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Philippines Dive Area : Siquijor
Most liveaboards in Siquijor visit the northwest corner of the island, where multiple dive sites offer coral-covered walls full of reef life. The small island of Siquijor to the southeast of Negros, Philippines has always held a mystical allure; the Spaniards named it Isla del Fuego when they witnessed a blaze of light from firefly-festooned mangroves along the coast, and the local population has always had a reputation for healing and enchanting. Today, Siquijor is a favorite among tourists for its laid-back vibe and variety of ecosystems, including some pristine community-managed marine sanctuaries and a superb couple of coral drop-offs. A selection of liveaboards offer itineraries which include a visit to Siquijor as aprt of their schedule.
What You Can See
Paliton Wall is the most famous; here, the wall drops to 50 meters with excellent visibility, offering a chance to feel like youíre flying over endless depths. The wall is graced with soft corals, sea fans, and whip corals. Make sure to explore the overhangs and keep one eye on the blue water for a chance of passing pelagics. Nearby Tonga Point and West Point also offer sheer walls to drift along, and the chance to see a variety of reef life, including Napoleon Wrasse and Bumphead Parrotfish if youíre lucky.
For beginners in the northwest area of Siquijor, Solangon offers the chance for new divers, and even snorkelers, to explore coral platforms and bommies without fighting the current. Farther offshore, the underwater shoal of Sunken Island sometimes attracts mantas and eagle rays. The current at Sunken Island can be strong, which brings out the best in active fish life on the reef and in the blue water. Experienced divers are best suited to manage the currents at this site.
Just south of Paliton, Tonga, and West Points lies the marine sanctuary of Tubod. Here, pristine hard coral cover of many different species is decorated by plentiful reef fishes of respectable size. Itís a great example of a community-based protection program doing its job.
Getting To Siquijor
Philippines liveaboards in Siquijor are the best way to combine it with other premier Visayan dive locations. Itineraries usually run for seven nights at around 450 euros per night. These boats spend one day in Siquijor, and the rest of their trip hopping between Sumilon Island in Cebu and Balicasag, Pamilican, Cabilao, and Panglao Islands in Bohol. The port of departure for liveaboards visiting Siquijor is Dumaguete, the hip capital city of Negros Oriental. A flight of about one to two hours can get you there from Manila or Cebu City. To reach Manila or Cebu City from abroad, direct flights are available from many Southeast Asian countries. Out-of-region international flights will usually transfer once before flying into the Philippines.
The best visibility in Siquijor is during the Visayan dry season from February through May. However, Siquijor can be dived at any time of year; it receives much less rain than its eastern counterparts of Leyte and Cebu. Wind and waves in Siquijor correspond to either the northeast or southwest monsoons, depending on the time of year, but thereís always somewhere sheltered to dive.