Hi everyone. For the benefit of those who are planning to relocate to Dumaguete like me and my wife, i will provide my recent exploratory trip report. Overall, there were some good, and some bad. Some excellent, but nothing disastrous. We were there for 5 days and 4 nites. AIR: Took airphil from manila. I am beginning to hate airphil. For the last 6 trips on airphil, they never disappointed us in that it was late by at least 1 hour. It was no exception this time. Although we have mabuhay milage thing, we are thinking to switch to cebu pacific (probably not any better). Anyhow, what we noticed is that there are 4 flights daily from manila (AP & CP combined), which is really good. TRASH: Our first impression of Duma is that it is not as "clean" as some people claim. We saw trash just about everywhere: in front of church, stores, houses... It just never fails to amaze me why people ignore the trash right in front of their own house. Maybe I am obsessive-compulsive (I am, actually), but i would have to pick it up immediately... I hardly saw public trash bins. Maybe i was expecting Duma to be somewhat similar to puerto princesa based on what people said about cleanliness, but it doesnt come anywhere near puerto princesa. I believe that clean environment leads to healthier people, both physically and mentally. And vice versa. I hope the newly elected officials make cleaniless a top priority...It really doesnt take any money or effort; its just a state of mind. WHY DONT PEOPLE JUST HOLD ON TO THE TRASH AND THROW IT IN A TRASH CAN????? DONT THEY KNOW THAT CREAMSILK SACHET (28.5million years to decompose) IS NOT SAME AS BANANA PEEL(3days to decompose)??? There is absolutely no excuse for this (oh, we are poor, so we have to throw trash in the streets...no way bozo!), nothing. Sigh,,,, HOTEL: we couldnt get a room for the first night at BEthel, so we stayed at another place which i will not name. It was a night in hell. The room had an ant colony or something. We woke up at night because something was crawling on us. When we turned on the light, we saw at least 100 (well, maybe 30) flying ants all over the room! It was 3 am, so all we could do was to put bedsheets over our heads and try to endure it for few more hours until we could check out. Really surprised us because it is a heavily advertised hotel and seemed newly built on the outside... Bethel was just fabulous!! Excellent value, and everyone so friendly. Cant say enough good things to say about them! We never ate at their resto, though because we saw on internet their food was not so good--and it looked like school cafeteria, not a restro. And I asked: it was never a hospital coverted to hotel (but i have this suspicion that the owner had a backup plan to make the building into a hospital in case hotel gig failed). PEOPLE: In general, the people we came across were all very friendly and gentle. My wife is filipina and i have been living here for 3 years, so we can generally tell a phony from real. We got really good vibes from the locals we came across. Even the locals who work at expat establishments were nice (it would be easy for locals to get jaded working at expat shops, dealing with foreigners all the time). We visited the following expat establishments and the local employees there were all very nice: Coco Amigos, Atlantis, pura vida, coco grove (siquijor). apo island resort. Didnt meet a bad tricycle driver (i am sure there are, though). Its the people who make a place feel like "home", and these people certainly did that!! SITES: We wanted to see as many places as possible in the short trip, so we didnt get to do any scuba. What we did were: Visit to Zambo--didnt see much. Apo island: the boat ride was an adventure in itself, although we were none happy about the price/boat size. 1.5thou for a small "6people" banca. There is no way it's a 6 people banca. I dont mind about the 1.5thou as it is a standard price just about anywhere in phil, but the boat should be much bigger so at least there are SEATS on the boat!! Anyway, the boatman was very nice, so we didnt complain too much. I was very disappointed (and angry) as we were walking to the marine santuary to snorkel. Again, there were trash EVERYWHERE, and i mean EVERYWHERE!! And there is a little muddy lake right before the santuary which seems like a lake of basura. Again, i am complaining about trash. I complain here because what effort does it take for people who live on that small isalnd to just throw the d*mn trash where it belongs? What's the problem!!!??? (I KNOW that NO tourists