Dauin for the victory | Bernard L. Supetran


Big surprises come in small packages. Much like that adage, the unassuming town of Dauin in the Negros Oriental is a little bundle of surprises even for jaded travelers.

Located just a heartbeat from the provincial capital of Dumaguete, this coastal municipality is famous for its tourist gem, Apo Island, sought after for its world-class scuba diving sites and rich marine biodiversity.

Scuba diving on Apo Island

Nominated by Sports divers magazine Among the top 100 dive sites in the world, it is home to more than 650 species of fish and around 400 species of corals, as well as sea turtles, schools of jacks and other aquatic creatures.

Recognized as a seascape and government protected landscape, the 74 hectare island was recently awarded by the Zero Waste Cities Project as the Philippines’ first “zero waste” island barangay due to its plush toy recycling initiatives and furnishings.

This distinction gives an exciting dimension to the charm of the island as both an underwater and terrestrial natural wonder, and a unique learning experience for divers and non-divers alike.

Dome Residence Dauin

Inspired by the success of Apo, the municipality of Dauin will soon adopt a parallel zero waste policy to reduce solid waste and preserve its original charm.

Beyond this idyllic island, the city is a relaxing retreat with the dozens of beach resorts dotting its sleepy shores. Perhaps most notable is the upscale Atmosphere Resorts, which offers world-class facilities, bespoke amenities, tropical gardens, gourmet food, water recreation, and yoga and spa services.

The resort also has a large and modern dive center which was a favorite among foreigners before the pandemic struck.

Also recognized as a wellness accommodation facility by tourism accreditation bodies, the sprawling resort pampers guests with an unparalleled atmospheric resort experience.

Atmosphere Resorts swimming pool

A boutique hotel that has captured both the dive and food market is the Silver Reef Dive Resort, an artistic and eco-friendly accommodation punctuated with native beach-side huts, paintings, indigenous crafts and recycled waste, which make intriguing conversation pieces.

Built primarily from steel container vans, the resort is sought after for its all-time favorites with premium gourmet ingredients, freshly baked breads, donuts, pastries, cold cuts, iced coffee drinks and cocktails.

In addition to catering products, it also sells biodegradable toiletries and daily toiletries in refillable pump bottles under the PLS (Plastic Life Sucks) brand as part of its advocacy to reduce plastic waste. .

The resort is also engaged in social entrepreneurship and sustainable development projects with the community, as well as the conservation of the city’s marine and coastal resources.

Silver Reef Dive Complex

For a beach getaway with a touch of comfort, there’s the Dome Resort Dauin which has four 30-square-meter tents with a comfy bed and private toilet and tub. Much like a typical hotel room, the glamorous (glamping) camping facility has a large smart flat-screen TV for in-house family entertainment and 2 Japanese tatami chairs that can double as a rollaway bed.

With a theme for each dome, the most snapshot worthy is the Hello Kitty Dome which will be an exciting playpen for little girls. Two oceanfront domes, which sport classic and bamboo themes, have a private porch with table, chairs, and lounge chairs for a front row seat for a kaleidoscopic sunrise and sunset.

What makes the dome a home is the caring owners of the German and Filipino couple who make guests like part of the good old rural family. Guests can also barbecue their own at the resort grill for an authentic camping getaway.

Munting Paraiso is an intimate, family-friendly resort worth a visit, for visitors looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of scuba diving activities. As its name suggests, it is paradise in a nutshell with its landscaped gardens, ponds and comfortable rooms. An original idea by ageless company Bert Bravo, their tender steaks and wood-fired brick oven pizza have become one of the city’s signature dishes.

Complementing the multitude of dive stations for a ridge-to-reef ecosystem, Baslay Highland Coffee Brew brews organic coffee grown on the slopes of Mount Talinis. You can sip gourmet coffee grown by the locals themselves, who have found their way to cafes in the Central Visayas region.

Nestled in a highland barangay, this is an inspiring success of a decades-old grassroots cooperative that has come together to protect and nurture the forest ecosystem and provide a unique tourist experience along the way. .

Plus, for a no-frills artistic stay, Mango Tree Ecohostel will take you back to the basics of country living. Social enterprise of German tourists based in Dauin, it is a group of indigenous hostels made from bamboo and other recycled building materials.

With always so many local restaurants, water points, yoga camps and tourist establishments, a stay in Dauin is always a winning goal.

Image courtesy of Bernard L. Supetran

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