Dauin, Dumaguete, Philippines
What to see: Some of the best muck/macro diving in the Philippines and artificial reefs. Soft coral gardens and schooling fish as well as macro at Apo Island. Walls and macro in Siquijor. Colorful coral and a chance to see whale sharks in Sumilon.
Diving: Shore entry for the house reefs, small boats for the macro sites around the area of Dauin. 30 minute boat ride to Apo Island, 90 minutes to Siquijor or Sumilon.
Level: From entry-level to experienced diver, the muck sites require good buoyancy control
Who should go there: Divers who are looking for special critters, small stuff and underwater photographers. The variety of dive sites also offers amazing diving for entry or intermediate level, including Apo Island and Sumilon.
How to get there: Flight from Cebu or Manila to Dumaguete City and taxi or transfer from there. Alternatively bus (3-4 hours) from Cebu South Bus Terminal to the port of Liloan and 30 minute ferry ride to Dumaguete (Sibulan) and trycicle (or taxi) to the resort from there.
Where to stay: The diving along Dauin is mostly resort-based. Chances are you will be staying and diving with one of the resorts there. It is also possible to stay in Dumaguete and dive with a shop there, this is the most economic option and for divers who like to have different food options in the evenings.
Accommodation prices vary between the different options. In Dumaguete a single room starts at PHP 500 (about USD 11) per night, Bongo Bongo divers in Dauin offer homestay based single rooms for PHP 400 (USD 9) per night, Bungalows at liquid start at PHP 1600 (USD 34) and at the more luxurious resorts up to 250 USD per night.
Where to dive:
Economic resorts: Bongo Bongo Divers, Liquid
Other resorts: Pura Vida Resort/Sea Explorers, Amortillado Resort, Atmoshpere Resort, Azure Dive and Yoga Resort, Sea Dream Resort, Fun & Sun Dive at Bahura Beach Resort and El Dorado Beach Resort (currently closed for renovation)
Non-resort dive shops in Dumaguete and Dauin: Scuba Ventures, Aqua Ventura Divers, Harolds Dive Center and Dumaguete Divers
Rates: Day trip including 3 dives costs with an independent dive shop between PHP 2700 at Scuba Ventures and 4800 at Dumaguete Divers (USD 58 – 100), PHP 3800 (USD 80) at Bongo Bongo, 4200 (USD 90) at Liquid and up to PHP 7000 (USD 150) in the boutique resorts.
Climate: Around 30°C all year round, wet season June to November
Water temperature: 26 – 30°C
Visibility: At some of the muck sites around Dauin visibility can be low (5 to 10 m), for anywhere else it is 10 to 30 m
Season: Diving is possible all year round, heavy rain possible July to September
Favorite dive sites: Sahara Deep for incredible muck diving with all kinds of critters, Rock Point (Apo Island) for various massive schools of fish
I took bus and ferry to get from Cebu to Dumaguete. From there a trycicle brought me to Liquid. They only have a few bungalows and possibly the best organized dive shop I have ever seen. I can highly recommend this operation with regards to just everything from food over accommodation to the diving. It was just perfect and I will definitely be back.