Scuba Diving Siquijor, Philippines

Siquijor is a tropical island in the southwestern Visayas of the Philippines, that is well known for its pristine beaches and landscapes, as well as for its witches and black magic.

Of course on my visit I want to check out these witch doctors and their potions, and see some nice white beaches, but what I am really here for is to check out the scuba diving.

Apparently there are a lot of dive sites around the island or further offshore, more than I can visit in a week. From wall dives surrounding the island to macro critters to Apo Island day trips, I’m hoping I get to see a lot of it.

 

How to get to Siquijor

There are quite a few ways to get to Siquijor, no matter where you are originating from, but all options are going to take some time. The price of visiting a remote tropical island I guess.

If you are coming straight from Manila, then the fastest way to get to Siquijor would be to fly to Dumaguete, then take the ferry over, which should take about an hour. The flight is also about an hour.

I am originating in Cebu City, and there are more options. There is a small float plane you can take direct, but it is the most expensive option and I had time.

You can also take a car 4-5 hours south, a rental or taxi, to the Santander ferry, take a 15 minute ride to the Dumaguete ferry port, then the 1 hour ferry to Siquijor. That 4-5 hour taxi ride can cost from 2000-4000 Pesos, depending on the time of day.

A third option, and the one I took this time, is a big ferry straight from Cebu City to Dumaguete, then the second ferry. This is definitely the cheapest method, but the least popular and most unknown for backpackers.

cebu ferry

The reason it is less popular for travelers is because most plan to not go directly to the ferry, and to spend some time on the way in Oslob or Moalboal, before getting to Siquijor.

Click HERE to see the ferry times from Cebu City. I spent a little extra money and got the private cabin that was mid range. It costs 2850 Pesos, and is for 2 people. It had a tv, 2 small beds, and most important, a cold AC.

cebu ferry

cebu ferry

But upon seeing the economy bunks when I arrived, I definitely wouldn’t have minded taking on of those for the price of around 600, if I was on a tight budget. They didn’t look bad at all and were open to the sea.

cebu ferry

The ferry to Dumaguete leaves at 7pm, and arrives around 1am, but they let you sleep on board until morning. We slept until 5:30am, then headed to the ticket offices that open at 6, to get tickets to Lorena port in Siquijor. That ticket costed 150 Pesos each.

This is of course a dive trip, so I am staying at a dive center. My girlfriend and I are diving with Siquijor Divers and they arranged to pick us up at the port to take us to our rooms. Of course we could of rented scooters at the port, but had too much dive gear and luggage. Also read: Things to do in Siquijor + Travel Tips

Scuba Diving Siquijor

So how is the diving around Siquijor? All I can say, is that no matter what kind of diver you are, you wont be disappointed. There is something special for everyone.

Even though I visited during the monsoon season, and was unable to visit the best offshore dive sites by boat, the various shore dives I got to do had a ton to see, with both reef life and fish species. My camera was constantly busy.

Siquijor nudibranch

Siquijor diving

Siquijor clown fish

What can you expect to see underwater?

All of the sites I explored were full of life, and world class reef, but some had different things to offer. Some are more of a muck diving site that underwater photographers and macro lovers will prefer, and then there are sites covered in endless coral and reefs, and beautiful seascapes. 

One of those beautiful sites is called the Caticugan Marine Sanctuary, located between San Juan and Siquijor (the city). Definitely ask your dive center to take you there, where you will dive over tons of coral species, in many different colors. In fact, you are still going to see the macro critters Philippines is great for. 

At this dive site and all of the rest around the island, you are sure to run into tons of nudibranchs, clownfish and anemones, giant clams, reef fish, porcelain crabs, shrimps, and much much more. 

It should also be noted that Siquijor also offers some of the best beaches in Philippines, and when you are doing shore dives you get to exit the water on some of the most beautiful shorelines in the world, and take your surface intervals on white sandy beaches. 

Siquijor photography

Don’t forget about Apo Island. Some dive centers around Siquijor offer day trips to the famous Apo Island, for divers and/or snorkelers, which lets you see some of the best reef in the world, and countless turtles. 

For any diving around the island or offshore, I definitely recommend going with Siquijor Divers. I had an amazing time doing fun dives with them, and at the same time my girlfriend had a great instructor and took her Open Water course. 

Be sure to check out their site for prices and availability, if you want a more intimate dive trip, as appose to one with large groups of divers that comes with diving with huge dive resorts. 

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