Dumaguete is a small city situated on the south eastern tip of Negros, one of The Philippines' larger islands and part of the Visayas group. The island of Negros and Dumaguete town are still relatively undeveloped, but becoming increasingly popular with tourists due in part to ease of access and to the diverse range of activities available in addition to the diving.
Negros island is beautifully lush and tropical and well known for its verdant sugar cane plantations in the north and coconut plantations in the south. Beaches are partly volcanic sand, giving the island a distinctive grey sand colour.
Dumaguete town is a very friendly place, with the atmosphere you can expect from a place with seven universities and colleges. Malatapay market happens on Wednesdays and would be a good way to spend a break from diving.
Close to the city are trekking in tropical forests, waterfalls, hot springs, hill climbing, golf, and dolphin and whale watching in Bais Bay. Still, the main reason why people come here is for the incredible diving, especially to visit the famous Apo Island.
Dauin dives, all day long…
Dauin is a spot famed for its macro life. Seahorses, ghost pipe fishes, frog fishes, different kind of lion and scorpion fishes and nudibranchs are common. The area referred to as Eel Garden is also rather unique and an excellent place for photographers and night dives.
The main attraction in the area is Apo Island (not to be confused with Apo Reef, Palawan) one of the best known Philippines diving destinations. Surrounded by white sand in contrast to its black sand neighbours, Apo is a tiny marine sanctuary. The island itself covers just 72 hectares and is teeming with fish, beautiful corals and is especially known for green turtles. There are ten dive sites around the island and each has something different to offer from exhilarating drift dives at some locations to gentle shallow dives over hard and soft corals at others. At Apo Island there is a huge variety of fish species, crustaceans and nudibranch. The schools of jacks can sometimes number over 2,000 fish. For both micro and macro lovers this is truly blue heaven. Apo Island is about 45 minutes boat ride away.
Both Pura Vida Resort and Atmosphere Resort benefit from fantastic house reefs. Ideal for extra shore day dives after your boat dives, the perfect environment for great night dives and ideal for easy photography and training.
Sea Explorer’s house reef at Pura Vida has been revitalised over the last few years into a protected artificial reef for these water’s smaller species. Sea horses, Hair Frogfish, a wonderpus and ghostpipe fish have all been spotted. The sandy bottom slopes down from one to twenty metres and there is also a 12m long steel boat wreck.
Atmosphere Divers house reef along the Dauin coast offers two entry points; north and south. A shallow sea grass bed descends to the main reef at about 7 metres, continuing to 20 – 30 metres at each respective end with hard and soft corals and a sandy bottom hiding all sorts of well camouflaged macro life. This area will keep any diver entertained for multiple dives and is an especially great night dive.
In 2011, Atmosphere Divers sunk 3 shipping containers. This artificial reef project is already home to a variety of corals, juvenile and macro species and promises to get better and better.
Reached by boat in around fifteen minutes, you can encounter big schools of fish at Masaplod. Large snappers, sweetlips, stingrays and different kind of scorpion fishes are common at this dive site and sightings of large turtles are also frequent.
Getting to Dumaguete
Negros Island and Dumaguete can be reached via arrivals into Cebu International airport and transferring, or Dumaguete airport (via internal flight from Manila).
Singapore Airlines offer connections to Cebu via Singapore. Malaysian Airlines offer 2 connections per week to Cebu from Kuala Lumpur. Qatar Airways offer flights to Cebu via Doha.
Alternatively, fly into Manila on Malaysian Airlines or KLM's daily schedule to Manila, and we can organise one of the frequent internal flights from Manila to Cebu.
If you reach Cebu after about 14.00 hrs, an overnight is usually required as it is not possible to transfer out of daylight hours.
Arriving into Cebu: You will either transfer overland to Santander and then take a small boat, or you will take a ferry from Cebu to Dumaguete via Tagbilaran (on Bohol island). Each transfer takes 3 to 4.5 hours and is arranged locally according to the best options that fit your international flights, local logistics and the tides.
