General Santos Diving - Philippines
General Santos in South Cotabato is not short of tourist attractions and historical landmarks. But unbeknownst to most tourists, there are several outstanding diving sites in the vicinity of the city. Some of them are scattered at various points throughout the province but are within easy reach.
Several of the diving sites in General Santos, South Cotabato can be found in Sarangani Bay. Although no longer a part of the province, it is nevertheless still the place to go to experience some good diving.
Rocky Beach, just near the Sandbar, is a nice alternative for beginners, because you do not have to go in too deep to get a view of the corals and fish beneath.
It will only take a few meters and you will be able to see several types of the aforementioned coral reefs, mostly the hard variants. An assortment of reef fish can be found in the vicinity of this General Santos diving site, swimming along with the current.
There are several other dive sites near Sarangani Bay, and Takot Maasim, while not one of the most well known, is well worth the 45 minute boat ride.
The currents in this dive site can range from moderate to heavy, depending on the weather. In the waters, you can find several types of fish, including a plethora of rays and Trigger Fish.
Gensan is known to locals and visitors to hold some of the best places for diving, swimming, snorkeling, or just hanging around and enjoying the sea water and warm heat of the sun. That is why diving in General Santos wouldn’t be complete if you haven’t visited one of its best private diving sites known as the Kapatan Reef. This private reef serves as the favored home of Sarangani Divers or those who choose to visit Gensan and stay for more than a day. Since it is a privately-owned place, the owners see to it that it is kept clean and safely protected through the years. Some of the diverse marine life that captures the attention of many divers are the giant clams or interesting snappers that live in its waters. But don’t go rushing to the place without permission. It is recommended that you first seek permission from the owners to let you use the area.
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Kabog Marine Reserve
If you are one of those people who are totally fascinated with live turtles, you may want to take a visit to Kabog Marine Reserve. Turtles can be usually seen in this place. Going to this reserve makes diving in General Santos a most interesting thing to do. This reserve remains protected eversince it had a major main damage to the area. Aside from turtles, beautiful corals and various fishes can also be seen. One of its must-see spots is the Zillion Fish Rock where you can see a lot of small fishes.
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Petron Pier is one of the relatively new dive sites in General Santos City. Like most of the major dive sites you can find in the borders of the city, this one is also located in the rich Sarangani Bay. You get to Petron Pier from Tambler in General Santos.
Since this dive site is quite a bit young, just about two years or so, you shouldn’t expect it to be as good as the top notch dive sites of the bay area. However, if you’re a diver who is curious how life begins in such deep solemn waters then feel free to explore and see how one of the best diving destinations in General Santos begins.
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Bawing Offshore Pinnacle
This is one of the older dive sites in General Santos City. Like the many dive sites you can find here, it is also located on the western side of the Sarangani Bay area. Divers can access this site via a small boat from any of the beach resorts in the said area. The weather conditions on this side of the bay are far better compared to the eastern side since you don’t get as much rainfall.
The only bit of disappointment in this dive site is the fact that its top has already been leveled by fishermen. However, the scenery is far better once you go below the 12 meter mark. Take note that the base’s depth is quite frankly unknown since this site isn’t exactly in the charts.
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This is one of the many interesting dive sites in General Santos City. The strong currents can prove to be quite a challenge, which in a way means hands off to beginners. This dive site is located on the eastern side of the Sarangani Bay area. This means you should expect some form of turbulence on certain days.
Unlike many of the dive sites in the said area, this site is actually a private area. The site was developed and cared for at great cost, which basically translates to divers paying more just to see the natural attractions. The cost of the dive is actually worth it since the coral garden and the rest of the site is beautifully preserved unlike the many areas of the Sarangani Bay.
Read more about Bilangdang Reef...
This is another one of the dive sites in General Santos City that is located on the eastern section of the Sarangani Bay. Tango Point is best suited for more experienced divers since you’ll have to work with poor visibility and strong currents. It is better off as a boat dive than anything else. Some of the attractions here include snappers, sweetlips, and wrasse.
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This is one of the dive sites in General Santos City that is more suited for beginners and intermediate divers. The slopes here are quite gentle and very maneuverable. Pinnacles and coral outcrops are usually decorated by a lot of swimming fish. You’ll regularly find turtles swimming here as well.
Read more about Lago Creek...
Malapatan Offshore Pinnacle
The Malapatan Offshore Pinnacle is another area which offers lots of wonderful sea creatures to see including turtles, too, just like the Kabog Marine Reserve. Its top is measured around 5m under the water surface. That is during low tide. You may see lots of fishing nets in the area. It’s a perfect place to find and photograph the sea creatures so you can bring home photos to show of your wonderful stay at the place.
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Tampuan/Tinoto Wall Complex
This dive site in General Santos City is otherwise known as The Wall. This is one of the best diving destinations the city has to offer and has been noted as one of the best dive sites in the Philippines. Getting to the site won’t be that difficult since the Tinoto Village is only about 50 kilometers away from the city proper.
Coral gardens are found along the way from the high water mark all the way to the very top of The Wall. Many divers describe the interspersed coral gardens as matching some of the world’s best. There have been some who have noted that the wall itself is an awesome sight to behold with only a few locations on earth to match it.
