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Home > Magazine > Travel > Cabilao Island (Philippines): Giant Corals and a Macro Paradise

Travel

Published: 12/13/2007

Author: Fredy Brauchli

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Geographic data

Latitude: 9.87822 / N 9° 52.693'
Longitude: 123.775002 / E 123° 46.5'

Images



Beeindruckende Blattschwammformationen am Saumriff beim South Point


Die schön gezeichneten Eischnecken Calpurnus verrucosus leben auf Lederkorallen.


Prächtig gezeichnet und dennoch schwer zu erkennen, der Riesenanglerfisch auf nächtlicher Lauer


Geographisch weit verbreitet und dennoch selten gesehen: Die Prachtsternschnecke Glossodoris hikuerensis.


Der über einem Federstern schwebende Harlekin-Geisterpfeifenfisch hat sich seiner Umgebung perfekt angepasst


Die leuchtend rot-violette, flinke und ca. 1,5 cm kleine Springkrabbe Lauriea siagiani lebt auf Fassschwämmen.


Eine der Attraktionen: Die „elektrische Muschel“, deren Stromfluss feine weisse Reflexe am Muschelrand auslöst.


In dieser orangen Färbung sehr seltene Partnergarnele Pontonides unciger.


Ihretwegen kommen viele Taucher nach Cabilao: Pygmäenseepferdchen Hippocampus bargibanti.


Beim knapp 1 cm grossen Pygmäenseepferdchen handelt es sich um die kleinste Art, d.h. um Hippocampus denise.

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Huge table corals at Chapel Point – as far as the eye can see

Huge table corals at Chapel Point – as far as the eye can see

Cabilao Island (Philippines): Giant Corals and a Macro Paradise

If you are not afraid of long journeys, visit Cabilao Island and not only find fantastic coral growth but also an outstanding diversity of rare reef dwellers.

Admittedly, the trip to Cabilao is long, very long. But once you set your foot on the little island in the Visayas, late at night, you will forget all the strain in a blink. Every visitor is welcomed with a wonderful lei. Immediately after, the resort manager asks the new guests what they wish for dinner and instructs the kitchen crew accordingly. Avid staff members bring the luggage to the bungalow and a refreshing shower is awaiting. As soon as the next day, diving in Cabilao can become reality.

Individual Diving

Your first dive with a very small, individual group in the northwest area of the Gorgonia Wall – a steep wall, covered with coral growth – awaits you. And your life-long dream to see pygmy seahorses becomes reality during your first dive. Amid countless red Gorgonian Corals our guide Aking finds a specimen of the tiny pygmy seahorse Hippocampus denise. Later, we spot myriads of coral fish, a multitude of small crabs and a rare species of sea slugs Glossodoris hikuerensis. But this was only the beginning.

The Lighthouse diving site, the next for us to go, is located northwest of Cabilao. Immediately after arriving at the slope, which is gently inclining towards the wall, we spot a pair of Harlequin Ghost Pipefish and a soft coral crab among masses of small and smallest shrimps and many sea slugs. Rarities as far as the eye can reach. At a depth of around 20 meters (65.6 feet), a steep wall covered with wonderful coral growth almost knocks us for a loop. At a dark red Gorgonian Coral our guide with his eagle eye spots several red pygmy seahorses of the species Hippocampus bargibanti, much to the joy of the photographers among us. And to conclude a wonderful first diving day, we spot two more Harlequin Ghost Pipefish during our ascent.

A Limited Number of Diving Sites of Rather Excellent Quality

One thrilling dive follows the next. Although the island covers only 7.5 km² (29 sq miles) and has only about ten diving sites distributed over the 10 km (6.2 miles) long fringing reef around the island, divers from around the world are fascinated by the fantastic and often huge, completely intact formations of corals and sponges, which can be found above all at the less frequented, southwest corner between Chapel Point and South Point. In addition, the enormous diversity of fish species, protected by two reserve areas, is attracting divers. Numerous small caves and the rich growth covering the walls are an ideal habitat for many rare marine dwellers, living here in astounding numbers.

7 to 10 diving days will give you a good impression of the effervescent diversity of life around Cabilao Island. One or two night dives are an absolute must. Mostly, night dives, which offer you another insight into the diversity of species, are taken at the northeast corner of the Cambaquiz region. Snake Eels, Crocodile Snake Eels, Stonefish and Devilfish, magnificent anglerfish, different shrimp species, rare sea slugs and snails, pegasidae and many more make every diver's heart jump for joy.

Island Hopping to Nearby Destinations

A trip to Cabilao can perfectly be combined with island hopping to other nearby destinations. Individually organized boat transfers give you the advantage of diving remote sites while traveling to other challenging destinations located in the Visayas region within a few hours. Take the opportunity to customize you diving vacation.

Information

You can take the plane to Cebu from all large airports in Europe, Asia, and America etc. Then, take the speed ferry to Tagbilaran on Bohol island (around 2 hrs.), take a taxi to Sandingan (approx. 1 ½ hrs.) and finally the outrigger boat to Cabilao (around ½ hrs.).

See specific maps for Cabilao and the diving places.

Due to the lack of groundwater on the island, water is supplied from cisterns. Electrical current from photovoltaic systems (230 volts) is available daily, between 5.30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m.; the rest of the day 12-volt solar current is supplied.

The resort sits directly on the white palm beach in the northeast, near the village of Cambaquiz. The small resort consists of well-kept double bungalows, situated above and below the cliff, directly by the sea. Enjoy the tropical garden and the cozy restaurant with a view from the cliff line over the ocean.

All necessary equipment is available at the diving center, guaranteeing perfect service, individually adapted to the divers’ requirements. All diving sites can be reached in a few minutes by boat.

See www.cabilao.com and www.sea-explorers.com for more information.