Padre Burgos is the town you will stay at when diving Sogod Bay. This small seaside town is located at Southern Leyte, and it is a 3hr car transfer from the airport at Tacloban. Alternatively, you can fly into Cebu and take a ferry to cities (Maasin, Ormoc) in Leyte, and then a car transfer to Padre Burgos. As I am not too fond of long ferry rides (sometimes with delays depending on the sea state), so we opted for a flight on Philippine Airlines (PAL) from Singapore to Manila and then onward to Tacloban. PAL international flights arrive at NAIA Terminal 2 while most domestic flights depart from Terminal 3. You can connect to the domestic flights by utilising the free inter-terminal shuttle service available for passengers on connecting PAL flights.
Current flight schedules allow you to connect from Singapore to Padre Burgos on the same day when arriving and departing, but the whole journey takes about 15 hours. You have to take the early morning flight departing Singapore at 0630H and will arrive in Padre Burgos about 2000H. We were unfortunate to have a flight cancellation (manila to tacloban) on the way there because of low light limitations due to heavy rain. After Typhoon Haiyan, Tacloban airport no longer has capabilities for flight operations in low visibility, and that includes no night flights. It was good that PAL helped us with our unscheduled overlay in Manila, which included arranging for an overnight hotel in Manila, dinner, airport-hotel transfers and re-booking us on the next available flight. But we still had to forgo one diving day and had to pay additional for the airport transfers at Tacloban.Dive Resort
There are 3 dive resort in Padre Burgos (Sogod Bay Scuba Resort, Peter’s Dive Resort and Southern Leyte Divers). We stayed at Sogod Bay Scuba Resort and were the only guests over the period. We were initially booked at the apartments (which is about 5min from the main resort) but they gave us an upgrade to the deluxe ocean view cottage when we arrived! The rooms were large and comfortable and also came with a fridge and TV with a great selection of satellite channels.
Meals at our resort were on the more expensive side (mains from PHP300) but they are delicious especially the desserts. We also had meals at Peters Dive Resort and at Moose and Squirrel, which is about a 5min walk from the resort. We found the food at Peter’s to be the most value-for-money option (mains from PHP200) while Moose and Squirrel serves local bbq food. The waiting time for food at Moose and Squirrel can be abit longer than the other places.
There is also a sundry store along the main road for drink and snack purchases. It will be cheaper to buy drinking water, etc. from here than to pay the mark-up at the resort.Diving
The bad news is that no whale sharks have been sighted ever since typhoon Haiyan in Nov last year. This means that Sogod Bay is more of a macro destination now. I rate the best dive site being “Little Lembeh” which is accessed via a car ride and shore entry. Although, the macro at Sogod is not as extensive as Lembeh or even close to Anilao and Ambon, we still did manage to see numerous nudibranchs, and the occasional coleman shrimp and frogfish.
All our dives were done along the coast on the same side of the resort. Sea conditions in July were rough and it was not possible for us to venture to dive sites across the bay or at Limasawa. We found the dive setup at Sogod Bay to be professional and were satisfied with our guide Paweks, who was a good spotter. Some pictures from the trip taken with the Sony RX100:
#1 Pair of Colemen Shrimp
#2 Urchin Zebra Crab
#3 Mating Nudibranches