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Dumaguete is a small city situated on the southeastern tip of The Philippines larger islands. Negros is a beautifully lush and tropical island and is well known for its sugar cane production in the north and the coconut plantations in the south. Dumaguete is a very friendly place and is known as a university town because seven universities and colleges are situated here.
Negros and Dumaguete are becoming increasingly popular with tourists, due in part to the ease of access and also due to the diverse range of activities available. Close to the city are trekking in tropical forests, waterfalls, 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. There are daily flights to Dumaguete from Manila and there are also several fast ferries each day from Cebu.
Dauin is approximately 12km further south from Dumaguete and it is in this area where most of the dive resorts are situated. Here the main highway follows the contours of the coast and side roads run through the palms to the resorts. There are long quiet beaches of volcanic sand that seem to stretch on for miles.
Ferries from Cebu take three and a half hours to reach Dumaguete and flights from Manila just over one hour. Pura Vida is a new resort based right on the beach with two different room options. The large deluxe rooms have air-conditioning, cable TV, hot showers and overlook the sea and swimming pool. The standard rooms have ceiling fans and hot showers. The resort is based in large spacious grounds with tropical plants and green grass. The large swimming pool and accompanying sun beds will ensure you have a comfortable and relaxing stay in this tranquil resort.
The Beach restaurant is situated on an upper level above the dive centre and provides great views out over the sea. International and Asian food is the main theme. The poolside bar is a good place to relax at the end of the day.
The Dive Centre:
Sea Explorers have a Gold Palm 5 Star Career Development Centre based within Pura Vida Resort. Here, the full range of PADI courses is available and four Instructor courses are also run annually. The staff teach and guide in a wide range of languages.
The centre is very well equipped and the facilities for divers are first class with ample storage and rinse areas, changing facilities and equipment rental and sale. Cameras and flashlights are also available for hire and Sea Explorers organize a range of safaris and island hopping from the resort. There is also full Nitrox availability.
Four boats of varying sizes are used to cover everything from transfers to short journeys to local reefs to week long dive trips.
The main attraction in the area is Apo Island, one of the best known Philippines diving destinations. Apo is a tiny marine sanctuary that is teeming with fish and beautiful corals. 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 just 30 minutes away from the dive centre at Pura Vida and usually you will do 2 or 3 dives here on a day trip.
Nearer to Dauin is the incredible Masaplod marine sanctuary a home for snappers, sweetlips, scorpionfish, batfish and so on. For those looking for the smaller stuff then there are nudibranch, sea horses, pipe fish, shrimps and more.
All along this stretch of coast are reefs and sandy beds full of life. The macro life and photographic opportunities are considered to be amongst the best in Asia!
The Pura Vida house reef slope down from the beach and is ideal for training dives, night dive and photography. There are a number of rare species to be seen here and it is a great place to take the camera.
Photographs courtesy of Pura Vida Resort & Sea Explorers