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davehicks

Philippines Trip Report & Photos

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I got home from my first dive trip to the south pacific last weekend and wanted a share part of the experience. My brother-in-law was getting married in Hong Kong, and we decided a add a week of diving in some location nearby after the wedding. I’d heard good things about the Philippines from friends that went there last year. It’s only a couple of hours away from Hong Kong, so it seemed like a good destination. So after 5 or 6 days and a really fun wedding in HK, we headed off for some diving!

 

We visited the Atlantis Dive Resort in Dumaguete, which is in the south part of the country on the island of Negros. It was pretty easy to get there, with a short flight from HK to Manilla and then a 1 hour domestic flight to Dumaguete. The only friction we experienced was about $150 in overweight charged on the domestic flight. With a lot of excess baggage in the form of wedding clothing, two rebreathers, lots of camera junk, and the rest of the typical gear in tow I think I had about 300lbs of bags! Fortunately I took Cathay Pacific for the international flights and they did not care how much I carried. The resort helped check us in on the return domestic flight and avoided any more overweight charges, which was just another example of their excellent service.

 

The resort was amazing. Very nice, clean, well equipped, and with an amazing staff. We were very impressed. The food was gourmet restaurant quality, definitely some of the best I’ve had at any dive resort. My wife and some of the other folks who tagged along from the wedding party enjoyed the $20 90 minute massages at the onsite spa.

 

The diving was amazing. It was a mix of expansive, pristine coral reefs and what is called “muck diving”. As this was my first time further out than Hawaii, every dive we saw bizarre new creatures. The muck was really fascinating with a ton of tiny macro creatures. Pipehorses, shrimp, micro-lobsters, etc. The reefs were in great shape, mostly concentrated on nearby Apo Island. Lots of fish, turtles, and coral vistas. On one of the boat rides a banded sea snake jumped into the boat, which was pretty funny. My only injury on the trip was from a hyper-aggressive Clown Fish that nipped my knuckle while I took a picture of a swimming shrimp in it's resident anemone.

 

I was really impressed by the Philippines and Atlantis Dumaguete, and would love to make a return visit in the future.

 

Here are some photos of some of my favorite subjects. You can see the full slideshow here.

 

Apo Island Coral Reefs

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Ghost Pipefish

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Purple Squat Lobster

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Unknown Nudibranch (waiting for my south pacific ID book!)

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Anemone Fish peeking out of closed anemone

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Rebecca inspecting the reef life

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Green Sea Turtle & Friends

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Blue Ribbon Eel

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Harlequin Shrimp

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Thanks for sharing. Banded sea snake jumping on the boat was funny? I think I would have been freaking out more than laughing.

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Thanks for the report.

 

Considering that a banded sea snake's venom is 10 times more lethal than a rattlesnake or back mamba, I would have freaked out too!

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Hi Dave,

 

Thanks for the report on Atlantis Dumaguete. That resort is on my short list. Would you recommend November/December as a good time to go? How was the weather while you were there?

 

Thanks,

Gina

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I'm glad it was helpful! I was out there at this time last year and the conditions were very nice. Sunny, warm water, good weather for the whole trip. We wore 3mm wetsuits and were very comfortable.

 

Bring your macro lenses! The muck dives in the sand and tire reefs were the real highlight for me.

 

Enjoy,

Dave

 

Hi Dave,

 

Thanks for the report on Atlantis Dumaguete. That resort is on my short list. Would you recommend November/December as a good time to go? How was the weather while you were there?

 

Thanks,

Gina

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