Philippine Diver

Dumaguete Dive Sites

Many dive-sites in Dauin can be dived as a boat or shore dive. The variety of dive-spots along the coastline of Negros Oriental is great. Shallow reefs are perfect to learn diving, while artificial reefs provide a home for the rarest creatures under the surface of the ocean. It is a haven for underwater photographers.
Dumaguete Dive Sites from North to South.

Mainit

The name Mainit, which means ‘hot’ in the local language, comes from the yellow patches of sand that are too hot to touch and are due to nearby thermal activity. This is one of the most remarkable dive sites in the region due to the rich diversity of marine life that is found here. Currents can be demanding and it is wise to take shelter behind the large boulders if taking photographs.

A resident shoal of patrolling barracuda are usually observed here as well as schools of surgeonfish, fusiliers and yellow snapper. Large Spanish Mackerel and Dogtooth Tuna can also be observed and Snake Eels and Stingrays are often found in the sandy areas. The boulders are decorated with colorful soft corals and anemones, alongside many Crinoids, vivid Linckia Sea Stars and vibrantly marked Nudibranchs.

You may also encounter Moorish Idols, Pufferfish, Wrasse, Porcupinefish, Blue Fin Jacks and Scorpionfish as well as resting White Tip Reef Sharks.

Due to the possibility of strong currents it is advisable to closely follow the instructions of your dive guide.

Type of Dive: Coral Dive – Drift Dive
Maximum depth: 20m (65 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water and above

San Miguel North

This site is relatively shallow which means that most divers will have ample air to explore the whole area as long as they monitor their bottom time. There is a sandy slope with a gentle gradient as well as beds of sea grass in the shallows. A perfect spot for macro lovers, search through the muck and with the help of your guide, you should be able to locate tiny juvenile Frogfish, expertly camouflaged and hardly bigger than your little fingernail. Among their host crinoids beautiful Ornate Ghost Pipefish can be seen swaying with the current and Spiny Devilfish are buried in the sand with just their eyes protruding.

A good variety of Nudibranchs and various worms pose for the camera and, if you look carefully, you will likely be rewarded by a glimpse of Pygmy Squid no more than 1cm in length.

Type of Dive: Coral Dive
Maximum depth: 18m (60 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water and above

San Miguel Tires


This site begins on a sandy slope where a pile of old car tires has formed an artificial reef and become home to an abundance of marine life. A favorite with macro enthusiasts, common sightings include Pygmy Squid, Nudibranchs, Scorpionfish, Lionfish, Frogfish & Cuttlefish. Moray Eels and all sorts of Crabs and Shrimps are commonplace.

Occasional visitors such as the rare Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Mimic Octopus, Ambon Scorpionfish and Striated (Hairy) Frogfish can also be observed from time to time.

Night dives here can be very rewarding, nocturnal Stargazers are regularly spotted and even the extremely rare Bumblebee Shrimp has been sighted on the tires. This dive site ends in a beautiful sloping reef inhabited by numerous Clownfish and their host anemones. A good variety of nudibranchs are also present.

Type of Dive: Artificial Reef
Maximum depth: 18m (60 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water and above

Atlantis House Reef

The Atlantis House Reef is a rubbly stretch of hard coral surrounded by the stark, black sand that is characteristic of this area. The shallows are carpeted in sea grass beds where schools of Razorfish feed and a resident Green Turtle is frequently spotted grazing contentedly. Regular sightings include Harlequin Ghost Pipefish and Flamboyant Cuttlefish as well as the elusive Hairy Frogfish. Superbly camouflaged Sea Horses can often be observed if you look very closely.

A sandy slope leads down to a pile of old car tires that are adorned with 14 years worth of coral and sponge growth. A large school of Yellow Snapper reside here, as well as Scorpionfish, varied species of Lionfish and Fimbriated and White-Eyed Moray Eels. The sandy areas are also home to many Shrimp Gobies and Razor Wrasse and tiny Bug-Eyed Squat Lobsters can be seen crawling on the coral heads.

Pygmy Cuttlefish and Juvenile Sweetlips are abundant, hovering adjacent to rubble and rocks, and the bottom itself is dotted with Pegasus Sea Moths, Cockatoo Waspfish and Snake Eels.

This is a very popular night dive when various different crustaceans come out to hunt and the super-rare Hairy Octopus has been identified on a few occasions.

Type of Dive: Muck – Reef Dive
Maximum depth: 20m (65 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water and above

El Dorado Reef

This sloping reef can be an interesting drift dive in the right currents. Common reef inhabitants include Groupers, Devilfish, Frogfish and Ghost Pipefish alongside the ever present and vibrantly colored schooling Anthias. Green Sea Turtles are regularly seen feeding in the sea grass beds and a Moray Eel shares its living quarters in one of the coral heads with some beautiful Scarlet Cleaner Shrimps.

