Of Whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu and Jack Fish in Apo Island, Dumaguete

All set onward to Dumaguete, Philippines on 20 Jan for a 5 day diving adventure with Etienne, Jenni, Stephane and his friends. Since there was no direct flight to Dumaguete, we had to book a connecting flight from Singapore to Manila (we can also do via Cebu) then Dumaguete Airport. We took Cebu Pacific as it had the cheapest flight when we were booking on December and when I say cheap, that is 571SGD for roundtrip since its a peak season (Chinese New Year). I would have love to fly Philippine Airlines for better comfort if we had booked it earlier, say October. No biggie. The seats maybe crammed up but at least the paddings are decent. Our journey started on Fri midnight on a 3 hour flight then 2 hour stopover before heading to the final destination. Mind you, Dumaguete airport is small so there might be a mad dash to find your luggage in the tiny conveyor with the rest of the passengers.

We stayed at Thalantta Resort that is just 20 mins away from Apo Island, our main dive spot. The resort was lovely. It had decent rooms and toilet. The quaint resto and pool with hammocks had a full view of the sea and island. Although the location of the resort is far from shops, bars and restaurants, the resto have decent prices for a resort and meals are all delicious to sample. There are books to borrow if you are a bookworm like me. The bar also had board games if you fancy mind games. WiFi connection is a bit slow but there is a computer in the library with internet connection. It would be a good idea to bring insect spray as nighttime is feeding time for the lil buggers. The price is 3,100PHP per night.

At that time, 1 SGD is 33.5 PHP

We did 6 dives in total. It costed 1,250PHP per dive with 750PHP for gear rental per day. Dive computer will need additional 250PHP. Each dive spot had its charm with colorful corals and small fishes. Some areas were damaged from the typhoon last December so it was a shame to see the corals all dead. We saw a huge school of Jack fish, a lot of triggerfish, “nemo”, nudibranch, lion fish, scorpion fish, boxer fish, huge sea turtles, garden eels and sea snakes. There were probably a lot more marine animals but I couldn’t identify them. We also took travel insurance with scuba diving as part of coverage with NTUC for 26 SGD.

We book ourselves on a kayak package on the Balanan Lake for a day. Rate was 1,300PHP for 4 person. No swimming was allowed at the lake since many had drowned on it. I prefer to swim on a free running clear stream than murky lake. We were (un)luckily enough to witness a snake eating a frog and couple of spiders jumping on our boat. At the end of the lake, we hiked to see the waterfalls. The water was cool and refreshing.

We wanted to do a side dive trip to Sumilon island, Cebu but that didn’t work out as the other dive shop cancelled on us. We managed to salvage the Whale shark watching on Oslob, Cebu for 2k PHP land transfer and snorkel rental. We snorkeled from the shore to the sea. We didn’t head out that far when a whale shark brushed in front of us. For the next hour, we kicked and swam to catch up as more giants came up to feed. It was an amazing experience to be swimming with them but I would not advice to swim in front of it. I know, I did and freaked out.

After the fun and exercise, we finally head back to airport, in time for our flight back to Singapore. I can’t wait for the next dive trip.

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