Only a few people know about the huge schools of sardines in Cebu. They are either divers, people with environmental advocacies or the fisher-folks in the areas.
Where Do You Find These Huge Balls of Sardines?
Lucky for me, I freedive and get to explore the seas of Cebu – from up north to south: Malapascua, Bantayan, Camotes, Mactan, Moalboal, Badian, and Oslob. There were only two places in Cebu I’ve encountered them: Moalboal and Mactan island.
The photo shows a humongous number of sardines in Moalboal, Cebu, along Tañon Strait. They number in the millions as they swarm the tiny island of Pescador, just a few kilometers from Moalboal’s shores. Though sometimes, they transfer to the Panagsama reef. They don’t look as splendid when they spread across the wide reef of Panagsama though. In the reef, they don’t form a huge ball because they are dispersed along the vast drop.
This storm of fish has been missing for about two years beginning late 2011, but returned in 2013 in full strength. In my opinion, it has grown larger in number and in fish size too. The diving community in Moalboal was delighted to see them back. It was not known why they disappeared, but many had their theories. Some said it was because they were fished. Others said that it was because of the series of earthquakes that shook the area.
The sardines in Pescador island can be seen by just snorkeling. They swim in the shallower parts, about 10 feet deep. Sometimes they go to the edge of the reef, and scuba divers 50 feet below could see the astounding show of sardine fish. They form a dense ball and then suddenly explode, then they would regroup to start all over again.
There’s also a school of sardines in Mactan. It’s just a tiny fraction of Moalboal’s, but I prefer it better. The reasons for this is because Mactan is so much nearer than the two-hour-and-a-half ride to Moalboal. It’s just 15 minutes away from the airport and an hour from Cebu city (due to heavy traffic).
Just like in Pescador island, you can see this school of fish just by snorkeling. It’s best to go to Konti-ki Resort and swim from the shore to about 30 meters where the drop is. That’s where you will find these fish. Don’t worry, the place is safe as there are buoys that serve as a fence so you could rest there if you get tired.
The huge school of sardines in Lapu-lapu city can be seen along the Konti-ki reef – it runs along the reef passing by several resorts such as Imperial palace, Konti-ki resort, Maribago Blue Waters, and up to rescue island. On top of the sardines, there are yellow-tailed and big-eyed scad fish, locally known as tamarong, that huddle together in a school. Sometimes these two schools of fish intersperse and all you could do is stop and stare. And not breathe for a minute.
This is just a small glimpse of what Cebu’s underwater life has to offer. Why not grab the chance and see for yourselves what thousands of foreigners spend top money and travel great distances to see? It’s right here in our own backyard!