This is a review of Liquid Dumaguete Dive Resort in Dauin. Liquid Dive Resort was only the second resort we stayed at during our 10-month travel adventure. As a rule, we don’t stay in resorts. They simply don’t fit our budget and usually they don’t fit us very well either. Dive resorts are a class by itself, however. Most divers are social people, who love to talk about diving and traveling. Now that does sound more like us…
Our first plan was to go to Dumaguete and dive from there, but people told us Dumaguete wasn’t such a nice city (turned out later we quite liked it…). Also if we wanted to dive Apo Island it made more sense to go to Dauin, a town about half an hour from Dumagete and stay there. So while researching Dauin resorts and especially Dauin beach resorts, I came across Liquid Dumaguete’s website, which looks quite professional and very inviting. Of course as a diver you’ve got to love their slogan ‘Eat, sleep, dive… live’!
Liquid Dumaguete dive resort
I was lured in by the phrase that they are a budget resort for flash packers. ‘Comfort on a budget’ is what their website promises. This made me believe that the pricing, even if a bit higher ranged, would still be within our budget limits. Turns out that wasn’t quite the case, but more about that later.
Update: Liquid have changed their website since we stayed there. It now reads ’boutique dive resort’, which is much more fitting (but would have probably meant we wouldn’t have gone there…) and they’ve added a number of more luxury cabins with aircon, hot water showers and cable TV. They’ve even added a massage cottage with a hot spring bath (with water from their own hot spring!). The only luxury facility missing is a hydrotherapy spa 🙂
Comfortable cabins, great atmosphere
The resort is amazing, very nicely landscaped area, beautiful bamboo huts and buildings, great pool and great atmosphere. Very relaxed and tranquil, lovely owners and the staff are all very professional. They really take good care of you. Even though the huts only have a fan and no a/c they were comfortable enough for our son’s naps during the day, with a nice balcony to sit outside for us. Almost all the buildings are either fully made out of bamboo or have bamboo finishing, very nice use of materials. And our little one absolutely adored the pool. He was in there at least 4 hours every day and never wanted to get out of the water. Which was good for us too, because it was easy for one of us to entertain him while the other went diving 🙂
Update: the Liquid Dumaguete website now says that the ‘basic’ cabins have only cold water showers. This wasn’t the case while we were there. They’ve also updated the price. We paid Php1600 when we were there, but they’re now Php2000 per night. Baby cots are still free of charge!
Well trained dive crew at Liquid Dumaguete
The diving was managed very well too. They have a big bangka boat, with enough seating space and even a toilet. Dive staff takes care of everything, from putting your equipment on the boat and setting it up to taking if off the boat after the dive and rinsing it for you. All you have to do is listen to the briefing, get on the boat, gear up and enjoy your dive. And unlike some other places where we’ve dived the boat crew are well trained to help you get out of the water too, should you need any assistance. What we really appreciated was that, since Mau had some health issues when diving earlier, they said not to take any chances and gave him nitrox at cost price. My only comment is that even though there is water, tea and coffee on the boat, you only get offered one cup and need to ask if you want more. I think on a dive boat, the crew should encourage you to hydrate, since it’s both important for diving and to avoid sea sickness.
Great diving, but quite expensive
Unfortunately diving in this area can get quite expensive. The base price that Liquid Dumaguete charges (1500 pesos per dive while we were there, lowering to 1300 after 6 or more dives) is not the highest we’ve seen (definitely not the lowest either….), but with the government imposed marine fees, camera fee and Liquid’s own add ons for day trips, a day of diving at Apo or Siquijor can get quite costly. Of course this isn’t such an issue if you’re on holiday, but can take a big chunk out of your budget if you’re traveling long term like us. But diving tends to do that anyway 🙂 That being said we actually enjoyed diving the Dauin coast more than going to Apo Island, lots of weird critters and heaven for macro fans (see pictures in our post Diving in Dauin). So we could have saved ourselves the 600 pesos for the day trip there. But of course we had to see for ourselves to know that and Apo was still nice.
Now for the costs and this is why we weren’t completely happy with our stay. The cabins are fairly priced for what you get, we paid 1600 pesos for our nice fan hut, with a free child’s cot. Of course that also gave us access to the great pool, so no complaints there. But the one thing that got to us were the restaurant prices. They serve great food, very tasty and freshly made. But… it’s expensive. We loved the idea of a family style dinner, but not at 350 pesos pp or more. On pizza night I think it was even 450 for a pizza and desert, wow… A refill for a 1 liter bottle of water was 25 pesos (compared to 4 pesos in the city at a filling machine in the street).
Fairer priced options on the bar menu
We did figure out, and other people who stayed there longer did too, that there were a few items on the bar menu that were a bit fairer priced and could serve as a meal, such as the quesadillas for 195 pesos and the nasi goreng for 150. But eating the same every day gets a bit boring. One other thing is that the portions weren’t the same each time, so one day we would get a big glass of fresh juice in the morning, the other day it was a smaller glass. And the same for the food portions. The selection was really good though and we loved the home made cakes and muffins that were available in the restaurant. But for a resort that claims to be ‘budget’ the prices really were too high.
Other options for dinner
Of course the high prices are what happens when there is no competition from other places to eat nearby. If you wanted to go outside the resort for dinner, you first had to walk 10 minutes on a dirt road before getting to the main street and from there you could catch a jeepney or tricycle to either Dauin (we didn’t try this) or to Dumaguete. Of course if you’re not traveling with a child it’s a bit easier to do. One more thing to note is that even though the resort is right on the beach, swimming in the ocean (or snorkelling in front of the resort) isn’t free. There is a government fee of 50 pesos per person. This isn’t Liquid’s fault, but we didn’t know this on beforehand and were quite disappointed when we found out.
Review Liquid Dumaguete – our verdict
All in all we would recommend a stay at Liquid Dumaguete and wouldn’t hesitate to return. Jace was clearly at ease from the minute we entered the resort and loved to play in the pool. We had a really good time there. Everyone at Liquid was incredibly friendly and professional, the atmosphere was really good and the diving, especially at the Dauin coast sites, was excellent. Just be prepared for the high food prices, which, if you’re on a vacation instead of traveling long term like us, might not be an issue for you.
Interested? Check availability & rates of Liquid Dive Resort.