Arriving into Dumaguete: There are 2 internal flights daily to/from Dumaguete from Manila. Duration is about 1 hour and from there you are transferred overland for the 15km transfer to resort.
Pura Vida and Atmosphere Resorts are both about 30 minutes (15km) from Dumaguete airport and town.
Overnights in Cebu
These can be arranged as part of your package with transfers, typically at the Marco Polo hotel. Cebu is a bustling but laid back town with a busy sea port and makes for an interesting stop itself.
Marco Polo: A decent 3+* option, located just 25 minutes from the airport close to the business district with a restaurant and bar, and plenty of other local choices.
This well equipped PADI CDC centre offers excellent facilities for divers with ample storage and rinse areas, changing facilities and equipment rental. Sea Explorers organise a range of local trips and Nitrox is available. Four boats of varying sizes are used to cover everything from transfers to short journeys to local reefs and longer dive trips.
We recommend that you book your dive packs with Regaldive prior to departure, in order to secure your diving or course and so that the dive centre is expecting you.
up to 31 Oct 18
From 01 Nov 18
6 days unlimited diving
Includes: Air tanks and weights for boat and shore dives.
12 litre aluminium cylinders with INT fittings. Some 10 & 15 litre tanks may be available. Divers with DIN regulators should take their own adaptors.
Please enquire - prices on request.
Extras in Resort
Apo Island Park Fees - per diver per day:
Outside marine Sanctuary w/o camera: 300 Pesos
Outside marine Sanctuary with camera: 350 Pesos
Inside marine Sanctuary w/o camera: 400 Pesos
Inside marine Sanctuary with camera: 450 Pesos
Dauin/Dumaguete Park Fees - per dive:
Marine Park fees w/o camera: 150 Pesos
Marine Park fees with camera: 200 Pesos
Pier - per dive: 300 Pesos
Equipment Rental - Payable locally:
Full equipment, excludes computer: €14/day
Divers with DIN regulators should take their own adaptor
Nitrox fills 32% and 36%: €3.50 per fill / €25 per 10 fills
You will be requested to fill out a dive medical questionnaire. If you have any pre-exisiting conditon that may affect your diving, please ensure you travel with a fit-to-dive certificate, valid within the last 12 months. Please note that not all localities will have access to a specilist diving medic close by for you to be assessed before diving.
This superb PADI dive centre, situated on the Dauin coast, offers a great house reef, as well as access to many local and more distant sites by boat. This includes the renowned sites of Apo Island and a great Mandarin dive site just off the front of the resort, to see these colourful creatures pop out at dusk.
Longer day trips to Sijiquor Island, Balicasag, Sumilon Island and Liloan Point may be arranged locally for a supplement.
The dive base offers extensive teaching, kit and photography facilities in a very well thought out design. A range of dive courses are available with a choice of digital camera and video rental. Atmosphere also has a resident marine biologist who guides some dives and offers occasional marine presentations.
FREE Nitrox is available on site for nitrox certified divers. All of the dive boats have ladders to exit the water.
Atlantis Dive Resort is one of the few 5 star PADI Career Development Centres in Asia and offers first class facilities for daily diving and diver training at all levels. Diving is undertaken from spacious comfortable boats and there is a purpose built training pool on site. Divers are given a fresh beach towel daily, plus snacks and drinking water on the boat. All dives are guided.
The dive centre has 60 individual purpose-built equipment storage cubby-holes to keep your equipment dry and organized and there is a range of high quality rental equipment available. There is even a hot water shower in the dive centre. An air-conditioned classroom seats six and features flat screen LCD TV with PC connection, DVD player, PADI library, and Wi-Fi.
Atlantis Dive Resort is particularly well equipped for the needs of underwater photographers with a bespoke air-conditioned camera room offering plenty of space to store and care for equipment. Five air-guns are positioned around the room, 16 sets of power sockets in both 220 and 110 volts, paper towel dispensers for cleaning O-Rings, a shelf running the length of the work surface for battery chargers and eight fluorescent under-shelf lights for additional illumination for the critical O-Ring check. A wall-mounted TV with HDMI and USB connections gives the perfect opportunity to share your photographs with fellow divers after a day underwater.