It’s covered with sponges, hydroids, sea fans, tunicates and other forms of marine life. Sea creatures that have found a home in this site include crustaceans, cucumbers, reef fish, and nudibranchs. Do take note that at certain times the current in this site can become quite strong. Visibility is usually around 10 meters, which makes it an interesting site for snorkeling.
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This dive site in General Santos City is located near Tampuan/Tinoto Wall Complex. You can find it just around 300 meters from The Wall. You will see the same features you find in The Wall including the types of undersea life as well. Like Tinoto Wall Complex, this dive site also has magnificent coral gardens teeming with underwater life.
The only unfortunate detail about this dive site is the evidence of damage on some of the coral gardens caused by dynamite/blast fishing. However, the big plus factor comes in the form of a comfortable weekend set up by the American owner of the nearby shore land, which makes it quite a treat after a long day’s diving adventure.
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Lau-Tengco Point/Barracuda Point
You will find this dive site in General Santos City within the proximity of The Wall and Partridge Point. In order for you to get there, pass Partridge Point until you reach the area where The Wall makes an s-shaped bend. Large number of reef fish can be found here. The currents in this dive site can be quite strong.
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The dive sites at the Tinoto Village are quite ideal for beginners since you won’t get a lot of problems with currents. The village itself is set in a small bay which makes it quite a nice place. The relatively minor drawbacks here include damage made in some of the corals and some problems with visibility.
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Cambridge Dive Center
Popularly known before as the Tuna City Scuba Center in Gensan is the Cambridge Dive Center. It has wonderful features that you may be interested in especially if you’re a person who loves diving and other water sports. The operations are expertly handled by Chris Dearne PADI MSDT 461992. It has a PADI diving outlet and also a dive shop. These can be easily seen at the Cambridge Farm Hotel. Beginners and ones in the more advanced levels learn that diving in General Santos is really enjoyable with this type of dive center around.
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Not far from Takot Massim is Takot Malbang, another General Santos dive site that will be enjoyed by both seasoned and neophyte swimmers.
Because the currents in Takot Malbang move in accordance with the changing tides, knowing how to drift with it is important, and those who can do this will find it an exhilarating experience. Down at the sandy bottom are all the elements you’d expect to find in an excellent dive site: corals of different types (hard and soft) sponges, and gorgonians.
There are also numerous types of groupers, rays, turtles, rainbow runners, and also several Napoleon Wrasse.
Kamanga Reef, as the name implies, is the dive site to visit if your goal is to go sightseeing for coral reefs.
The currents in Kamanga Reef are not difficult to navigate, and once you get there you can see several types of shell fish and around the reefs would be clown fish, parrot fish, groupers, and many others.
This is one of the many dive sites in General Santos City at the Sarangani Bay area. This dive site offers great panoramic views of the surrounding bay area. Getting to the 30 foot cliff and down into the edge of the water will be quite an escapade on its own.
The place is secluded enough, which basically allows for some privacy and the beachfront hideaway makes the place even prettier. Do take note that way down the hill will be a bit difficult especially if you're carrying all your gear. The undersea wildlife is worth all the heavy lifting if you're such a big fan of sea cucumbers and seahorses. If you feel you're not up to the descent from the top of the hill you better make it as a boat dive instead.
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The Marabueno Point is one of the many interesting dive sites in General Santos City. It is also located in the Sarangani Bay area off the coast of Kiamba in the Sarangani Province. While on the site you'll notice that there is only a few meters of shallow water and then you get go over the edge when you're coming off the shore along the wall.
This section of the wall is usually shaded by the said cliffs so you should expect area to be a bit darker. Visibility is still good in spite of this shade, which basically means that you're better off diving from a boat that coming from the shore since access to the site is rather difficult.
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Sulifman Diving Site
This is another one of popular dive sites in General Santos City. Like many of the main dive sites of the city, this one is also located in the Sarangani Bay area, specifically in Kiamba, Sarangani Province. This site is also known as Veterans Beach. It is situated right at the end of the Tinoto Wall Complex.
As divers go into the dive, the seabed slopes will noticeably slope off gently. You basically are on the wall except that it isn't that deep. You will notice the rather disappointing evidence of blast damage in some of the upper areas in this site. After a dive you can take a break in one of the cheap cottages at the nearby shore.
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Palalisan Reef Reserve
Compared to the rest of the dive sites in General Santos City, this site is comparatively new. You also get to see the same undersea life found in the Sarangani Bay area. This reserve was set up by the locals to demonstrate their interest in preserving the wonders of nature.
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Of the numerous dive sites in Sarangani Bay, the one nicknamed the Sandbar ranks as one of the most picturesque.
Although navigating this General Santos dive site can be challenging due to its current (which can be challenging at times), it can be done provided one is experienced enough or with a guide. The nice thing is that even with a moderate current all kinds of fish come up, intermingling with the various types of corals in the deeper parts.
Diving in General Santos is turning into one of the biggest tourist attractions in South Cotabato and Sarangani, and will no doubt lead to the development of more resorts. Already there are several dive shops around General Santos, where you can purchase the needed equipment or hire guides as needed. For tourists it means things will only get better.