6 Amazing Spots to Swim with Turtles

by Shayne Zalameda

Put your flippers on, take a deep breath, and swim with one of the sweetest creatures that inhabit the sea —the pawikans. Here, we listed down six wild swimming spots that will surely make everyone happy.

1. Mindoro: Apo Reef

Photo by Brinks Alo/ CC BY

Considered to be one of the top diving spots in the country, Apo Reef is the closest turtle spotting scene for those who live in Manila. Bountiful with soft and hard corals, plus some shipwrecks, Apo Reef is an interesting dive site to observe turtles and other big sea creatures such as sharks and manta rays. Not to be mistaken with Apo Island in Dumaguete, Apo Reef is located in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

How To Get There: Ride a ferry in Batangas pier going to Mindoro or fly directly to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro then ride a bus bound for Sablayan.San Jose, Occidental Mindoro then ride a bus bound for Sablayan.

2. Cebu: Pescador Island

Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri/ CC BY

Located 3 hours from Cebu City is Pescador, a small, uninhabited island in Moalboal. Famous for the “dive, drink, and dine” mantra, Pescador is where you could spot turtles alongside jacks, sardines, plus the occasional whale shark, thresher shark, and dolphins.

How To Get There: Fly to Cebu City and ride a two-hour bus ride going to Moalboal.

3. Dumaguete: Apo Island

Photo by Kasia Wallis/ CC BY

A short 45-minute ferry ride from Dumaguete will take you to one of the most famous spots in the Philippines, and in the world, to see turtles —Apo Island in Negros Oriental. Snorkel your way and observe how these sea captures eat, swim, and go above water to catch air.

How To Get There: Fly to Dumaguete and ride a ferry going to Apo Island.

4. Bohol: Balicasag Island 

Immerse yourself in the clear waters of Balicasag, a flat island famous for diving. Turtles here could be found on the eastern part of the island, living 30 meters deep.

How To Get There: Fly to Bohol and ride a bus bound for Alona Beach then rent a boat going to Balicasag Island.

5. Camiguin: Mantigue Island

Photo by Allan Ascaño/ CC BY

Mantigue Island is a turtle sanctuary which was previously threatened by the growing number of illegal trading. Fortunately, the Local Government Unit of Camiguin made the necessary steps to preserve the habitat by declaring it as a Nature Park. Now, you could experience seeing the turtles up close and personal.

How To Get There: Fly to Cagayan de Oro or Butuan then ride a shuttle going to the terminal and ride a ferry bound for Camiguin.

6. Palawan: Turtle Islands

Hawksbill Sea Turtle Photo by Valerie/ CC BY

Also known as Tawi-tawi Islands, Turtle Islands in San Vicente, Palawan is declared a Protected Area by the Philippine government in 1996, hence, only a small number of snorkelers and divers are allowed. If lucky, you might just be among the few who would be able to witness the endangered turtles like Hawksbill and Green turtles here.

How To Get There: Fly to Puerto Princesa then ride a bus bound for Poblacion, San Vicente.

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