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Exploring the Hidden Gems of Dauin's Muck Diving Scene: Discovering Rare Underwater Creatures!

Gooooood morning divers!

Squid during a night dive
Squid during a night dive

All the Pictures are my own from Dauin and just an impression of the many things you can quite easily find here.

The last time I visited this beautiful island, I was still only getting my deep diving and nitrox certification! I was mostly concerned with learning but always had fond memories of this beautiful place in Negros Oriental, Philippines.

Little did I know what muck-diving paradise I was visiting at that time. I was already happy to see a simple shrimp, let alone this wide variety of creatures I had no idea existed.

It was time to go back, for a proper look into this area. With a lot more knowledge, experience, and a brand new camera I was ready to write a full "review" on this beautiful diving scene!

In this blog, I'll be sharing the following:


Entering the Philippines and muck diving heaven.

Some of the information on Dauin is similar to Apo Island because it's under the same jurisdiction, and very near to each other.

If this will be your first stop in the Philippines, I would be surprised, but let's say it is:

To enter the Philippines is easy. Visa on arrival is free and easily extendable for up to 59 days. Extension costs about 2000 pesos (40 dollars) or 3000 pesos express, done within 15 minutes (60 dollars).

Most people will arrive in Manila, and continue to Coron first. If you're flying from Manila to Visayas, more precisely Cebu or Dumaguete. you can easily make Dumaguete/ Dauin your first stop.

The details about this travel will be discussed in greater detail a little further down the article.


Dive sites Apo Island
Dive sites Apo Island

Where is Dauin & How to get to muck diving?

Dauin is located on the south side of Negros Oriental, just 30 minutes from Dumaguete City. To get there just follow these easy steps:

1. Fly to Dumaguete City:

  • The nearest airport to Apo Island is the Dumaguete Airport (Sibulan Airport).

  • You can fly to Dumaguete City from major airports in the Philippines. The main airlines serving this route include Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

2. Travel to Dauin if you're staying there:

  • From Dumaguete City, you need to get to the town of Dauin, which is the jump-off point for day trips to Apo Island.

  • You can hire a tricycle (400 pesos) or van (1000 pesos) or take a public jeepney or bus (35 pesos) from Dumaguete to Dauin.

Map of Dauin, Zamboanguita and Apo
Map of Dauin, Zamboanguita and Apo


Thecacera Picta
Thecacera Picta


Why should you go to Dauin?

There aren't many places in the world like Dauin. The abundance and rarity of marine life found here are not found in many other places.

Lembeh, Anilão, and Ambon are a few other places. But besides that, the variety of creatures and fish like seen as in Dauin, isn't seen anywhere else in Asia.

Photographers come from all over the world to visit Dauin to take photos or videos. And creatures other diving locations would go crazy for when seen, are considered normal here. Some other reasons to come here:

Biodiversity: Dauin is part of the Coral Triangle, which is known for its incredible marine biodiversity. The region is home to a vast array of marine life, including various species of fish, colorful coral reefs, and fascinating macro life.

Apo Island: Apo Island, located near Dauin, is a well-known marine sanctuary. It offers fantastic diving experiences with healthy coral reefs, turtles, and various fish species. The island is a protected marine reserve, ensuring the preservation of its underwater ecosystems.

Muck Diving: Dauin is famous for its muck diving sites, where divers can explore sandy bottoms to discover unique and often bizarre marine creatures. This type of diving is ideal for those interested in observing rare and unusual species.

Accessibility: Dauin is easily accessible from the city of Dumaguete, which has an airport with connections to major cities in the Philippines. The convenience of reaching the area makes it attractive to divers looking for a relatively easy travel experience.

Year-Round Diving: The Philippines generally offers year-round diving opportunities. Dauin is no exception, providing divers with the chance to explore its underwater wonders throughout the year. However, it's essential to consider the weather and sea conditions for the best diving experience.

Banded Sea Krait
Banded Sea Krait

Juvenile Frogfish
Juvenile Frogfish

What does scuba diving in Dauin entail?


Dauin offers about 20 dive sites, depending on who you ask. Names are very much dependent on who you ask as well. Muck diving is pretty much 80% of diving in Dauin. Although there are some reefs in Dauin South and Poblacion, as well as an artificial reef in El Dorado and Ginama-an.

You will not find any shipwrecks in Dauin, or wall diving. This area is focused on slow, deliberate diving with attention to detail.

My personal favorites would be:

  1. Poblacion - Shallow reef

  2. Secret corner - Octopus heaven

  3. El Dorado - Huge artificial reef

  4. Ginama-An - Reef made of old car tires

  5. San Miguel - Sand and grass hide incredibly rare creatures.

I will go into more detail about these dive sites further down below.

