Friday, January 28, 2011

scuba diving in Dauin Marine Sanctuary

photos courtesy: Alan A. Valencia
For hardcore divers, it won't come as a surprise to me if they pass up the opportunity to dive in Dauin and head-out to Apo Island instead. Dauin Marine Sanctuary is the low-key brother of Apo Island. No packets of fine white sandy beaches here and there or secluded coves and rustic villages. Just a boring stretch of gray and powdery coastline. You get the picture? It's not as exotic as Apo Island in so many ways.

What Dauin Marine Sanctuary lacks in tropical spank, it so well compensates for it's accessibility. And less crowded, too.  

 I fish my fins out of the sack. Squash whatever is left on the sunblock. Today, the colleagues and I will go scuba diving. For those who will get lucky, if there's any of us today, sea turtles and sea horses will have rare special appearances. 

The group dive down, 10 or 15 meters. Equalize as often to get rid of that pesky diver's ear. I can't get enough and is feeling dizzy already. I get to the surface and stay calm. The sea is flat. The current negligible.

Down under, it's an underwater maniac's playground. Though incomparable to that of Apo Island, the corals here are relatively healthy (corals near the edge are broken. reckless divers!), the species of fish are diverse and the water current is nothing to worry about. I've never heard of any fatal diving accidents yet, unlike in Apo where, as stories have it, a group of divers were sucked in by a whirlpool or swept by the strong current.   

Among other species in the area, sightings of the titan trigger fish have been reported. The name of the fish says it all. One Aussie guy approaches me and without skipping a bit, startshis litany of what happened to him earlier that day. Attack of the trigger fish! After I asked him a few questions, I thanked the good fellow for the warning. From a distance, I can see him trailing another diver and does his spiel yet again about trigger fish attack.

What's a Titan Triggerfish?
"The Titan Triggerfish is the largest member of the triggerfish species. Most grow 40 - 60cm in length, although there have been reports of larger ones up to 75cm lurking around as well. The titan triggerfish is usually wary of divers and snorklers, but during the reproduction season the female guards its nest, which is placed in a flat sandy area, vigorously against any intruders. Although bites are not venomous, the strong teeth can inflict serious injury that may require medical attention. The threat posture includes the triggerfish facing the intruder while holding its first dorsal spine errect. It may also roll onto its side, allowing it a better look at the intruder it perceives at threatening its nest. The flesh of the titan triggerfish is sometimes ciguatoxic." -- Wikipedia

This Marine Sanctuary is the closest I can get to calm, peace and quiet. Forty-minutes from Valencia town or Dumaguete City; and with the Dauin Market close by, getting there and hunting for good food are easy. We got more than a kilo of prime cut from the market and have it grilled by the sanctuary staff.

getting there:
For those taking the public transport, the jeepney terminal to Dauin is near Robinson's Place Dumaguete. The jeepneys usually park near the gas station. Fare is Php13.00. Inform the driver you are getting off at the corner leading to the Marine Sanctuary. It's a couple of blocks away or a good 4-5 minutes brisk walk. 

There are tables for rent (Php100.00), just in case you need one. Diving fee is Php50.00. Now, for those of you who have been wondering where on google earth is Dauin, here's the map:

See you on the road (or underwater)!


  1. eto mura lang... cge cge, i will try to visit this place to dive. thanks

    ganda din ng soft corals

  2. provided yan may open water license ka na ha? :D
    cheaper din dito sa Duma to get one.

  3. wow ganda ng underwater shots and sarap mag dive how i wish kahit intro dive lang :)

  4. Ang mura naman nito, I've been contemplating between Batangas and Puerto Galera before to have my diving license, ok ba dito?

  5. for the license, standard rates apply (Php12,000-15,000.00) for locals too. unless you can gather some friends. pag group kayo, may discount 'ata :D

  6. passe by Dauin when i went to Negros. i did Apo island kasi, will make sure to drop by this spot next time i am in town. thanks for the tip!

  7. cool! hole up in duma, snorkel in dauin. that would be a good combination since there aren't really much of a choice for places to stay in dauin town.

  8. last time we dove there sanctuary fee is P150, then we pay for the dive guide P500 it was allan valencia also with his partner allain,

  9. Hi! May I ask if pwede kaya mag camp dito overnight? May nagsabi sa akin pwede, pero she's not sure if it's official. Alam lang niya beach e...

  10. Contrary to what a lot of people think, scuba diving is actually not a very difficult thing to do. In fact, you can enrol in classes which can teach you the basic steps in scuba diving. scuba diving cayo diablo


What's your two-cents about this travel adventure and/or misadventure? Do leave a comment here. Thank you.