Atlantis Dive Resort also offers Fluro Night Dives, Underwater Communications equipment and a range of TDI diver training.
Diving is included in your holiday on an unlimited scheduled boat diving basis that typically includes up to five days a day including night dives. Air tanks, weights and weight belt are also included. Your seven day holiday package also includes two day trips to Apo or Siquijor Island.
PADI and TDI dive courses can be pre-booked, please ask for details.
Extras in Resort - payable locally
Marine Park Fees: $95 Unlimited Nitrox: $145 Additional Day Trip to Apo or Siquijor Island: $75 Day Trip to snorkel with whalesharks at Oslob: $95 Equipment rental: please ask for details
The Philippines is an island nation located in Southeast Asia with Manila as its capital city. The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. These islands are home to spectacular scenery, pristine beaches, incredible sights and lively cities. Dramatic drop offs, wrecks, caves and a richly varied marine life also guarantee fabulous diving. Combined with the renowned Philippine hospitality and warmth, an unforgettable dive holiday awaits.
You will find a true blend of cultures; the people are generally of Malay descent, but Philippine history has introduced Chinese, Spanish and American elements as well. The Philippines is a predominantly Christian country where eight out of ten Filipinos are practising Catholics. Filipino hospitality is legendary and the Philippines is the fiesta nation of Asia. Fiestas celebrate harvests, births and victories, as well as religious events. The Filipinos like to party and celebrations are found in every ethnic group and may be large regional events or small local happenings.
Resorts have been hand picked, not only for their comfort and surrounding scenery but most importantly, for their proximity to incredible dives sites. Whilst out of the water guests can relax on some of the best beaches in the world, enjoy the local markets, festivals and sights or even spend a night in the exciting and bustling Manila or more laid back Cebu.
As the Philippines is a strong Catholic nation, festive holidays such as Easter are very busy. Either book well in advance, or avoid the main religious holiday periods where possible.
The climate of The Philippines can broadly be described as hot and tropical. Most people visit The Philippines during the dry season. However, many regular visitors attest that the best time to visit is during the wet season and that the proliferation and variety of marine life is best June, July and August.
Dry season: December to May Wet season: June to November
During the dry season, easterly winds prevail and air temperature is in high 20's to mid 30ºC. February to May are generally the hottest. Wet season winds are from the west, with air temperature in mid to high 20s. You can often strike lucky and have weeks of brilliant blue skies and unlimited sunshine. On the other hand, the rains, when they come, are impressive and prolonged. There are few rivers, so run off and its effect on water visibility is not generally a problem.
The Philippines is a large country and has many climatic variations from east to west and south to north.
Best underwater visibility: April to July Water temperature average: 24 - 30ºC
8 hours ahead of GMT.
Filipino is Officially the national language of The Philippines. This language is based on Tagalog which is the most widely used of the 70 plus dialects used within the country. English is also prevalent throughout the country, especially in tourist destinations. English is also widely used as the medium for education, communication and business. Eight major dialects spoken by majority of the Filipinos: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense.
The unit of currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). 1 Peso = 100 Centavos. The US dollar is the most widely recognised foreign currency. Euros & GBP are also readily exchanged.
The majority of larger towns have ATMs, however, facilities for money withdrawal or changing are far less widespread away from the main centres of population. There are bank machines at the airport. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in most towns, but you may be required to pay an extra 10-15% surcharge for their use. Outside of the main towns, not all places accept credit cards. Please refer to your individual destination notes for each resort, but as a guideline, please see below:
Malapascua, Ocean Vida and Hippocampus: Credit cards cannot be accepted, please ensure you carry sufficient cash. USD and GBP are accepted and Ocean Vida has a licensed exchange.
Dumaguete: Banks and ATMs are available in Dumaguete town. Pura Vida and Atmopshere accept credit cards.
Palawan, Dimakya Island Club Paradise:Accepts credit cards
SY Philippine Siren: GBP, Euro & USD Currency. Credit card payment only possible when docking at the following ports: Cebu, Philippines. 3% charge applies.
Tipping is expected for many services. The standard is 10% of the total bill or optional where there is a 10% service charge.
Regaldive can offer packages to the Philippines on a number of different airlines.
London - Manila: Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines and KLM all fly daily via their national hubs.
London - Cebu: Singapore Airlines via Singapore on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong daily.
Carry-On Luggage Restriction: Effective July 1, 2015
Philippines Office for Transportation Security has issued new rules that include 'Scuba Diving Equipment' (including regulators) on the list of blunt instruments that are not to be in carry-on/cabin baggage on flights originating within the Philippines. Please ensure that all scuba equipment is secured within checked-in baggage on all domestic flights and on all departing international flights.
Baggage on internal flights: The below only applies only to extra flights within the Philippines built into your itinerary, not if it is part of your international ticket.
Baggage allowance: Checked bag - 20kg / Hand baggage - 5 to 7kg
Nb: Internal flight to/from Busuanga (Palawan). This is a shorter air strip and the airline may not permit any extra weight.
Payment for extra kilos on check-in (guideline):
Cebu Pacific: Php 150 per kilo Philippine Airlines: Php 169 per kilo
Whichever island you are staying on, you are met at the airport/ferry port and transferred to your resort. Whether by flight, jeepney or banca boat, there are fantastic sights to enjoy on your journey there and back. Although some transfer can take up to a whole day, most clients pass feedback that this was a very interesting part of their overall trip.
The below information is to give you a general idea of transfer times between regions; actual transfer times may differ slightly according to individual arrangements and ferry timetables, tides etc.:
Cebu - Dumaguete: 4 - 5 hours by vehicle, ferry and hotel shuttle Cebu - Bohol / Panglao / Cabilao: 3 to 4 hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle Cebu - Malapascua: 4 – 5 hours by vehicle and outrigger Cebu – Moalboal: 3.5 hours by vehicle
Dumaguete - Bohol / Panglao / Cabilao: 3 hours by hotel shuttle, ferry and vehicle or 3 to 4 hours by Outrigger conditions permitting Dumaguete - Malapascua: 8 - 9 hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle and outrigger
Panglao - Cabilao: 1.5 - 2 hour vehicle and boat Panglao - Malapascua: 7+ hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle and outrigger
Cabilao - Malapascua: 7+ hours by vehicle, ferry, vehicle and outrigger
Manila - Cebu: 1: 15 hour by internal flight Manila - Coron, Palawan: 2.5 hours by internal flight and hotel shuttle Manila - Puerta Galera: 3 hours by vehicle and boat Manila – Anilao: 2.5 hours by vehicle Manila – Caticlan, Boracay: 2 hours by internal flight, vehicle and boat
Please always check your own entry requirements regardless of your nationality. Your passport should always have at least 6 months validity on date of return from travel. Always check for last minute changes in entry requirements and other nationalities should check with their consular office.
British nationals can enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial period of 30 days. You can also get a tourist visa from the Philippine Embassy before you travel, which will allow an initial 59 day stay. Other nationalities should check with their own consulate.
Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up to date advice please consult your travel clinic or GP. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider. We recommend protection, as a minimum, against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio.
"All the complex arrangements you made for us went smoothly and efficiently. Thank you very much.
We had a wonderful time. I did 26 dives and Malcolm well over 30.
On arrival at Pura Vida, we were pleasantly surprised to find that in the comfortable ‘family room’ we each had our own bathroom, and the verandas of our two adjoining bedrooms were shaded by lovely trees.
There was a great variety of dives: the corals at Apo Island were the best we have seen anywhere, and another highlight was a morning dive among whale sharks, at a place where they are regularly fed to attract them. You could go for quite a good walk along the beach in front of the resort.
With hindsight, we would probably have opted for more time at Pura Vida, and fewer days at Buceo Anilao. The latter is a beautiful place with lovely views and sunsets, but the dives were less diverse. However we saw lots of unusual creatures including mimic octopuses and hairy frogfish. Being built on a steep hillside, there were over 100 stone (concrete?) steps up to our “cabanas”, so any less able visitors would have to specify a room nearer ground level.
