What does it need to inspire us as scuba diving instructors for scuba diving? Is it the professional organization of a dive center? A competent local guide that knows where to find all the interesting creatures or is it a variety of dive sites that offer breathtaking underwater world?
In this blog post, we will tell you why we really enjoyed scuba diving in Dauin.
Now we know why so many visitors come to Dauin for scuba diving
Dauin is our first stop on our trip through the Philippines.The small village is located south of Dumaguete on the Visayan island of Negros. From the local airport of Dumaguete, we catch a taxi and it takes us about 30 minutes to get to the small resort we have booked.
You can choose from a whole array of resorts in different quality and price classes along the coast around the small town of Dauin. We have chosen the small but fine Liquid Dumaguete Resort. This resort is situated a bit away from the rest in the north of Dauin. The bungalows are surrounded by a beautiful garden directly at the beach.
Dauin is only a short distance from the resort and you can either walk along the beach or take a motorcycle, a jeepney or a tricycle. The resort is located directly at the beach and down a windy and bumpy road from the main road. It’s best if you ask the staff at the reception and they will be more than happy to help you.
Liquid Dumaguete offers 14 beach front cottages with fan or air condition and private bathroom, a restaurant, a bar and a dive center with a small pool. The resort is under European management and that is reflected in the perfect organization and the professional service.
We are very lucky and get bungalow number 1. This bungalow is only a few meters away from the beach and from the terrace, we have a fantastic view over the ocean.
The dive center offers fun dives for certified divers, daytrips and a comprehensive range of PADI courses from beginner level to the professional.
The dive center is very well organized and we immediately feel that the guys from Liquid Dumaguete know what they are doing. The rental equipment is in good condition and the facilities are designed for divers. All the staff members are extremely friendly and helpful.
We immediately feel very welcome and at home.
Day trip to Apo Island – Sea Turtles and rising air bubbles over the beautiful coral gardens
The first day of scuba diving in Dauin already starts with a highlight. We join a day trip to Apo Island. This island is known for its beautiful coral reefs and marine sanctuaries. If you are scuba diving in Dauin, you have to do a day trip to Apo Island and dive or snorkel the beautiful reefs around the island.
A small dinghy takes us from the beach to the diving boat. The beach is rocky and we have to be careful not to slip on the rocks. The diving boat is a typical Filipino bangka with a narrow hull and two outriggers. It’s a spacious boat with a toilet and enough shady spaces to sit. There is drinking water, coffee, tea and soft drinks on board and for the day trip there is a light lunch and fruits.
The first dive site of the day is called Chapel and is dominated by a steep drop off. Our local guide Jun is very experienced and he knows the dive sites very well. He learns very quickly what we are interested in and leads us to the interesting places and shows us all the special creatures.
The second dive at Largahan features a beautiful coral garden and some sandy patches with a big surprise. There are streams of air bubbles emerging from the sand floor between the coral blocks. Origin of these magical air bubbles is volcanic action. We are amazed by this magical phenomenon and feel like on another planet.
After two dives it’s time for lunch. The wind has picked up somewhat and our dive boat is rocking in the waves. Luckily the captain finds a bit of shelter in one of the small bays where we can enjoy our lunch.
After the lunch break we are ready for the third dive at Apo Island. We dive through beautiful coral gardens and spot several sea turtles. The sea turtles are a common sight around Apo Island. So if you have never dived or snorkeled with sea turtles then Apo Island is the place to do it.
It’s a bumpy ride back to Dauin and the waves are splashing over the bow of the boat. It’s slow going and we have enough time for a deco beer.
Scuba diving along the coast of Dauin
We are very happy with our guide Jun. He quickly learned what we are interested in and he chooses the dive sites according to our liking. The dive sites on today’s plan are Ginama-an and Sahara. Both dive sites are located along the coast of Dauin.
We descend to the seagrass field of the first dive site and right at the beginning, we already spot the first Seahorse.
