Dumaguete is the capital of Negros Oriental and known as the ‘City of the Gentle People.’ The city itself is relatively small, but offers a vibrant atmosphere and nightlife thanks to the large amounts of students there. Going to Rizal Boulevard at night is especially recommended – it’s a great way to experience the city’s unique style.
HOW TO GET THERE?
The best way to get to Dumaguete is by taking a direct flight from either Manila or Cebu. Ferries from Cebu and Tagbilran, Bohol are also available, but if you’re on a short vacation it’s not the best choice since the ride takes at least 4 hours. That said, if you take the ferry from Oslob it’ll cut the journey by half, so it might be a good idea to combine both places. You could spend anight in Sumilon island,then make your way to Dumaguete from there.
WHERE TO STAY?
It’s possible to visit Dumaguete on a single day, especially if you focus on the island hopping tour alone. However, that isn’t recommended and i suggest spending at least a night over there. Your itinerary would be too hectic otherwise, and you won’t be able to enjoy everything properly.Running around all day kind of defeats the purpose of a dream beach getaway doesn’t it?
But more importantly, Dumaguete offers some really high class hotels and resorts, at very affordable prices. The city itself has a few nice hotels, mostly located around Rizal Boulevard, as well as many cheap hostels and guesthouses,if you’re on a budget.
The nicest beach resorts are found at either Dauin or Ajong beaches. Both are only 30 minutes drive from the city, to the south and north respectively. If you want all inclusive luxury resorts, both locations are just perfect for that. If you can choose, I’d recommend staying at Dauin since it fits the itinerary that I’ll suggest below better. There are usually good deals for holiday packages. Dumaguete isn’t such a popular tourist spot, so finding good prices should be easy.
WHAT TO DO? PLAN FOR AN ISLAND-HOPPING TOUR
There are a ton of exciting attractions both in Dumaguete itself and in surrounding areas. You could easily spend a whole week just exploring the beautiful Negros province. I did, however, choose to focus on just island hopping, namely at two sensational islands – Apo Island and Manjuyod sandbar.
Visiting both can be easily done on the same day, especially if you’re the type who wakes up early, and it’s probably the best day tour to have in Dumaguete.
I strongly suggest you visit Apo first, before heading back to the mainland and continuing to Bais. Manjuyod is all about relaxing at the pristine white sand beach, while Apo is more activities-
oriented – you’ll spend most of your time there snorkeling, swimming and diving. Besides, watching the sun fall while standing on the sandbar would surely take your breath away.
To reach Apo island you’ll have to take a ferry from Malatapay in Zamboanguita. If you chose to stay at Dauin like I suggested, then it’ll only take you 20 minutes to get to the pier. Once there,
catch a boat sailing to Apo, and enjoy the 45 minutes ride.
Apo island itself is the epitome of tranquility – virtually uninhabited and full of rich wildlife. You can easily spend half a day just swimming in its calm waters and snorkeling everywhere. You’ll see many beautiful corals and colorful fish, but the real highlight is the large population of sea turtles who make this place their home. The turtles come to the shallow waters quite often, so even small kids can enjoy this thrilling experience.
There’s a small restaurant and a canteen on the
island – you can have a snack before heading back to the mainland.
When you’re back in Zamboanguita, make your way up north to Bais. The ride takes between 1.5 and 2 hours, depending on your choice of transportation. When you reach Capiñahan Wharf at
Bais, you only need to endure a 15 minutes boat ride before reaching paradise.
Manjuyod white sandbar is one of the most heavenly places in our country. The fine beach and crystal clear waters are easily comparable to those of any famous island in the Philippines. There’s not much to do here other than relax at the beach and swim
in the beautiful waters – but trust me when I say there’s something truly magical about this place.
The island is completely deserted, except for a small canteen and a few huts. You can buy some snacks and beers there, but don’t count on having a full, satisfying meal. If you didn’t grab lunch
at Apo, make sure you do so on the way here instead. The huts are also available for an overnight stay – with prices ranging between 3 and 4 thousand Pesos a night.
If you didn’t decide to stay there for the night, I at least recommend watching the sunset before heading back. Then make your way back to Dumaguete and take your dinner at one of the nice
restaurants on the boulevard. Watching the sunset from the promenade in Dumaguete is also spectacular – so it’s a good choice if you’re not patient enough to wait at Manjuyod sandbar.
Note: This is a guest contribution