Although it calls itself a “Beach and Dive Resort” the beach is short and narrow, and there's nowhere you can go for a walk. Yet the swimming-pool is lovely, nicer than the one at Pura Vida, and there are about half a dozen excursions on offer (we didn't have time to do any of them).
I can't praise the dive crews highly enough. Perhaps because of my age (nearly 83) they did everything for me, and we were generally allocated one guide for just the two of us. I usually went through my nitrox faster than Malcolm, so sometimes he was directed to join another group while our guide accompanied me to exit.
The food was very good throughout: helpings usually too large for me, and they wouldn't consider giving me half-portions – but Malcolm often helped me out!"
Anna and Malcolm I
- Glasgow | 01 May 2018
No votes yet
Pura Vida Resort - Dauin
Hoping To Go Back Next Year
"We had a brilliant time in The Philippines, so much so that we are hoping to go back next year.
Alona Vida resort was lovely. Both dive centres were excellent. At Alona Vida the waters were crystal clear with more wall diving and reefs. Thanks to Neil Yahh at Pura Vida for finding me a Mandarin fish; he found it everyone else saw it except me lol. He took my camera and got a picture for me.
We loved the live music at Alona Vida and the fact that you can eat and drink at other places along the beach. You can only really sit on the beach here, as the pool doesn't look out to sea, and there were only two sun loungers which the downstairs rooms monopolised.
The diving in Pura Vida was much more about muck diving with some corals and wall diving. It was our first experience of muck diving we thoroughly enjoyed, visibility was quite poor so we had our work cut out. The boat crews here were very friendly and always helped with our equipment.
We loved the staff at Pura Vida and the fact you could sit on the beach or the around the pool looking out to sea.
We have so many memories: lots of new friends made from all over the world. Seahorses, ornate ghost pipe fish, mandarin fish, nudibranchs, flamboyant cuttlefish: just wonderful.
We booked two different resorts for different reasons. We are looking to go back next year to both. We would certainly use Regaldive again; the organisation of the trip was superb."
- Hampshire | 06 April 2018
No votes yet
Pura Vida Resort - Dauin
We Enjoyed the Diversity of the Sites on Our Island Hopping Trip
"Island Hopping Trip – Malapascua, Dauin and Alona Beach
Our favourite memories from the holiday ranged from a massive pod of dolphins off Apo Island, to the many turtles in the shallows of Balicasag, spending 20 minutes watching a flamboyant cuttlefish hunt in the shallows, Nicole seeing six whale sharks being fed at Oslob (artificial but seemed well managed from below water), to the view we had out of our apartment at Pura Vida.
The accommodation was as expected - all rooms were clean, tidy and there was enough hot water to go round. We loved the sea view room at Pura Vida and didn't want to move to the back garden room mid-stay, but we knew accommodation was tight for our stay here.
Our diving was pretty much chosen on past experience, the idea was to mix between wall diving, muck diving, some drift diving, seeing big critters, seeing small critters and trying some new dive sites (via Alona Beach). We both enjoyed the diversity of sites and thus the itinerary was fine.
We ate "in resort" and "out of resort", depending upon our location. I'll just limit my response to Pura Vida and Alona Vida for main meals. Alona Vida was fine and Pura Vida was very good. We only ate breakfast at Buena Vida and this was disappointing in terms of quality.
The Dive Centre Staff at each dive centre were different, but all came up to a very high standard. If you asked us if we would recommend Sea Explorers to other divers, the answer would be we would "highly recommend".
The transfers and ground arrangements were outstanding, as we were concerned beforehand about transfers, because the locals have a "relaxed" attitude to organisation at best! Regaldive’s ground agent was superb and needs praise indeed. They even contacted us whilst we were on our way to the airport to see if we were happy with their service.
We were happy with Regaldive's services and will be in touch about our next trip when we have our holiday dates confirmed."