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No excuse not to dive in Davao

With around 25 dive sites scattered around Samal and Talikud islands, Davao is a dream destination for first time divers

DAVAO CITY, Davao – When in Davao, dive. 

Don’t just admire the blue waters, explore.

For a first-time diver, it can be a dream destination, with around 25 dive sites scattered around Samal island and Talikud island.

From the city, it’s a mere 15 minutes away by taxi to the Sta. Ana Wharf, where most of the dive shops are located. From the wharf, the nearest dive site, Limao, is just 15 minutes away. Once your boat drops anchor at the dive spot, you’re ready to get into the water.

Here, you’ll find your reasons for not scuba diving getting thrown out the window —  especially if you dive with the Carabao Divers dive shop.

“It’s expensive.”

No doubt, price can be a deal-breaker when people entertain visions of scuba diving. You have to pay for the boat, the equipment, the wetsuit, the diving instructor, and yes, the list could go on.

With Davao’s Carabao Divers, P850 will cover everything. 

So far, jam-packed weekends at Carabao Divers prove price is inversely proportional to the head count of interested customers. You’ll be hard-pressed to find cheaper diving rates anywhere.

“It’s scary.”

If you fear the prospect of scuba diving, it doesn’t mean you’re a scaredy cat. Being 25 feet underwater or more is a reasonable concern for the casual swimmer or snorkeler.

Scuba diving isn’t a joke, but with correct guidance, you can breathe a little easier.

Speaking from this writer’s experience, the Carabao Divers dive shop is a safe place to try a new sport. An introduction dive goes like this: sign up, get fitted for your gear, receive a briefing about the basic how-to’s of scuba diving and dive.

You’ll be accompanied by your own dive instructor who will hold on to you the whole 40 minutes you’re under water.

As an intro diver, your job is to relax and soak in the reef. 

“I have no one to go with.”

 Scuba diving is not a solo sport.

 Luckily, in Davao, you don’t have to drag sour-faced buddies into doing something they don’t want to do. 

You don’t have to know anyone, all you have to do is bring yourself. You’ll make friends there, and the community of divers will embrace you as one of their own.

Blogie Robillo is a a regular diver from Davao and one of the co-founders of Save Philippine Seas. He says it’s a set of fresh faces every weekend- a good sign the sport is gaining a wide following.

Diving in Davao is not just about the marine life. Robillo says, “I’d like to see more divers coming to Davao and experiencing diving here because it’s not only the diving itself that they’ll experience, but the very close camaraderie.”

Carabao Divers

In 2002, Fred Medina started Carabao Divers with Dick Hurlbut and Chuck Delgra. Their plan of action was logical and clear-cut. 

Step 1: Lower the prices so that everyone can dive. Start making the sport a little bit more democratic and a little bit less elitist. 

Step 2: With more people discovering the beautiful marine life in deep waters, more people will realize the importance of taking care of our seas. The ultimate goal is to spread environmental advocacy through the diving experience.

Medina, a surgeon by profession, says that business plan is going strong and steady.

Now, every weekend they get an average of 100 divers, both licensed divers and beginners.

Scuba diving is one of the top tourist attractions in the region. Despite its current popularity, Medina says diving hasn’t reached its full potential because of the negative impact of Mindanao’s insurgency issues.

Diving with experienced divers ensures you don’t miss the marine life right under your fins. The experts will point out the small critters of the sea: nudibranchs, cuttlefish, Harlequin shrimps, Tiger shrimps, and a lot more. You may even run into sea turtles or pawikan, whale sharks or dolphins that visit Davao gulf every year.

See what else can be found in the Davao dive sites in the slideshow below.


Nature adventure + affordable + great new friends. When in Davao, there are no excuses. –