There are many resorts, homestays, and even hostels in Dauin, as this town is pretty much dedicated to scuba diving. Markets, restaurants, and pharmacies can be found here. And if necessary, you can visit Dumaguete in a 30-minute drive from Dauin!

Flambuoyant Cuttlefish
Flambuoyant Cuttlefish

The Past & Future of scuba diving in Dauin.

Dauin is a pretty well-maintained diving location. Not many tourists visit here, besides divers, which makes this an incredible spot to meet like-minded people on your travels.

So whether you are staying in hostels or expensive resorts, you will find what you're looking for as a scuba diver. Are you looking for those incredible photos? Or would you prefer the beautiful coral gardens of Apo Island? It's all here, and very accessible.

Marine environmental fees are being paid to the coastguard by diving centers for every diver and every dive. And are actually largely used to maintain safety and clean up the dive sites.

Muck Diving
Muck Diving

Glossodoris Cincta
Glossodoris Cincta

An impression of the diving scene.


Dauin boasts 20+ dive sites along the coastline. Some reefs, mostly muck diving in sandy or stony bottoms, and a few nicely made artificial reefs.

Dauin Dive sites

Apo Island:

Apo island is the big reason many people visit Negros, Dauin, and Dumaguete.

The island boasts around 10 dive sites as seen below. Usually, day trips will visit 3 of these.

The Dive site Chapel will usually be the main dive site since it has a nice wall with electric clams and dramatic drop-offs.

Depending on the season, boats will either pick the east or west side. Both are equally good and offer a similar experience. On the west side you have drift dives Coconut, Chapel as a wall dive, and Rock Point West as a coral garden.

On the east side, you have Cogon as a drift dive, with Kan'uran as a wall dive, and Rock Point West as a coral garden.

Green turtles will be common, especially on the south side of the island. Even while snorkeling, as well as banded sea kraits.

You can see everything from dolphins to manta rays, from whale sharks to Molamola, although these bigger fishes are not very common here, to be honest.

Apo Island Dive Sites
Apo Island Dive Sites

Winged Pipe fish
Winged Pipe fish

Apo Island - Dumaguete/ Zamboanguita - Siquijor

Dumaguete/ Zamboanguita has no real noteworthy diving (they will visit Dauin).

Green Turtle
Green Turtle

Needle Cuttlefish
Needle Cuttlefish

Where to go after Dauin?

Apo Island is a place you must visit if you like scuba diving and coral reefs!

Zamboanguita/ Dumaguete:

Mostly a place to depart from to different locations like Cebu, Bohol, or Sipalay.

Sipalay: Coming soon!

Off the beaten path and definitely worth it!

A good place to arrive or leave from.

Excellent place to continue your travels.


Laomenes Sp. 1
Laomenes Sp. 1

Goniobranchus Geometrica
Goniobranchus Geometrica


Lobiger sp. 1
Lobiger sp. 1

Hermit Crab
Hermit Crab

Funeral Nudibranch
Funeral Nudibranch

The Top 5 most memorable dive sites!

There are many very good dive sites in Dauin. Below I will summarize my favorites. Some of them are reason enough to book that airplane right now.

A few good spots to go diving are:

  1. Poblacion

  2. San Miguel

  3. Ginama-an

  4. Talisay

  5. Secret Corner

Dauin Dive Sites
Dauin Dive Sites

1. Poblacion.

one of the few, if not only proper coral reefs in Dauin, but absolutely bursting with life! Guaranteed green turtles, hawksbill turtles, a resident school of 100 small barracudas, frogfish, nudibranchs, and gorgeous soft, and hard staghorn corals.


2. San Miguel.

A sandy slope with lots of nudibranchs, flamboyant cuttlefish, and many, many more rare creatures! Excellent location for a night dive as well, since it's sloping and sandy!

Flamboyant cuttlefish

3. Ginama-An.

This dive site is a sandy/ grassy sloping dive site with a reef created at 18 meters deep, completely made of old truck tires! It houses some very nice nudibranchs and 2-3 leafy scorpionfish!

Leafy Scorpionfish

4. Talisay/ Mainit.

This beautiful grassy dive sight offers turtles in the shallow part and slowly turning to a more sandy bottom with lots of shrimps, ghost pipefish, and Stiliger nudibranchs (Shaun the sheep-like).

Ambon Scorpionfish

5. Secret Corner.

A sandy slope slowly turns into a stony slope. There are many rare octopuses to be found here, like the mimic, blue-ringed, algae, and mosaic octopus. Sometimes you will see all these in 1 single dive!



What's next?

The next blog will be from Sipalay!

This off-the-beaten-path location offers some incredible diving, mostly because of the stunning topography and rock formations.

This will hopefully make for amazing stories, photos, and travel tips!

Thank you for taking the time to read this, any questions or tips can be sent to, and remember:

"If you can breathe, you can dive"


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