On the sandy area before the slope you can locate all sorts of other creatures that reside in the eco-rich ‘muck’. Xeno Crabs have been spotted among the Whip Coral with Gobies and numerous Whip Coral Shrimp living together in harmony. A large array of gaudy nudibranchs present ample photo opportunities for macrophiles.

This dive site has an ideal mixture of both reef and muck, to suit all diver’s preferences.

Type of Dive: Muck – Reef Dive
Maximum depth: 20m (65 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water and above

El Dorado Deep

This is a deeper muck dive with a rich diversity of marine wildlife located throughout this artificial reef formed by several car and boat wrecks. Ostentatiously colored Flamboyant Cuttlefish can be discovered as well as tiny Frogfish that can be as small as a grain of rice. Ghost and robust pipefish are both to be observed and elaborately decorated juvenile Emperor Angels are sparsely distributed however, Moorish Idols and their imitators Pennant Butterflyfish near plague proportions. Meadows of garden eels sway in the gentle surge and petite Pygmy Pipe Horses can be easily overlooked if you don’t have a zoom lens on your camera.

There is an abundance of varied fishlife here amid the healthy coral reefs including juvenile Peacock Razorfish that seem to drift hopelessly out of control until they dive for cover as soon as you approach. Whiskered Goatfish, Soft Coral Crabs and Spiney Devilfish are found here and Hinge-Beak Shrimps and Porcelain crabs are among the many macro favorites present.

Type of Dive: Muck – Deep Dive
Maximum depth: 30m (100 foot)
Skill Level Required: Deep Diver and above

Car Wrecks

The site is named after the wreckage of two car wrecks that have been transformed over time into a refuge for many different species of reef fish including Frogfish and Lionfish. Pygmy Cuttlefish and juvenile Sweetlips are commonplace and the bottom itself is dotted with Cockatoo Waspfish, Snake Eels and Pegasus Sea Moths, as well as a variety of well camouflaged Scorpionfish and Stonefish. The cars create an ideal habitat for a wide variety of shrimps, crustaceans and other macro life and schools of Snapper, Sweetlips and Angelfish patrol the area.

This location is also home to a decent population of Ringtail Cardinalfish. Like other Cardinalfish, these fish are renowned for being mouth-brooders and it is the male alone who carries out these parental duties. Every two or three minutes he will open his jaw and rotate the egg mass before sucking it back into his mouth. You can identify the pregnant male by the extended pouch below the jawline and they are favored by underwater photographers.

As you ascend, look out for Ornate, Robust and Velvet Ghost Pipefish. You may also find Devil Scorpionfish, tiny juvenile Frogfish, Flamboyant Cuttlefish and Crinoid Squat Lobsters as well as Sand Divers and Dragonettes.

Type of Dive: Artificial Reef – Muck Dive
Maximum depth: 30m (100 foot)
Skill Level Required: Advanced Open Water Diver and above

Car Wrecks Shallow

As with most of the dive sites in the Dauin area, the muck here is the perfect habitat for unusual, exotic and juvenile marine-life that make their homes in the sediment.

This is a great site to witness the courtship display of the Threadfin Sand Diver, in the afternoons the males display their beautifully colored pectoral and elongated dorsal fins to entice a female mate. Notoriously difficult to photograph due to their habit of retreating back into the sand as divers approach, nevertheless their undulating dance is a pleasure to behold.

Since this is such a shallow dive, you can spend the entire time in just 5m of water, as you hover just above the seabed you should come across Pipehorses, Seahorses, Nudibranchs, Seamoths, Octopus and sometimes the Cockatoo Waspfish. Additionally during your hunt you may also locate Dragonettes, Frogfish, Scorpionfish, Shortpouch Pygmy as well as Flounders and baby Cuttlefish.

Type of Dive: Sea Grass – Muck Dive
Maximum depth: 12m (40 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water Diver and above

Dauin Norte

Dauin Norte is one of the most popular dive sites in this region. It begins as a gentle shallow sandy slope with old mooring blocks that house numerous different marine creatures including Ghost Pipefish, Frogfish, different species of Shrimps and Crabs and a variety of multi-colored Nudibranchs. The slope leads to a healthy coral encrusted reef that is home to a wide variety of underwater life including Damsel fish, Barracuda, exotically hued Anthias and Snappers. Hairy Squat Lobsters can be found living on barrel sponges and a school of the smaller Yellowtail Barracuda patrol the reef forming a tunnel as you swim through them.

Damselfish dart in and out of the branching corals fiercely protecting their territories and various different species of Anemone Fish nestle amid the protective tentacles of their host Anemones. Tiny Golden Gobies can be seen living in discarded bottles and there are regular sightings of both Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles.

