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Week 47: Diving Sipadan and Mabul

I’m a spoiled scuba diver. I started diving last October in the Philippines when I realized that my motorcycle habit wasn’t going to be fulfilled and was instantly fascinated with the underwater world. Over the last year, I’ve done around 80+ dives (not too shabby for a recreational diver!). While I’ve enjoyed almost every dive, the first 40 or so tend to be the most memorable since they took place in the Philippines.

The Philippines pretty much had it all as far as I was concerned. Great macro and muck diving in the Dauin area. Fantastic wall dives at Siquijor. Beautiful soft corals and schools of fish at Apo Island. Turtles at Moalboal and sharks at Malapascua. It’s a package that was hard to beat. Traveling through Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, I never came across a place with the diversity that the Visayas offered. Sure, there were some amazing hi-lights along the way like the whale shark in Thailand and manta rays in Indonesia, but never matching the sheer range of corals, creatures, and dive opportunities. Until Sipadan…

Sipadan, Borneo
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Posted by: Shim

Dumaguete & Dauin Area Beach Resorts

January 25, 2009 - Filed under Planning

The other day a reader of our blog emailed me asking for a hotel recommendation in Dauin. A lot of the guide books are pretty lacking on this area and usually only have one or two listed. I realized this was something we haven’t really talked much about since we arrived here, and figure it was about time we made a post about it. Keep in mind we haven’t been to all of these, but I’ll give you a bit of info about the ones we have been to, and then list the others in the area and you can check them out for yourself. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

The Dive Sites of Dauin and Apo Island

December 29, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving

We’ve been diving in and around Dauin for about 3 months now, and figured it was about time we let you all know a little bit more about the dive sites in the area.

There are about 13 dive sites along the coast of Dauin, 8 of which are marine sanctuaries, and another 12 sites at the nearby Apo Island (not to mention several more sites at Siquijor – which I’ll try to do in another post). There are several great walls, steep slopes, gradual slopes and huge coral gardens all teeming with life. A macro lover’s paradise, as most of the creatures here are on the small side, however there are plenty of turtles, and it’s been said an occasional manta sighting at Apo.

All the dive sites are easily accessible from which ever resort you choose to stay at, ranging from a shore entry in front of your resort, to a 5-10 min boat ride. The sites at Apo can be reached in about an hour and are generally done on a two dive trip. The water temperature is usually around 27°C and diving here can be done all year round.

Considered to be some of the best diving in the Philippines (with a few sites considered world-class), you definitely wont get bored diving in Dauin.

dauin_dive_sites_map
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Posted by: Kelly

Dumaguete and Dauin Online Resources

December 16, 2008 - Filed under General, Planning, Scuba Diving, Stuff to do

We’re becoming a bit more familiar with the area now that we’re settled in and starting to explore the surrounding areas a bit further. Our friends back home in Canada and some of our newer readers have asked for more information about visiting the Dauin and Dumaguete area. Rather than try to rewrite all the great information already available online, I thought I would compile a list of some of the resources we’ve come across and found useful. Sure, it’s a little biased towards scuba divers, but there’s lots of great accomodations and general information too. We’ve found the forums particularly helpful. Feel free to post in the comments section if you have any specific questions about the area that we might be able to help you with, or suggest a resource we might have missed! Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 12 : Not just a vacation anymore

November 24, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Weekly Report

It’s starting to feel like we actually live here now, and not just like an extended vacation. We’re starting to get into a bit of a routine and things are feeling really comfortable. It’s also been almost a month since we’ve done anything really ‘touristy’.  So when Cita, the woman who owns our house, asked if we wanted to join her and some friends on a day trip to Bias, to go dolphin watching we jumped at the chance.

Dolphin watching in Bias has been on our list since we got to Dumaguete, but we hadn’t managed to make it up there yet.  We hadn’t figured out the best way to get to Bias and arrange the boat trip, and we also weren’t sure when was the best time to actually see dolphins. The ‘tourist trail’ in the Philippines is significantly under-developed compared to a lot of countries we’ve travelled to. It can be hard to find specific information on arranging travel and sorting out details, so when Cita invited us along, we were quite happy to let her do the organizing. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 11: Getting settled in Dauin

November 18, 2008 - Filed under Eats, General, Scuba Diving, Weekly Report

We love the new beach house we’re renting. This week has been all about getting set up in our new place. We went into town on Tuesday to stock up on food and get a few other essentials. We had a rice cooker in our last rental at the resort and I don’t know how we survived without one before. They’re invaluable! They take the guess work out of making rice and go into warming mode when the water has been absorbed or evaporated. Not to mention how light and fluffy the rice is. I recommend everyone get one.

I finally found a French press to make coffee at HyperMart, which is the local Costco equivalent of a warehouse with everything from appliances and furniture to groceries. Now if I could just find a decent supply of ground coffee. I’ve found I can buy a small bag or two now and again at the market, but it’s sometimes hit or miss. Whole beans are available in many markets, but I haven’t found a coffee grinder yet. Freeze dried instant coffee is the norm here. I want no part of that. Programmers need high test rocket fuel to function. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

We moved. To a beach front house in Dauin.

November 14, 2008 - Filed under General, Travel

Ah, paradise. This is what we were searching for. After 2 months in the Philippines, looking high and low for the ideal apartment, hut, beach house, or resort to call home… we’ve finally found it.

Puerto Citas is just minutes down the beach from the El Dorado Beach Resort where we were previously staying. When we first arrived in Dumaguete, we scoured the Dauin area looking for places to stay because of the active diving scene in the area. Our first impression of Puerto Citas from the beach was, “That looks expensive.” Shame on us for not looking into it further! As Kelly mentioned in her last post, we ran into the previous occupants after they had decided to move out and they corrected our assumption. It’s actually a reasonable price considering the size of the place… and that’s what we’ve come to value in the last 2 months. For $400 a month we had rented a 1 room studio, which is a steal compared to rent in Vancouver… but after a month or two, that room became small and uncomfortable. With us living and working in the same space, it quickly became a challenge since there was just no area to relax or when necessary, be productive. So, we opted to double our rent and move out of the resort and into a larger space. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Learning to Dive in the Philippines

October 19, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Underwater Photography

While Kelly is a certified Dive Master and has done more than 150 dives during her various travels, I was always somewhat reserved about getting involved in the sport. Partially because it was her hobby and I was into motorcycles, giving us each our own independent, expensive, recreational interests. More so because the idea of submerging yourself underwater with a can of air can be daunting at first. But, given that we’re in such legendary aquatic surroundings, I decided to do a discovery dive.

After getting fitted with a wetsuit, fins, mask, weights, regulator, and BCD (Buoyancy Control Device… basically a vest that fills with air) another couple and I submerged below the surface of the five foot deep pool at the resort and proceeded to learn the basics of diving from Phillip our instructor. Learning to clear the mask when full of water, signs to communicate underwater, how to find the regulator if you should lose it, and basic buoyancy control came to me quickly. So that afternoon we continued the discovery dive in the house reef beside the resort. Lucky for me, the house reef at El Dorado is a marine sanctuary with an abundance of fish, corals, and sea life. Going no deeper than 10 meters, I had an amazing first dive surrounded by all kinds of coral and small fishes. I was even lucky enough to see a turtle. Needless to say, I was hooked and dubbed the ‘Canadian Fish’.
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Posted by: Shim

Week 5: Life in Dauin

October 7, 2008 - Filed under Weekly Report

It still hasn’t really hit yet that we live here. Despite moving into our own apartment, and both of us starting up with some work again, it still just feels like an extended vacation. I’m sure that will eventually wear off, but for now I’m just trying to enjoy it. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly