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Scuba Diving Siquijor - Traveller's Guide

Shrouded in mysticism and renowned for magic, Siquijor is a small Visayan island located south of Cebu and Bohol.

With a reputation for spiritual healers and pristine nature; Siquijor is one of the more off-the-beaten-track destinations of the Philippines and is a quiet and calm place to visit.

At the same time, there are many adventure activities here: waterfalls, caving, mystical healing, cliff jumping, epic viewpoints and even skydiving. 

On top of all this, Siquijor is an epic place to scuba dive; it has some of the best coral reef in all of the the Philippines.

There are endless scores of macro critters with a huge variety of different nudibranch and crustaceans as well as larger creatures like frogfish, mantis shrimp, turtles, milk fish and reef fish. 

Want to know where is the best accommodation, different dive centre options, the most popular dive sites and more? This guide is your answer!

What you can see scuba diving Siquijor

#1 Superb coral reef 

In 2021, the Philippines was affected by severe typhoons which destroyed much of the hard coral around many islands – however due to Siquijor’s sheltered location, most of the reefs there were unaffected. 

As of today, Siquijor still has some of the best coral reef in all of the Philippines with vast, sprawling hard and soft coral gardens in both shallow and deep waters.

It’s true that even in areas affected by the typhoons the coral reef is still pretty good – but at Siquijor it is next level!

#2 Macro Critters

Siquijor is an especially great place in the Philippines to see macro (tiny) critters. There is a huge variety of small hairy crabs and shrimp as well as tiny nudibranch and frogfish that can be found hiding among coral, crawling along the sand or even living on larger creatures such as sea cucumbers. 

The dive guides at Sea Pearl were very talented at spotting macro and pointing it out to  the rest of us. When looking for macro critters yourself, some good places to keep an eye out for them: whip coral for small shrimp, the sand for tiny frogfish and nudibranch and among the nooks and crevices of coral for tiny crabs and other nudis. 

#3 Huge Variety of Nudibranch

I dived Siquijor just seven times but I’ve never seen so many different types of nudibranch as I did there – they came in all shapes, sizes and colours from tiny to large, flat to slug-shaped and everything in between. I recall seeing at least 11 different species! 

#4 Turtles

Like much of the Philippines, Siquijor is a great place to easily see turtles – especially green sea turtles but also sometimes the rarer hawksbill turtles. You’re pretty likely to see at least one on every dive!

#5 Schooling milkfish

Known locally as bangas, milkfish are the sole living species in the family Chanidae – other species died out around the late Cretaceous so this is a pretty ancient species. Growing up to 5ft 11inches (1.8 m) long, they can be found in large schools around the dive site “sunken island”, an exciting drift dive for more experienced divers. 

#6 And more!

There’s also a great many other marine species that divers can potentially see including sea snakes (banded sea krait) barracudas and sometimes even whitetip reef sharks around dive sites such as “The Cave”. 

Best Siquijor Dive Sites

There’s around twenty dive sites at Siquijor to explore but there are some especially popular exceptions. “The Wall” is an all-time favourite, it is a long stretch of reef that reaches down to over thirty meters and is a great place for spotting large frogfish and many reef fish.

 A little further along from the wall lies the seldom dived “cave” a large cavern filled with soft coral and sponge. In the early morning, lucky divers can sometimes see whitetip reef sharks here. 

2 km out to sea lies “The Sunken Island” a rising plateau of extensive hard coral which is actually not sinking but in fact slowly rising upwards; it will be visible above the sea by around the year 2120! It is a great dive site for seeing schools of milkfish – but unlike other dive sites, experiences strong currents.

Other regularly frequented dive sites include the various areas around the “Coral Gardens”: shallow, coral gardens of incredible hard and soft coral. There are so many macro critters to be seen here; including all manner of nudibranch and crustaceans. There’s often a lot of turtles around these shallower dive sites to.  

Virtually all dive sites take just five to ten minutes to reach by boat. Nighttime shore dives are also available when at least two divers want to go. 

Choosing a Siquijor Dive Resort / Centre

There are many dive centres and resorts to choose from in Siquijor; nearly all of them are located in San Juan on the west side of the island; this is also close to where most dive sites are as well as the vast majority of accommodation and dining options. 

If you do choose one of the few dive resorts away from this stretch; it’s going to be a little more expensive, take longer to reach the dive sites and be something of a mission to reach the restaurants! 

Whilst I was at Siquijor, I opted to go with Sea Pearl Divers (located in San Juan) who offer low prices, experienced dive guides and excellent customer service.

I’d strongly recommend Sea Pearl Divers; the dive guides were very attentive to guests and exceptional at spotting even the tiniest of nudibranch and crustaceans to point out to us. Rental gear was in great condition and the staff were a really friendly and hilarious bunch! 

