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Arrive as a guest,  leave as a friend

Just a short 30 minute drive from Dumaguete airport (a 1 hour flight from Manila), on the island of Negros Oriental, lies the beautiful Atlantis Dumaguete Dive Resort. The resort is surrounded by lush tropical gardens and is just a short boat ride away from some of the most renowned dive sites in Asia – famous Apo Island, Siquijor Island and of course the local Dauin Marine Sanctuaries.

Atlantis Resort Dumaguete features forty guest rooms and suites, all designed with the guests maximum comfort, privacy and relaxation in mind. Besides scuba diving, guests can enjoy a number of services and experiences to make their holiday complete: spa treatments, swimming pool, beach with sun lounges, restaurant and bar, boutique for souvenirs, dedicated camera room for underwater photographers and plenty of land based tour options.

What makes this place so special is the staff. I had only been in the resort for minutes when I was already greeted by staff members calling out my name. The high level of customer service and friendliness of the staff continued throughout our stay and is definitely second to none.

Toko’s Restaurant offers relaxed dining with superb menu choices. Each lunch and dinner, you can enjoy a stunning 3 course menu freshly prepared by dedicated local and international chefs.

We started our diving activities with a couple of sloping reefs, only a few minutes by boat from the resort. Two blue-ringed octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, cleaning mantis shrimp, lionfish, frogfish and wasp fish, all seen on our first dive, were only a small number of the extraordinary critter and marine life we were to experience over the coming days.

The dive schedule of the resort and also at its sister property, Atlantis Puerto Galera

, offers up to 5 dives per day. Two morning dives are available, followed by either two afternoons and a night dive or one afternoon and a mandarin fish dusk dive. This many dives per day are usually only offered on liveaboards, but rarely at land-based dive resorts. Therefore, this makes the Atlantis Resorts a great option for the hardcore diver as well as diver/non-diver couples.

One of my diving highlights was Apo Island, only a 45 minute boat ride from the resort. It is a small island surrounded by stunning reef walls, drop offs and beautiful coral gardens. We spent two days diving here at different dive sites and only experienced a little bit of current on two dives. Although I very much enjoy wall diving, my favourite time was spent just cruising around 10m and above, spotting critters amongst the coral. Devil scorpion fish, stone fish, sweet lips, frog fish, gobies, trigger fish, parrot fish, surgeon fish, lion fish and plenty of different nudibranchs were all to be found on our dives. I am also pleased to report that the local sea turtle population in the Philippines is very healthy.

After completing our diving activities at Atlantis Dumaguete, we joined the resort’s own fabulous liveaboard, Atlantis Azores, for another three fantastic days of diving. We sampled part of the Bohol itinerary of Atlantis Azores, including the whale sharks at Oslob, at the southern tip of Cebu Island, followed by Sumilon, Cabilao and Balicasag Islands.

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Taking part in Azores’ Bohol itinerary means diving around tranquil islands surrounded by crystal clear waters and pristine white sandy beaches. Dive sites include superb hard and soft corals, stunning reef walls, drop offs, critters such as pygmy and thorny seahorses, frog fish, ghost pipe fish, many different species of nudibranchs, clown fish, parrot fish, pegasus sea moths, blue ribbon eels, schools of jacks and trevally, hawksbill and green turtles and sea snakes. Very occasionally you might also come across reef sharks, sting rays and manta rays, however, we haven’t experienced any on our numerous dives.
Atlantis Azores is a luxury liveaboard offering a high quality of service and standard. It features 8 cabins for a max. of 16 divers, a huge dive deck with camera table, comfortable lounge with flatscreen TV, sun lounges and a jacuzzi on the sun deck.

Azores offers four different itineraries in the Philippines, so there is plenty of diving to be done. Up to 5 dives are offered on each full dive day. The food on board the vessel, freshly prepared by a local chef, is just delicious. There was a continuous flow of food platters coming out of the galley, pleasing all our different taste buds. A brief cup of coffee with cereal or muffin was available before each first dive early in the morning. Following our first dive, a sumptuous hot breakfast was served. Lunch and dinner were delicious 3 course meals with the choice of either meat or fish as main meal.

After 8 days in the Dumaguete region it was time to say goodbye. The Atlantis motto “Arrive as a guest, leave as a friend” pretty much says it all. I am certainly keen to get back to see how everyone is doing!

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