scuba diving cebu

Scuba Diving Cebu: A Quick Guide

Scuba diving in Cebu, Philippines is a must-try experience if you love exploring the underwater world. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life, and diverse underwater landscapes, Cebu offers an unforgettable diving experience no matter what certification level you have. You can have close encounters with thresher sharks in Malapascua, marvel at the sardine run in Moalboal, and dive with the whale sharks in Oslob.

Read on and learn more about Cebu scuba diving, including its popular dive sites and essential tips for a safe and unforgettable experience.

How to go to Cebu

Cebu is located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. You can reach Cebu via a plane ride from Manila, Philippines, or directly to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport from different international and domestic airports.

From the airport, you can take a taxi to reach your destination. You may also pre-arrange a van rental to take you to the famous dive sites and resorts in Cebu. You can also go around the island via buses stationed at terminals in Cebu City.

Cebu scuba diving: best time to go

Just like the rest of the country, November to May would be a great time to dive in Cebu, when the weather is generally sunny and dry. During this time, the sea is also calmer with great visibility, making it perfect for exploring the underwater world.

While you can still dive at other times of the year, water conditions may vary from June to October due to the monsoon season.

Scuba diving Cebu: Best Dive Sites

Mactan Island

Just a few kilometers away from the airport, you can already find beach resorts and amazing dive sites to explore. Mactan Island serves as a convenient diving hub, with colorful coral gardens and vibrant marine sanctuaries to explore. From graceful sea turtles gliding gracefully through the water to elusive octopuses camouflaged among the rocks, you will have an opportunity to encounter an array of marine species in their natural habitat.


Moalboal is a lovely town found along southern Cebu’s beautiful coast. Apart from the white sand beaches and the beautiful sunset, it’s a diver’s paradise with many dive sites to explore.

  1. Pescador Island: Pescador Island, one of Moalboal’s best spots, is home to lots of sea animals. Colorful fish swim around colorful coral gardens, and sometimes you can even see big creatures like turtles and sharks.
  2. Sardine Run: The Sardine Run is another amazing thing to see with millions of tiny fish swimming together in a big group, making the water look like it’s shimmering.
  3. Tongo Point: This lovely dive site is characterized by a vibrant reef top covered with hard and soft corals, a dramatic drop-off, and a variety of sea creatures like ghost pipe fish, triggers, frogfish, scorpionfish, hawksbill and green turtles, batfish, sweetlips and more. If you are lucky, you will also spot some eagle rays or a whale shark.
  4. Moalboal Wall: The Moalboal Wall features a dramatic vertical drop-off with colorful coral formations and teeming with diverse marine life. You can explore the depths alongside schools of fish and encounter fascinating macro creatures.


Oslob is another delightful town found on the southern coast of Cebu Island. Diving in Oslob gives you the rare opportunity to swim alongside gentle giants – the whale sharks. With their massive size and serene presence, swimming with whale sharks is a humbling and exhilarating experience.

Oslob is also home to a variety of dive sites. You can explore vibrant coral reefs, as well as encounter colorful fish, sea turtles, and other marine species.


Going to the northern tip of Cebu, you will find Malapascua Island. It is famous for its amazing encounters with thresher sharks, especially at a spot called Monad Shoal. Thresher sharks are known for their long tails, which they use to stun their prey.

Apart from the Monad Shoal, there are other great dive sites around Malapascua that are home to colorful reefs and a wide variety of marine life. You can explore underwater tunnels, caves, and coral gardens, each offering its unique adventure.

Quick tips for diving in Cebu

Below are some quick tips when diving in Cebu

  1.  Choose the right dive operator.

Before diving in Cebu, it’s crucial to select a reputable dive operator to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience underwater.

  • Select a dive operator with experienced instructors and positive safety records.
  • Research online reviews and ask for recommendations from fellow divers.
  • Ensure the dive operator follows safety protocols and provides well-maintained equipment.
  1. Adhere to safety precautions and diving guidelines.

Understanding and adhering to safety precautions and diving guidelines is important to prevent accidents and ensure a smooth diving experience in Cebu’s waters.

  • Always listen to your instructor’s safety briefings and follow their guidance.
  • Never dive alone; always buddy up with a fellow diver.
  • Check your equipment before each dive and perform safety checks as recommended.
  • Ascend slowly and perform safety stops to reduce the risk of decompression sickness.
  1. Pack essentials for diving in Cebu.  

Properly packing essential items ensures that you’re well-prepared for diving adventures in Cebu, from sun protection to dive gear.

  • Bring swimwear, a towel, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
  • If you are not renting them, you may pack your dive gear, including your mask, snorkel, fins, wetsuit, and dive computer if you have one.
  • Don’t forget essential personal items like a reusable water bottle for staying hydrated.
  • Consider bringing a waterproof bag or case for your belongings, especially if you’ll be on a boat.
  1. Be a responsible diver

As stewards of the ocean, it’s our responsibility to minimize our impact and protect Cebu’s stunning underwater ecosystems for future generations.

  • Avoid touching or damaging coral reefs and marine life.
  • Dispose of trash properly and participate in beach clean-up efforts.
  • Choose eco-friendly dive operators that prioritize environmental conservation.
  • Educate yourself and others about the importance of preserving marine ecosystems.


Cebu scuba diving is a fulfilling experience you should try. You can witness the Sardine Run and swim with the turtles and sharks on the southern coast of the island.  You can also encounter the thresher sharks in the north. If you want a more convenient place to dive, you can just stay on Mactan Island and enjoy the vibrant coral gardens and the lively marine sanctuaries on the island.

Whether you are a licensed and experienced scuba diver or are still planning to get certified, we at Sea Explorers can assist you in creating a safe, fun, and memorable scuba diving experience in Cebu.