In the Philippines there are now stylish accommodations that, with their feel-good ambience, ensure an all-round successful dream vacation. The Salaya Beach Houses on Negros provide culinary highlights and a perfect diving base service for the guests for countless “Ah and Oh moments” during the diving holiday.
It feels like 100 hours of travel behind me, via Bangkok and Manila. Finally I reach the long-awaited goal of my – in my opinion well deserved – diving vacation in the Philippines, the island of Negros in the Visayas. I was immediately taken with the warmth and friendliness of the Filipinos. “Welcome Ma’am Judith, please have a seat and enjoy your Mango Juice”, I will be welcomed into the resort, get a chilled mango smoothie – with a metal straw! I quickly feel at home in the resort. Only that I don’t have to worry about breakfast, washing up, or anything. I have vacation now!
The day starts relaxed
Deep relaxation will continue here for the next few days. Do I want to start the morning with a yoga session or, after sleeping in and having a delicious, healthy breakfast, first explore the house reef with Marc, the manager of the dive center integrated in the resort? It doesn’t matter at all, here everything that I want is completely discussed, here the guest is the focus.
It doesn’t take long and I found my routine: yoga before a light breakfast, followed by a dive, a small, light snack for lunch, another dive, and chilling by the pool in the late afternoon before going to the bar in the resort just before the happy hour starts at dinner and the underwater experiences of the day are discussed with colorful cocktails.
Looking for microorganisms
Dauin is considered the “muck diving” Mecca par excellence among divers. The name comes from the English Muck and refers to sediment, which is located on the bottom of many dive sites and often has a muddy consistency. This environment is a habitat for unusual and exotic organisms or the juvenile stages of marine creatures that populate the reefs in their adult status. In order to discover the often tiny creatures, you need a sharp and trained eye – or a magnifying glass, which is standard equipment for many divers during muck dive dives. In any case, Marc finds every tiny slug, shrimp and sometimes I really have trouble recognizing what he is pointing at. Time for a new pair of glasses ?!
Before the next dive, Marc can’t help but give a warning: “We dive right from the beach, make a big loop and then come back to the dive center from the left. Around halfway up, we may encounter a rather aggressive triggerfish. We also don’t know exactly what’s going on with it, the government would like to get rid of it, but so far he’s been too smart to get caught. If he gets in our way, just keep behind me and I’ll take care of it. “
And indeed, about halfway there, a big, threatening-looking fish shoots out of nowhere and tries to attack my fin. I can just save myself behind Marc’s back before the pangolin can ram its immense incisors into my diving gear. He keeps heading for us again and again until, from his point of view, we are obviously no longer a danger and he lets us continue diving undisturbed.
Immerse yourself in village life
Every now and then I take a break from diving to explore the area. On a sunny morning, I visit the local market. In addition to the usual colorful fruit and vegetable stands, there is also an area where live cattle are traded. A religious festival will soon be celebrated on the island and this means that the ingredients, i.e. the little pig, have to be bought for the Filipinos’ favorite feast – roasted suckling pig on a grill spit.
At first glance, one or the other may swallow and be tempted to call an animal protection organization for help, whether the squeaking piglet and the removal of the adult animals in cages, baskets, on scooters and whatever else in Asia for bridging the distances from A to B seems appropriate to the individual.
But if you take the trouble to look closely, you will see the farmer, who pityingly puts a cooling cloth over his eyes or soaks them with a water bottle. If we think of factory farming in Europe, we should be careful with criticism.
Underwater rendezvous with a cartoon character
Back at the resort, Narciso is waiting for me excitedly at the reception: “Hurry up! Marc told me to deliver you to the beach on time for the dawn dive. After all, today is your last day with us and he has not yet found ‘Shaun the sheep’ for you. I raise my eyebrows questioningly. “Oh, that’s such a tiny nudibranch that looks close up like the TV animation.”
“Ah yes,” I think to myself and go to change. As a precaution, I do not give any consideration to the fact that I am an adult, have no children and therefore have outgrown the age of animated film. In other words, I have no idea what we’re looking for.
Marc really goes out of his way to dive, but Shaun obviously has other plans. Don’t worry, we are delighted to see a pair of hawksbill turtles performing an incredible water ballet in front of our eyes.
The evening ends comfortably at the bar under the sparkling starry sky. I am a little wistful because I am to leave this little paradise that has grown so dear to me in such a short time and that is charming people. It was definitely not the last time I was here!
UW world around Salaya Beach House
Dive down the house reef from Salaya Beach House
The Dive Team from Salaya Beach House
Dive service at Salaya Beach House
The Visayas archipelago is protected in the middle of the Philippines, almost every island is easily accessible by plane from Manila or from other islands. Ferry connections complement the offer of jumping from island to island and thus exploring various dive sites and surface activities with one trip.
The stylish layout of the Salaya Beach Houses has nine suites and penthouses. Great importance is attached to the perfect care of photographers and videographers in the diving centers. Diving center manager Marc van der Poel is happy to give tips on designing motifs during the dives and afterwards or helps to get the desired objects in front of the lens. At the dive center, a specially equipped camera room provides the necessary infrastructure to prepare the photo equipment for the dives in a dry and well-tempered environment or to then safely transfer the digital yield to the laptop.
There is a beautiful house reef directly in front of the door, which is densely overgrown with corals and is home to numerous types of nudibranchs and ghost pipe fish. The latter are so strongly present in the Dauin area that the Salaya Beach Houses offer a special certification, which can be completed exclusively at the diving center belonging to the resort.
The Salaya Beach Houses are members of the Best Boutique Collection, a marketing organization that markets individual and stylish boutique hotels, resorts and lodges that are characterized by a special feel-good atmosphere and excellent service.