Going to Dumaguete and Siquijor didn’t appeal to me before because first, I don’t know anybody there, and second, I haven’t heard anything touristy about it – until I realized how wrong I was.
John (who was then the boyfriend, not until he proposed in the plane right before we landed to Dumaguete) has grandparents who live there, and part of our itinerary was to meet them. This is actually the first trip we’re having as a couple, and meeting his grandparents really placed some shivers down my spine.
Note: A long post awaits you. I wanted to give you details of our trip, as a form of reference when you go there. So go ahead and read my wanderer merfriend! 😀
We arrived on a rainy Sibulan airport, and goodie I haven’t forgotten my Cebuano, we managed to build rapport with the guards and locals, and one of which is our trusty and friendly chauffeur Kuya Judy.
He was supposed to take us to Harold’s Mansion, because that’s what I was eyeing based on the blogs I’ve read about going to Apo Island. I was thinking of placing our reservations; since we’re planning to go there on our 4th day. They were particularly difficult to contact too, since my Facebook messaging and SMS attempts remained futile, so I thought going there instead was the best idea.
Kuya Judy was so helpful because he advised that we can do Apo Island Tour on DIY. I was hesitant at first, but he said we will save a lot if we just do it ourselves. So we opt to have breakfast first at Sta. Teresa Resto. This was one of the few restaurants that are already open at 6AM.
While we eat, Kuya Judy offered to run to the Dumaguete Port to buy us ferry tickets to Siquijor, since that was also our plan after Harold’s Mansion. Kuya Judy was even offering his ID to us, just so we have something to hold from him and to ensure that he’s coming back with our tickets. He was soooo nice! But we told him we didn’t need it. 🙂
He was able to score us 10AM ferry rides to Siquijor, and since it was just around 7:00AM, he said that he can tour us in Dumaguete. I actually thought John and I are never going to tour the city because we may be pressed for time, but oh well, we can put the 3 hours to good use, so we gladly agreed.
We visited Cathedral of St. Alexandria the Diocese of Dumaguete first. The bell tower was enormous.
We also went to the Chinese Temple’s Bell Church, and offered some incenses after we used some bean-like stones and long sticks for some fortune guide. The place was well-maintained, to think that they only ask for donations. It was also undergoing renovation, and I can’t wait to go back to see how it will all turn out.
We weren’t able to snap photos inside. It was prohibited. 😦
Anyhoo, we also had the chance to get foot massages, and they were divine, and a little ticklish.
We boarded the ferry at 10AM at Dumaguete port, and arrived to the bright and happy Siquijor. We booked a tricycle and it cost us P300. I booked us to Islandia Beach Resort, and it’s located in San Juan Siquijor. It was relatively far, around 30 to 40 minute drive from the port, but once we got there, it was worth it.
We also made friends with our neighbours, and one of them was actually in the same plane, and he heard the proposal. He was like, “Kayo pala yun!”.
We checked in to Islandia Beach Resort, and was greeted by this spacious accommodation.
This reminded me of the room in Isle Esme, where Bella and Edward Cullen had their honeymoon in Breaking Dawn. What do you think?
John and I were so tired with the trip and were so amazed by our accommodation that we slept the afternoon away. So much for our beach bumming plans. Huhu
Kuya Ronald, our driver, picked us up at 8AM, so we had breakfast early that morning, and of course had some photo-snapping opportunity too! Haha I’m so kilig how John is such a natural Instagram boyfriend, oh I mean fiancé . (He might read this blog too. Haha He’s particular with the names I call him. Hehe)
Siquijor is just a small island, and you can tour it for a day. Most travellers I know only spend a daytour here, but I thought we needed some freshening up after and a good sleep too, so I booked us 2D and 2N in Islandia.
I was so inlove with this island, and its people. Everybody was soo kind and accommodating. The entrance fees are so cheap too.
Balete Fish Spa
Entrance Fee: P10.00 per person
The fishes were so hungry that they were all looming over John’s feet. Even a milkfish joined the fun! There were a lot of foreigners there too.
If you need the loo, there is one near the place, and you just have to pay P5.00 .
In buying shirts or sandos, I recommend that store across the fish spa. I like their designs more, and the prices are cheaper. So we bought these!
San Isidro Labrador Church
It was a big and old church. You know what they say when you go to a new church, you can make a wish! So I made one, and also lit some candles.
The sun was extra sunny that day, not to mention the weather was all perfect for the tour. We couldn’t be happier.
