Dumaguete, the City of Gentle People also known as the University Town. But aside from studying and learning, it also has a lot of tourist sites to offer. It is the nearest entry point to Siquijor, dubbed as the Island of Fire, Mystery and Witchcraft.
Last September 2018, we had the chance to set our foot to these beautiful islands. We chased waterfalls, turtles, dolphins and hiked hundreds of steps that made our legs sore for days. Another accomplishment was driving around the 102kms coast of Siquijor. Although there isn’t much to see on the other half of the island since most of the sites are in San Juan and Lazi.
Caution: This travel guide will excite you and will exhaust you if you follow our itinerary. But it will surely show you what Dumaguete and Siquijor have to offer.
How to get there
- Fly to Dumaguete via Sibulan Airport (Travel Time: 1hr & 30mins | Regular Fare: Php2,500+)
For travelers coming from Manila, fly to Dumaguete via Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines to Sibulan Airport.
- Getting Around Dumaguete & Siquijor
To reach your destinations, you may take a jeepney, multi-cab, charter a tricycle or rent a motorcycle for Php500/day – which is the best option. If you would opt for the motorcycle rental, have your driver’s license handy and provide another ID that you would deposit to the owner.
While in Siquijor, either hire a tricycle or multi-cab especially if you’re in a larger group. Whereas, renting a motorcycle is much preferred if you want to maximize your stay on the island particularly when eating out.
Recommended motorcycle rental:
Mobile: 0916 121 2477
- RLJ Motorbike for Rent
Mobile: 0906 838 4065 / 0929 281 0344
Places to Visit
Waterfalls and Dumaguete City
Since we rented a scooter, we solely relied on directions from Waze. Going to Casaroro Falls was easy while it took us 30-45 minutes to reach Pulang Bato, where there are only a few residential areas along the way. Roads were not paved, but a bit easier to navigate compared to our Port Barton’s waterfalls adventure.
Upon reaching the entrance, pay the environmental fee of Php10/person. The caretaker also sells bottled water which you would need after the hike. We had to climb down the stairs with 300+ steps and another 5-10 minutes trek.
Continuing the trip, just follow Waze or Google Maps again and when you see a boulder with natural toxic gas steaming up, then you’re near the entrance. You’ll see welcome signage after that then turn right.
Pay the entrance fee of Php50/person and feast your eyes with the stunning color of Pulang Bato Falls, you may have your lunch there and take a dip at the man-made pool near the mini-falls.
At around 1PM, we headed back to the city since we were too sleepy due to the early flight we had. We could have had enough time to explore museums and historical sites, but our tiredness won over. We woke up around 6PM and had our dinner near Rizal Boulevard where food stalls are located.
Another site to explore that we skipped is the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao & Danao, which cover the municipalities of Valencia, Sibulan, and San Jose in the province of Negros Oriental.
From Dumaguete City, head to Ceres bus station and take the bus going to Bayawan City (make sure that it would pass through the Zamboanguita municipal). Ask the conductor to drop you off near the Malatapay Market. Walk straight to the shore and you’ll see the Tourism Office where you could rent a boat going to Apo Island. (If ever there’ll be people offering you cheaper boat rates, politely turn them down.) A boat with 2-4 pax capacity costs about Php2,500.00, you could share the boat ride with other travelers.
Things to do in Apo Island are swimming with turtles, hiking to the Lighthouse and ascend to the View Deck. There are lodges if you want to stay for a night. But for day tours, you have to leave the island before 3PM as the current gets stronger in the afternoon.
Manjuyod Sand Bar and Dolphin Watching
From Ceres Bus Station, take a bus going to Bais or Kalaon. Tell the conductor to drop you off at Bais near Jolibee then take a tricycle going to the port where your rental boat is.
Here’s the contact number for Bais Tourism Office – 0918 265 0474, they could assist you for your tours and boat rental. We had ours via Kuya Kokoy – 0997 229 5841 for Php2,300 (lunch not included), we went to his place where his boat was waiting at around 6AM to look for dolphins which took us an hour. Negotiate what you want on your tour, the meet-up time and if you want to have lunch on the boat.
