After our trip to Cebu, Ryk and I went to Siquijor. All I knew about this place were the beaches and waterfalls. I was not expecting to be blown away by the beautiful underwater scenery this island has to offer.
During our land tour, we asked our tricycle driver to bring us to one of the many marine sanctuaries on the island. After going snorkeling in Apo Island the day before, I thought I’d seen all the best things the waters around Siquijor had to offer and oh boy, was I wrong.
Turns out, our tricycle driver was right when he said “maganda daw diyan (I heard that it’s beautiful there)”, referring to Tulapos Marine Sanctuary…and beautiful, it was.
If you’re planning a snorkeling trip to Tulapos Marine Sanctuary, let this guide help you.
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About Tulapos Marine Sanctuary
Established in 1986, Tulapos Marine Sanctuary is the oldest marine sanctuary in Siquijor. It covers over 14 hectares of beaches, mangrove forests, coral reefs, and shoreline.
Compared to the other marine sanctuaries, you can find here jackfishes, schools of barracudas, sea turtles, giant clams, and sometimes blacktip reef sharks.
What To See and Expect
Here’s what you can expect from Tulapos Marine Sanctuary.
Upon arrival, you’ll find a makeshift building that serves as the registration if you want to go snorkeling. Gears are also rented here.
You will then be asked to pay a certain amount (see rates below) for snorkeling and for your guide.
Once you’re ready, you’ll either start swimming immediately or walk the shallow waters. During high tide, you’ll have to swim all the way to the rocky part where you’ll start your snorkeling journey to see the barracudas. The good thing about this is that you’ll get to snorkel and see the giant clams, and starfishes. The bad thing is that you’ll be swimming for a long time and mostly see seagrasses.
During low tide, you’ll just walk past the shallow waters. This is much easier. You can then simply take a peek at the giant clams while walking.
After the shallow part, you’ll pass by a rocky portion. Be careful of the sharp rocks. When we visited the marine sanctuary, the waves were pretty big so we had a hard time snorkeling past the rocky areas. Be sure to use aqua shoes so you won’t hurt your feet.
I wasn’t that confident with my swimming skills yet so I wore a life vest. Our guide simply dragged me to where the barracudas were. He had one hand on my life vest and all I had to do was float. It was the weirdest snorkeling experience for me but very much worth it.
In just a few minutes, we saw the jackfishes and barracudas. And it was amaaaazing! I was transported back to when we saw the sardine run in Moalboal, Cebu.
After this, we let the waves carry us back as our guide showed us where the corals were. Then, we saw sea turtles! I can never get tired of watching these beautiful creatures. I saw a few in Masasa beach in Batangas, in Moalboal in Cebu, in Apo island and now in Siquijor.
There were all sorts of fishes, too. There was a part where we saw a few destroyed corals caused by cement and some iron.. (I’m not quite sure how to describe what we saw) and it was heartbreaking. It was probably from a few years back when this part still wasn’t considered a marine sanctuary.
Now, here comes the craziest part. While we were snorkeling, I felt something trying to bite my leg. I thought Ryk was playing tricks on me again so I tried kicking him away. Turns out, a fish was trying to bite me and when I kicked, it went in front of Ryk’s snorkeling mask.
Tired but satisfied with our snorkeling trip, we gave our guide a tip for dragging me around and for helping us take close footages of the turtles and barracudas.
Rates are as follows:
- Snorkeling: P100 (2 USD) per person
- Guide Fee (for every 2 people): P250 (5 USD)
- Mask and Snorkel Rental: P50 (1 USD)
- Life Vest Rental: P50 (1 USD) per piece
- Fins Rental: P100 (2 USD) per pair
Other Snorkeling Spots in Siquijor
Tubod Marine Sanctuary
You can find Tubod Marine Sanctuary near Coco Grove Beach Resort. You’ll have to swim past seagrasses to see the corals and fishes. Be sure to use aqua shoes. You can also rent snorkels and a few other gears here if you don’t have any.
- Entrance Fee: P50 (1 USD) per person
Maite Marine Sanctuary
This marine sanctuary is one of the popular dive sites in Siquijor and a great spot for snorkeling. You can find here all sorts of fishes, crabs, sea urchins and corals.
- Entrance Fee: P50 (1 USD) per person
Caticugan Marine Sanctuary
You can find marine life close to the shore by the shallow waters. Expect to see colorful fishes, corals, and sea snakes.
