Sometimes, the very thing we are looking for are just at the grounds of our own neighborhood. Our eyes are searching wide upon things which are miles away from us not knowing that there is equally fun or even more exciting activity waiting for us within the reach of our hands.
So last December 26, my friends and I decided to make a quick trip to the island of Negros to try another set of fun-filled adventure in the area. The initial plan was to go around Negros Oriental, cross to Apo Island, and then visit Siquijor. However, because the low pressure area strengthened and all boats bound for the mentioned destination, my co-adventurers and I made our way to one places which is more than what it is known more –Negros Oriental and Apo Island.
You may read my epic come back of finally visiting Siquijor HERE.
Here are some awesome places that you can visit around Negros Oriental.
Silliman University is the oldest American institution in the country and the entire Asian continent. It is the premiere research university in Dumaguete City
Rizal Boulevard is one of the topmost visited site in Dumaguete City. It is near the port and across the vibrant cityscape where fine dining restaurants and high-end hotels are located. It is named after the country’s icon Dr. Jose Rizal.
Dumaguete City Quezon Park
Dumaguete City Quezon Park is one of the most populated parks around the city. It is near the Sinking Bell Tower or Cathedral. It is 1.5 hectares big which is best for strolling and playing with kids.
Old Church belfry near Dumaguete Cathedral
Campanario de Dumaguete (or Dumaguete Belfry) was built in 1811 to prepare the locals in times when Moros attack their small town. It is the oldest bell tower in Visayas fronting St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral.
Landing of the Sisters of St. Paul of Charters Monument
It was October 29, 1904 when seven Sisters of St. Paul of Charters came to Dumaguete to start a mission. They were invited by Bishop Frederick Rooker . Then invitation then led to the establishment of St. Paul Academy (now called St. Paul College of Dumaguete).
Provincial Capitol of Dumaguete
The Provincial Capitol of Dumaguete City was built during the American regime in 1924. The capitol’s facade was literally patterned after the Capitol of the United States of America; hence the Grecian main body and Ionic columns.
Twin Lake (Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao)
The Twin Lake of Sibulan is one of the must-visited place when going around Negros Oriental. Though located 14.5km away from the main road, the beautiful surroundings of the natural park is such a sight to behold. It covers an area of 8,016.05 hectares in an altitude of 830 – 846 masl.
Apo Island (Malantapay, Zamboanguita)
Once in Dumaguete City, do not miss the opportunity to visit its nearby island – Apo Island. It is a marine sanctuary with various marine creatures and rich corals and wildlife. This volcanic island situated in the southern tip of Negros Oriental is considered as one of the top diving and snorkeling destinations because of the presence of sea turtles around the area!
GETTING AROUND DUMAGUETE CITY AND APO ISLAND
- Dumaguete: From Cebu City, you can ride a Ceres bus bound directly to Dumaguete. Bus schedules in South Bus Terminal are bound to change should there be holidays and special trips.
- One can also ride a bus bound for Santander and from there will ride the Maayo Shipping (barge) bound for Dumagute.
- Twin Lake: It would be best to take a jeepney ride from Dumaguete to San Jose via jeepney because the fare would only range up to P15.00. If you decide to take the tricycle or pedicab, be patient enough to haggle with the drivers and never hesitate to bid for the lowest price. Sometimes, these drivers would take advantage of the situation.
- From crossing San Jose, you need to take habal-habal (single motorcycle) ride in going to Twin Lake since it is 14 kilometers away from the highway. Expect also a death-defying ride. You also need to haggle with the price since most often, the habal-habal drivers would bid as high as P500.00 fee for back and forth ride.
- There is a P10.00 entrance fee for the lake watching and corresponding fees for water adventures.
- Apo Island: From Dumaguete City, you need to take a jeepney ride to Zamboanguita. Fare would range to P20.00. Just ask the driver to drop you at Malantapay where in you can take the pumpboat in going to Apo Island.
