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Panaon Island: Southern Leyte, Philippines

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 Southern Leyte Coral Reefs

Panaon Island in Southern Leyte, The Philippines is one of four islands that are connected to the jurisdiction of Leyte Island. Panaon Island is located just south of Leyte. It is separated from the islands of Dinagat, which is to the east, and Mindanao ,which is to the southeast, by the Surigao Straight. In the southwest area of the island is the Mindanao Sea.

The town of Limasawa made history by being the site of the first Christian Mass (Catholic) in the Far East. It was in 1521 on March 31, that the first Catholic Mass was celebrated. On this Easter Sunday was the birth of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines! The Mass was officiated by Father Pedro de  Valderrama outdoors on the shore of the inlet. This officially put Limasawa on the map.

Panaon Island is the only one of the four islands that is hooked to the main island by a bridge. The largest town on the island is Liloan. Liloan is connected to the mainland of Leyte by the Wa-wa Bridge. Some of the most fantastic dive sites are under this spectacular bridge.
It is also famous for the inlets of San Pedro and San Pablo. San Pedro Bay is on the Northwest end of Leyte Gulf. This is a beautiful bay that touches the Island of Samar on the north and east side. It touches the Island of Leyte on the east. The largest city on the bay is Tacloban, Leyte. The San Juanico Strait connects Carigara Bay and the Samar Sea. On the East Coast of Tacloban Harbor is San Pablo Bay. This is one of the most beautiful areas near Tacloban.

Journey toward Pandanon Island

Panaon Island: World Class Diving

Panaon Island is also a part of the “Mindanao Deep.” The Mindanao Deep is the second deepest body of water in the world. Also called the Philippine Trench, it is located just east of the Philippines. The Mindanao Deep or Philippine Trench is the results of two tectonic plates colliding. This magnificent area provides for some awesome dive spots. Here you will discover some of the world’s most pristine and beautiful waters.

Panaon Island is famous for its world-class dive spots and fantastic snorkeling. The dive spots on Panaon Island are some of the best in the world. The town of Liloan has some of the largest reef area in Southern Leyte. What an amazing area. The water is crystal clear. The blues are some of the deepest. This side of Panaon Island is enriched with magnificent coral formations. The Island is commonly visited by large, beautiful, dolphins. Here you will even see the largest of fish – the fantastic whale shark!

Panaon Island is well-known for its whale sharks.  These beautiful creatures pass by the island on their migration route. They spend several months each year feeding off the coast of Panaon Island. The magnificent whale shark is the largest fish in the ocean. It is not unusual for them to weigh as much as 40 tons. In the waters around Panaon Island, it is extremely rare not to see several whale sharks on any given day. Many guides specialize in positioning their boats so that you can actually swim with these gentle giants. There are so many schools of these amazing Whale Sharks, that almost anyone can see them in the waters around Panaon Island. They are seen by divers and non-divers, swimmers and snorkelers, the old and the very young.

It is also an excellent location for encountering pods of dolphins during normal diving or snorkeling expeditions. These are some of the most spectacular dolphins in the Mindanao Deep. Often small boats go out among these beautiful creatures. It is not unusual for those aboard to experience the opportunity of swimming with these enchanted creatures.

The area’s most exciting adventure is drift diving. This is the main attraction in the challenging channel under the Wa-wa Bridge. This, however, is not a dive for beginners. It is a recommended dive for professional world class divers only. This channel has a tough current which  alternates. This is a rare condition and only professional divers can handle this challenging current. The area under and near Wa-wa Bridge has enormous  whirlpools in the center of the passage. This area guarantees some of the most awesome and challenging dives in the world! Drift diving is challenging, but fun.

Isla ng Panaon: Southern Leyte, Pilipinas - A beach with a palm tree - Panaon Island

 So Many Fish In The Sea

There are 6 out of 7 Marine Turtle species that call these waters home. Marine Turtles are known for their amazing migrations. For example, the Leatherback Turtle and Loggerhead Turtles travel across the entire Pacific Ocean. These astonishing turtles travel more than one-third of the distance around the entire world. This is a yearly journey between their feeding grounds and their  nesting grounds. They return each year to nest in the same place that they were born.

The Philippine Islands belong to what is referred to as the Coral Triangle. Approximately 76% of all the coral species in the world live here. There are many tours with-in the Coral Triangle that will provide you with a unique and exciting snorkeling experience. These guides are waiting to provide you a fantastic educational adventure. You will find resorts that are comfortable, safe, and exciting. If you are looking for a world class  snorkeling experience, you will want to venture out into the Coral Triangle.

In addition to being the home of 6 species of turtles, there are over 2,228 different species of reef fish. These reef fish live among the over 500 species of hard coral. There are more species of coral and reef fish in this beautiful “Amazon of the Sea” than any other body of water on earth. The Southern Leyte Islands are home to many species that are not found any where else in the world. Is it any wonder that the Philippines is the Diving Capital of The World.

canigao island 300x200 1

 Underwater Photography

Off the shores of Panaon Island is the Tabugon Fish Sanctuary. It was established in 1993 as a major reef sanctuary for marine preservation.  This is a fantastic area for seeing some of the most magnificent manta rays and pods of dolphins. Snorkelers are able to enjoy many different species of the sea in this sanctuary. What a perfect place to photograph some of the most amazing marine animals in the sea. This is home to an extraordinary bountiful display of hard and soft corals.  These corals are filled to overflowing with marine life. Experience a wide variety of aquatic life from smallest pygmy seahorses to the interesting Sea Turtles. Discover pipefish and  frogfish as they cruise through the coral beds. See the beautiful napoleon wrasse!  During the months of November to late May you can enjoy the Whale Shark. What an incredible adventure for the underwater photographer!

