Summer went quickly, and me and Al had to move from our amazing summer home to a new house. We found perfect house in perfect location, but we had to find a place to stay for 2 nights between the contracts. We were wondering if we should just book a hotel somewhere near by, or go away for a little weekend trip. We lived in Indonesia for a long time and never really travelled anywhere, but instead we spent the years in one resort only (literally visited the other side of the island once a year or if friends came over). So we actually learned something and decided to travel to Dauin, famous muck diving destination in the island of Negros.
From Tagbilaran “expat” city Dumaguete can be reached in two hours with quite comfortable ferry. We watched some shitty hollywood film in freezing cold air con, and before we even knew it, we arrived in the port of Dumaguete. Our driver from Amontillado resort was waiting for us, and from Dumaguete port to Dauin in takes about half an hour by car.
Amontillado was really nice diving resort, small diving center with professional staff and well maintained gear, comfortable bungalows and decent restaurant. The manager Lee and all the staff were super helpful and nothing but big smiles and our room had a view to the swimming pool also the beach front bungalows looked great. Our room was clean and bed very comfortable and everything was beautifully decorated. The restaurant did their best serving vegan food (try the bruschetta!), San Miguel was cold and the whole stay was very pleasant.
We only had one day time to do some diving. Six years ago I travelled through Dumaguete and had chance to do couple of dives, I still remember those amazing critter dives like yesterday! Dive site was called car wreck and it was super easy to reach just from the beach. Black sand slope is quite steep and the site did not disappoint my expectations and memories from last time. This time we came with a boat, and there are many dive sites to choose from along the coastline. We saw many frogfish (this time only white ones, last time I was lucky to spot a yellow hairy juvenile too), shrimps and crabs, ghost pipefish and cuttlefish (six years ago I even found and saw my first flamboyant cuttle fish and a mimic octopus, this time we were not so lucky). Even turtles are swimming by all the time! And there’s little artificial reef made from car and boat parts and visibility was amazingly good. Usually people think that muck diving is closed to mud diving and sometimes it sure is, this time we were spoiled with great viz.
Dive master and boat crew were very professional and the trip was well organised and a lot of fun. If you get bored with muck sites, beautiful coral island Apo can be reached from Dauin too. All in all, diving is very good and recommended to anyone planning on dive holiday in the Philippines!
In the evening we wanted to try famous Atmosphere resort’s restaurant, that serves many vegan and vegetarian dishes unlike anyone else in the area. It’s still low season, so getting a table wasn’t a problem. If you travel there during the high season, make sure that you book a table ahead. We enjoyed the filling salads and quinoa dishes but still unfortunately cannot give five star to the restaurant. The rose wine we ordered wasn’t cold enough and Al’s main course had dairy cream even though it was supposed to be vegan. They however changed the main course with many apologies and next glasses of wine were very chilled. Atmosphere has very cool vibes, restaurant has great view to the sea, and in the evening the whole place was absolutely stunning with all the decorative lights.
In Dauin most of the places are quite a part, so make sure you have pick up back to your hotel. We decided to take the last bus, and everything went great until we realised we’ve gone few kilometres past Amontillado. Everyone in the bus was very helpful and even though we had to walk about three to four kilometres back to our resort, the night was still very successful.
Next day we did little shopping, took the afternoon ferry back to Tagbilaran and moved to our new house. Happy times.