Dumaguete is the largest city in the province of Negros Oriental, located on the southeast coast of Negros Island. It is a bustling university town with an airport, several hospitals, historical buildings, shopping malls and restaurants and bars along it’s seaside boulevarde.
Negros Oriental province is renowned for it’s outstanding natural beauty and fascinating culture. Marine sanctuaries line the Dauin coastline. Inland, the vast mountain ridge is home to many serene lakes, thundering waterfalls and local indigenous cultures.
“The City of Gentle People”, is best known for the Silliman University established in 1901 as the Philippines first Protestant university and the oldest private American university in Asia.
Close by is Apo Island, a marine protected area since 1982.
Most dive resorts are situated in the coastal town of Dauin, about 15 kilometres (30 minute drive) south of Dumaguete. The area remains one of the Philippines’ best kept secrets for divers looking for a remote tropical getaway with world class diving right on its doorstep.
Dumaguete has two seasons: the dry winter season which runs from December to May and the slightly wetter summer season from June to November. The hottest months are April and May. The coolest month is January. Temperatures range from 24ºC – 35ºC.
The dry season brings moderate seas and on-shore breezes and the wetter season has glass-flat seas and minimal offshore winds.
There is no international airport in Dumaguete. Instead it’s likely that you will have to fly in via Manila. Dauin, where many dive resorts are based, is approximately 40 minutes away from the airport.
The marine sanctuaries lining the Dauin coastline house some of the world’s rarest critters competing for the underwater photographer’s attention. Whether you are a novice or experienced diver, you will be sure to find some new and exciting species here. All the dive sites are replete with huge numbers of splendid fish (triggerfish, parrotfish, pennant fish, moray eels, surgeonfish, snappers, groupers, Moorish idols, lizardfish, gobies, batfish, lionfish, trumpet fish, puffer fish, filefish, emperors, wrasses, fusiliers and trevallies to name only a few).
Invertebrates from the tiniest transparent shrimp and neon-coloured nudibranchs to huge basket sponges adorned with hundreds of multi-coloured crinoids; anemones, sea cucumbers, starfish and worms reside with vast numbers of hard and soft corals and gorgonian sea fans. Turtles, octopus, cuttlefish, manta rays, eagle rays and sharks make guest appearances.
Apo Island is a short boat ride away. A jewel in the Philippine Sea, this small island has been a marine protected area since 1982 and is widely regarded as one of the premier dive locations in the Philippines. It is a scuba diver’s heaven, its walls and reefs densely covered with an incredible variety of hard and soft corals, home to all kinds of marine life in amazing numbers. There is really something for everyone, from roller coaster drifts to gentle, relaxed dives.
26º – 30ºC
Rock Point East/West
Suitable for divers of all levels with lots of marine life on this steep wall. Turtles, potato groupers, scorpionfish, black and white snapper, batfish, butterfly fish and many varieties of pufferfish. Look out for the banded sea snake. Macro lovers will find nudibranchs, flatworms, gobies and anemone shrimp hiding in the coral. Max. depth: 30 metres.
Suitable for advanced divers with drift diving experience. Currents can be fierce resulting in a beautiful coral slope with a vast array of colourful soft corals and sponges. Bump headed parrot fish and huge schools of big eye trevally frequent this site, along with the occasional giant trevally. Max. depth: 30 metres.
Has more schooling fish and pelagics than any other on the coast and is the oldest marine sanctuary in the area. Home to blue spotted stingrays, schools of surgeon fish, the occasional barracuda, big staghorn, potato and lettuce coral formations and a resident school of big eyed jacks encircle divers. Turtles are common here. Search for baby frog fish, scorpion fish and flounders. Max. Depth: 25 metres.
An artificial reef made up of 2 old cars, oil drums, a cement mixer etc. Overgrown with coral and home to dozens and dozens of huge lion fish. A good place to look for moray eels, juvenile emperor angelfish, shrimps, snappers, colourful wrasses, groupers, snake eels, saddleback anemone fish in their leather anemone, ringed pipe fish and flounders. Photographers love this site. Max. depth: 30 metres.
If you love getting out there amongst nature then this is the perfect destination for you. With an abundance of falls and luscious greenery to explore, there is no shortage of places to see. Join an organised tour or simply ask at reception of your accommodation to discover your closest nature trail.
One of the most famed snorkelling experiences on earth can be done from here; do not miss visiting the whale sharks of Oslob! Best done on a snorkel, these gentle giants aren’t afraid to get up close and personal with you.
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