Gato Island, Philippines
DAY TRIP: GATO ISLAND
Located about an hour boat ride from Malapascua Exotic, Gato Island is a pinnacle that is surrounded by amazing coral. The brightly coloured soft corals shelter frogfishes, sea horses, pigmy sea horses, and of course a wide variety of nudibranchs.
But Gato Island isn't only a prime diving spot for macro lovers. With a resident population of white tip reef sharks sleeping in the caves and over-hangs, it is almost guaranteed that you will have a shark encounter. It is also a recognised breeding ground for the Banded Sea Snake. The various caves and sloping walls house cuttlefish, squid and schooling fish such as the Shiny Big-mouthed Mackerel.
Advanced divers can dive the tunnel that runs beneath the island to discover a unique over-head environment covered with Daisy Soft Corals and sponges. Inside, lobsters, crabs and cleaner shrimps are found with sharks hiding in smaller alcoves or openly swimming around the entrance.
Kalanggaman Island, Philippines
DAY TRIP: KALANGGAMAN ISLAND
Famous for its white sand bar, its turquoise water and its all diving, Kalanggaman has it all. The small island, a two hour boat ride from Malapascua is the perfect description of paradise and is perfect for divers and non-divers alike. The diving starts at the top of the shoal. From 5-12 meters, giant barrel sponges and sea fans cover the bottom where turtles are found. The northern section offers a spectacular wall that drops to more than 200 meters. Schools of Snapper, Fusiliers and Anthias can be seen congregating off the wall accompanied by Eagle Rays and Reef sharks. The variety of coral supports a big diversity of macro life. The southern section offers sloping reef walls where Lion fish, Scorpion fish and Moray eels and the elusive Blue-Ringed octopus like to hide.