Virtually all the Siquijor dive resorts and centres as well as accommodation and restaurant options are located in San Juan on the west side of the island. It makes a lot of sense to stay there – I actually made the mistake of staying about 15km away and it was a real ball-ache getting back and forth between the dive centre and restaurants. 

Plus, away from San Juan, parts of the road is riddled with pot-holes which means you have to go real slow on the bike, so it actually took me about twenty five minutes each time getting in and out of San Juan. 

So look for somewhere in San Juan and / or on Paliton beach! 

When to Dive Siquijor

Excellent news! Siquijor can be dived year round – and even during rainy season, it experiences less rainfall compared to other parts of the Philippines. That said, here’s what you can generally expect the weather to do over the course of a year:

  • December – April: This is dry season; during which time, rain is virtually non-existent and water visibility is at its all time greatest.

  • May is a transition month from dry to rainy season and so tends to be a little unpredictable. Some years it’s dry, others it’s kinda wet!

  • June – November: This is rainy season; however Siquijor doesn’t get as much rain as other parts of the Philippines, plus most dive sites are close to the shore meaning the water is virtually always calm (with the exception of the drift dive known as “Sunken Island”). So, if you find yourself in the Philippines during rainy season, Siquijor is one of your all time best bets for calm diving conditions. 

Other Things to Do in Siquijor

Despite Siquijor being a small, laid-back island there’s actually a helluva lot of activities to do here, especially for adventurers and nature lovers! Let’s take a look at some of the most epic things you can do in Siquijor besides dive: 

#1 Mt. Bandilaan National Park Tower

Located on the highest and most central part of Siquijor Island is Mt. Bandilaan Viewpoint Tower. It’s a scenic uphill scooter ride that takes some 45 minutes from most parts of the coast. This is followed by a 300 meter climb up the tower steps to be rewarded with the most kickass of views – a 360 degree panoramic of the entirety of Siquijor.

It was only after getting up here that I realised that the vast majority of Siquijor is untouched jungle – it was a truly incredible sight to behold and I’m so glad I went!

A ten minute scooter ride away, there’s also the butterfly sanctuary which is a relaxing way to pass an extra five or ten minutes. Several of the local healers also live very close by. More on this in a mo…

#2 Cantabon Cave

This is a lot of fun! It’s also located towards the upper, central zone of Siquijor. You have to pay for a guide, helmet and torch and then you can explore Cantabon Cave which goes 1km back. It takes about 90 minutes in total to explore. Bring clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet! 

There’s a lot of interesting rock formations as well as a small pool you can swim in. The going gets pretty tough in places – you want to have a decent level of fitness and stability to do it. That said, provided you do, it’s not too challenging! Definitely a worthy experience for those more adventurous of you souls!

#3 Falls 

Siqiuijor is absolutely rammed with epic waterfalls. The best ones are: 

  • Cambugahay: The most popular (and busy) series of falls. There’s a couple of swing ropes you can go on as well as a floating wooden raft. Lots of people here, unless you go early in the morning.

  • Kinamandagan: More off the beaten track and with a much steeper descent / ascent. There’s another swing rope you can opt for as well as a small cave under the falls you can go into. Less people come here.  Pretty close to Cambugahay.

  • Lugnason: Another highly popular fall, some say one of the most beautiful in Siquijor. Located some distance away from Cambugahay and Kinamandagan, close to San Juan. 

#4 Salagdoong Cliff Jump

Salagdoong beach is one of the most popular beaches on Siquijor (albeit on the other side to San Juan meaning it’s a bit of a mission to get there). There are two jumping platforms that let you jump straight into the sea – one is 16 feet (5 meters) and the other is 32 feet (10 meters). You can only jump during high tide so make sure you go at the right time!

#5 Mystical healers

Siquijor has a reputation for spiritual healers dating back hundreds of years. You can visit one for a healing ceremony – most live up in the mountains near mount bandilaan national park. On your way to the butterfly sanctuary look for the sign that reads “healing house / mountain / garden” (or something along the lines of that)…pretty sure one lives there.

I was lucky enough to visit Siquijor during holy week, during which time all of the islands healers and witches gather en masse at the top of the island. Along with several diver buddies, we visited one of the most renowned shamans who assessed our energy levels one by one. 

Amazingly, he was able to tell that one member of my group had been having stomach cramps (for which he prescribed a herbal cure), another was depressed about her family (to whom he gave a blessing) and that I have a problem with my left lung, which he said he didn’t have a cure for right now. Awesome! You can contact him on this number: 0953 301 0596. 

#6 Sky Diving

With the company “Skydive Siquijor” can go sky diving at Siquijor which is an amazing way to witness the spectacular island in all of it’s jungle shrouded, small mountain-toting glory. Expect to pay around 21,500 pesos which is about $388. 

