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My Dumaguete Surprise: A Tornado of Jack Fish! Edit

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Mic Yu  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

My fresh new tan was care of my recent trip to Dumaguete.

Before I get to that bewildering underwater experience, I just want to say that the people of Negros Oriental are absolute sweethearts! They are warm, quick to offer help, and will make you feel completely safe and taken care of throughout your trip, which I’m sure comes as great news to solo travelers!

I know now that a Dumaguete trip is synonymous to a food trip. It’s close to impossible not to gorge yourself on their sumptuous and not to mention really cheap seafood. You’ll find plenty of quaint, unique, and very yummy restaurants along the Rizal Boulevard so make sure to check the area out.


T-B: Laba-as Restaurant, aboard our boat docked on Manjuyod's sandbar


Seen in photo what is possibly one of everything from Sans Rival Bistro, Dumaguete

What to do in Dumaguete

You will never run out of things to do and places to visit in and from Dumaguete since it’s a mecca of great adventures and a convenient jump-off point to a myriad of destinations such as Siquijor (being the most popular), Bacolod, and Cebu. Notable though are the islands nearby that you can explore such as Manjuyod Sandbar and Apo Island.


Diving into life through Siquijor's, rope swing in Cambugahay Falls

A little tip: if you have extra cash to rent the whole boat out to accommodate only you and your group going to Manjuyod’s sandbar, I highly recommend it. This will give you the chance to decide on the length of time you spend in the different spots in Manjuyod. I recommend allotting plenty of lounge time in the area as the place is stunning. There are roaming locals on boats offering different raw and fresh seafood such as sea urchins, scallops, and oysters. All of which are cut and prepared in front of you! Yum!


A Pleasant Surprise

Since I went to Apo Island to dive, I can’t say much about the island itself, since dive boats aren’t allowed to dock, to protect the marine sanctuary. Hence, I didn’t even get to set foot on its sand! I was, however, able to behold the beauty and lush wealth of sea creatures—Ah, sea turtles!—underneath the blue waters surrounding the island.

Out of the ten divers aboard, I was fortunate enough to be picked to use one of the last two oxygen tanks available for dive participants. I dived in two other sites in Apo Island that day already and was hesitant to go for a third and final dive as my ankles and back had started to ache. If it weren’t for the mentioned slight chance of sighting the elusive tornado of jack fish, I honestly probably would not have gone.

I was told by my dive master that I was lucky. The waves were light and there was presently a current underwater, so conditions were ideal for the sighting. This got my blood pumping but at the same time I wanted to manage my expectations. “Theres a high chance that we will see this, but like with everything underwater, nothing is guaranteed,” the dive master said. This statement got my feet back on the ground, but I stayed hopeful. The increased pressure at depth while Scuba diving increases the amount of nitrogen in our blood. The longer and deeper the dive, the more residual nitrogen will be left in our system upon surfacing. As this was my third dive of the day, the nitrogen in my blood limited the depth and and shortened  the time I was allowed  to dive. We plunged into the water and time ticked by. And yet there was still no sign of the tornado.

In the last two minutes of the day, we saw two jack fish out of the blue! We followed them hurriedly and there we were, right in front of a massive spinning school of jack fish!

Tornado of Jack Fish in Apo Island

It was a beautiful, ineffable experience. Seeing the movement and the sheer magnitude of the tornado was absolutely magical. It was a sight to behold that not all divers can claim to have seen. Let’s just say I’ve been lucky!

Where to stay in Dumaguete

I stayed in PVL Suites for the whole duration of my stay. The place is lovely, kind of like a 4-star hotel in terms of service, cleanliness, and comfort, but for the price of a budget hotel. Saan ka pa? Booking was a breeze through Explora. The only thing that made the whole process hard was picking among the equally good options for room accommodations. But in the end, I was very pleased with my choice.

So whether you’re traveling solo or bringing company and whether you’ve got a food trip, a calm sun tanning session by the beach, or unforgettable adventure in mind, Dumaguete has something for you.

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