boat directly to Cabilao.