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Things to do in Philippines

Swimming with turtles off Balicasag Island

If you dream of swimming with sea turtles, this trip to Balicasag Island is a must…

By April Labanon
Bohol tour guide for Travel Village Tours, Alfred&’s partner in the Philippines

Green Turtle, Balicasag

If you dream of swimming with sea turtles, this trip to Balicasag is a must. The island lies around an hour from Bohol and is famous for being one of the best dive sites in the world. The waters are a protected marine sanctuary filled with tropical fish and coral, including huge schools of jack fish. It’s also a great place for snorkelling, as you’ll get to encounter the friendly green turtles who live in these crystal-clear waters.

The tour starts around 8am, when you’ll board a motorised outrigger from Panglao Beach. It takes up to an hour to reach Balicasag, where you can swim and snorkel from the white-sand beach. People usually want to jump right into the clear blue water, especially when they spot the turtles. No touching is allowed, but you can get really close to these incredible creatures, especially if you’re able to free dive. A local guide can even capture some underwater photos for you.

In between snorkelling and swimming, you can relax on the beach and enjoy a picnic under the palm trees with beautiful views of the water. You’ll have plenty of time to unwind before we have to leave around 2pm, when the sea starts to get rough. If you’re lucky, you might spot some of our playful resident dolphins from the boat, they love to dance through the waves.

I think this trip to Balicasag Island will really complete your Bohol experience. Although the island is known for its Chocolate Hills and cute tarsiers, we also have some spectacular marine life. Guests always tell me that the highlight of their Balicasag trip is getting to see the colourful sea creatures, especially the turtles. There’s a totally different underwater world for you to discover and it shouldn’t be missed.


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Alfred & April Labanon

April Labanon has been working as a tour consultant and guide on Bohol for over six years but originally hails from Davao City, Mindanao. She specialises in tours of the Balicasag and Pamilacan islands and as freediver, she’s an expert on the area’s marine life. April loves to travel in the holidays to learn more about different cultures.
April Labanon, Balicasag tour guide

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Suzanne, who's travelled extensively in The Philippines. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember – the free diver who can take you swimming with turtles, the guides who can take you to secret lagoons and hidden beaches, and the locals who can school you in the art of nipa weaving.

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