City of the Gentle People, Dumaguete is different from any other destination in the Philippines. With it’s charming and relaxed city, great diving in Dauin and Apo Island and easy connections to other destinations, Dumaguete is increasingly a firm favourite to visit.
Dumaguete is the capital of Negros Oriental and is located on the southeast coast of Negros Island. The city, which feels more like a large town, has a laid back atmosphere owing to its gentle people and sizeable population of university students. There are interesting historical monuments like the Belfry and church built in the 1870’s. It has perhaps the best seafront promenade (in our opinion!) to have a lovely stroll, rent a bicycle or hang out with the locals under the large acacia trees. The best time is late afternoon and into the evening as it has a good selection of bars and restaurants lining it.
About 30 kilometers south of Dumaguete by pumpboat is the world famous Apo Island, a volcanic island, which is one of the Philippines first and most successful marine reserves. It is managed the run by the community and marine fees go towards the locals school and government. Going south of the city brings you to Dauin where there are several dives sites for very good macro diving.
Due to its location in the Visayas, Dumaguete is accessible to Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and other islands nearby, making it a great?destination if you want to travel these islands.
Dumaguete offers fantastic macro diving with almost every dive site being a marine protected area. Dive Apo Island on Mamsa point to say you’ve dived and survived its exhilarating currents.
Most of the macro diving is along the coastline of Dauin, which is just south of Dumaguete city while Apo island is a 40 minute boat ride away. Most dive sites along the mainland are well spaced so you never feel crowded out on one dive site. Two signature dive sites on Apo Island are Coconut Point, where when you will see the school of big eye trevally locally known as Mamsa and yellow tail Barracuda.
Many mature groupers can also be seen close to the reef while the current sweeps across the reef.
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The signature dives sites are Car Wrecks where we both saw our first hairy frogfish in the Philippine waters and Masaplod where Tony saw his first ghost pipefish. We love Masaplod which has perhaps the biggest field of garden eels, blue spotted stingrays in the sand that shoot off like pin balls, a massive school of Indian snappers and huge sea turtles feeding on the sea grass. Beware the titan triggerfish! Chapel dive site on Apo island you will see fantastic hard coral coverage.