Sumilon is a small 24 hectare island located in the southeastern tip of Cebu that is a favorite its white sandbar and scuba diving for all enthusiasts. Dubbed as the country’s first marine reserve, Sumilon Island is a treasure trove of hundreds of marine flora and fauna species guaranteed to give a truly unique diving experience. More to that, its white sand beaches are a venue for all beach sports and activities. It was declared a fish sanctuary in 1974 by the initiative of Silliman University Marine Reserve. Large coral formations blossom under its sparkling clear blue waters – a breeding foreground to one of the region’s most magnificent aquatic life.
The white sandbar of Sumilon Island is noted for its changing and shifting patterns depending on the time of year. A lagoon with thick forest mangroves, a lighthouse of historical significance, a tree park, fascinating caves, a pristine lake and some of the regions best dive sites (The Garden Eel Plaza, Nikki’s Wall, Coral Landscape, Julie’s Rock) are among the island’s many places of interest. Other activities include bird watching, beach picnics with the family, fishing, hiking, island tours, paddling and trekking. The Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort, the lone resort in the island, provides world class accommodations for tourists and guests.
Diving in Sumilon is perfect in a combination with a trip to the whale sharks in Oslob.
History of Sumilon Island
The history of Sumilon Island speaks well of bravery and national loyalty, two of the traits that the Filipinos are well known for. In 1813, a historical battle took place that claimed the victory for the townsfolk, and put an end to the then relentless attacks by pirates – the last attack being in the year 1782 when the church was left looted and destroyed by marauders.
Aside from religious duties, a young 25 year old Spanish Augustinian monk named Julian Bermejo led the battle for the local folks, masterminding a simple defense plan which ultimately brought the looting to a stop. Later on he also introduced livelihood skills, finished a new church by first securing its premises by thick walls using mortar and coral blocks and constructing a two story watch tower. This feat proved to be a success and to this day, the Spanish tower and the church remains to be a treasure to the people of Sumilon.
How to get to Sumilon Island
It is quite simple to get to Sumilon Island from Dumaguete City, you take a 30 minute drive to the pier in Sibulan, where you cross the Tañon strait to Cebu. There you take a bus to Oslob from where you can take a banka to the breathtakingly beautiful small island of Sumilon. .
Another option if you are a snorkeler or diver is to get in touch with one of the dive-shops in Dumaguete or Dauin. They frequently organize trips to the whale-sharks in Oslob, before heading to Sumilon for two additional dives.