island hopping delightCebu, Philippines
With its Tiffany-coloured waters, immaculate white sand beaches and more than 7641 islands to choose from, the Philippines is nothing short of an island-hopping mecca. But with this much choice, how do you choose? Sure, there’s the cyan waters of Palawan, postcard-perfect Coron and the dreamy and newly reopened island of Boracay, but we propose something a little different. Think less time spent catching rays on sun-kissed beaches, more time living out your subaquatic dreams below the ocean’s surface and you get Pescador Island and its surrounds.
From the port of Moalboal, jump into a bangka (boat) with your guide and sail to Pescador. The island itself is like iceberg, only riddled with shrubs and ochre in colour; 10 per cent of its mass sits above the surface, while below the rest is made up of coral that spills on and on before cascading downward to form a stunning reef wall. Slap on your snorkel and glide across its colourful surface in search of tropical fish.
Next, it’s time to banish the idea that sardines are simply a small, oily snacks to be enjoyed. Just a short ride away, shielded from predators and rough tides thanks to its proximity to the shore, is a sardine run. A seemingly endless ribbon consisting of millions of small, slippery fishes clustered together moving together as one, it’s a magical spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed.
And finally, there’s the local sea turtles. They’re somewhat elusive (the best things are, no?), and your bangka skippers will likely jump into the water before you to scout for them to offer you the best chance at spotting them. And there’s nothing quite like gliding alongside a sea turtle.
Once you return to port, tuck into some local flavours over lunch and recount your most epic sightings.
- Gliding through the ocean in search of beautiful corals, literally millions of sardines and sea turtles
- Breathing in the fresh, salty air as you zip across the ocean in a traditional bangka boat
- The dive sites can become crowded during in the day, which means an early start is in order
- Out of all the things you’re set to see, the turtles aren’t guaranteed as they’re the most elusive and tend to run on their own schedule!
Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific offers direct flights from Melbourne to Manila three times a week, with connecting flights to Cebu. To reach Pescador Island and its surrounding dive sites you’ll need to head to Moalboal, which is about a 3.5-hour drive from Cebu.
A full-day island hopping tour, including travel to and from the port, guide, lunch, snorkel, costs around US$156 per person.
It’s an early start to enjoy the best viewing ops, but it’s worth it to ensure you don’t get finned in the face en masse by other swimmers.
When it comes to choosing your guide, ask for Tanya. She’s incredibly knowledgeable and knows how to make her tours both fun and informative. She also takes travellers on the Cebu City Tour, which you can add on to your tour package.