It is obvious that Dauin is one of our favorite macro dive destinations here in the Philippines. It is our 4th time here and since we missed writing about our 3rd visit last 2019, we will be sharing some of our favorite shots/footage during that time as well. We stayed with Atlantis resort (2019) and Atmosphere resort (2021). We dove with Mahi Mahi dive resort during our most recent visit.
Since the start of Pandemic last year, Dauin tourism has been badly affected as they have very limited local divers. In fact, it was our dive guide’s 1st time to do “muck diving” again in a year. Although it was an advantage to have the dive sites all to ourselves, the familiarity of “where-to-find-specific-critters” shared amongst local dive guides was also gone. Our critter finding was a bit slow during the first few dives but a lot of patience with consecutive diving eventually led us to finding our little treasures.
It was not long until we figured out it was frogfish season during our most recent visit. We see them in different sizes and colors, in almost all dive sites. This one in particular was about an inch small. I was able to practice a new technique shown to me by the owner of Mahi Mahi and was fortunate enough to catch this frogfish yawning.
Another critter that was fairly common in almost all of the dive sites we visited were ghost pipefishes.
A Dauin bucket list is never complete without Brian’s favorite critter, the Flamboyant cuttlefish. Surprisingly, we only saw this on our very last day of diving. In contrast to our previous visits where we see it almost everyday.
There is one popular dive site in Dauin called “secret corner”. This is known for the variety and high concentration of octopus. It is a “hit-or-miss” site though and because it is in the corner, currents can be challenging for underwater photography, so good timing is key. It was not octopus season (usually around October-January) but we were still happy to find a wonderpus, identified by its black and white zebra like pattern.
A visit in Dumaguete is never complete without visiting the beautiful reefs of Apo Island, which is a 30-45 minute-boat ride from Dauin. The main attraction in Apo are the lush soft and hard coral gardens, and ofcourse the hawksbill and green sea turtles.
We spent 6 days of diving during our most recent visit with 3-4 dives a day. With this schedule, you could maximize each dive site with a good and productive pace. After all, there is always something nice to photograph in almost all dives, from different types of gobies, and if you are lucky, you might see one with eggs, to a huge variety of shrimps like the saw blade and the emperor, to name a few.
What really fascinates me the most are the mouth brooding fishes. In our 2019 visit, we saw this cooperative jawfish with eggs. It was our first time to see one. Although this recent visit, we were not as lucky with the jawfish, we got better shots of the cardinal fish with eggs, which are resident fishes in the dive site, Talatha.
Dumaguete really offers the best of both worlds with amazing muck diving and lush coral reefs. These critters are just a few of the many in Dauin’s critter list in different dive sites. Mainly the reason why we never get tired of going back over and over again.