Bait Balls and Muck Diving: Moalboal to Dumaguete
Seek out the miniature wonders of the underwater world on this 17-day island hopping getaway to the Philippines. Spend your first week in a thatch-roofed suite overlooking a black sand beach, where, beneath the waves, you'll find some of the best muck diving in the world and critter enthusiasts will find macro life hiding in plain sight all along the sea floor. From ribbon eels and leafy scorpionfish to multiple species of frogfish and nudibranchs, you'll constantly be seeking the next hidden gem as the minutes of each dive melt away.
After a week of diving around Dumaguete and Dauin, you'll make your way to Cebu Island, where you'll stay tucked away in a resort far from the crowds and teeming with marine life. Here, you can enjoy diving amid massive schools of shimmering sardines and vibrant corals bustling with activity. From pygmy sea horses to turtles to sharks, all manner of life can be found on the surrounding reefs, and you'll be reluctant to spend any of your time above water. Should you take a dry day though, there is plenty of beauty to be found land-side. Whether indulging in a spa treatment (or two) or exploring the jungle pools, even your non-diving days will be divine.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Stroll along the black sand beaches of Dumaguete
- Discover an array of weird and wonderful macro critters along the sandy and silty sea bottom around Dumaguete and Dauin.
- Visit Apo Island, enjoying the coral encrusted walls and sloping reefs alongside turtles and schools of reef fish.
- Enjoy sumptuous spa days with an array of treatments to choose from
- Kayak through natural lakes and cool off in man-made plunge pools in the middle of the jungle
- Spend dives surrounded by shoals of silver sardines
- Scan sea fans for pygmy seahorses (sometime four-five per fan!)
Why Book with Original Diving?
When To Travel
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Days 1 & 2 : International Flights
Your Philippines diving adventure begins today with an overnight flight to Cebu, travelling via Doha. Enjoy airport assistance and lounge access before your flight and then sit back and relax for your 18 - hour journey.
After landing in Cebu, your journey continues with a domestic flight to Dumaguete where you'll be collected by our local driver and taken to your luxury resort on a beautiful black sand beach. Settle into your thatch-roofed suite and then head down to the infinity pool just in time for a sundowner before dinner, then turn in for your first night in paradise.
Days 3–5: Muck Diving for Macro Marvels and Apo Island
Dauin and Dumaguete rank among the best muck diving locales in the world. You'll spend the next few days discovering why as you scour the silty bottom for the rare and bizarre creatures that inhabit this corner of the ocean. Your passionate dive guide, with endless facts on the critters of the area, will lead you on an underwater scavenger hunt like no other as you discover frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, ornate ghost pipefish and pygmy sea horses (to name a few).
For a bit of contrast, head out to Apo Island one day, where you'll trade the volcanic sand bottom around Dumaguete and Dauin for sloping reefs and coral walls abundant with marine life. Expect a glut of turtles grazing on the reef, huge schools of jacks cruising past and keep your eyes peeled for more macro life hiding in the cracks and crevices of the reef as well.
Day 6–8: Explore Above & Below the Water
Take the next few days to either log more hours underwater in search of all the hidden critters, or enjoy some of the incredible natural beauty and culture on land. Kayak through Balanan Lake and cool off in the man-made plunge pools in the rainforest, or, if you're feeling adventurous, climb up the mountainside for lovely views over the coconut plantations below.
Back at your resort, take advantage of the serene and stunning spa for a treatment or two. Offering a menu of massages, body wraps and facial treatments, you'll feel pampered and refreshed for the next leg of your Philippines diving adventure.
Day 9: Travel to Cebu Island
This morning, you'll be transferred back to the airport to catch your domestic flight to Cebu Island. Your flight should take just a little over an hour and, when you land, you'll be collected by your private driver and transferred to your next world-class dive resort.
Day 10–15: Discover the Delights of Moalboal
Perfectly perched to explore Moalboal, and conveniently away from the crowds, you'll spend the next few days surrounded by clouds of sardines at one of the most spectacular and surreal regions in the Philippines.
Divers specifically visit Moalboal for the phenomenon around the island of Pescador, where huge shoals of sardines gather below the surface. You'll descend through this cloud of silver fish as they dart back and forth, glimmering in the light, and find yourself enveloped completely. Once through, you'll be greeted by walls covered in soft corals and forests of sea fans, home to miniscule pygmy seahorses, bobtail squid and blue ring octopus. There is plenty to do topside as well, but with such outstanding diving, you'll likely want to take advantage of every minute underwater.
Days 16 & 17: Journey Home
All too soon, the day has arrived to begin your voyage home. This morning you will be taken back to Cebu airport in time to catch your flight home, again via Doha. The trip should take approximately 20 hours, so settle in and perhaps peruse your photos of all the intricately beautiful creatures you've seen over the past two weeks as you journey back home.
Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.