Visiting Hilutungan Island Marine Sanctuary
Hilutungan Island Marine Sanctuary is one of the best places for beginners in diving and snorkeling.
Although it is a protected area, the local government allow tourism in the area. It is open to snorkelers and divers who wish to experience the beauty of the sea world in this tropical part.
Aside from Hilutungan Island Marine Sanctuary, there are other marine sanctuaries where tourism is allowed, such as Nalusuan Island, Olango Island, Caohagan Island, Cabulan Island, and Talima.
Snorkeling in Hilutungan (by cebudiving.com)
Many tourism operators provide service offers to include at least two or three places in a day. This one day affairs may include snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, hopping on dining at an island's restaurant, among other fun and exciting activities.
In Hilutungan Marine Sanctuary you can enjoy and appreciate deeply and experience the wonder of nature of marine life. Underwater, you will be swimming with various and colorful specie of fishes.This means that you must learn how to swim, at least floating, in order to see them.
The waters of Hilutungan is not very deep but if you wish to have close encounter and stay longer underwater, you can avail facilities for scuba diving.
Most tourism providers offer such gears, including diving suits, oxygen tanks, flippers and everything the go with them. Of course, wearing scuba diving gears presupposes that you already have learned or have even graduated a proper diving course.
Yes, this is more popular than scuba diving exactly because it is inexpensive and quite readily adaptable to any interested and curious individuals.
Through snorkeling, you can also have an excellent experience with marine life especially with the colorful fishes. Fishes are shy and the best way to attract them is by feeding them with something, such as bread. Don't be so overwhelmed when they start flocking around you and remember not to threaten them by trying to catch any of them.
Staying on the boat is another way of enjoying the sea and the shallow waters of Hilutungan Island Marine Sanctuary. Because the water is not deep and so clear, you will enjoy watching all sorts of marine animals, such as the giants clams, sea urchins, corals, fishes, octopus, crabs and everything in the water.
And, if you want to swim you can certainly do that with your life vest, if not, you can just hold on to the boat's extensions--usually made of bamboo--which balance the boat.
Underwater (u/w) Photography
For those of you who loves doing underwater photography or as a neophyte or professional underwater photographer, you will certainly get great photos or films at Hilutungan Marine Sanctuary's world.
Among the thousands of fish, you can get great photos (or films) of damsel fish, anemone fish (nemo), parrot fish, batfish, ghostpipe fish and others.
The positive and suitable conditions in Hilutungan for the activities mentioned above makes the sanctuary the heaven for such marine life and friendly to visitors.
First of all, anybody can just dive in without worrying of the cold water temperature because it is warm.This warm temperature favorable to swimmers is common in the surrounding areas including Mactan Island.
Second, you don't worry of not seeing the underwater world because visibility can be up to 35 meters deep.
However, if you are not in the water you might will experience the sun's heat and feel the 27-29 degrees Celsius temperature in the air.
The water current is not a problem since the area is surrounded by other islands and it belongs to shallow waters in the Visayan region.
But, of course, there are walls where scuba divers can dive deeper to discover more of the sanctuary's natural wealth.The slope/wall dive is from 10 to 25 meters deep.
To help maintain the area and for administrative expenses, Hilutungan Marine Sanctuary asks for entrance fees to all visitors and tourists.
Php100 is for those who snorkel, swim or not swim, and Php300 for those who scuba dive or do that more challenging or fun activity.
You need to hire a boat that provides that regular service. You can hire 'pumpboats' (usually colored white, with outriggers, and has makeshift roof make of vinyl and other synthetic materials to protect riders from the sun's heat) to get there.
These boats can be hired from individual boat operators who operates guided tours for marine sanctuaries. Another choice is that you can have this marine sanctuary tour via your own resort or hotel provider.
Some providers include: divescotty.com, kontikidivers.com, cebudiving.com. These marine sanctuary tourism service providers in Cebu offer you various facilities, services, rates and other special requests you may make.
Among various ways in getting to the sanctuary, most tourism providers can be found in Maribago area on Mactan Island.
Taking the traditional outrigger boat (called 'pumpboat' or bangka) it takes around 35 to 45 minutes to get there.
Since you will be riding above the waters in between islands and islets, you will certainly enjoy your ride, so you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery and realize in no time that you are already there.
If you don't know how to get to Cebu, especially if you are coming from another province or even from another country, you need to click the link Getting to Cebu to use it as your beginner's guide to the island.
We hope this page can help you as guide to Cebu's marine sanctuaries that especially protects the habitat and marine biodiversity in this Visayan region.
Your visit to such places on your next vacation can help promote and protect the marine life in the area in one way or another.
Have a great day and enjoy searching!