Just an hour or so away from Alona Beach, you couldn’t have more of a contrast in Destinations, from hustle and bustle to the complete quiet and tranquility of Cabilao. Make no mistake though, there is stunning diving to be had around this small island.
If it were not for diving, Cabilao would not register in any tourism guidebook; it’s a small island just off the West coast of Bohol, with fishing and agriculture as the main livelihoods for its people.
One of the things you first realise when you walk around the island is how quiet it is; the island is only 5 square km and doesn’t have proper road network and consequently very few motorized vehicles have been brought over.
It’s this island feeling of being away from the normal, being surrounded by quiet and the opportunity to properly relax that sets itself apart from many other dive destinations. Of course, there are also reasons underwater for Cabilao to more than hold its own as a top class dive destination too.
15 years ago, before diving had really taken off in the Philippines, Cabilao was one of the main dive destinations; Hammerheads could be seen regularly on the dive site ‘Shark Point’. Sadly, courtesy of the shark fining trade, those days are long gone.
No dive destination wants to see its main attraction be wiped out, but there is so much more still to see in Cabilao and the variety and type of diving available is really fantastic.
The south coast is essentially one long wall, dipping down vertically to 40m or so, and continuing along for maybe a couple of kilometers. The wall is covered in hard and soft corals, fans and sponges, with good visibility and sunlight it is hard to match the scenery for beauty and diversity. Not only that, so much macro life can be found and special creatures too, for example all kinds off cowries camouflaged on fans, 2 kinds of pigmy seahorses hiding in the gorgonians, scorpion leaf fish swaying from side to side as soon as they lay eyes on you and so much more.
If you’re lucky the resident, but shy, Chevron Barracuda might give a fleeting appearance.
At Shark Point, there’s a good chance of meeting up with the resident school of Big Eye Trevally and undoubtedly you’ll see plenty of Green Turtles.
Moving round the East side of the island, the wall becomes more of a sandy slope and rocky outcrops with huge yellowy elephant ear sponges; the chances are a giant frogfish will not be too far away.
Cabilao is a joy to dive, to photograph, to video, to experience and the chances are you’ll probably have it all to yourself.