Experienced divers can experience the Philippines' vibrant marine biodiversity, colorful reefs, and white-sand beaches on this exciting 9-day itinerary. Begin your trip with an easy dive off the coast of Panglao Island before exploring underwater caves and reefs off Balicasag Island. See camouflaged creatures like octopi and frogfish in the volcanic sands of Dumaguete, spot huge schools of jackfish and barracuda near Apo Island, and go wall diving in Moalboal before ending your trip in Malapascua.

Highlights

  • Complete up to 19 dives in some of the Philippines best dive sites
  • See exciting marine life like pygmy seahorses, rays, nudibranchs, and mandarinfish
  • Explore underwater caverns and overhangs
  • Take a night dive to see rarely spotted fish
  • Swim with endangered thresher sharks

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive on Panglao Island Panglao Island
Day 2 Day-Trip to Balicasag Island Panglao Island
Day 3 Day-Trip to Dauin - Transfer to Dumaguete Dumaguete
Day 4 Day-Trip to Apo Island Dumaguete
Day 5 Transfer to Moalboal Moalboal
Day 6 Day-Trip to Pescador Island - Moalboal Moalboal
Day 7 Transfer to Malapascua Malapascua
Day 8 Malapascua Diving Expeditions Malapascua
Day 9 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive on Panglao Island

A beach on Panglao Island
A beach on Panglao Island

Welcome to the Philippines! When you land at the Panglao International Airport (TAG), a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel on Panglao Island.

After you check in and drop your luggage, your guide will pick you up for your first dive at Alona Beach. The dive sites in the area are unique with swim-through passages that are ideal for those who need to get back into the groove of diving. Today, you'll have a good chance of spotting anemone shrimp, nudibranchs, frogfish, garden eels, sea snakes, and rays.

At the end of the day, you'll be transferred back to your hotel, and you'll have the evening free to explore the town.

Day 2: Day-Trip to Balicasag Island

Sea turtle off the coast of Balicasag Island
Sea turtle off the coast of Balicasag Island

Today, a driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the main dock for your 45-minute ferry to Balicasag Island, one of the most spectacular dive areas in the Visayan Islands.

Depending on your level of expertise and interests, you can choose between slope dives and drift dives, and each option will allow you to see rich marine life. You can explore underwater caves, small passageways, and the coral reefs in the shallows.

You will make two dives in Balicasag, and it's almost certain that you will encounter sea turtles and big schools of jackfish. After you've finished exploring Balicasag, you'll board the ferry back to Panglao. Before you head back to your hotel for the evening, you can go on a third dive off the coast of Panglao Island.

Day 3: Day-Trip to Dauin - Transfer to Dumaguete

Diving off the coast of Dauin
Diving off the coast of Dauin

After breakfast, you will head to the main dock in Panglao in order to catch your 2-hour ferry to Dumaguete, a city on the island of Negros.

Once you arrive, a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel where you'll check in and drop your baggage. Then, you'll be transferred 30 minutes south head to the beach in Dauin which is famous for its muck dive sites.

The dark volcanic sands that cover the ocean floor in Dauin may look unremarkable, but there are plenty of camouflaged creatures to uncover. With a sharp eye, you can find the strangest, most wonderful creatures like octopi, seahorses, flamboyant cuttlefish, flounder, frogfish, and robust ghost pipefish.

At the end of the day, your driver will return you to Dumaguete, and you'll have the rest of the evening to explore the city.

Day 4: Day-Trip to Apo Island

A humphead parrotfish off the coast of Apo Island
A humphead parrotfish off the coast of Apo Island

Today, you will head to the main dock and take a boat to Apo Island, one of the world's first marine reserves.

This island has been protected for over 25 years, making its coral garden extremely rich and vibrant. During your dive off the coast of Apo Island, you'll see humphead parrotfish, huge schools of jackfish, barracuda, frogfish, sea snakes, leaf scorpionfish, and nudibranchs in every color of the rainbow.

After you complete your dive, you'll get back on a boat and return to Dumaguete for the evening.

Day 5: Transfer to Moalboal

A colorful nudibranch
A colorful nudibranch

Today, you will travel north along the western coast of Cebu Island to Moalboal.

Moalboal is among the best wall diving destinations in the world, with sheer faces that start at 15 feet (5 meters) and drop to 100 feet (30 meters). The marine life here is extremely varied, and the major attraction is a large school of sardines that can always be found off Pasagnama Beach.

On your first dive of the day, it is possible to see leaf scorpionfish, pipefish, schools of razorfish, and sea turtles.

If you'd like to do an additional night dive, there's a good chance of spotting ghost pipefish and sea slugs. After you're finished with your dives, a representative will take you to your hotel in Moalboal for the rest of the night.

Day 6: Day-Trip to Pescador Island - Moalboal

Scuba divers off the coast of Pescador Island
Scuba divers off the coast of Pescador Island

After breakfast this morning, a representative will take you to the dock so that you can catch your boat to a Pescador Island near Moalboal.

You'll set off on a guided dive when you arrive as the island is famous for its dramatic underwater drop-offs, overhangs, and caverns. At times, sardines are so plentiful in the area that their school forms a cloud underwater, and these schools can draw large predators like barracuda.

In the afternoon, you will take the boat back to Moalboal where you can go on two additional dives. There are over 10 sites to choose from here, and you may just be lucky enough to spot a passing whale shark. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel in town.

Day 7: Transfer to Malapascua

View of the beach on Malapascua
View of the beach on Malapascua

Today, you will head to the dock and take a boat to Malapascua, an island off the northern coast of Cebu.

Your first dive will be an easy one just off the island, but Malapascua is famous for its plentiful pelagic Thresher Sharks. This shoal dive site is also host to devil rays, pygmy seahorses, and a variety of shrimps and nudibranchs.

At dusk, you will have your second dive at a site called Lighthouse where you can observe the interesting mating ritual of the mandarin fish, the blue-ringed octopus, and more. After your final dive, a representative will take you to check in at your hotel in Malapascua where you can relax for the evening.

Day 8: Malapascua Diving Expeditions

A thresher shark
A thresher shark

As this is your last diving day, you'll have three lengthy dives around Malapascua. You'll leave your hotel early in the morning and take a 30-minute boat ride from Malapascua to the dive site known as Monad Shoal, and you'll be able to enjoy the sunrise from the boat.

Monad Shoal is an underwater island that has a large population of thresher sharks. On your dive, you will be able to see many of these elegant sharks and the small, colorful fish called wrasse that often swim alongside them and clean their tails. After the dive, you will return to Malapascua for a hearty breakfast before taking another boat to Gato Island for two more dives.

Gato Island is known as a sea snake sanctuary, and it has fascinating underwater rock formations, caves, and tunnels to explore. Aside from seeing many sea snakes, there is also a good chance you'll see seahorses, frogfish, and white tip sharks.

At the end of the day, your guide will return you to your hotel in Malapascua.

Day 9: Departure

Aerial view of Manila
Aerial view of Manila

It's time to say goodbye to the Philippines! You will be able to spend your final morning relaxing on the beach before a representative takes you back to Cebu City in order to catch your evening flight back to Manila. From Manila, you'll catch your international flight back home.

Map

Map of Diving in the Philippines: Cebu, Negros, & Bohol - 9 Days
Map of Diving in the Philippines: Cebu, Negros, & Bohol - 9 Days