Dumaguete City is a great jump-off point to some of Negros’ top natural attractions like Manjuyod, a seven-kilometer white sandbar in North Bais Bay in Tañon Strait, which only appears at low tide. There are a few bare houses built on stilts on the sandbar, available for rent through the Bais Bay Tourism Office.
“Dumaguete is an ideal basecamp for recharging and getting your supplies, before going back to explore some of the area's un-touristy places,” says ironwulf.net blogger Ferdinand Decena. Dumaguete is in Negros Oriental in the Visayas, 850km south of Manila.
Other places to see in the area Siquijor, located southeast of Dumaguete, equally known for witchcraft and its pristine beaches, just a two-hour ferry ride away; Bais Bay, north of Dumaguete for dolphin and whale watching, and Casaroro Falls.
Take a jeep or multi-cab from Dumaguete to the west in Valencia, then hire a habal-habal (local motorcycle) from the town center to take you to Casaroro Falls, with a vertical drop of more than 100 feet, ending in a natural plunge pool, perfect for swimming. It’s a 30-minute hike to Casaroro, difficult but manageable with an established trail.
Book a direct flight from Manila to Duamguete on Cebu Pacific Air. The summer months of March to May, when the seas are relatively calmer, are the best time to go.
Stay at Harold’s Mansion on Hibbard Avenue, Dumaguete City. Harold’s has aircon rooms for P800 (about US$19) for a twin/double room for two, with breakfast and free use of lockers, and dormitories that cost P250 per person. It also has ecolodge, detached wood cottages that cost P500 per night. Or at Gabby’s Bed & Breakfast in Daro Town, a backpacker-friendly, art-meets-native bed and breakfast, which has colorful rooms with friendly rates that start at P600 and a 15-minute tricycle ride from the airport.
Check out Boris Travel & Tours for Dumaguete tours with rates ranging from P1,000 to P3,000 per person for a group of 10 people. Some of the tours offered are a whole day tour of Dumaguete City and its countryside, dolphin and whale watching tour with lunch at White Sandbar, and Apo Island snorkeling tour. On offer too is a Siquijor Island tour, which costs P1,350 per person, minimum nine people per group. Call tel +63906 555 4190.
Originally published in InFlight Traveller December 2015-February 2016. Updated January 2016