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August 17, 2016

DUMAGUETE: Most Awesome Eco-Friendly Adventure in Dumaguete!

August 17, 2016

DUMAGUETE: Most Awesome Eco-Friendly Adventure in Dumaguete!





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Dumaguete Ciy is the capital and most populated area of Negros Oriental. Its geographical location makes it one of the most convenient gateways to some of the most beautiful places in the Philippines--Apo Island, Casaroro Falls, Pulang Bato, Bais, and more!

Here are the recommended activities and places within your reach from Dumaguete City…


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1. APO ISLAND

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Located about 30km south of Dumaguete City, Apo Island is home to a community-protected marine reserve established in the 80’s. The conservation project, initiated by Marine Biologist Dr. Alcala of Silliman University, now safeguards 500m of water from the shoreline. Not only did this move jumpstart the local appreciation of marine life in Negros Oriental, but across the entire Philippines as well.

 

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Apo is now home to more than 600 species of fish, 400 types of coral, and the majestic “pawikan” (turtle).

 

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When you’re at Apo, you have the option of hiking to the top to view the lighthouse…

 

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…or taking a swim in the turtle sanctuary at the shore.

 

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The best time to go is around 7AM to 11AM when turtles are most abundant. We unfortunately only had a chance to go in the afternoon due to the rainy weather, but we were so lucky to find a few turtles still swimming about.

 

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The turtles are friendly and don’t mind getting close to you. However, remember to always maintain a distance of at least 1m from the gentle creatures. Touching or picking up any marine life is illegal and you will be fined up to P2,000 or more.

What to bring:
- Slippers
- Snorkeling Gear
- Diving Gear (if you want to visit the corals, they’re on a different part of the island away from the turtles)
- Underwater camera

 

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How to get there:
Take a tricycle from the city and ask to be dropped off at a terminal at Zamboanguita. Take a jeepney (P20) and tell the driver to drop you off at Malatapay Market.

From the market, head for the shore where you will find a registration center. Register and hire a boat for P2,000 (4 pax) or P3,000 (8 pax) that will take you to the island about 30 minutes away.

 

2. MANJUYOD SANDBAR

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The 600-hectare sandbar, located 15 minutes south of Bais Bay and Capiñahan Wharf, is lovingly nicknamed “The Maldives of the Philippines.” While it is best enjoyed during low tide when the sand emerges, it looks just as beautiful during the afternoon when the water is highest. Best time to come here would be at around 6AM-8AM if you want to reach dry sand.

 

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While there are no corals in the area, you are definitely welcome to snorkel and explore! Make sure to bring some good aqua shoes or you might step on bottle caps left behind by incorrigible tourists.

 

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These houses on stilts can be rented for an overnight stay.

 

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Large cottages are P4,000/night, and the smaller ones are P3,000/night.

 

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If you’re lucky enough to find fishermen nearby, you can purchase live sea urchins for only P300 per bundle. There are more than 50 sea urchins per bundle.

What to bring:
- Snorkeling gear
- Aqua shoes
- Any other water sport gear you have in mind

 

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How to get there:
Take a jeepney from Dumaguete (P15) going to the Bais Terminal headed for Lo-oc Road in Rizal Boulevard, or take the Ceres Liner Bus (P20, non air-conditioned; P50 air-conditioned) in Barangay Calindagan. When you get to Bais, take a tricycle going to Canibol Wharf or Capiñahan Wharf where you can rent a boat.

Best way to go there, however, is via private van, which will cost around P1,500. Ask your hotel or resort for their rates. We recommend Atmosphere Resorts, the best Eco-Luxury Resort in Negros Oriental.

There are no fixed rates for the boats going to Manjuyod, but on average you can hail one for about P2,500 to P5,000--the side trip to go dolphin watching is sometimes included.

To avail of government boats at Bais you can contact:
+63 (35) 402-8174
+63 (35) 402-8040
+63 (35) 402-8180

Tourism officials can help you buy food and other supplies at the Bais public market.

 

3. BAIS DOLPHIN WATCHING

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Bais is home to more than 6 different species of dolphins--the Spinner and Spotted Dolphins are the most common. These playful creatures are best viewed at the Tañon Straight during March to October.

The best time arrive at Canibol Wharf is from 6AM to 10AM, as many of the dolphins appear only during the morning.

What to bring:
- Binoculars
- Water resistant jacket

 

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How to get there:
Same way you get to Manjuyod Sandbar.

For a fully organized tour inclusive of Manjuyod Sandbar, Dolphin Watching, and food, contact Dumaguete Outdoors for more information.

 

4. TWIN LAKES

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In the town of Sibulan lie two great lakes: Danao and Balinsasayao. These tranquil waters are within a protected bird sanctuary.

 

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The first lake you’ll encounter is the larger lake called Balinsasayao, which gets its name from a bird native to the area.

 

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Once you’ve registered, you can take a Catamaran for 250/hour (7 pax) to bring you across the lake to Danao.

 

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At the lake you can go paddle boating (P650), snorkeling, and even go free diving. However, it’s not recommended to go swimming during rainy seasons, as the lakes are not as tranquil.

 

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Once you’ve docked going to Danao, a short hike of 15 minutes is required to reach the other side.

 

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If you’re after the view, Lake Danao is definitely more scenic.

