The Philippines has long been a popular destination among divers, and continues to grow in popularity as it becomes even more well known. While we were there, we decided to explore one of the country’s diving hotspots — the Dauin coastline on the island of Negros. Atlantis Dive Resort provided the perfect jumping off point for diving Dauin.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by smiling staff, lush grounds and a welcoming shoulder and neck massage, along with a welcome drink as we filled out our paperwork — not a bad start at all. After a tour of the resort, a short video on dive conduct and an orientation on the dive operation, we were ready to indulge in all that Atlantis had to offer.
Staying in Style
Atlantis offers a range of accommodations, including a variety of rooms and suites, all of them comfortable, clean and affordable. All the rooms have fans and air-conditioning, a mini fridge, TV and Wi-Fi. And if you’re like me and appreciate a nice hot shower after a day of diving, well, they have you covered there too. Each room also has an outdoor hammock chair and seating area so you can sway away while browsing through your day’s footage. If you’re taking the day off from diving or are winding down after a busy day in the water, you can relax by the pool or book yourself in for one of the spa’s many treatments.
We all know how hungry a day of diving can leave you, and Toko’s restaurant, right on the beach, won’t disappoint. The open-air spot serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with a number of daily specials. Despite all the calories I burned on my dives, I think I actually gained weight during my stay thanks to Toko’s.
Whether you’re working on your underwater photography or you’re more a fan of hands-free leisure diving, the PADI Five Star CDC at Atlantis will cater to your every need. Their open-concept dive center includes a large area with designated hanging areas and cubby holes to store your gear before and after dives. Outdoor showers are nearby, as well as the usual freshwater rinse bins for your gear, although the staff takes that responsibility off your shoulders during your stay. There’s a large air-conditioned camera room, fully equipped to charge and store any size setup you plan to shoot with. There are numerous 220- and 110-volt outlets and individual camera stations, as well as air blasters and towels so you and your equipment will be equally pampered. As a CDC, Atlantis also offers a wide range of PADI courses, so if you’d like to pursue any further certifications, there are plenty of options. The dive center also offers nitrox so you can maximize your bottom times and keep your energy levels up to conquer the day.
Now, on to what brought you here in the first place. Within the first minute of our first dive until surfacing from our last, we were amazed at the critters we saw in Dauin. Sightings included painted frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish, a wide variety of anemonefish, spiny seahorses and peacock mantis shrimp. We saw so many different nudibranchs I felt I needed to buy the nudibranch encyclopedia just to keep track. On one particular dive at a site called Punta, we saw five different species of octopus, including a rare blue-ringed octopus, as well as two types of cuttlefish, including the famous flamboyant cuttlefish. If you’re a cephalopod lover like me, you’ll be in heaven. We saw things on each dive that kept our macro eyes focused on every little detail. Luckily for guests, the Atlantis guides have a sixth sense when it comes to critter spotting, so don’t worry if your eyes are untrained — the guides will more than make up for it.
Overall, the diving in this area blew us away and kept our camera trigger fingers in need of some serious reflexology. Although you won’t find any big marine life here other than the occasional green turtle, the spectacular macro diving offers an abundance of rare critters that you won’t find in many other places around the world. For variety’s sake, there’s also wall diving and stunning coral at nearby Apo and Siquijor Islands. You can also turn your night dives fluorescent with special lights and mask lenses for a unique experience.
Whether you’re an avid photographer or videographer or just want to dive, explore and enjoy, all of these opportunities and more await on your next dive vacation at Atlantis Resorts in Dumaguete, Philippines.