Diving Dauin

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Dauin, Philippines

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Country: Philippines  Area: Philippines

Water Temp: 26 - 30°C (79 - 86°F)

Visibility: 5 - 50m (16 - 164 ft)

Depth Range: 5 - 100m (16 - 328 ft)

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University town Dumaguete  is locally referred to as the city of gentle people. Many different bars and restaurants in town, live music at different locations most nights.

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With modern facilities such as hospitals, doctors, dentists, supermarkets and immigration office, Dumaguete is an easy base for diving further afield. There are also numerous land-based activities here, including trekking, canyoning, waterfalls, hot springs, lakes and city tours. The city has a pier and airport creating easy access to many other locations in the Philippines.

14km south of Dumaguete is the small coastal town of Dauin. World famous for much diving in volcanic black sand, many divers compare sites here to diving in the Sulawesi.

Periclimenes Holthuisi - Shrimp, Credit

Apo Island is also very famous as being one of the only functioning marine protected areas in the Philippines. Stunning reefs with an abundance of marine life and turtles guaranteed on most dives. Siquijor and Sumilon offer fantastic wall diving where it is possible to see rays, sharks and even whale sharks if you are lucky. It is also easy to access the islands of Siquijor, Sumilon Islands and Bohol from here.

Diving around Dumaguete is incredibly varied. Traveling south down to coast leads you to some of the best shore muck diving sites in the Philipines, off of the coastal town of Dauin. Not far off the shore is the famed Apo Island, with stunning and well preserved coral reefs. The area is protected by a several successful marine sanctuaries that are currently home to some rare species of marine life. Triggerfish, parrotfish, pennant fish, oray eels, surgeonfish, snappers, lionfish, wrasses and fusiliers are all common sightings, with sharks and mantas occasionally swimming through.

The whole region is ideal for macro-diving and photography, and is well suited to all levels of divers. There is a variety in wreck dives, walls, drift dives and gentle relaxed dives throughout the area.


Each region has its own micro climate, but most tend to follow the simple pattern of summer during the months of May – September, winter from October – January and spring February - April.

Dumaguete has 2 distinct seasons. Dry season from December-May with the hottest months being April and May; then wet season from June  to November.

The average maximum temperature for this region is 34 degrees Celsius with the lowest dropping to 23 degrees Celsius.

Typhoon season is officially from June to October and hits the northern end of the Visayan region. Being below the official typhoon belt Dumaguete does not tend to have a typhoon season.

Sailing, Credit

Marine Conservation

A number of well-preserved marine sanctuaries were formed off the coast of Dauin in the 1980s. Having experienced a rapid decline in fish population due to aggressive fishing techniques, Dr Angela Alcala from the Silliman University established a small sanctuary off Sumilon Island in 1979. Her successes here slowly promoted the establishment of further sanctuaries in the region, in hopes of restoring the marine life. These sanctuaries have adopted a simple yet effective approach to conservation. All reefs are marked by buoys, and all activity is regulated with absolutely no fishing permitted. The reefs surrounding Dauin are, consequently, some of the best preserved in the Philippines. While far from perfect, Apo Island has become a model of conservation for other islands in the area.

Local dive operators are also doing their part to promote conservation and sustainability. Some operators are 100% Project Aware, and contribute towards dive and beach clean ups a number of times throughout the year.

Other Year round Marine Life

Nudibranch, Frogfish, Cuttlefish, Ghostpipefish, Barracuda, Jacks, Scorpion Fish, Eels, Blue spotted sting ray, Bumphead parrotfish


Information & Photos kindly provided by: Liquid Dumaguete

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Shore Diving

Nearly all of the local dive sites along the Dauin coast are accessible from the shoreline, conditional on weather of course. The area offers dives suitable for all levels of experience, and has a number of drift dive sites.

The Muck Diving off Dauin reveals great biodiversity, on par with diving in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia. The area is rich with octopus, with divers frequently spotting the Midring blueringed octopus, the Wonderpus, the Mimic octopus, and the poison ocellate octopus. Ambon scoripionfish, Flamboyant cuttlefish and Bobbit worms are also present. Generally, this region is a macro heaven, which is great for photography and any level of diver.

Shore diving in Dauin, Credit

The Dauin wrecks – a series of sunken jeeps – are also interesting to explore. The Pier is also popular and ideal for photography, though is closed occasionally due to boat traffic. Masaplod is home to larger coral beds and fish and is occasionally turned into a drift dive when currents are strong. Sea turtles, jacks, snappers and barracuda are common here.

Throughout the region, it is common to see: Nudibranch, Frogfish, Cuttlefish, Ghostpipefish, Barracuda, Jacks, Scorpion Fish, Eels, Blue spotted sting ray, Bumphead parrotfish.

