An ornate ghost pipefish or harlequin pipefish at Atmosphere Resort in Dauin - Dumaguete - Philippines - a paradise for muck diving

Our critters at Atmosphere in the Philippines

Atmosphere boasts some of the best diving in the world, mixing world class muck diving dive sites with lush reef diving, walls and macro diving. The Philippines is situated in the Coral Triangle – a marine area located in the western Pacific Ocean. It includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Solomon Islands. Named for its staggering amount of corals (nearly 600 different species of reef-building corals alone), the region nurtures six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and more than 2000 species of reef fish.

Colorful reef scene at Apo Island with tropical reef fish - photo by Bo Mancao for Atmosphere Resort in the Philippines

Reef diving at Apo Island

Apo Island – only 30 minutes from Atmosphere Resorts & Spa – boasts many of those species. Apo Island is a very old marine sanctuary and has among the world’s best hard coral. Also present around Apo are a multitude of green turtles and leatherback turtles, schools of big eyed trevallies/jacks, bumphead parrotfish, lots of colorful reef fish and beautiful black and white sea kraits (snakes).

Turtles and coral in Apo Island - photo by Bo Mancao for Atmosphere Resort in the Philippines

For those of you who love drift dives, some of Apo Island’s dive sites will give you the ride of a life time – but there are also quiet wall dives where you can stop and explore the marine life in the crevices.

Some of our favorite critters also reside here, such as frogfish, pipefish, eels, nudibranchs and leaf fish.

Muck diving along the Dauin coastline

The coast of Dauin where Atmosphere is situated has excellent macro diving with many of the most interesting critters in the world. Often called “muck diving” these usually small critters can be found worldwide but very often in dive sites with nutrient-rich volcanic sand. Muck diving usually also refers to the site being mucky with a lot of trash – which is not the case in the Dauin area, where pristine brown sand sites line the coast. Many of the coveted animals here are masters of camouflage and rely on mimicry to survive, making each dive a treasure hunt and the use of great dive guides a must.

Some of our critters at Atmosphere resort Philippines - world class muck diving and reef diving

Many of our favorite critters, like the frogfish or the devil scorpionfish, don’t swim… they walk. Others, like seahorses, hang on for dear life with the tail and we are pleased to have both the smallest pygmy seahorse and the big thorny seahorse on our Atmosphere house reef. The list of critters can be very long but a few favorites are: Blue-ringed octopus, hairy frogfish, pygmy seahorse, ambon scorpionfish, mandarinfish, orangutan crab, mimic octopus, ribbon eel, ornate ghost pipefish, halimeda crab, flamboyant cuttlefish, nudibranchs, wonderpus, velvet ghost pipefish, thorny seahorse, stargazer, leaf fish, harlequin shrimp, squat lobster, sargassum fish, jawfish, mantis shrimp, giant frogfish, candy crab and many more. A muck-divers paradise!

The muck diving and macro diving in Dauin, Dumaguete, with Atmosphere Resort is spectacular. Photos by Daniel Geary, Philippines

If there is a specific animal you’d like to see during your stay, let us know. Some are seasonal whereas others just need to be found in the right place.

Click on the button below for some of our favorite critters…