Balicasag Island - Huge Jack fish Tornados (Philippines)

Balicasag Island Huge Jack Fish Tornados Philippines  Balicasag Philippines Diveoclock 1

Jack fish at Balicasag

SCUBA diving with countless Jack fish swirling around is like a National Geographic experience in real life. Often a huge group of Big eye Trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) form a bait ball or tornado underwater at Balicasag island.



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Coral reef at Balicasag

Bohol island in The Philippines is famous for the Chocolate Hills and tarsiers (tiny monkeys with huge eyes). It is a lovely island to discover but there is another island which deserves just as much of your time: Panglao island. Panglao island is located on the South-West of Bohol, connected by a bridge. Close to Panglao island you can find some amazing dive sites with steep walls, healthy corals and beautiful critters too.

Panglao is more touristy, you can drive around with a rented scooter. Visit some beaches, the Hinagdanan cave and have lunch or tea break with sweets at the Bee Farm (touristy place with a great view). Alona beach is the area to go for SCUBA diving, there are many dive centers and people offering trips along the beach.

Island Adventure Divers is owned by Helen and Poloy, two local dive instructors who have been trained by the same Course Director (instructor teacher with PADI) as me. One of the best dive sites around are just off Balicasag island, about 30 minutes from Alona beach by boat.


Reef CREATURE Identification
Paul Human

Tropical Pacific
(South-East Asia
South Pacific
& Australia)
1600 Animals!

Country Philippines
Dive area name Visayas, Bohol, Balicasag Island
Dive center Island Adventure Divers
Famous for Schools of Jacks
Price Ask the dive center for prices, there is a lot of competition
Hotel recommendation Alona Vida Beach Resort


SCUBA diving around Balicasag island

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Flying gurnard (Dactylopterus volitans) at Balicasag island

We did two dives around Balicasag island. The first dive was at Black Forest were we saw thousands of Jacks circling in a cone shape, like an underwater tornado. It was beautiful to see, like a natural wonder. You feel so tiny next to this swarm of big eye trevally. The reef was beautiful with many colorful soft corals and anemones and tons of little fishes dancing on the reef.

The second dive site is called Marine Sanctuary which is diving along a wall of corals. Here we saw some spectacular nudibranch and even a Flying gurnard (Dactylopterus volitans). Flying gurnards spread their pectoral fins (on the sides) like bird wings and seem to fly underwater.

Both dives were at about 25 meter depth maximum and the shallow areas were amazing with the sunlight. There are around five dive sites along Balicasag island and around 12 other dive sites in the area including a house reef.

Comparing dive destinations

Bottom structure Reef structure Pelagic
(big stuff in the blue)
Big reef
(bigger stuff on the reef)
Macro
(small stuff on the reef)
Current
(stream)
Flat bottom with bumps/big rocks/pinnacles Hard corals tree-shape
(not moving)
Sharks Turtles Nudibranchs
(snails)
No current
Slope
(going down slowly)
Soft corals tree-shape
(moving)
Rays Eels/snakes Sea horses Small
(you can easily swim against it)
Wall
(steep but you see the bottom)
Table-/fan-shape Trevally/Jacks/Tuna Groupers Scorpion/frog fish Medium
(you can swim against it for a little while/higher air consumption)
Drop off
(steep and you can't see the bottom)
Anemones Barracudas Lobsters/crabs Octopus/squid Strong/reef hooks
(you cannot swim against it)
Blue
(no reference)
Sponges Sardines/herrings Puffers Shrimps Pumping/washing machine/OMG/hold your regulator
(superman)
* The transparent boxes are the things I have seen down below and / or are spotted on almost every dive in that area.
* The dark blue boxes are the 'things' that are unavailable - things I have not seen and/or that are uncommon in that area.
Click here for more information about comparing dive destinations.


Impressions of diving around Balicasag Island

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Marine life at Balicasag Island

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About the organization of Island Adventure Divers

Helen and Poloy are doing an amazing job at Panglao island. One of the best parts was, after carefully selecting our rental equipment, that our equipment sets were marked. My BCD had my name on it with a tag, excellent and personal service during the whole trip!
More about Bohol you can read here.
If you like this post, hit that like button on our Facebook page and stay tuned for more!
Marlies
Dive o'clock "It's dive o'clock somewhere!"
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My own name tag on my rented BCD, how awesome!



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