If your serious about doing some diving in Cebu when you visit on your trip a few things to consider before arriving is firstly getting recommendations from other expats on who is the best diving schools to go with. Because there has been all sorts of things happen from a problem with what was in Air tanks to corruption of diving certificates (e.g. people BUYING master divers certificates). Now when your relying on these people for your life and they’re knowledge its not something you should take likely.
The other thing to do aswell is ONLY go with PCSSD approved dive shops. In the Philippines anyone can own a dive shop but if it is PCSSD (Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving) accredited you should be in safe hands as they will have the air and equipment inspected due to it being part of the Philippine Tourism Authority. Either way still check the equipment the best advice really is other expats and even better go with foreign divers who know what they are doing and can spot defects. Because even PCSSD doesn’t mean safety guaranteed. Just be careful.
There are 3 main diving areas in Cebu Moalboal we discussed on a previous post which is an amazing place and one of the best diving locations in Cebu although being far to the south West (3hrs ride) for more info do a search for the other post. Next is Malapascua (around half a day each way) which is somewhere I haven’t been yet and an up and coming diving area which is pretty much in diving infancy. Finally there is Mactan which if your stopping in Cebu City is the nearest dive location. Its not the best of the diving in Cebu but it may be the cheapest due to intense competition between dive shops for your trade. In Mactan your diving will be the Hilutungan straights which is between Mactan Island and Olango Island (bird sanctuary) The Hilotongan Channel is about 300 fathoms deep, and you might consequently see some larger species such as 2-feet-long cuttlefish, manta rays, and, occasionally, barracuda or whale sharks. There’s a cave in Marigondon with luminescent creatures that glow in the dark. Dive sites in Cebu are characterized by a rich variety of beautiful coral, such as brain corals, fan corals and gorgonians. If you have the time I would advise taking a safari which will take you to several sites and also near to Bohol which has some of the best beaches in the Philippines.
I wont add the diving schools here as I will start a database which is easier to flick through and also update as you can “add” comments if you had good or bad experiences. Hopefully all good.