|photos courtesy: Alan A. Valencia|
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.
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)!