would throw trash on the island streets, so definitely the locals are the culprits). Ok, deep breath. In and out... Ok,, i am ok now... They collect exorbitant fees (200 per head per dive) to use the island. This money should be money given to the islanders so they dont have to do bad form of fishing and to IMPROVE the island. Its certainly not money given to them to be lazy and throw trash everywhere in their OWN HOME! Again, what does it take for the island to be free of trash? NOTHING!. Again, deep breath.... It just RUINS the experience of nature. Its super baho, unsightly, and i cringed at the thought of walking back to the boat after the snorkel to have to endure the sight/smell again. Ok, the good thing: The underwater was just amazing. I now know why people love it. Just snorkeling around we saw so many corals and different types of fish. And a school of jacks that kept doing figure 8 around us and played us until WE got tired and left them behind! WOW!!!!! Loved it!! After we called it quits, we went to apo island resort to have lunch. It was a beautiful site, and i loved the white pebble beach. I hope both apo island resort/liberty make loads of money, so that they can afford to hire a dedicated person to pick up trash on apo island? Which in turn will make more people want to come and stay longer on apo island, so they can make even more money??? Hint hint? BAIS: Couldnt wake up early enough to see the dolphins/whales (must wake up 5am), but we managed to step on the sandbar at low tide at 4pm (too bad the sand bar is only visible very early in the morning and late in the afternoon, at least during this time of the year). The water was not crystal clear (its in a bay), and didnt see any lifeforms other than about 20 people in the cottages. We were there for only about 15 minutes until we got bored and headed back. I just hope that the septic system in the cottages are properly maintained. DAUIN: I knew that the sand would be grey due to being a volcanic island, but it still managed to disappoint us that it was not "whiter". Furthermore, that water off Dauin beach, which we did not enter, had dark bottom (coral or seaweed?). I am sure it was teeming with life, but it did not make for a "beautiful", "typical" tropical beach. It did not have any of the blue/green hues--just dark deep blue when the sun was out--when no sun, just black. This surprised me somewhat because some coasts with dark volcanic sands, like those in costa rica, for example, have blue/green colors bit further out, which makes for an exotic feel. In Dauin, it just looked like i was looking out at long island sound. Dont get me wrong, the water was very clear. Its just the bottom composition that was making it LOOK this way. My wife and i want to enjoy both under (dive) and above water (drinks on the beach). I am sure we would enjoy Dauin down under, but above water...it was bit disappointing. But Atlantis and Pura Vida were very nice mid-sized resorts that really do deserve the name "resort". Just about everyone uses the word "resort" here in phil, but very, very few deserve the title. But i think these two do deserve it. And food was good too. We also saw bahura but only from outside because Dept of Tourism VIPS reserved the whole place for a few days. Looked good from the outside. SIQUIJOR: Was enjoyable, but dont see any reason for going back, unless i want to stay at coco grove resort, which was very nice. RESTOS: COCO AMIGOS food was surprisingly good. Shakes were very yummy. Ate also at la residencia. The japanese resto sushi not gooooood. But bento gooood. The filipino resto at residencia very gooooood (try binabagoong baboy). We went to Jo's by the sea to chill out before going to airport, and the food was just perfect. The shakes, and especially the halo halo. WOW!!!! Try squid adobo. The view was good too, and wait staff very nice. SURPRISES: I just didnt realize how convenient DUMA is. 1 hr to siquijor, 30min to apo, 30 min to cebu tip, then you can easily to to moalboal/cebu city. Few hours to bohol... Many flights and superferry to manila. And the size of the existing mall surprised me. I was expecting 2 story mid-sized one. Instead, I saw 5 story escalator mall with just about everything. And there were a 2 or 3 more smaller malls nearby. And the upcoming robinsons. This is a convenient city indeed! IF ONLY: If i could just overcome the dark waters off Dauin... I will just have to hypnotize myself.... Ok, sorry for the long rambling report. Hope its helpful to potential DUMA residents like myself.