Now this is my favourite. I was shocked that there was no entrance fee. When we arrived, a guy approached us and introduced himself. He is Sir Justin, and he was to be our guide. I highly advise that you avail the guides’ services; they can guide and help you while you’re trekking this beautiful attraction.
There are 3 falls in Cambugahay. The first was wide, and rather deep. Only a few people jump and stay there.
The 2nd one was shallow, and was only till the waist. It was a good place to get a water back massage.
The 3rd one was the most popular of all. The water was clean and cool. You can take turns to do the Tarzan Jump and even take the leap from the side. Our guide even taught me to face the camera while holding the wielding handle.
I was shocked to know that after my Tarzan Jump, the basin was indeed deep, and my feet didn’t reach the bottom. So I paddled and soon enough, my feet reached the bed. Haha and I was alive! I took another turn because it’s addicting like that!
I also took 2 leaps in a rather 10ft. distance. I thought it was a good way to practice for our Cebu canyoneering in November.
We ended around 12noon. Actually there were people who were selling packed lunches at the entrance that cost P150.00 each, but we didn’t buy. We were thinking of having lunch somewhere else.
This was rather far, but the road to it was a sight to see. The trees lining the side-trails formed a wonderful view; meeting at the top too, that it forms a canopy. That is why I asked Kuya Ronald to stop, and let us have a quick photo. This was rather tricky because a lot of cars and tricycles were passing by, so we need to be quick in snapping those photos. I am so thrilled Kuya Ronald was so game to take our shots.
We were already starving, and good thing Salagdoong Beach had a mini restaurant. The prices are reasonable, although it took them a while before they served our food. Good thing, they were delicious! It was also a good way to let time pass by as well, as we await the sun to set a little.
The beach is actually a resort, and you can book an overnight stay. I read a lot of people wanting to spend the night here, but given the time, we would too. However, Islandia Beach Resort was a sweet treat and we couldn’t leave it; maybe next time, we’ll book here!
There are two sides of the beach separated by stone landscapes. What I didn’t like though was the beach was extra rocky, and it hurt my feet pretty bad. The sand wasn’t so powdery either. The sand crystals were rather bigger than most beaches. And these made John and I realize that we should invest in aqua shoes! Haha Accio Aqua Shoes!
The water was extra wavy that day, and the current was strong. We enjoyed it all the same though, jumping in between strong waves. It’s a good work out I guess!
John and I bought Torta as per Kuya Ronald’s recommendation. We bought 2 Tortas for us, and 10 more for Kuya Ronald and his family. 🙂
We ended the day by having a sumptuous dinner back in Islandia with our new found neighbors, I mean friends! Haha 😀
We woke up really early, because we had to go at 4AM for our 5AM ferry boat ride. Kuya Ronald was as punctual as ever. We got in time to Siquijor Port. We were actually worried because 5AM tickets might be sold out, but they weren’t!
You can choose to have the regular boat like the one in GL Shipping Lines that’s going to take 1 hour and 30 minutes, or Ocean Jet for only 45 minutes. Well, we already bought our tickets when we found out about these. It’s just a few tens difference, anyway. 🙂
We met Lolo and Lola, and had breakfast first at Foodnet.
Here are our cute instructions on how to get to Manjuyod Sand Bar:
- We took the bus going to Manjuyod in Rizal Blvd. with “Manjuyod” as the signboard. We didn’t go all the way to the terminal as it was counterproductive. So if you’re near Rizal Blvd., you could just wait for the buses that pass there. We alighted at Bais Police Station.
- We rode the tricycle to the port, and boarded a boat at P2,000.00 with all the 4 of us. We just added P250 each for the food.
It was a 30-minute boat ride to reach the Manjuyod Sandbar. We got there at 10AM though, so it was already high tide. But it was still beautiful. I just felt swimming sa “baha” though. Hehe There were a lot of boats nearby too, and swimming tourists.
The sand was powdery, the water and air was cool amidst the burning the sun. It was perfect, not until I got stung by a jellyfish in the arm. Thank you very much! It felt weird though, and I felt the venom making its way under my skin. Goodie we were able to ask for some vinegar in the nearby boat. It pacified the pain somehow.
So note to self, bring vinegar when you’re going to Manjuyod. Well, just a precautionary measure. 😀
We got back to the city, and checked in at Worldview Hotel.
Since we still have time, we strolled around Dumaguete and tasted the much coveted cakes of Sans Rival. They were yummy! I wonder why there is no Manila branch yet.