It’s not ideal to go to Dumaguete without visiting Siquijor. Once done exploring Dumaguete’s tourist site, one could visit this mystical island for 45 minutes on a fast craft via OceanJet for Php250.
You could explore its well-known sites for a day, but to enjoy all of them I suggest you to allot 2 days. Siquijor has a lot of breath-taking falls aside from the famous Cambugahay Falls.
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I did a tarzan swing at Lugnason Falls, San Juan, Siquijor. 🏝️ While prepping for my swing, a foreigner asked her guide, “Is she gonna do it?” Tour guide: Yes, Filipinos are not afraid of heights. Me: (Swings forward) Me to myself: “As always it was worth it!” 👌 #adVIENtures #adVIENturesinSiquijor #siquijor #lugnasonfalls
Where to Stay
Here are the recommended hotels, considering the proximity of the bus station and tourist sites. You may check Agoda for rates and other options.
Tiptop Tower Suite Inn
South National Highway, Dumaguete City
0917 726 1866
Manhattan Suites Inn
South Road Calindagan, Dumaguete
(035) 422 8200
Treasure Island Beach Bungalows
San Juan, Siquijor
0915 434 5679
Islandia Beach Resort
Siquijor Circumferential Road, San Juan, Siquijor
0936 901 2228
Where to Eat
If you are opting for fewer expenses on food, there are affordable restaurants to explore around Dumaguete especially near Rizal Boulevard.
- Food Stalls at Rizal Boulevard
- Tom N Tom’s Coffee
Their Corn Cream Tortilla Pizza tastes awesome, we were planning to try the Tomato Tortilla but we were already full, I will try it when I get back.
- Beach Cafe
We had a late lunch here after coming back from Apo Island. It’s near the beachfront and you’ll see this place there.
Because we were still full of our lunch at the Beach Cafe, we decided to just eat at the hotel instead of going out, and their food didn’t disappoint us.
Restaurants in Siquijor are mostly in San Juan and these two restaurants caught our attention because of their ambiance.
- Monkey Business
A mix of everything on their menu, we had them for our dinner and some of it for our breakfast. They have a live band performing. I remembered the lyrics that say “Ang sarap maligo sa tubig alat” (It feels nice to swim in the ocean or saltwater which is true.
- Dagsa Resto Bar
Just across from Monkey Business is this resto bar with its relaxing feel and a dining area which allows you to sit crossed-leg or lie down for a bit while waiting for your food.
If you are planning to explore Dumaguete and Siquijor at your own pace or you’re up to slow travel, you could follow our 5D/4N itinerary. Our expenses amounted to Php16,959.12 (all-in), check our budget breakdown below.
|Day 1||Flight to Dumaguete|
|4:40||ETD from Manila|
|6:15||ETA in Dumaguete|
|7:00||Check-in at Tiptop Tower Suite Inn|
|8:15||Rent a motorcycle at Hey Dudz – 09161212477|
|8:30||ETD to Valencia|
|9:15||ETA in Casaroro Falls|
|9:35||Trek and Photo Ops in Casaroro Falls|
|10:15||ETD to Pulang Bato Falls|
|11:45||ETD in Pulang Bato Falls|
|13:00||ETD to Hotel|
|15:00 – 16:00||Explore Dumaguete City
|17:00||Go to Dumaguete Port and secure a ticket going to Siquijor for Day 3 (OceanJet – 2:40PM)|
|Day 2||Apo Island|
|5:45||Wake Up / Prep|
|6:30||Go to Ceres Bus Terminal|
|Take a bus bound for Bayawan City (make sure that it passes through the Zamboanguita municipality)|
|Drop you off at Malatapay Market (Register)|