What to bring:
- Slippers with a good grip or sandals
- Water
- P10/head entrance fee

 

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How to get there:
From the city, hail a tricycle (P10 minimum fare) going to the jeep (P15) or bus (P20) heading to San Jose. Ask the driver to drop you off at Balinsasayao Twin lakes (this is located after Sibulan town and before San Jose Town). From the intersection, you can take a Habal-Habal (motorbike) up the mountain for P100. Be sure to arrange one for your way down.

 

5. CASARORO FALLS

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The picturesque Casaroro Falls requires a 30-minute hike down 350 steps and another 20-minute hike across slippery rocks and streams (going to and from). As daunting as it sounds, we guarantee that the view is worth all the trouble.

 

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Some walkways and paths were destroyed during Typhoon Yolanda, so not all areas are safe for trekking. It’s recommended you take a guide with you as there is no phone reception in the area to call for help.

 

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Slipping is real danger, and mossy rocks are the main culprits! Don’t forget to bring a waterproof bag and waterproof carrying case for your electronics in case you fall.

 

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You will definitely get your feet wet on the way to the falls. Water-ready hiking shoes are recommended, but the hike is easy enough to do with good trekking sandals.

You can wear flip-flips if you’re confident about your footing and balance. Swimming is allowed, but do not swim under the falls. Some have already died due to the strong water pressure.

What to bring:
- Water
- Insect repellant
- Water-ready hiking shoes, sandals, or slippers with good grip
- Waterproof bag and waterproof case for your phone
- Wear shorts
- P10/person entrance fee

 

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How to get there:
Take a jeep (P13) headed to Valencia, then hail a habal-habal (motorbike) from the town proper headed to the falls. The 15-minute motorbike ride will cost P100/person (round trip).

 

6. PULANG BATO FALLS & HOT SPRINGS

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Pulang Bato (Red Rock) gets its name from the rusty color of the rocks. Locals say this occurs due to the high iron content of the water, while others attribute the color to the sulfur coming from Mt. Talinis. Naturally, the water will smell a bit metallic and kind of eggy.

You are welcome to swim in the falls and also rent a picnic hut for P200. Sulfur is used in topical treatments a variety of skin conditions like acne, eczema, or psoriasis.

 

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After the falls, you can ask your transportation to take you to the hot springs for a warm, relaxing swim! Entrance fee is P20/person.

What to bring:
- Swimming trunks/swimsuits
- Towels
- P20/head entrance fee for Falls and Hot Spring
- P10/head for kids 13 and below

 

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How to get there:
From the city, take a tricycle (P8) headed to Valencia, then take a jeepney ride going to Valencia Town. When you arrive, habal-habal drivers will be waiting for you. Make your arrangements with them going to Pulang Bato Falls and Hot Springs. Rates can go from P100 to P500. Negotiate well!

 

7. MALATAPAY MARKET

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Malatapay Market at Dauin takes place every Wednesday. As early as 3AM in the morning, farmers and fishermen from the mountains come down to sell their produce, livestock, and other products.

 

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The market is a great place to enjoy local delicacies and snacks like the Torta (a bread similar to Pan De Coco, except it has peanuts) or Budbud (local version of Suman).

 

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Budbud is a common breakfast food in Dumaguete and is typically dipped in warm Tsokolate.

 

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At the market you can find a variety of fresh and dried fish at unbelievably cheap prices.

 

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Pretty much anything under the sun is sold at Malatapay. From household items…

 

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…to Talismans.

 

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If you want to check out the livestock market, head towards the end of the long strip of road and turn right--you won’t miss it since the sound and smell of livestock is very noticeable.

 

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Malatapay Market, especially the livestock auction area, is not for the faint of heart. However, it’s still a worthwhile place to visit if you want to experience the real local scene.

 

What to bring:
- Camera
- Good sandals / walking shoes
- Insect repellant
- Pocket money (P500 and above for shopping)
- P5 entrance fee for livestock market

 

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How to get there:
Take a tricycle from the city and ask to be dropped off at Zamboanguita terminal. Take a jeepney ride (P20) and look for an open market near the junction. The ride should take roughly 40 minutes.

 

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It's simply incredible how some of the Philippines' most interesting places are just within your reach at Dumaguete City. Our favorite stops are Apo Island, Manjuyod Sandbar, and Casaroro Falls. The best time to go to is during the dry season, which is from December to May!

 

Live an Awesome Life,

 

Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our flights were sponsored by Skiddoo, and our stay was courtesy of Atmosphere Resorts. We wrote this article with our biases, opinions, and insights

P.S. There are also 4x4 tour activities in Dumaguete and the city is the nearest jump off point to Whale Shark watching in Oslob.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

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From Manila, we traveled by plane to Dumaguete in one hour and 20 minutes via Philippine Airlines, whose planes fly to the city twice daily--8.40am and 1.20pm. A one-way ticket from Manila to Dumaguete is usually around Php 3,000. 

Travel tip: We booked our flights with Skiddoo, which offered us a cheap and easy way to book our flights online. That's right. The fastest growing online travel agency out of Australia is now in the Philippines! It’s the cheapest place for you to compare and book airfare.

If you find cheaper flights on another website, Skiddoo is ready to match that price. Just take a screenshot of the cheaper flight’s price, call +632 770-5380 and email the picture to contactus@skiddoo.com.ph so Skiddoo can verify it. Where else can you find travel agents online who would lower their price for you? For more info, just visit their website at https://www.skiddoo.com.ph/


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