Dumaguete in 3 Days
Dumaguete City is the gateway to the many wonders the province of Negros Oriental has to offer! From the famous snorkeling and scuba diving in Apo Island, mountain trekking in Mt. Talinis and Mt. Kanlaon, to the refreshingly cool waters of Casaroro Falls and Pulangbato Falls. There are way too many things to do and see, and three days is not enough. Don’t worry! We will give you the ultimate travel guide showing the best places to visit in three days. One of the first things you should consider is where you are staying. There are plenty of Hotels in Dumaguete that are budget-friendly and convenient. For bigger groups of family or friends, there are several Dumaguete Guesthouses and Inns you can choose from. If you prefer the luxury of the beach, there are several Beach Resorts in the south.
Getting to Dumaguete City
One of the easiest ways to get to Dumaguete City is by a boat. The Dumaguete Seaport have boats coming in and out to different islands such as Siquijor, Bohol, Cebu and Zamboanga. The port has many ferries going to and from many directions like Manila, Cebu, Bohol, Tagbilaran, Dapitan, Zamboanga, Mindanao and more. Simply check out the Dumaguete Ferry Schedule and get on the next boat! If you prefer flying, there are also a few flight schedules available for entering Dumaguete City. Check out the Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport for flight schedules from and to Manila and Cebu.
If you are coming from the other side of the island, there are buses and vans available that can travel to Dumaguete City. There are also other ports available in the northern part of the province. The Sibulan Seaport and the Amlan Seaport (also known as Tampi) have boats coming in an out from the neighboring island of Cebu.
Like mentioned earlier, there are plenty of tourist spots you can visit. Whether you are a water sport enthusiast or a nature hiking lover, Dumaguete City and Negros Oriental has always something to offer. So, in this article we will spit the three-day tour with what would suit your interests best.
Day 1 – City Tour in Dumaguete
Land or water lover, the first thing you should do is explore the hidden wonders of Dumaguete. Upon arriving in the city and checking in to your hotel, the first thing most travelers do is roam around. Since Dumaguete City is not that big, the city tour can be done in half a day. First is walking up and down the Rizal Boulevard in the morning and perhaps watching the sunrise. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the waterfront. After a quick morning walk, visit the Dumaguete Cathedral and Belfry located near the city plaza. You can either walk from the boulevard or take a tricycle ride for a few pesos only.
Both of these tourist spots are rich in history and culture. There are no entrance or admission fee, however, a donation is highly appreciated. You can also light a candle and say your prayers near the Dumaguete Belfry. Small thin candles cost 1 peso only. On the other hand, rosaries, colored candles, crosses, statues, and other items will range in price. Learn more about Dumaguete in a Day, click here.
Day 2 – Swimming with Turtles in Apo island (Ocean Lovers)
Known for its diversity in marine life, Apo Island is known to be one of the best snorkeling and scuba diving destination in the province and in the Philippines. It is home to more than 650 documented species of fish and estimated to have over 400 species of corals. Aside from that, it is also famous for being the home of sea turtles.
The small island has several carinderia and small stores to buy snacks from. However, it is best advised to bring your own packed meals when traveling to Apo Island. If you plan to stay on the island for a night or two, there are a few accommodations like resorts and guesthouses available. Make sure you book in advance!
Getting to Apo Island
If you are staying in a Beach Resort in Dauin or Beach Resort in Zamboanguita, then simply ask if they have a boat trips to Apo Island. Chances are, the resort have their own boats to accommodate your trip. If you are staying in Dumaguete City, one needs to go to the boat terminal in Malatapay Market, Zamboanguita. Get on a bus or jeepney and tell the driver or conductor that your headed to Malatapay Market. Once you get dropped off at the highway, simply walk going to the beach. If you visit on a Wednesday, you will even see the Wednesday Malatapay Market. This is when local vendors from the mountain parts of the province gather to sell their vegetables, fruits, live stocks, and other good for a cheap price. Learn more about boat prices for Apo Island click here.
Day 3 – Dolphin Watching and White Sandbar (Ocean Lovers)
After swimming with the turtles in Apo Island, it is time watch the dolphins! Since dolphins are mostly active in the morning, travelers need to wake up early in the morning in order to see them. It is also best to book your boat ride ahead of time when visiting the dolphins and the While Sandbar of Manjuyod. From Dumaguete City, it takes about 2 hours via a bus to reach Barangay Campuyo in Manjuyod. Form there you can rent a boat for about PHP 3,500. 00 (USD 63), PHP 4,000.00 (USD 70) good for 15 people and Php 5,000.00 (USD 89) good for up to 20 people. Prices may vary depending on the boats available and in the season.