How to get to Siquijor

Siquijor is actually pretty easy to reach. The cheapest way to get there is via ferry which most folks do. From Panglao in Bohol it takes just two hours to reach with oceanjet. Or you can fly into Siquijor airport from Cebu Mactan. 

Staying Fit - GYMS

Staying strong on the road is important! 

You never know when artificial intelligence might exceed that of it’s human creators and rise up against us…transforming this entire world into a hellish battlefield, in which man is pitted against machine…and then the machines start sending themselves back in time to terminate humanities leaders before they can form the future-resistance!!!

If you’ve spent all of your trip lazing around on the beach, drinking beer and stuffing your face with fried food whilst never once breaking a sweat, you’ll be the first to go, most likely converted into liquid fuel to charge the hellish machines crusade against the remnants of humanity. But take heart…it doesn’t have to be this way…there’s a couple of gyms at Siquijor. 

I went to Jorlwen fitness gym – downstairs is a little bit crowded, I can’t see how more than five or six people could workout there at a time but at least when I went it was quiet. Take some 1 peso coins as these are what you have to pay with per cup of water for the water machine (of water).  

There’s also a much more spacious upstairs area, although it doesn’t have as much weights, equipment or machines. It’s more of a cardio zone. That said, there’s still enough kettlebells and matts to make do for some weights training if you get creative. 

Where to eat

There’s a whole bunch of places to eat in Siquijor. Whilst most are situated around San Juan, a few are a little more out of the way and these offer the most kickass views. Let’s talk about 3 of my favourites:

  • Marco Polo: Situated on the main strip of San Juan, close to the dive centres they serve excellent pasta and pizza with an awesome ocean view. I kept coming back here again and again.
  • Overlook Restaurant and Bar: Some 15km away from San Juan, this is an awesome place to catch an ocean sunset with plenty of tasty and reasonably priced filipino food. 

  • MYN Sunset View Bar and Grill: Also a bit of a mission from San Juan but worth it for the incredible views of not just the sunset but much of the island and its mountains. Really spectacular and loads of western and filipino food to choose from.

Siquijor Nightlife

Siquijor isn’t really a party-party place, in fact less its much less so than most of the rest of the Philippines. People really go here to get away from all that and be immersed in nature. Also the locals are more conservative than other parts of the Philippines… However, there’s still a few cool bars you can go to.

  • Baha Bar for decent live music, tasty food and lethal cocktails. Still not quite a party place though. 

  • Prime Bar and Nightclub: One of Siquijors few nightclubs, it stays open till, like, 4am, brah. 

  • Why Not: Another one of the few nightclubs , stays open until 3am brahhh. 

Siquijor FAQ

Absa-freaking-loutley. Many people get scuba certified at Siquijor. Virtually all of the dive sites are beginner friendly with no currents and shallow waters.

Cheap! With Sea Pearl divers, it cost me just under 10,000 PHP for 7 dives (I had my own gear). Siquijor is actually one of the cheapest places to dive in the Philippines. 

This is largely a matter of opinion, however most of the best dive sites are actually in the shallow coral gardens as these are a great place for muck and macro diving and spotting all manner of nudibranch and crustaceans. However, “The Wall” offers a spectacular stretch of reef whilst “Sunken Island” is also a very interesting dive site for those wanting a drift dive with epic hard coral. 

An endless variety of macro critters including many types of nudibranch and crustaceans as well as slightly larger animals like frogfish, mantis shrimp and reef fish… and still bigger creatures like turtles and schooling milk fish as well as the occasional whitetip reef shark. On rare occasions hammerhead sharks and whale sharks have been sighted. 

Totally little dude! You can easily get there via an oceanjet ferry from nearby islands or even fly into Siquijor airport from Cebu. No fuss, no worries!

There’s many different waterfalls with swing jumps as well as a 1km deep cave, a 10m ocean cliff jump, mystical healing, an epic panoramic viewpoint from the top of the island and even skydiving. Far out!

Siquijor. Diving Squad DEBRIEFING:

Dudddde – you like – totally just finished the Diving Squad dive guide on diving Siquijor for divers! Bloody good job!!

We’ve covered a f**king – f**k ton. Let’s quickly recap: First we went over what you can see whilst diving Siquijor, accompanied by original photos and videos from my time there in April 2013. Then we went over the best dive sites, followed by which dive centre and resort options you have.

This was followed by the best accommodation options and after that we went over diving season, other things to do in Siquijor, how to get there and when to go!

After that big ol’ mouthful I talked about gyms and then covered some of the coolest places to eat, the sparse nightlife and finally there was an FAQ section (classic!). 

Now we’ve finished the article and you’re in real time, reading this here conclusion. All that remains is for you to go ahead and book your dream trip to Siquijor and refer back to this guide along the way to make sure you get everything right. Sweet! Enjoy.

Written by:



Scuba-fanatic, travel-ecstatic and Grand Admiral of the Diving Squad