A travel guide to Siquijor and Negros Oriental! This is a trip that I’ve taken solo this June.
First, let me make this clear. As the title says, I went on this trip to chill and relax. In fact, what I really wanted is to have a staycation and finish a book (a very nice read called Conversations with God). I didn’t have a solid itinerary and I booked everything at the last minute or just walked in.
If you’re looking for a backpacker’s action-filled schedule, this isn’t it. This is a rough guide for those who want to have a slower kind of vacation. However, I did write about other practical information that can help you out, including directions, accommodations and expenses.
Siqujor and Negros Oriental itinerary and travel guide
As I’ve said previously, I did appreciate Siquijor but wasn’t taken with it. Overall, I liked my stay in Negros Oriental better. I enjoyed Dumaguete, with all its convenience and the friendly people. I also like the fact that there’s a lot of places you can visit from here. In particular, my adventure in Apo Island is a whole lot of fun.
Here was the Dumaguete-Siquijor-Apo Island itinerary that I eventually did:
– Arrival in Dumaguete City
– Travel via ferry to Siquijor
– Island tour
– Check out at 12 noon
– Early merienda in Larena’s Triad Coffee Shop
– Travel back to Dumaguete City
– Apo Island tour
– Valencia tour (Pulang Bato twin falls and hot spring)
– Back in Dumaguete City; staycation
How to get to Siquijor and Negros Oriental
To get to Dumaguete City, take a flight to Sibulan Airport. Regular fare is about P3000, but you can get promo tickets for about P700 one way.
To get to Siquijor Island, ride a tricycle from anywhere in Dumaguete and tell the driver to drop you off to the port. If you’re coming directly from the airport, make sure to walk outside the airport gates before hailing down a tricycle. There are habal-habal and tricycles within the airport perimeters, but as you can already guess, they are overpriced. From the port, ride a ferry bound to Siquijor (1 hour, P100-150 for a ferry ticket).
Take note that the last trip from Siquijor back to Dumaguete is 6PM, while the earliest is 5:30AM.
What to see and do in Siquijor
Most people say that it’s possible to tour Siquijor island for half a day, but for me it’ll take at least a whole day especially if you won’t rush your time.
Some of the places you can visit in Siquijor during the island tour are:
- