The upcoming Hot Soup School Challenge will see a group win a four-day trip to the Philippines! Here’s a small snippet of the diving- and water-related activities that the winners can look forward to:
Bohol, The Philippines
Bohol, in the Western Visayas, has long been regarded as home to some of the best diving in the Philippines. It is the perfect place for you to bask in beachside serenity, with its various aquatic spots and breathtaking beach sceneries. Beachgoers can visit the island of Panglao, which is home to several golden beaches. Located near the southwestern tip of the main island of Bohol, Panglao is connected to Tagbilaran City by a bridge. It comprises two municipalities – Dauis and Panglao, both cradling stretches of coral white sand. The Alona Beach, Danao Beach and Bagobo Beach are definitely must-visit spots, even for regular tourists!
Diving enthusiasts will be treated to many dive sites near Panglao island too, such as Arco Point, Doljo Point, Garden Eels and the BBC Dive Site! The vibrant marine lives that one can expect here include wrasse, butterflyfish, eagle rays, sand eels, demon stinger and many more. Another diver’s paradise would be Balicasag Island, which lay 10km southwest of Panglao. Balicasag houses one of the most famous dive sites in Bohol Triangle: Black Forest, with its name originating from the black corals, Antipathes. While it is recommended that experienced open water divers dive at Black Forest, diving beginners can visit Diver’s Heaven to see big-mouth mackerel, red-toothed triggerfish, and turtles.
The extensive list of beaches and coasts to visit doesn’t stop there! The Pamilacan Island, Virgin Island and Cabilao Island also await any tourists yearning for sandy white beaches and clear waters to relax at.
The Pamilacan Island lies to the east of Balicasag and southeast of Panglao. When diving there, you may even be lucky enough to swim with impressive creatures including schools of spinner and bottlenose dolphins jumping and twirling in the open sea! On the island’s northwest side, there is also a marine sanctuary where you can find wonderful gorgonians and hard corals along the walls, as well as anemones, sponges, tunicates and sea fans.
Just a 15-20 minutes boat ride from Panglao Island, Virgin Island is clearly an attraction due to its long stretch of white sand beach during low tide which spans around 1 hectare. It is always a crowd favorite because of its C-shaped naked sandbar. Its main draw: a lengthy sandbar that curls and fades into the sea like the tail of a mischievous tadpole. The sandy runway also makes for a postcard-perfect backdrop!
Lastly, Cabilao Island is located further north, off the west coast of Bohol. A series of overhangs, cracks, and coral gardens can be found just off the Lighthouse on the northwestern tip of the island. This dive is exceptionally pretty as gorgonians, crinoids, sponges, and soft corals adorn the walls and drop-offs. In fact, the most famous thing about this island are the hammerhead sharks. It is common to see schools of these awesome creatures congregate around the island from December to May. Among the many species found here are barracuda, jacks, mackerel, tuna, triggerfish, butterflyfish, and humphead wrasses feeding in the strong current.
Coron, The Philippines
Situated on the shore of Coron Island in the Philippines, Barracuda Lake offers one of the most unique diving experiences in the world. Its crystal blue waters are framed by majestic rocky formations that would be a perfect addition to your social media feed. Divers, swimmers, and scuba enthusiasts can expect temperatures of around 28°C. However, as you descend into the depths of the lake, at around 45 to 50 feet down the temperature rises to just over 37°C. This strange increase in temperature is due to the unique mixture of salt and freshwater in the lake. The island can be reached via an easy 20-minute boat ride from Coron town.
Twin Lagoon is that place that you would not want to miss when you visit Coron. The place leaves people wondering if this paradise is real, stunning them with its unspoiled beauty. With the limestone towers of Calis Mountain embracing the inner lagoon, fresh and saltwater meet causing a thermocline with layers of varying water temperatures. The limestone walls surrounding the inner lagoon are rich with corals and marine life.
Lastly, located on the northern part of the Calamianes Island, off the island of Busuanaga, Pass Island Coron is one of the whitest, sandiest, tropical islands in the Philippines. Imagine pure white silica, soft underfoot, and tall, green palm trees towering skywards and casting blissful shadows over the beach. Then imagine a cold beer in hand and refreshing, calm waters to swim in. That’s Pass Island, Coron’s white sand paradise, where its crystal clear waters invites you right in for a refreshing noontime dive, including a protected reef teeming with life! The fantastic variety of coral, with lots of small fishes, can keep your attention for a good hour or more.
To read more, do check out our Discover the Philippines e-Newsletter series! Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel around the Philippines and visit Bohol and Coron! Read more here for Hotsoup Challenge and Images of Asia to stand a chance to win this grand prize.