Balicasag Island is situated off the south of the Panglao Island in Bohol. The entire island can be toured in a day full of breath-taking views and beautiful white coralline beeches.
The island is fringed by a narrow reef of about 9 to 49 meters wide, which makes it a favorite destination for most novice and expert divers. Hard corals cover the submarine cliff tops with sponges and gorgonian at its base. The island is also home to a huge community of fish, which makes it the ultimate diving haven. You will be amazed by a 400 meter marine sanctuary of healthy corals on vertical walls over deep waters and strong currents.
Here are some of the key diving spots around the Balicasag Island:
1. Turtle Point – Located off the east side of the island, the Turtle Point features caves of 60 to 75 meters down. It’s a haven for turtles (hence its name) as they make the caves their nest to shelter themselves from alleged hazards. Patience is the key, though, if you truly want to see a turtle.
2. Cathedral Wall – This diving site features a ton of recesses where divers can explore. Make sure to bring a torch to illuminate the magnificent view of the marine life such as sponges, reef fish and big jacks. Sunny days cast reflections inside the cathedral which are beautiful to look at.
3. Royal Garden – Covered with thick corals that form a kaleidoscopic and multi-colored reef, this diving site off the northern side of the island is full of a wide assortment of tropical fish.
4. Black Coral Forest – Now this is the ultimate diving site you can’t afford to miss. Grab the rare opportunity of swimming through the black corals of the island. Black corals are rarely found on a shallow bed of only 90 feet deep as they are here. The corals seem to survive here basically due to the shadow of the island, which helps simulate the usual conditions of the depth at which the corals normally live. The water is cool and is full of nutrients provided by the currents.
5. Resort Wall – Reef life on the resort wall is active and colorful with currents slightly stronger than that of other diving sites around the island. The wall starts at 30-50 meters off the beach in approximately 2 to 3 meters of water. The tops of the reef are relatively smooth and flat, covered in seaweed and rocks. Magnificent sea fans, scorpion fish, and lion fish can also be seen here.
6. The Cavern – This was named due to the small caves on the drop-off wall about 20-25 meters down. Explore the adjoining walls and caves and experience hiding inside one as you wait for large fish to pass by. Dive here right before sunset to see daytime and night-time organisms change shifts in order to feed and breed.
The Balicasag Island is about an hour-and-a-half’s airplane ride away from Manila by going to Cebu first. You can get to the island from Cebu through Bohol by passing through a connecting bridge to Alona Beach, which is the drop-off point. The island is home to some of the best diving sites in the region of the Philippines, offering every visitor a rare and thrilling diving experience.