On the edge of the reef you can sometimes spot Leaf Scorpionfish concealing themselves amongst the Staghorn and Lettuce Corals, plus occasionally Blue-Ringed Octopus are seen in this area.

This site is not to be missed.

Type of Dive: Corals Dive
Maximum depth: 24m (80 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water Diver and above

Dauin Sur

Similar to the adjacent Dauin Norte, Dauin Sur begins as a rich sandy slope and ends in a stunning coral encrusted reef. Planning your dive on the optimum tide can provide a very rewarding drift all the way through to Dauin Norte. However, generally there is little or no current, making this site ideal for a relaxing dive where Giant Groupers, Green Turtles, Ribbon Eels, Pipefish and Crinoid Squat Lobsters are often seen. Razor Wrasse, Nudibranchs and throngs of Garden Eels reside in the sand at the base of the reef.

On occasion, Giant Barracuda and Dogtooth Tuna can be seen hovering mid water so keep en eye out in the blue.

Fish life here encompasses virtually every tropical reef species you can imagine. Another must do spot for all levels of diver.

Type of Dive: Coral Dive
Maximum depth: 20m (65 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water Diver and above

Ginama-an

Ginama-an literally means ‘man made’ in the local language and as this dive site is composed of old car tires piled atop one another, the name is apt. The tires attract a host of varied reef fish and crustaceans and are festooned with colorful sponges and corals. Harlequin shrimp are often found here, together with Whip Coral Shrimp, Shrimp Gobies, Frogfish and Anemone Fish.

Ghost Pipefish are frequently identified and occasionally Wonderpus and the fascinating Mimic Octopus, a unique species of cephalopod capable of impersonating other sea creatures. Although many other animals can imitate a different species to avoid or intimidate predators, the mimic octopus is the only species that can choose from many types of forms including lionfish, sea snake and jellyfish amongst others, depending on what predator they are trying to evade. Highly sought after by underwater photographers.

Type of Dive: Artificial Reef
Maximum depth: 20m (65 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water Diver and above

Masaplod Norte

An easy shore entry dive with a medium sized reef in relatively shallow water. Divers at this site may experience some currents which allows for a very nice drift experience. As you leisurely take in your surroundings whilst riding the current, you may come across large Snappers, Rock Cod, Sweetlips, Trumpetfish and swirling schools of Jacks. Bluefin Trevally can be observed hunting for their next meal alongside the occasional Green Turtle with a hitch-hiking remora attached to the shell.

Other species to be found her are Barracuda, Batfish, Garden Eels and lots of reef tropicals. Macro lovers will not be disappointed as Soft Coral Crabs, Ornate Ghost Pipefish & many different Nudibranchs can also be found here.

The highlight of this site however, is the delightful Flasher Wrasse. The name is derived from their “flashing” behavior observed during courting or mating when the male will make quick, exaggerated lateral moves while intensifying his colors and erecting his fins to attract a female. Highly sought after by serious underwater photographers and infamous for being difficult to photograph.

This is a must dive for the area.

Type of Dive: Coral/Soft Coral Dive
Maximum depth: 24m (80 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water Diver and above

Pyramids

This site gets its name from the artificial reef constructed from a number of metal pyramid-like structures that stretch from 15m/50ft down to 22m/80ft. The dive begins at a shallow mooring line that guides you down into the Sea Grass beds at around 5m/15ft.

As you descend deeper, you will see plenty of tube and basket sponges as well as some decent-sized clumps of black coral. Banded Tozeuma Shrimps and Xeno Crabs are present and to the north of the area the topography changes into a patchy reef where you can locate Soft Coral Crabs, Donald Duck Shrimps, Thorny Seahorses, both Giant and Painted Frogfish and many different species of Nudibranchs.

There is something for everyone here and it is a popular site for photography.

Type of Dive: Artificial Reef – Muck Dive
Maximum depth: 25m (95 foot)
Skill Level Required: Advanced Open Water Diver and above

Masaplod Sur

Two patches of reef, with sandy gullies in between and an artificial reef made from old car tires make up this dive site. Like many of the others sites in Dumaguete, plentiful macro subjects can be observed in the dark volcanic sand. Some species that can be found in this vicinity are: Pegasus Sea Moth, Flying Gurnard, Robust & Ornate Ghost Pipefish.

Finger Dragonetes, Frogfish and Goatfish can all be found hiding under ledges and overhangs as well as the elusive Comet. This is also a very good location to seek out varied kinds of colorful Nudibranchs.

Macro photographers will enjoy this dive site.

Type of Dive: Coral Dive
Maximum depth: 20m (65 foot)
Skill Level Required: Open Water Diver and above