Diving Duma, Philippines

I'm on a diving frenzy! A week after coming back from Havelock, still fresh with diving-related scars and mosquito bites, and I am off again on the midnight flight to Cebu, then Dumaguete.

An archipelago rich with its diverse marine life, is it any wonder that soon after this trip, I am keen to launch on another diving plan to come back. It has been plenty of firsts for me, first seahorse spotted, frogfish, shrimps, blue ring octopus....

Anyway! Four-hour flight from Singapore, couple of hours transit and a short 35-minute flight to Dumaguete. We had a slight hiccup with the luggage... an expected problem with a bunch of divers!!

See what I mean.... My own check-in bag was only 7 kg, the others had about 20kg each, it's ridiculous....

Resort is about 20 minutes away from the hotel. Check out our place for 5 nights!

And yes... it is absolutely HOT. It's quite a blessing to be comfortably underwater when the sun is at its strongest.

 Are the rooms cute or what?! With a little cement frame (quite tiny, to be honest), a little small pit which also serves as a safe box, and a miniature TV propped on top of a shelf which my roommate describes as 'retro'.

 Nice place, though it feels a little touristy to me. Even comes with a camera room for the underwater photographer's equipment TLC.

Food from the restaurant takes AGES to arrive. Can easily beat Havelock island with their turtle speed.... Usually when we're done with our dives, we would place an order pronto, then head for a nice, long hot shower before making our way to the restaurant. Sometimes the food arrives just about then, sometimes you even need to wait just a little bit longer. Food is not bad there but we all agreed it's too salty! Too much salt underwater, then on land also more salt, become kiam hu really....

Don't you just love the boats here? Majestic looking and wide framed provides for better stability I suppose. 

 I know I practically live on the ocean and sometimes I question myself why do I choose to come back to the ocean on a holiday but the dives really make it up for it. But I promise myself... more greens and the mountains on my next holiday destination (can't wait!).

Dinner out  in town on the first night:
(Took us 30minutes to reach!)
Pork, pork, pork everywhere! Crispy pork knuckle dish with a soy sauce, lime, onion and chili dip - lip smacking! yum yum.

Another satisfying beef-based soup with an assortment of vegetables. We ordered quite a lot of food but  I was too busy eating to take any more photos....

One of the reasons for the Philippines trip - whalesharks!!

Massive but gentle creatures. Not entirely wild ones because the whalesharks are fed every morning, hence the daily pilgrimage to the Oslob islands. In my books, they're categorised as domesticated whalesharks, regardless of what the others may say.

Frogfish! Adorable little creatures, they stay still in one position until prodded. Then they changed positions. They have little hands as well, incredibly weird but intriguing to watch.

Oooooh one of the absolute highlights of the trip... the amazing barbeques onboard!! Supersized prawns (and I'm not even a fan of prawns but these are huge and juicy), massive cuttlefishes, perfectly marinated and  BBQ-ed chicken pieces and the juiciest pineapples I've ever eaten! (Mangoes too!!). The Filipino way of frying rice is a bit weird. They like to include fruits and other miscellaneous ingredients in their fried rice, such as raisins, pineapple, mangoes...well, you get the idea...

 A whole container full of sea urchins. While we were diving, the boat crew must have collected them!

 It's hollow inside... with orangey-yellow roe strips along the sides. Tried them raw, tastes like shrimp roe/fish roe (not the caviar kind) and the like. Not too bad but I imagine it will shoot your cholesterol level way high up ;)

A day boat trip to the Apo island. Beautiful and colourful dive sites there, I must say. Marine life is so varied and corals are thriving. Oh and we also have the boat-mart come up to our boat to sell us all sorts of sarongs and T-shirts. Got myself a cute little frogfish tee for $10 ;)

All of us went crazy/rebuting for the BBQed corns hehehe.  Love the colours on the veg sticks - corn on cob, pineapple, eggplant, red pepper, carrot and tomatoes.

A clear shot of the frog fish with its cute little front hands.

Goby on a whip coral.

More yums

Little shrimps 

 Hairy frogfish, a, uh, hairy version of the frogfish. It does take a while to distinguish its features!

 On the boat to one of the islands when the boat men spotted dolphins. It was truly a beautiful sight. Swimming in unison and making a sort of show for us to see! They came really close to our boat as well! This is the first time I've ever seen dolphins in the wild. I've always heard stories from the vessel guys at work about the dolphin sightings they've had. I always seem to miss them but this has not been one of them!!

Little banded pipefish

 Hehe. Check out my poor, poor battered strobe! The fibre optic snapped (pre-loved, bought it from a friend's friend) just after the first day of diving and as we didn't have any tools with us, Duncan helped me  to DIY fix it with some strong adhesive tape. It worked surprisingly well for the remaining of the holiday!

Sacrifices for the Filipino ocean gods...

Have I already mentioned the mangoes and pineapples were some of the best I've ever tried? Maybe only once or twice....

Mating flamboyant cuttlefish.

Small spotty nudibranch.

5 days and 16 dives later.... Our divemaster so kindly offered to host a BBQ at his place for us. We only pay for the ingredients and his family/friends will manage the preparation, cooking etc. Tremendous amount of work involved, just look at the amount of food available!

 A 30kg of whole roasted pig! Or lechon as the locals call it. This baby has been roasting over fire for 3 hours. It surely looks intimidating and some of the girls were put off by it (lol), not me though, I was salivating already when they took it off the fire..... (I'm sure there's a special place in hell for people like me).

I must say, though... the lechon is heavenly. Its skin so crispy (makes a loud crunch crunch noise when bitten), accompanied by a layer of fat that melts in your mouth... don't even let me get started on the oh-so-tender meat.................. :x Superrrrbbbb :)'

Enough food to feed a whole village, mostly meat served that night..... Besides the lechon, there were barbequed beef, popiahs with meat and veg inside, Filipino-style chap chai, and white rice yum.

 All this has to be dipped in their special Filipino sauce - chopped chillis with soy sauce and a wee bit of vinegar - I must have mentioned this sauce multiple times now.

Check out the bulging belly - I have divulged myself and it is worth every calorie ;)

 After all that drinking and singing hoarsely to the karaoke, I managed to drag myself out of bed at 5 in the morning for something I'd like to do at least once during my holiday trips.... witness the rising sun on that side of the world!

Got Duncan to wake me up and as usual, groggily dragged myself out of bed and crept out in the dark, still in my pajamas (too dark for anyone to notice ma). 

 Beautiful, hor? Love the sun rays... A glimpse of the moon is still visible too :)

And a final group photo at the end of the amazing trip. Look closely and you'll come to a realisation that I was the biggest amongst the girls! lol. All of them skin and bones :p :p

AND! In case you don't know, there is such a thing as too much sun and too much BBQing. Developed an ulcer at the back of my mouth. Time to hit on the herbal soup now!


  1. This seems like a nice trip. How much woh? Just the babi is worth it hehehe

    Nice underwater pictures too... you got a waterproof casing ka?

  2. It really is nice. Pristine beaches, thriving underwater ecosystem. For the whole trip, roughly SGD1400, inclusive of flights, accommodation, food and transport.

    Thanks! Yes, I have an underwater casing for the camera and also a strobe. Thinking of getting a macro wet lens as well because the pictures with them are too good!


The Georgian Adventure - Hike to Chalaadi Glacier

Our third, and last hike in Svaneti. There are so many more places to hike and explore around Georgia, it was a hard decision to premature...