Dumaguete in a Nutshell
Dumaguete offers the perfect mix of everything a dive traveller would want - great selection of resorts, a nice size town, lots of critters and good wide-angle. Add in the friendly people of the Philippines and you have a winning destination.
Intro To Dumaguete
Dumaguete is located on the island of Negros, adjacent to Cebu Island, and is a quick inexpensive 1 hour flight from Manila. Most resorts and dive sites lie a few miles south of the city along the coast in an area called Dauin, and many have great house reefs. One of Dumaguete's main attractions is a nice selection of resorts, including some high-end botique resorts that you can stay at for a reasonable price.
Although the local sites are known mainly for macro and critter dives, a little bit of travel in your boat or car brings you to great reefs and wide-angle subjects like large coral reefs, schools of jacks, groupers and the now famous whale sharks of Cebu.
Overview of areas and best dive sites
Dauin macro sites
The dive sites of Dauin, near the resorts, are generally sandy slopes, that offer easy diving for dives of all levels. The area also has several artificial reefs that attract a good number of critters and juvenile fish. These are mainly muck sites, so if you want some reef diving make sure you let the Bluewater Travel staff know so that we can arrange for you to have a few days also at Apo Island.
Apo Island is about an hour boat ride away. The diving at Apo Island is quite distinct from that of the main island dive sites. Chapel Point, Cogon and The Sanctuary are popular sites. They have gorgeous steep walls with extremely healthy hard coral, large moray eels, clownfish and shrimp gobies were in the sand. You can also see blue ribbon eels, Nembrotha nudibranchs and sea snakes. At Cogon, there is sometimes a huge school of Jacks that will let you enter the school for a very cool experience. There are lots of Anthias, as well as juvenile damsel fish. The visibility at Apo is very nice, more than 30 meters in most spots and it is the place in Dumaguete to go to see big schools of fish, really healthy hard coral walls and a few critters. If you are a wide angle shooter, this is the place in Dumaguete for you.
Here is a great underwater video from Apo Island. Watch full-screen in high-def!
Dumaguete Marine Life & Photography Subjects
The dives sites of Dauin have a number of great macro subjects, including pipefish, mandarin fish, juvenile batfish, seahorses, mantis shrimp, ribbon eels, dragonets, hairy squat lobster, snake eels, wonderpus octopus, bobtail squid, a large number of nudibranchs, blue-ring octopus, harlequin shrimp and flamboyant cuttlefish.
Nearby Apo Island has turtles, sea snakes, a school of jacks, groups, clownfish, and lots of reef fish.
Best Time To Dive Dumaguete
October to early June is the main diving season in Dumaguete. July to September can have strong monsoons, so it's best to avoid those months. The critters and rich marine life are found year-round.
Dumaguete Water Temperatures
Water temp is generally 27.5C/81F but in January and February this can drop to around 25C/77F. We recommend diving in a 3mm full wetsuit with booties. Many divers choose to wear light gloves and occasionally a hood after several days of repetitive diving. Be sure to bring a light rain jacket, and ample sun protection.
Dumaguete Underwater Visibility
Visibility is typically 30 - 40ft at Dauin, 60 - 80ft at Apo Island
Dumaguete is about a 1 hour flight from the Manila International Airport (MNL), also known as Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Several major Asian airports run flights to MNL and serve as layovers for visitors from the US and Europe.
Options for combination trips
Many divers combine Dumagete with a trip to Puerto Galera, Moalboal, Anilao or Malapascua for thresher sharks.
Dumaguete is relatively limited in terms of non-dive activities. There are no restaurants or nightclubs in the area. 4 dives a day and three meals is a full schedule, especially as an underwater photographer maintaining a camera rig. Bring a book, talk to new friends and take in the amazing sunsets on the days you're not night diving.