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skin diving

Skin Diving at Dauin Poblacions Marine Sanctuary May 4, 2010

Skin Diving at Dauin Poblacion's Marine Sanctuary

Marine biologist Rene Abesamis was telling me about this marine sanctuary in Dauin, just off the highway, 40 minutes away from Dumaguete, where he saw huge Bumphead parrotfishes (maybe a meter long?) staring back at him. He's been around the dive sites within the Visayas but claims this one in Dauin is one of the best he's been to. I was just casually nodding my head, but my mind was racing, "When? When?".


The Invite
The eagerly hoped-for invite came in a text message a few days later. Within minutes, I was packed with my gear. Rene's family was with him - his wife Nadia and their bubbly daughter, Mayumi. In less than an hour, we were at Dauin Poblacion's marine sanctuary. After paying the P50 snorkeling fee, we were off.

Grouper Galore
Get this! Within meters from the shore, at maybe 6 feet under, we already saw this huge grouper looking curiously at us. I don't know about you, but I've been skin diving since high school and I only saw 1 grouper (in Anilao) in all those years. Continuing our dive to the drop-off, we again saw an even bigger grouper...maybe 10 kilos - but it hid under the coral rocks. There were smaller groupers of a different kind - more colorful, not the type you see sold in wet markets.

Fish a Plenty
Unlike most reefs I've seen that have great corals but not as many fishes, this one is abundant with fishes...all colors and shapes. The sanctuary itself consists of 2 big coral patches separated by a sandy section.

I'm Back!
A week later, I felt the itch and went back on my own and asked the caretakers for tips on where to see more big groupers. I was surprised when they pointed out on the map where I'm likely to find them. Huh? Aren't the fishes just randomly swimming all over? Anyway, going to the spot, I indeed saw a huge one...probably the same one that went under the rocks. The caretakers said it was probably the 10-kilo one I saw. On top of that, I saw 2 sea turtles and giant clams. HA! This reef is really doing it for me.

Ending Thoughts
Dumaguete rocks! There are probably very few places in the country where you enjoy a balanced city life and just be minutes away from a fantastic dive, minutes away from the biking trails, minutes away from a mountain climb (the Cuernos). The longer I stay here, the more I love it.

To Rene and Nadia, thank you so much for tagging me along!

--- TheLoneRider

ps - no underwater shots? My Olympus 1030 SW, a digicam good for underwater photography up to 10m...took water inside! Read up on what it's like to claim warranty on Olympus digicams in the Philippines.

Dauin Poblacion 1 Marine Sanctuary Links on

How to get there from Dumaguete:

  • take a tricycle and ask to be dropped-off the jeep terminal going to Dauin (the terminal is near Robinson's Place) - P8.
  • at the terminal, board the next jeep for Zamboanguita or Siaton or Dauin. Just tell the driver to drop you off at Dauin's Poblacion District 1 Marine Sanctuary. P15, 40 minutes.
  • upon disembarking at the highway (almost immediately after Dauin's Poblacion), walk towards the beach...5 mins.
  • pay P50 (snorkeling, all day) or P150/scuba dive to the caretaker and dive!

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Reader Comments:

(May 11, 2010) Bumphead parrotfishes (Scientific name: Bolbometopon muricatum). I've attached a picture of the fish I saw in Dauin (it was about 70 cm long). They can grow to 120 cm (4.5 ft). They're not very common on unprotected Philippine reefs now because of strong fishing pressure. But I've seen several individuals a few times over the past year in Pob. Dauin marine sanctuary, which is a good sign.

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