- From Malantapay, you need to ride a pumpboat in going to Apo Island. There is a coastguard area there where in you need to fill-up a form. Payment for pumpboat would range from P2,000.00 (4 pax) – P3,500.00 (8 pax) depending on the number of people. An additional P250.00 will be asked from the client should they have extra member. Another P200.00 will be charged for those who will spend an overnight at the island and will ask the boat to fetch them the following day.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
- Be early. Sometimes the scheduled trips are cancelled or changed. It is therefore best to always be early to avoid having conflicts with co-passengers and to have an ease in going to Dumaguete.
- It would be best if one will head directly to Twin Lake, then Dumaguete proper and then to Apo Island in order to save time and money for transportation fare.
- Canvass hotels and lodges before going to the place in order to find out the best accommodation with the right fee. Read reviews in order to know ahead of time the best deals and what to expect on the place where you will be staying.
- Camping is no longer allowed at Apo Island due to sanitary problems. We have talked to their the Apo Island barangay captain and found out the problems caused by some campers. Because they don’t have a place where they can dispose their waste, they just do their “thing” at the sea which will bring trouble to the marine lives (turtles and fish) inhabiting the area. There are lots of houses which are for rent there and even offers free breakfast or dinner to clients so that guests will be given enough accommodation.
- Wear already your swimmies in going to Apo Island because you are sure to get wet because of the waves.
- Electricity in Apo Island is only available from 6:00pm – 9:30pm. Therefore, gadgets should be charged at that time to maximize battery capacity.
- The island is using rainwater therefore, guests are encouraged to always maximize the use of water.
- Check out the weather before going to these places in order to avoid big waves in going to Apo Island and scary trips in going to Twin Lake.
1:00pm – Assembly time at South Bus Terminal
2:30pm – ETD bound for Dumaguete
7:00pm – Dinner at Santander port
8:45pm – ETA Dumaguete
9:00pm – Check-in at the nearest inn from the Ceres Bus Terminal (Manhattan Suites Inn)
7:00am – Breakfast (Free! Included in the accommodation)
8:00am – Siliman University (via tricycle)
9:0am0 – Roxas Boulevard, Rizal Park, Campanareo de Dumaguete, Dumaguete Cathedral, Dumaguete Capitol
11:00am – Bound for Twin Lake (via habal-habal)
12:00pm – Twin Lake
2:00pm – ETA Manhattan Suites Inn and packing up
3:00pm – Late lunch at Jollibee (Robinsons)
3:30pm – ETD Malantapay, Zamboanguita (via jeepney)
4:10pm – ETA Malantapay, Zamboanguita
4:50pm – ETA Apo Island (via pumpboat)
5:00pm – Looking for a place to stay
5:15pm – Lagoon / Marine Sanctuary
6:00pm – Trek to Apo Island lighthouse
7:00pm – Dinner
7:30pm – 8:00pm – Chill
9:30pm – Rest
6:00am – Breakfast
7:00am – Tour around the island
8:00am – 9:00am – Snorkeling and swimming with the sea turtles
9:00 – 10:00am – ETD bound for Malantapay
10:00am – 11:00am – Washing-up
11:00am – 12:00pm – Bound for Dumaguete port
12:00pm – ALL TRIPS TO SIQUIJOR WERE CANCELLED DUE TO TYPHOON SENYANG
12:30pm – Lunch at KFC (Robinsons)
1:00pm – Ceres Bus Terminal
2:30pm – ETD bound for Cebu
9:00pm – Home Sweet Home
This is a good for four package. Should you get more people to come with you, the amount paid will be lessen.
- Ceres Bus Fare – P205.00
- Barge Fare – P70.00
- Manhattan Suites Inn – P1,800 (P450.00 per head)
- Tricycle to Siliman – P9.00
- Tricycle to San Jose – P15.00
- Habal-habal to Twin Lake – P300.00
- Jeepney to Manhattan Suites Inn – P15.00
- Jeepney to Zamboanguita – P20.00
- Pumboat to Apo Island – P2,000.00 (P500.00 per head)
- House Rental (Mary’s House) – P500.00 (P250.00 per head)
- Tricycle to Dumaguete Port – P35.00
- Tricycle to Robinsons – P9.00
- Ceres Bus bound for Cebu – P205.00
Rates may change without prior notice. Guide fee and habal-habal rate may also depend on your haggling skills. Nonetheless, the experience is more than the amount paid. So what are you waiting for? Explore your neighborhood! Travel Visayas!