Black Forest Dive Site
Nowhere else can we find a whole world of underwater sceneries of black corals than in the pristine waters of Black Forest, a captivating dive spot off the coast of Balicasag Island south of Panglao Island in Bohol.
Black Forest is among world class dive spots clustered around the Balicasag Island, with Rico’s Wall, Rudy’s Rock, and Puntod Wall in the waters of lonesome Puntod Island. But what makes Black Forest unique is the proliferation of amazing black corals even in shallow water. Black corals are shy deep sea rock formations that often thrive some 50 meters below.
But Black Forest affords a grand view of this amazing black coral phenomenon at merely a 30-meter depth. The shallow water growth is partly attributed to the cooler sea water flow that sweeps past over the area. The mound gradually rolls down to a white sand sea floor at a 40-meter depth. The whole panorama is simply breath-taking.
Experts give Black Forest a 5-star rating. The scene may sometimes be deceivingly spectacular because lurking behind the shadowy coral beds are powerful intermittent underwater currents that may easily drag a novice diver.
The spot may be shallow but beware. Experts advice on advanced diving skills—or at least novices should be constantly under a dive-master’s assistance.
Black Forest is just to the northeast of Balicasag Island and about 6 kilometers from the famous Alona Beach. Balicasag is where a hotel resort sits beside a newly built nostalgic lighthouse.
The resort, Balicasag Island Dive Resort, offers nothing but the best in tourist lodging, restaurant, and other amenities at par with classy city tourist hotels. A night for two may cost Php 2,000 to Php 2,500 while a group stay at a cozy dorm may cost Php 4,000 a night.
It’s easy to reach Balicasag from Cebu or Manila. From Cebu it’s just an hour and 15 minutes by boat to the Tagbilaran dock or 30 minutes by plane to the Tagbilaran airport. From Tagbilaran to Panglao is a 30-minute travel and from there to Balicasag is anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes via banca ride. Manila to Tagbilaran is about 22 hours by ship. From Balicasag ISland Black Forest is just a dive away.
Aside from black corals Black Forest also allows easy viewing of groupers, wrasse, tuna, barracuda, batfish, and snappers in the area. Black forest is also rich in deep sea vegetation inhabited by various delicately formed fish species and cavernous coral walls where small deep sea creatures venture out occasionally.