TIP: Buy and bring your own food and drinks, there are no restaurants nearby!
Once you get on the boat, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy! The local boat crews will show you when the dolphins will surface. They are also happy to take pictures of you and your family. After watching the dolphins, you can then enjoy the rest of the day at Manjuyod White Sandbar. There are a few house/ cottages in the middle of the sandbar. If you want to book an overnight or day time stay there, get in touch with the Manjuyod Tourism Office. Although there are no restaurants nearby, there are floating stores that will pass by. They will sell fresh coconut juice, sea urchins, oysters, chips, crackers, biscuits, and a few beverages.
Day 2 – Casaroro Falls & Pulangbato Falls
If you are a “land and nature” lover, then trekking to the Casaroro Falls in Valencia is for you! From Dumaguete City, you can take a jeepney ride going to the Valencia Plaza. Then you can either take a pedicab or a habal-habal (motorcycle ride) to the entrance of the waterfalls. There, the real adventure begins. First you have to walk down 350 steps going down the river side. Once you reach the river, you will trek for a few meters in order to reach the waterfalls. The refreshing cool waters of Casaroro Falls strikes 30 meters down into a basin.
Pulang Bato Falls & Red Rock Hot Spring
There are plenty of other Tourist Attractions in Valencia. However, if you are up for a less “adventurous” yet beautiful attraction, then the Pulangbato Falls is the place to go! The term “pulang bato” means red rock in the Bisayan dialect. True enough to its name, the Pulangbato Falls is surrounded by red rocks. It may not be as tall as the Casaroro Falls, however, it still offers refreshing cool waters and scenic views of nature. There is an entrance fee of Php 50 (US$1). Tables and chairs are also available inside for rent. A snack bar, restrooms, shower, and parking areas are some of the convenient facilities of the Pulangbato Falls. Over all, you can visit these two waterfalls in one day! If you have time in the afternoon, you can also make a quick stop at the Red Rock Hot Spring (located about a kilometer down from the Pulangbato Falls).
Day 3 – Twin Lakes (Lake Balinsasayao & Lake Danao)
Another great place to visit for nature lovers is the Twin Lakes of San Jose. This tourist spot is named after the two lakes, Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao. Out of the two, only Lake Balinsasayao is open to the public. In order to get there, you will need to take a public transportation (jeepney or easy ride) to the main highway going to the lakes. In the intersection, a few habal-habal drivers will be more than happy to take you up the tourist attraction. A big notice board can be seen in the area stating the price for one way and round trip to the area.
Upon reaching the entrance of the Twin Lakes, the guard and receptionist will ask you to sign in their log book. General entrance fee for Filipino Nationals is Php 50.00. For Non-Filipino Nationals, the entrance fee is Php 100.00. Children (7 years old & below) are free of charge and there are Special Rates for students, senior citizens, residents of Negros Oriental/Occidental (prices may change without prior notice).
What to Do in Twin Lakes?
After that, feel free to roam around in the spacious area. You can also cross the lake via a boat ride that costs Php 250 per hour and can fit 1-7 persons. Swimming is not encouraged in most parts of the lake for safety reasons. Instead, enjoy a boat ride from end to end of the Lake Balinsasayao. Kayaking is also available and will cost Php 150 per hour. The trails are free for easy trekking and hiking. However, for full exploration, one can book a guide for a group of three people for Php 300. Other activities offered in the Twin Lakes are carp fishing and overnight camping, as long as visitors bring their own gear. There is nowhere around the Twin Lakes to rent fishing or camping gear.
Thats Dumaguete in 3 Days!
That’s a wrap! For the nature enthusiast visiting the Philippines, the Twin Lakes is a wonderful place to visit. The hiking trails, clear lakes, and exotic flora and fauna are sure to lift the spirit of anyone who finds peace in the outdoor environment. For ocean lovers, Apo Island and the Manjuyod White Sandbar is definitely a must go. If you are visiting for a longer period of time, try visiting the rest of Negros Oriental’s Tourist Spots.