|7:30||Go to the Information center to rent a boat
Boat Reservation – 09066891049
|8:30||Registration office, pay the environmental fee|
|Hire a tour guide at tourist assistance center|
|9:00 – 12:00||Explore Apo Island
Take a photo with turtles
|12:00||Prep to go back to the mainland|
|13:00||Lunch at Beach Cafe|
|15:30||Take a bus to Dumaguete City|
|17:30||ETA in Dumaguete City / Back at the Hotel|
|20:00||Dinner at the hotel|
|Day 3||Bais / Manjuyod & Siquijor|
|3:00||Wake Up / Prep / Check Out|
|4:00||Ceres Bus Terminal to Bais City or Kanlaon|
|5:00||ETA in Bais City, Breakfast at Jollibee|
|6:00||Meet Up with Kuya Kokoy, take a tricycle going to his house (Jump Off for your tour) – 0997 229 5841|
|6:30 – 10:00||Start of Dolphin Watching / Manjuyod Sand Bar|
|11:30||Lunch at Manjuyod Sandbar|
|12:00||ETD to Dumaguete City|
|13:30||ETA in Dumaguete Port (Lunch)|
|Ferry to Siquijor|
|14:40||Take a fast cat to Siquijor (OceanJet)|
|Pay Terminal Fee|
|15:30||Rent a motorcycle at RLJ Motorbike for Rent – 09068384065 / 09292810344|
|16:00||Check-in Treasure Island Beach Bungalows|
|19:00||Dinner at Monkey Business|
|Day 4||Day 2 in Siquijor|
|9:00 – 16:00||Explore Siquijor
|17:00||Back at the Hotel|
|19:00||Dinner at Dagsa Resto Bar|
|Day 5||Back to Dumaguete City & Flight to Manila|
|13:00||Take a fast craft going to Dumaguete Port|
|16:00||ETD to airport|
|18:50||ETD from Dumaguete|
|20:20||ETA in Manila|
Here’s the breakdown of expenses for our Dumaguete and Siquijor adventure. We didn’t hold back on food purchases because Food is Life!
|Accommodation (2 nights each)||4,745.62|
|Tiptop Tower Suite Inn||1,996.52|
|Treasure Island Beach Bungalows||2,749.10|
|Jeep to TipTop Tower Suite Inn||20.00|
|Motorcycle Rent at HeyDudz||500.00|
|Bus to Malatapay||100.00|
|Jeep to Dumaguete||40.00|
|Bus to Bais City||144.00|
|Tricycle to Canibol Port||200.00|
|Bus to Dumaguete Port||144.00|
|Montenegro Shipping Lines to Siquijor||260.00|
|RLJ Motorbike for Rent||500.00|
|Habal-Habal in Siquijor||200.00|
|OceanJet to Dumaguete||500.00|
|Bus to Dumaguete Airport||20.00|
|Tricycle around Dumaguete||72.00|
|Breakfast at Ceres Mart||87.00|
|Lunch in Cool CTR in Pulang Bato||350.00|
|Dinner at Food Stalls at Rizal Boulevard||395.00|
|Breakfast in McDonald’s||277.00|
|Lunch at Dream Cafe||550.00|
|Dinner a Tiptop Tower Suite Inn||298.00|
|Lunch in Dumaguete Port||153.00|
|Dinner at Monkey Business||910.00|
|Lunch at Salagdo-ong Beach Resort||260.00|
|Dinner at Dagsa Resto Bar||620.00|
|Breakfast at Siquijor Public Market||60.00|
|Lunch at Ceres Mart||105.00|
|Snacks at Tom’s N Toms Coffee||465.00|
|Island Hopping / Tour||3,550.00|
|Boat Rental to Apo Island||1,250.00|
|Boat Rental in Manjuyod||2,300.00|
|Entrance Fee & Guide Fee||903.00|
|Environmental Fee at Casaroro Falls||20.00|
|Entrance Fee at Pulang Bato Falls||100.00|
|Environmental Fee at Apo Island||200.00|
|Tour Guide in Apo Island||150.00|
|Table Rental in Apo Island||150.00|
|Tour Guide at Lugnason Falls||120.00|
|Environmental Fee at Old Balete Tee||20.00|
|Parking Fee at Old Balete Tree||5.00|
|Parking Fee at Cambugahay Falls||20.00|
|Parking Fee at Salagdo-ong Beach||40.00|
|Entrance at Salagdo-ong Beach||20.00|
|Souvenirs & Other Expenses||250.00|
|Total Expenses (excluding Airfare and Other Expenses)||Php16,959.12|
I hope this helps you plan your trip and would convince you to allot 4-5 days in Dumaguete and Siquijor.
Safe travels always.