Whale Shark Observation

Whale shark watching is an exciting experience that is both amazing and fun. At the Tagbak Marine Park you can enjoy a fun-filled day while staying in the heart of the cove. Whale shark watchers are able stay at the islet which is the base of the aquatic park. This extraordinary experience provides is a once in a lifetime adventure. For those that desire, Pete’s Dive Resort will arrange for you to swim with these gentle giants. The best time to encounter these magnificent creatures is between the months of November and July.

Sunbathing On Panaon Island

Catch some sun, as you enjoy the islands beautiful beaches. Listen to the waves crashing as they come ashore. Enjoy the beautiful mountains and lush green hills. Listen to the wind as it blows through the rich green tropical forests. Enjoy the white sand beaches and the magnificent turquoise water. Spread out your beach blanket and relax on the extraordinary beaches of Panaon Island.

Watching The Sunset

Stroll along the white sand beaches just as the sun sets. Enjoy the stately Liloan Lighthouse as the sun goes down over the horizon. The Liloan Lighthouse has been a favorite place to enjoy the sunset for centuries. Artists love to paint this magnificent lighthouse and photographers make it the center of many photos. What a perfect way to end a perfect day!

Panaon Island Information


Pete’s Dive Resort

Pete’s dive Resort is located at the Southern tip of Leyte. Diving is excellent year around. If you are especially hoping to see Whale Sharks, they are seen from late October to late May almost daily. At other times of the year they are not seen as often. January and February can often have very strong rains, but the diving is still good.

The guides are experienced and are professional at all times. They maintain the highest standards and seek to guarantee you a safe and outstanding adventure. Unless you only prefer to dive with your own equipment, the resort has all the necessary equipment you will need.

Transportation from Tacloban and Cebu is provided with prior arrangements. You can also make arrangements to be picked up at the Ferry Terminal.

Pete’s Dive Resort
Barangay Lungsodaan
6602 Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte
Tel : (63)(53)573-0015
Cellphone: (63)(915)824-1431 or (63)(920)798-4658.

Sogod Bay Scuba Resort

Sogod Bay and surrounding areas is a divers paradise. The waters are home to a huge diversity of marine life waiting to be explored. Enjoy exceptional reefs, steep drop offs, shelves, coral gardens, and walls. The dive sites are some of the worlds best.

The resort has expert guides and all the necessary equipment you will need to enjoy this underwater paradise. The resort has certified PADI instructors and knowledgeable dive masters.

Sogod Bay Scuba Resort Inc.
Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte
Phone: +63535730131, +639274819885, +639205828542
E-mail Address: [email protected]

Pintuyan Dive Resort

If you are looking for quality diving and quiet and peaceful accomidations, then Pintuyan Dive Resort is the place to go. It is an ideal place to finish up your open water dives and get that diving certificate. Excellent instructors.

Shuttle service from Tacloban is provided.

Pintuyan Dive Resort
Barangay Caubang, Pintuyan
6614 Leyte, Philippines

Leyte Dive Resort and Adventure Tours

Leyte Dive Resort and Adventure Tours offers fabulous muck and scuba diving for the marine enthusiast. Enjoy fabulous wall and drift diving among the beautiful hard and soft coral beds. The night diving is amazing.

Whale Shark tours are available in season. During this time you can swim with these gentle giants of the Sea. The resort also has several Eco Adventure Tours.

The Resort has all new equipment and accessories, including a newly renovated dive shop. Everything you will need for a successful diving experience is available at the resort.

The accomodations are excellent with delicious food served in the onsite restaurant. All rooms look out over the bay and are serviced daily.

Leyte Dive Resort and Adventure Tours
Camdatag Malitbog
Southern Leyte Philippines

Padre Burgos Castle Resort

Padre Burgos Castle Resort is a boutique resort nestled above a beautiful secluded beach. The resort has a beautiful swimming pool with a full array of watersports available. Enjoy outstanding dolphin watching, Whale Shark watching,  island hopping, sailing and kayaking. Other sports offered are caving, climbing the stunning waterfalls, hiking the hilltop communities, interacting with the wild monkeys, and other island tours. Enjoy the tranquility of the resort.

The resort has beautiful and large rooms, with air conditioning in each room. All rooms have private bathrooms. There are both indoor and outdoor restaurants and bar facilities. Room service is available. The food is delicious. The facilities are clean and well kept up. The dedicated and attentive staff are always onsite to see to any needs you may have 24 hours a day. The owners also live on site and are always available to serve you.

Padre Burgos Castle Resort
Padre Burgos – Tankaan Rd
Tankaan, Padre Burgos
6602 Southern Leyte, Philippines

This is the time to book your next travel adventure to the Panaon Islands. Gather the family and grab your passports. Adventure is waiting in Leyte Philippines. Enjoy our site and we will see you in the Philippines. For additional travel information,  check out our website:

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