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The Philippine’s unique location in the heart of the Coral Triangle makes it one of the world’s premiere snorkeling destinations. Much like Indonesia, the Philippines hold some of the world’s most bio diverse and pristine reefs, vast quantities of reef fish and larger marine species like sea turtles and whale sharks. With 7,641 islands to choose from in the Philippines it can be a daunting task of choosing the right one to visit. To save you a bit of a headache we’ve taken on the task of narrowing down the destinations to the three we feel offer the best balance between travel logistics, the resorts, and of course the snorkeling. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of visiting the Philippines, here a little run down of what you’re missing or should expect on a Snorkel Venture trip to the Philippines.
The Snorkeling Around Moalboal-Cebu Island
Moalboal is typically our fist stop on our current Philippines itinerary and it’s reefs are on the doorstep of the resort. Moalboal is a small town on the southern side of Cebu, and given the islands elongated shape the reef that fringes it just continues on and on and on. In the shallowest portions of the reef you’ll find vast sea grass and sargasum seaweed beds where strange little critters like pipe fish and file fish hide among the aquatic vegetation. When the water gets to be about three feet deep the sea grass tapers off and you’ll find yourself amongst the fields of hard coral and sponges. The reefs are home to many different marine species from the famous lion fish, a number of species of clown fish, sea turtles, sea snakes, and a rainbow of colorful reef fish that look like multi colored glitter suspended in the water column. One thing that is unique to Moalboal is that just a few meters off the doorstep of the resort is a residential colony of mandarine fish!
The Snorkeling around Cabilao Island
Cabilao is a much smaller island just a bit east of Cebu and a few hundred meters west of the island of Bohol. The reefs here in Cabilao are in my opinion some of the most unique of the this particular tour. First of all, the area is quite remote and secluded so you can be sure that you will be the only snorkelers in the area. But what really sets this place apart in my mind is that the shallow reefs, which eventually give way to breathtaking walls full fo sea fans and soft coral, are a labyrinth of coral structures which gave me the feeling of floating over a fantastical city. Dive down and you can get a ‘street view’ of the underwater world as you swim through the surreal coral architecture.
The Snorkeling around Anda-Bohol Island
Anda is a small rural town on the south coast of Bohol and along it’s entire coast line is a stunning fringing reef which just goes on and on like Moalboal’s does. The reef itself start a bit deeper than the other two sites with the shallowest point we’ve found to be around a meter or so, but average around two to three meters. While Moalboal tends to be more hard coral, Anda’s reefs can largely be characterized as a mixture of sponges, leather corals, and hard corals. The reefs are home to many green sea turtles as well as sea snakes, scorpion fish, and once again all the glittery little reef fish. Once of the favorite things to do here is to just float over the point of the reef which abruptly turns into a deep blue wall. This allows us to keep an eye in the blue for larger marine life like turtles and the odd whale shark which are not uncommon in the area, while also enjoying the stunning view of the reef.