Balicasag is one of the top snorkeling/diving spots here in the Philippines. Healthy corals abound and fish swim freely.
Balicasag is an island approximately 45 minutes away from Panglao mainland. It’s named as such because of its shape – like that of an inverted crab. Kasag is the Cebuano Visayan word for crab, and bali is inverted.
The island is accessible by boat. It’s usually the first stopover when you hire a banka for your excursion, and this is also where you get to eat your lunch.
The most popular starting point for your island hopping is from Alona beach where several boats await passengers to hire them. There is also a passenger boat that departs from the back of the Panglao Church, but there’s no schedule. It all depends on the passengers who’s usually from Balicasag, and the tide.
Balicasag Island Hopping
If you went to Alona very early at dawn, say five thirty, you can go dolphin watching especially if the weather is calm and the water is choppy. The dolphins usually like to play with the waves the boat makes; they sometimes play and swim alongside with your boat.
After the dolphin watching, you head to Balicasag and snorkel in their marine sanctuary. During the amihan (northeast winds) season, you can get to the better sanctuary with bigger fish and a shallower shore near the drop. During the habagat (southwest monsoon), the guide will bring you to the other one which still has lots of fish, but these are usually small. The drop though is very great to look at.
After Balicasag, the next destination is the Virgin island. It’s a barren small island that’s purely made of sand. During high tide, it usually could not be spotted from afar. It’s great to beach bum here, have some photo ops, and jump shots.
There are other islands to explore around the area, but usually pump boats go for three destinations only so after Virgin island, there’s only one more island left to go.
my lola, at 87 years old with a guide snorkeled in Balicasag (see her do the Danao suislide here!)
The rent of an entire boat, with a maximum capacity of 10 people is about P2,000. That also depends during peak and off-peak season. At Balicasag, there’s a P150 per head fee for guides bringing you to the sanctuary. They also rent snorkel set that is about P100. Lunch per person could be around P100 especially if you buy their delicious seafood – crabs or squids. Your budget for this trip if you’re alone is: P2,400. If there were four of you, it’s less than a thousand pesos.
TIP: Don’t go during the habagat season or the ber months if you’re afraid of big waves or if you have motion-sickness. Waves are really big and boats bob up and down like a cork in the sea. Not that it’s really dangerous, it just stresses you out.
I have a contact in Balicasag so if you plan to go on island hopping, I can give you his number. Shoot me an email diva at lakbaydiva dhot com. Or message me on FB: Lakbay Diva or twitter: Lakbay Diva.