In the middle of a huge sandy slope we spot an absolute highlight. An orange speck in the sand attracts our attention. We swim closer and there he is. A tiny baby frogfish. This tiny little creature is only about five millimeters in size and the features are only visible on the photo.
This dive site is dominated by the large sandy slopes and seagrass fields. Scattered along the sandy slope, we find some nice coral reefs, which provide shelter for a variety of sea creatures.
An artificial reef that has been built with old car tires is another highlight of the dive. It’s amazing how many different species have made this artificial reef to their new home. Frogfish seem to really like this environment and are hiding between the car tires. In total, we are able to spot three (YES, three!!!) frogfish in different sizes and colors. What an epic dive!
The second dive site is called Sahara. What do you expect of a dive site with the name Sahara? Exactly.A lot of sand. Not every diver is keen on swimming over sand. Do you like to dive over sandy slopes and look for weird critters or do you think it’s boring? We love it. With a little bit of patience and endurance we always find some interesting sea creatures in the sand.
On a small patch of corals, we spot this small clown frogfishthat is only about two centimeters in size. This little guy looks pretty grim. Maybe he is not really happy about all the attention he is getting. Three pairs of eyes staring at this little creature is maybe just too much for him.
On a big sponge we spot this beautiful colored zebra lion fish. If you spot one of these creatures, make sure you do not get too close. The spines are poisonous and a sting of a lion fish can be pretty painful.
For two more days we dive the dive sites along the coast of Dauin. We really enjoy these dive sites and discover countless, beautiful and unusual sea creatures. Many thanks to our fantastic guide Jun!
The banded sea snake can be seen regularly while scuba diving Dauin. The venom of these sea snakes is highly toxic and a bite can be extremely dangerous for humans. Luckily the snakes are usually very shy and reclusive. Bites are extremely rare and as a diver you don’t need to be afraid of these beautiful creatures.
Our guide brings us to an old unused fish trap where corals have already started to grow. Spiny tiger shrimp call this old fish trap their home and several of these amazing shrimps are living here. They are also called horned bumblebee shrimp and it’s the first time that we see these small shrimp species.
On all the dives in Dauin we have found some nudibranchs that we have never seen before. There are whole books full of different species of nudibranchs and they can be seen in many different shapes and colors.
We love the ghost pipe fish and our guide Jun spots them for us on almost every dive. We have seen them in black and yellow color.
We really enjoyed the five days at Liquid Dumaguete in Dauin and can highly recommend the resort with its professional dive center. Everything was very well organized. The view from our bungalow was stunning, the food was excellent and diving with Liquid Dumaguete was a pleasure.
The whole team is extremely friendly and especially our dive guide Jun has done a great job with showing us all the little sea creatures we wanted to see. Our expectations where not only met but exceeded.
Travel Tips for scuba diving in Dauin
- Dumaguete airport is served by the airlines Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines
- The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP) and PHP 100 equals about USD 2
- The ride from Dumaguete to Dauin takes about 30 minutes and costs about PHP 300 with tricycle incl. luggage
- There are about 20 different resorts around Dauin and they offer rooms and bungalows in different quality and price classes
- A single dive with Liquid Dumaguete costs PHP 1500. If you do more than six dives, a dive will cost PHP 1300. Equipment rental will set you back PHP 250 per dive or PHP 700 per day.
- Depending on where you dive you also have to pay marine sanctuary fees. PHP 150 for the dive sites on the coast of Dauin and PHP 300 for dive sites at Apo Island.
- A day trip to Apo Island is a must. You can either snorkel or dive on the sites around the island and enjoy swimming with sea turtles. The costs for the day trip to Apo Island are PHP 600 for the trip including lunch and PHP 300 for the sanctuary fee.
- An Open Water Diver course in Dauin costs about PHP 18’000
- There is a small party scene with a handful of restaurants and bars along the esplanade in Dumaguete. The Hayahay Treehouse and Bar has live bands playing in the evenings and you can mingle with the locals or western guests.
Do you have a favourite dive spot in the Philippines? Have you been scuba diving in Dauin? Share your experiences and tips for the Philippines.