- Snorkeling Fee: P50 (1 USD) per person
Where to Stay Near Tulapos Marine Sanctuary
Here are some resorts and hotels you can stay in:
- Cliff Side Beach Resort and Cottages – Check Rates and Availability
- Kalachuchi Beach Resort – Check Rates and Availability
- Mings Native Guesthouse – Check Rates and Availability
- Palm Tree Guesthouse – Check Rates and Availability
- Casa de la Playa Beach Resort – Check Rates and Availability
Aside from hotels and resorts, you can also opt to stay at an Airbnb.
How To Get To Siquijor
Catch a flight to either Bacolod, Dumaguete, Bohol or Cebu. But the nearest airport would be Dumaguete.
Travel Tip: Check schedules and availability of buses, ferries, taxis or flights to book online with 12Go Asia.
If you’re coming from Bacolod. Simply ride a bus going to Dumaguete and follow the steps below.
From Dumaguete, ride a tricycle to the port. There are no taxis and rarely any jeepneys. At the port, buy a ticket to Siquijor. There are several ferries going to the island so you can choose from either the fast craft (1 hour travel time) or the regular ferry. There are two ports in Siquijor – Larena, and Siquijor. If your accommodation is around San Juan town, be sure to book a ferry going to Siquijor port since Larena port is a bit far.
Ferries depart to Siquijor as early as 5:45 AM to 7:00 PM. Travel time takes around 1 hour to 2 hours and fares are around P120+ (around 2.5 USD). The fast craft is at P210 (4 USD).
Don’t forget to pay the P25 (0.5 USD) terminal fee.
For updated ferry schedules in Dumaguete, you can refer here.
You also have the option to go to Siquijor for just one day and enjoy what the island has to offer. This tour offers a hassle-free journey from Dumaguete to Siquijor and back to your hotel in Dumaguete in just one day!
If you’re coming from Bohol, you can ride OceanJet ferry. Departure time is at 10:20 AM. You can book your tickets here in advance.
From Cebu City, ride a Ceres bus at the South Bus Terminal heading to Liloan Port. From here, ride the Maayo Shipping Lines going to Siquijor. Note that there’s only one trip per day at 10:00 AM to Siquijor. Fare is at P200 (4 USD) per person and travel time is at 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Budget Tip: Upon arrival in Siquijor, it’s best to rent a motorbike to save on transportation. You can find motorbikes at the port being rented for P350 (7 USD) per day, but you can find others renting at P250 (5 USD) per day. This excludes the cost of gas. You can buy petrol being sold in coke bottles if you need a refill.
Related Article: 30 Crazy Fun Things To Do In Cebu, Philippines
Responsible Travel Tips
When traveling to one place, make sure you practice responsible tourism. Here are some tips to do so.
1. Respect the environment
Don’t litter. Please hold onto your trash until you find a garbage can. Don’t bring home the sand or any seashell. Leave them where they belong. Missing seashells can have potential detrimental environmental impacts.
2. Avoid single-use plastic
Bring your eco bag and refuse single-use plastic.
3. Shop local
Keep the traditional crafts alive and support local artisans. Buy from them. And try not to haggle, P20 may seem small to you but it can mean a lot to them.
4. Always ask permission
Be sure to ask for permission first when taking photos or videos especially when it comes to children
What to Pack for Siquijor
- Eco-friendly Reusable Water Bottle
- Light Rain Jacket (especially from June to November)
- T-shirts, a Nice top, and a Long-sleeved Shirt
- Aqua Shoes
- Day Bag
- Dry Bag
- Power Adapter
- Universal Waterproof Phone Case
- Packing Cubes
- Microfiber Towel
- Travel Insurance
- Money Belt
- Sneakers, Hiking Shoes (if you’re planning to hike) and Some Flats
- Reusable Straw and Reusable Bag (no to single-use plastic!)
Related Article: The Only Travel Packing List You’ll Ever Need (Trust Me)
Our Camera Gear
- Mirrorless Camera: Fujifilm XT3
- Lenses: Fujifilm Fujinon kit lens (18-55mm) | Fujinon 35mm f2 | Fujinon 50mm f2
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- GoPro: GoPro Hero Black 7
- Power Bank: Romoss Powerbank
- Camera Backpack: Case Logic Camera and Laptop Backpack
- Monopod: Ifootage Cobra 2 a180
- Mic: Rode VideoMicro
- Gimbal: Zhiyun Weebill-S
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