Dauin is a municipality in the province of Negros Oriental in the Philippines. It is subdivided into 23 barangays, including Apo Island, Lipayo, and Masaplod Sur. Bordering the Bohol Sea to the east, Dauin has several marine reserves and dive sites situated along its coast. Scuba diving is one of the main industries here, with Apo Island being the top spot for diving enthusiasts.
Critters such as frogfish are the main attraction in Dauin. (Photo: Klaus Stiefel )
Diving in Dauin is all about muck diving. This is an excellent location for underwater photographers. Be sure to bring your macro lens.
The black volcanic sand of Dauin’s sea bottom hides very interesting, bizarre critters like mimic octopuses, blue-ringed octopuses, all types of nudibranchs, bobtail squid, ghost pipefish, hairy frogfish, wasp fish, Bobbit worms, seahorses, sea slugs, squat lobsters, and various shrimps, including coral banded shrimps, mantis shrimps, and harlequin shrimps.
Apo Island, on the other hand, is located just 45 minutes away by boat from the rest of Dauin and offers something completely different: beautiful coral reefs, sea turtles, and other biggest marine creatures.
In Dauin, the dry season lasts from December to May, while the wet season runs from June to November. June through September is typhoon season in the Philippines. Typhoons don’t usually hit the Dauin area, but they can affect the weather. Diving trips may be canceled during this time of the year. All in all, the weather is unpredictable, but you may still be able to dive even during the off-season.
The water temperature remains pretty stable throughout the year, registering 29° to 31° C/84° to 87° F. December through March is chillier, and the water temperature may drop to 26° C/78° F.
With the exception of a few dive sites, Dauin’s spots are usually free of strong currents.
While underwater visibility can vary depending on the season, it is usually very good, exceeding 15 meters/50 feet.
This site is made up of a pile of car tires that are now home to frogfish, which like to hide out among that. The variety of marine life at this spot is impressive. It is also a popular location for night dives, offering opportunities for spotting stargazers and bumblebee shrimps.
Another great macro dive spot, this house reef is also a wreck site with a couple of boats and cars lying on the sea bottom. Pygmy pipehorses, hairy frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, and larger fish like snappers, lionfish, as well as stingrays can be found here. Suitable for night diving.
Black sand, hard corals, and areas of seagrass are some of the main characteristics of this dive site. Schooling razorfish, sea turtles, moray eels, and – of course – the critters of Dauin, can be seen here at Atlantis. Crustaceans are very active during the night when there’s also a chance of seeing the weird hairy frogfish.
“Mamsa,” or jackfish in the local language, has exactly what you’d expect: large schools of jacks swimming in the strong current. The fish sometimes form a protective circle against their predators, the tuna fish. Because of the current, this spot is not suitable for newbies.
Also known as the “washing machine,” this spot is exposed to very strong currents. It's these currents that attract a variety of marine life, including species like trevallies, snappers, and anthias to this area. Sea turtles and bumphead wrasses are also commonly seen here. Luckier ones may even find manta rays, reef sharks, and even whale sharks.
This is one of the first marine sanctuaries in the Philippines and only 15 people or so are allowed to dive here each day. The sloping reef is covered with a variety of soft and hard corals as well as sponges. A very colorful dive that all divers will thoroughly enjoy.
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