Dumaguete – Siquijor: An Adventure of Chasing Turtles, Dolphins and Waterfalls for Php9K+

February 14, 2019

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.

Silliman University, one of the outstanding schools in the Philippines.

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 definitely exhaust you if you follow our itinerary. But it will surely show you what Dumaguete and Siquijor has 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 in the island particularly when eating out.

Recommended motorcycle rental:

  1. HeyDudz
    Dumaguete City
    Mobile: 0916 121 2477
  2. RLJ Motorbike for Rent 
    Siquijor, Siquijor
    Mobile: 0906 838 4065 / 0929 281 0344

 

Places to Visit

Day 1

Waterfalls and Dumaguete City

Since we rented a scooter, we solely relied directions from waze. Going to Casaroro Falls was easy while it took us 30-45 minutes to reach Pulang Bato, where there are only few residential areas along the way . Roads were not paved, but a bit easier to navigate compare to our Port Barton’s waterfalls adventure.

Casaroro Falls

Upon reaching the entrance, pay the environmental fee of Php10/person. The caretaker also sells bottled water which you would definitely 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 a 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.

Pulang Bato 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.

If we continue cleaning up Manila bay, and restaurants around the coast has the proper waste disposal and sewage… maybe it’ll look like this.

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.

Klook.com

Day 2

Apo Island

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.

 

Day 3

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.

Too early for Jollibee breakfast, good thing we had leftovers from our dinner.

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. 

No Sandbar for us.

Read: Port Barton: A Hidden Paradise in San Vicente, Palawan | Travel Guide

 

Day 4

Explore Siquijor

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 for you to allot 2 days. Siquijor has a lot of breath-taking falls aside from the famous Cambugahay Falls.

Read: Bohol: Island Hopping, Chasing Waterfalls + Cave Pools | Travel Guide

Siquijor’s famous for witchcraft and potions but we don’t know if it really works.

 

Where to Stay

Here are recommended hotels, considering the proximity from the bus station and tourist sites. You may check Agoda for rates and other options.

Dumaguete

Tiptop Tower Suite Inn
South National Highway, Dumaguete City
0917 726 1866

Manhattan Suites Inn
South Road Calindagan, Dumaguete
(035) 422 8200

 

 

Siquijor

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

Dumaguete

If you are opting for less 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 taste awesome, we were planning to try the Tomato Tortilla but we were already full, I will definitely 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 from 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.

Siquijor

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 and sang some original compositions.. I remembered the lyrics that say “Ang sarap maligo sa tubig alat” (It feels nice to swim in the ocean or saltwater which is definitely 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.

Read: Iloilo: Gigantes Island, Concepcion, Guimaras and Iloilo City | Travel Guide

Sample Itinerary

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 itineary. Our expenses amounted to Php16,959.12 (all-in), check our budget breakdown below.

Time Activity
Day 1  Flight to Dumaguete
4:00 Check in
4:40 ETD from Manila
6:15 ETA in Dumaguete
7:00 Check in at Tiptop Tower Suite Inn
7:30 Breakfast
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
12:00 Lunch
13:00 ETD to Hotel
15:00 – 16:00 Explore Dumaguete City

Anthropology Museum
Rizal Boulevard
Dumaguete Cathedral

17:00 Go to Dumaguete Port and secure a ticket going to Siquijor for Day 3 (OceanJet – 2:40PM)
19:00 Dinner
21:00 Sleep
Day 2 Apo Island
5:45 Wake Up / Prep
6:15 Breakfast
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 Information center to rent a boat

Boat Reservation – 09066891049
Tourism – 09274603637

8:30 Registration office, pay environmental fee
Hire a tour guide at tourist assistance center
9:00 – 12:00 Explore Apo Island

Take a photo with turtles
Check out the lighthouse
Hike to View Deck

12:00 Prep to go back to 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
21:00 Sleep
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 Jolibee
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
21:00 Sleep
Day 4 Day 2 in Siquijor
8:00 Wake Up
8:30 Breakfast/ Prep
9:00 – 16:00 Explore Siquijor

Paliton Beach
Lugnason Falls
Old Balete Tree
Hapitanan Cafe and Restaurant
Cambugahay Falls
San Isidro Labrador Church
Salagdo-ong Beach

17:00 Back at the Hotel
18:00 Freshen Up
19:00 Dinner at Dagsa Resto Bar
21:00 Sleep
Day 5 Back to Dumaguete City & Flight to Manila
10:00 Wake Up
11:00 Breakfast
12:00 Check Out
12:30 Return motorcycle
13:00 Take a fast craft going to Dumaguete Port
15:00 Buy Pasalubong
16:00 ETD to airport
18:00 Check in
18:50 ETD from Dumaguete
20:20 ETA in Manila

 

Breakfast inside the wet market, try their ricecake!

 

Sample Budget

Here’s the breakdown of expenses for our Dumaguete and Siquijor adventure. We didn’t hold back on food purchases because Food is Life!

Expenses  Amount   Total 
Airfare                  3,978.24
Vien’s                815.24
Claire’s             3,163.00
Accommodation (2 nights each)                  4,745.62
Tiptop Tower Suite Inn             1,996.52
Treasure Island Beach Bungalows             2,749.10
Transportation                  2,981.50
Jeep to TipTop Tower Suite Inn                 20.00
Motorcycle Rent at HeyDudz                500.00
Fuel                281.50
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
Food                  4,779.00
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 McDonalds                277.00
Snacks                249.00
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
Terminal Fee                 58.00
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 convinced you to allot 4-5 days in Dumaguete and Siquijor. Safe travels always.