It was a wonderful feeling – getting lost in the city. You wouldn’t mind being lost anyway, because a tricycle will always be there to bring you to your hotel. It’s a small town, and everyone most likely know where your hotel is. Plus the tricycle fare is just P8.00 each.
We happen to stumble to an event in the Manuel L. Quezon Park. It seemed like a dancing contest, and we stayed for a while to watch these sprightly kids take on center stage.
We had dinner in this Japanese restaurant called Misune, and the food tasted healthy and fresh! I’m definitely coming back.
It’s our Apo Island Day, and well, no tourguide! Just pure DIY! OMG! This was a first, and we felt brave channelling our adventurous selves into this new place.
Here are our cute instructions on how to get to Apo Island:
- We went out of the hotel at 7AM, and rode a tricyle to Siaton near Robinsons Dumaguete.
- Take a jeepney to Malatapay Zamboanguita.
- Walk towards the Apo Island port. Roughly around 10 minutes.
- This is the tricky part, you will rent a boat, and it would be better if you find some people who will share the boat with you, unless you’re a group with just the right number, as to minimize the cost per person. Since we’re a couple, we really need some people to share the boat with.
4 seater – P2,000 / 6 seater – P2,500 / 8 seater – P3,000 / 10 seater – P3,500
4 seater boats usually are used first, that is why if your number is 4 below, it is better to go here early, so you can book the small boat. Good thing 4 Taiwanese travellers were in need of company too, since the only available boat is an 8-seater, we had to pay P3,000 and that’s P500.00 each. Not bad actually! Plus we made new friends!
You can buy food at the port already, because the food in Apo Island is a bit pricey, plus you still have to pay for the guide (which is required, and I also highly recommend Kuya Gerard; he was so skillful in diving and we handed him our action camera to which he took great photos of the sea), cottage table, and the gears you will use when you go swimming with the big turtles.
The turtles were huge and beautiful. It was sad because we went a bit late; the locals said that a lot of turtles go near the shore as early as 6AM!
After snorkeling and swimming, we had our lunch and took a stroll in the island. I was shocked that there is a community here. I actually thought that this is just an island used for tourism, but no. There are schools, a village, a basketball court, a lagoon, and an overlooking view from a hill. It was a beauty to behold!
At 3PM, we decided to go back. Our new friends are very accommodating too, we had a lot of time to talk about their country, their culture, and how they love going back to the Philippines. John and I wanted to visit Taiwan soon too because of them.
Going back was just the same. You could either hire a tricycle that will bring you back to the city, that will also cost higher, or you can wait for a jeep, but this was rather a long wait than I expected. If you’re a couple or probably 3 people travelling together, waiting for a jeep may be the best thing to do. But if you’re 4 and above, I suggest that you book a tricycle, and split the fare.
Jeepneys that pass by are rather full, and may not accommodate everybody at once.
We got to Dumaguete, and picked our stuff from Worldview Hotel. And moved to Coastal Inn. I booked it way before this trip, and since saving was the priority thing I have in mind, I got attracted to its price because duuuh, it’s just P430 a night!
I was thinking that we’ll arrive late from the tour that day so we we’ll just sleep, and we don’t need anything fancy. Well, lets just say we got the value we paid for.
After getting refreshed, we went back to Sans Rival, just because. And bought pasalubongs too! We bought the Butter Silvanas for P150 a box. If you want to buy pasalubongs, it’s best to buy them here in the main branch. Airport prices are relatively higher of course.
If you’re just concerned on about them being spoiled because you haven’t brought a freezer with you, don’t fret. The silvanas are strong, haha they will just feel softer, and you can put them back in the freezer or chiller once you get home.
We had dinner in Kri. And can I just tell you, that the food was prepared like gourmet, and who would have thought that this place could serve such great food at a fraction of a price! I will blog about my review in another post.
Flight back to Manila!! We didn’t book a tricycle going to the airport, we just hailed for the bus in Rizal Blvd. 😀
Here is the breakdown of our expenses and some people you would want to contact when you go there. Enjoooy!
Kuya Judy (Dumaguete Tour) – 0905.879.86.52
Kuya Ronald (Siquijor Tour) – 0906.886.97.80
All prices are in Philippine Peso though. 🙂 I think you can still try to maximize a budget even for as low as P8,000. We were a bit lucrative with the food, so you know where to save if ever!
I hope this blog enticed you more to visit Dumaguete and Siquijor. Promise, it’s all worth it! Please let me know your thoughts about this and comment down below! 😀
If you love travelling, you might also want to read my Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon! 🙂