When is the best season for diving in Panglao, Bohol, Philippines?

We can dive here all year round as long as there’s no typhoon influence. High season usually starts in October and ends in May with the peak season of April and May.

What do I expect to see diving here in general?

It’s all about reef and reef life here around Panglao. Reef is very healthy with a combination of both soft and hard corals. Fish life is thriving with a good variety and it’s quite common to see sea turtles, sea snakes, big groups of sardines, jack fish and barracudas as well. You can also find marco life around like ghost pipefish, frogfish, nudibranch, etc.

What is the diving condition in general?

Water temperature is around 26-28degreeC in the winter (November to February) and 29-30degreeC in the summer (March to October). On average visibility is about 15m to 20m and light to medium current. Most of the dive sites are wall/slope dives where you can multi-level up easily.

Why is it special to dive at Balicasag island?

Balicasag island is a marine sanctuary with beautiful reef and chances to see turtles, jackfish, barracuda, etc. The local government only allows 150 certified divers per day to enter and we are allowed to book ahead in 3 months time only. Please check with us for fun dive schedules and availability ahead of time.

I’m a certified diver but haven’t dived for a while, do I need a refresher course?

It’s very important to keep your diving knowledge and skills fresh for your own safety. The general advice is if you haven’t dived for more than six months, it’s better to take a refresher course (Scuba Review) before going for any other fun dives or PADI courses.

Where are the PADI courses conducted?

All of our PADI courses are conducted locally in front of Alona beach. If there’s confined water session for certain courses, it will be conducted either in swimming pool or confined open water (pool-like conditions) in front of Alona beach.

Can I do eLearning of my PADI courses for the theory part?

Yes, nowadays most of the PADI courses has eLearning material already. You can study the theory ahead of time in your own language (including knowledge review, quizzes and exams).

What is the maximum dive professional to divers ratio?

We have PADI divemaster to lead fun dives for certified divers and PADI instructors to conduct PADI courses. The max divemaster/instructor to divers ratio is 1:4.

How do I get to Panglao, Bohol, Philippines?

The easiest way is to fly to the new international Tagbilaran airport on Panglao island, which is only 10mins drive to Alona beach. Or you can get to Tagbilaran port by ferry which is about 30mins drive to Alona beach.

How do I get to your dive shop?

We’re located right on Alona beach between Jasz restaurant and Hayahay resort. You can go down Alona beach road from McDonald’s to the end (drop off/pick up area), turn left and walk along the beach for about 100m you will see Sierra Madre Divers on your left. Here is our google map location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/drB8J7zMmXb1eK9A9

Do you provide pick up/drop off fun-dive-location?

We don’t provide pick up/drop off service so you’ll need to come to the dive shop by yourself. But usually the resorts will have pick up/drop off fun-dive-location to/from Alona beach, so you can check with your resort for that. Or it’s very easy to get a tricycle ride around Alona beach area.

What accommodation options do I have close by?

We don’t have any accommodation ourselves but there’re plenty of choices around. The closest ones are Hayahay, Alona Vida, Pyramid, Henann and Amorita. If none of this work for you, you can also have a look at other choices within 1-2km of Alona beach so it’s easily to get down here by a tricycle ride.

Do I need to book in advance for fun dives and PADI courses?

We only have limited spots for fun dives and PADI courses so it’s a good idea to book in advance to secure your spot, especially during high season or any holiday time. Please contact us ahead of time so we can reserve the spots for you.

How do I make a reservation?

Please contact us and let us know your current level of diving certification, number of dives and the date of your last dive. Also which fun dives or PADI courses you are interested in and the dates that you will be diving here. So we can get back to you about availability and details for your booking.

What payment methods do you accept?

We accept cash (PHP), GCash and bank transfer. Credit card, PayPal, WeChat pay are also available with 5% service charge, please let us know which way you prefer.

What if diving is cancelled due to weather conditions?

In rare cases if it’s too windy and wavy to dive, we will have to cancel diving for safety. We will be assisting in the best possible way to solve the problem by either reschedule for you or refund you accordingly.

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