A perk to diving off Dauin is that it is generally less crowded than the islands further afield, especially Apo.

Boat Diving

Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Credit

The sites along the shore are accessible from both the shore and the boat. Most divers will use a boat to access the islands that lay 30+ minutes from the shoreline. Boat journeys vary from 5 minutes to 2 hours depending on location. The furthest site is Sumilon Island.

Apo Island lies just off the shores (30 min boat trip) of Dauin and is a very popular day trip diving destination. The entire island is surrounded by reefs and has numerous dive sites. Coconut Point, Mamsa, Cogon, Rockpoint and Chapel are local favorites, and diving here brings you close to bumphead parrotfish, sea kraits, Snappers, Anemone Fish, Triggerfish, frogfish, Bigeyed Jacks and turtles. There are several walls and reefs, along with great drift dives.

Siquijor has stunning coral reefs and great wall dives. Turtles, snappers, eagle rays and whitetip reef sharks are common here.

Sumilon also has a number of wall and drift dives. Sharks, and schools of anthias, fusiliers and snappers are common.

The enigmatic Wunderpus, Credit

Liveaboard Diving

Dumaguete is the base for several liveaboard companies between June and September. Over a week, guests will sail throughout the islands off the shores of Dumaguete, stopping at Apo and Sumilon before traveling further into the Visayas. Other companies run 3-day diving trips to Apo, Sumilon and Siquijor a number of times a week.

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How to Get There

International flight into Manila or Cebu. From Manila there are 2 daily flights with both Philippine Air and Cebu Pacific to Dumaguete airport. From Cebu there is one daily flight with Cebu Pacific Air to Dumaguete airport.

From Cebu there are numerous buses leaving the south bus terminal to Dumaguete daily. Buses take approximately 3-4 hours to reach. Ocean Jet has 1 – 2 daily ferries that go via Tagbiliran in Bohol then end at Dumaguete. The ferries also take 3 -4 hours.

To reach Dauin from Dumaguete, take a Ceres Bus headed towards Bayawan, Hinobaan or Sipalay and let the driver know where you are going. It is also possibly to hire a tricycle or to use a lodge transfer service.

Jeepney, Credit


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Where to Eat & Drink

Most visitors opt to stay in Dumaguete while taking day trips down to Dauin and out to the islands.

A resort bar in Dauin, Credit

There are a number of restaurants to choose from, serving anything fromm local student fare to classic Austrian dishes. Casablanca is popular for its Vienna schnitzel, roast pork and pleasant oceanside location. Mamia’s is located on the Boulevard and has cheap beer and good Australian steaks. The Hayahay Treehouse bar and Restaurant is another favorite, with its great seafood, cheap drinks and live music. If feeling Italian, Guiseppes offers some of the best pizzas.

Squid in Dauin, Credit

The nightlife in Dumaguete is fairly lively, given the city’s popularity with local students and expats. The WhyNot has a popular disco, frequented by a blend of internationals and locals. Located on the Boulevard between numerous smaller bars, a night can easily be spent wandering this street.



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Other Activities

There are a number of land based activities within the city of Dumaguete and in the surrounding wilderness.

The city is home to a local zoo and marine lab, which educate visitors on the rare and endangered wildlife in the region.

There are numerous spas, which offer massages, manicures, pedicures, facials and yoga classes if seeking out a bit of relaxation.

Porcelain Crab, Credit

If keen on exploring the surrounding region, it is recommended that you rent a motorbike to explore the area. The Baslay Hot Spring is a great way to unwind after a day of diving. Located in Barangay Baslay, the water here contains natural sulphur which has a number of health benefits. The Twin Lakes of Balinsasayo are also worth a visit. The two crater lakes are tucked away between four mountains, and are home to a variety of birds and wildlife. Fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking and trekking excursions are all run rom the lake.

Several dive centers offer the PADI Seal Team , Junior Open Water & Junior Advance Open Water for younger children.

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• Bring macro and wide angle lenses you will need them both in this region. Check power capabilities of your chosen destination as some areas the power is limited to a few hours a day. Luckily this region has regular 24 hour mains power.

• Always ask taxi drivers to turn the meter on.

• Agree tricycle prices before you get on. (approx 9php in the city, double that further out)

Baby Pufferfish, Credit

Remember the local Philippine people are essentially easy going, happy, friendly people and do not get upset easily. English is the main spoken language but it is not always understood.

• Always try and have small  bills or change or you will never be able to buy anything in a local shop.

• Currently, there are plans to purchase a hyperbaric chamber that will be located at the Negros Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete. Until that is installed, the nearest chamber is located at the military base in Lapu-Lapu City, roughly 170km away.

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