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Wandering a Water Wonderland: Bohol, Philippines

Featured Guide
Go on submarine safari beneath the waves in the central Visayas.
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Leyte

Granted, I have never set foot on Leyte. Nonetheless, the experience of swimming with whale sharks -- the ocean's proverbial gentle giants (8m long!) -- off its shores is one that I will never forget. Undeveloped and thoroughly beautiful.

Pamilacan Island

Pamilacan is only an hour southeast of Alona Beach by outrigger, barely fifteen minutes more than the wildly popular island of Balicasag in the opposite direction but receiving a tiny fraction of the crowds that mob that island. This is not something to complain about: for those who do make it to...

Forsing Cottages, Cabilao Island

Run by the eponymous and spunky proprietress Forsing, this small collection of cottages on the western beach in Cabilao is the only non-diver's lodging on the island. The garden cottages aren't flash, but are roomy, comfortable and reasonably priced, and only steps from the beach. Recommended....

Cabilao Island

Cabilao is a small island off the northwestern coast of Bohol in the Visayas of the central Philippines, and a prime spot for SCUBA diving and snorkeling. Unlike the highly-developed area of Panglao off Bohol's southwestern coast, which teems with resorts and traffic and noise, this tiny island...

BlueStar dive & resort

Anda is a place as yet undeveloped, with only a few resorts (most dive-oriented) peppering the rocky seacliffs. BlueStar Dive is one of these, and though I tended to sweat in my A/C-less bungalow at night on the cliff-top, the food here is awesome (if pricey), the staff genuinely friendly and warm,...

Anda (Bohol)

Out on a peninsula on the southeastern edge of the Visayan island of Bohol lies Anda. It's a two hour road journey from the airport or ferry terminal, but that distance means that Anda is also one of the loveliest places on the island -- friendly, beautiful, and thoroughly undeveloped. Most people...

Bohol Island

Bohol's main draw for domestic tourists is the Chocolate Hills (a great many hills, essentially, of a brownish color), and its resident population of tarsiers (the world's smallest pro-simian). International visitors will like it, however, for the diving and resorts on Alona Beach or (better)...

Balicasag Island

Balicasag's fringing reef is the main underwater destination for the crowds from Alona Beach on Panglao, a short boatride away. What this means, practically, is that the shallow waters of the marine sanctuary there are filled with dozens of boats and their occupants treading on the corals, and...

Alona Beach

Your opinion of Alona Beach will depend on what you're after. Want to be social? Party, dance, drink and dine? This is the place. Want a tropical island paradise where you can lounge on a beach without intrusions? Go somewhere else. The waters here are calm and lovely for swimming or snorkeling just...

Marine Sanctuary

Sheltered from the currents that plague some of Anda's southern coast, the Marine Sanctuary makes an ideal beginner's snorkeling or dive spot, with a largely healthy garden of hard (and some soft) corals at 2-4 meters of depth, gradually dropping off to 7-8 meters (though the coral in the depths is...