The wealth and range of reef sites to be discovered in the Philippines is exceptional due to the the vast number of islands that make up the country. With well over 7000 islands, many uninhabited and covered in lush vegetation and white sandy beaches, and surrounded by fringing reefs, the beauty of this country is breathtaking. Aside from the friendly locals, stunning topside scenery and classic island beaches, snorkeling in the Philippines presents a dizzying variety of marine life to encounter.
This Philippines snorkeling safari combines two fantastic destinations, each offering spectacular yet different scenery and marine sightings. Both these locations offer great snorkeling experiences with lively reefs and lots of marine life, most of which is only found within the Coral Triangle.
In each destination we’ll be catered to by our outstanding host resort, where everything will be tailored to our specific snorkeling and resort needs. Each location is ideally situated to allow for beautiful land-based excursions and easy access to some of the best snorkeling in the area.
Trip highlights include snorkeling with turtles and the brilliantly colored reef fish that burst from the reef, searching for unique critters like nudibranchs, frog fish, and maybe even mandarin fish, and just enjoying the beautiful beaches and reefscapes that are unique to the Philippines. Also, though sightings should not be expected, whale sharks do live in the area and cruise over the reefs from time to time!
This tour is fully guided by a member of the Snorkel Venture team.
Marine Life Guide
You can arrive at any time on the first day of the tour. Upon arrival at Cebu International Airport (CEB), you will be met by a driver and transferred to the resort. This can take about 3.5 hours by car.
Here you will meet your tour leader and settle into your room, relax, enjoy the pool etc until the evening meal, where you will meet everyone and have a group briefing.
Each day will start with an a la cart breakfast. We then have a thorough site briefing and head out for the first snorkel of the day. Most of the sites are within 15 minutes of the resort so we return in between snorkel sessions. For the further sites, we will spend time on the boat in between snorkels, having a cup of tea and a snack.
Each snorkel session will last for 60-90 minutes, and will be accompanied by your tour leader as well as local snorkel guides who will point out interesting marine life.
After two morning sessions we will have lunch at the resort- a la carte including local and western inspired offerings.
We will then go back out on the private boats for another snorkel session or two. We will have a total of 3 – 4 snorkel sessions a day. The house reef is always available for snorkeling and is full of interesting critters. We will also have the opportunity to do a night snorkel. This is highly recommended as the reef is transformed at night, as all the nocturnal creatures come out to hunt- eels, rays, urchins, barracuda etc. Magic Island house reef also has a special resident- the Mandarinfish. These brightly colored dragonets are not found in many places, and only come out of their hard-coral- homes around dusk to forage and mate. It is a great thing to witness.
Drinks can be enjoyed at the bar before we head to the open-air restaurant for dinner.
After breakfast we check out and transfer to the port (about 4.5 hours away), where we take a fast ferry over to Bohol where we are met by our driver who will take us on to Cabilao.
Once we have settled in to our new resort, the rest of the day is at leisure, to snorkel the house reef, laze on the beach, read a book, or enjoy the beach bar.
After a buffet breakfast we will head out on our private boats to nearby snorkel sites. We will do 2 – 3 snorkel sessions a day from the boats. Usually we will do two sites in the morning, return to the resort for an a la carte lunch and short break before heading back out for another snorkel session. The house reef is extensive and very healthy, and we can snorkel around the resort as we please.
Meals are served at the large restaurant, which boasts a lovely view of the surrounding trees and then the ocean. Most dietary requirements can be met by both resorts with advance notice.
Evenings will be spent at the bar exchanging stories of the days sightings or looking a the fish ID books and photos, or just resting and reading.
Again, we will arrange an optional night snorkel here, which we highly recommend.
After breakfast, we will make our way back to Cebu Airport, where the tour ends and we must bid our new friends goodbye.
On our Philippines snorkel safari we will stay at the following resorts:
Magic Island Resort (All meals incl.)
Located in a private corner of Moalboal, the resort has a small number of traditional style cottages set around a central pool, offering spectacular views of landscape of eastern Cebu. Each room has air-conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, drinking water, and an ensuite bathroom. There is a small veranda at each bungalow, and the resort has lovely bar for evening socializing. There is a pool to cool off in between snorkeling excursions and plenty of loungers for lazy afternoon book reading. The restaurant area has a small library including some fish and coral identification books, and open are dining area.
The snorkel boats are traditional Filipino bangka boats, and have shaded areas for sun protection. They serve snacks after the snorkel sessions.
Pura Vida Resort (All meals incl.)
Pura Vida is situated on the north-eastern point of the isolated island of Cabilao. There are several modern bungalows just off the beach, while up above you’ll find the spacious restaurant, bar, and spa and the slightly larger deluxe ocean-view rooms each with their own terrace and very spacious bathrooms. At the start of 2020 they installed a beautiful infinity pool that cascades off the cliff top and faces out to sea.
Their snorkel boats are large enough to comfortably accommodate 24 people (far more than we have in the group) and complete with a large canopy to protect us from the sun. There is also a large cabin area to store things you want to keep dry or just lie down for a moment. A toilet is also on board as well along with fresh fruits, cookies, and cold and hot beverages are served after each snorkel session.
Magic Island: These traditional bangka style boats offer plenty of room for everyone and their snorkel gear. Half of the boat is covered with a canopy for protection from the sun, with a wood ladder for water exits. There is no marine toilet onboard, but fresh water basins for cameras and gear are. Average travel time from the resort is about 15 minutes.
Cabilao: These much larger traditional bangka style boats have plenty of sun protection with the canopy, and also offer a fully covered area to store items that can not get wet. There is a marine toilet onboard as well as fresh water basins for cameras. Exit the water by wood ladders on the sides of the boat. Average travel time from the resort is about 15 minutes.
On this page you will find our tour dates, a contact form and details of payment schedule including deposit and final balance. If you have any further questions please complete the form and we will reply within 24-48hrs.
Make an enquiry
Philippines Safari (MoalBoal and Cabilao) | 13th – 25th November
2021: $3,450 / £2,760 per person (Twin/Double Share)
How to book your place?
Initial deposit to secure your booking $400 per person
6 Months before departure interim payment of $1000 per person
Balance due 3 months before departure
- 6 nights Superior Deluxe cottage Magic Island Resort
- 6 nights Deluxe room Pura Vida Resort
- 12 days of Full Board and snacks
- 10 days 2 – 4 snorkeling sessions per day with private boat + unlimited house reef snorkeling
- Transfer Cebu airport – Magic Island – Pura Vida – Cebu airport, incl. business class ferry tickets
- Marine park fees
- International flights
- Snorkeling equipment
- Travel insurance
- Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, laundry and general sundries
- Spa services
- Optional tours from Magic Island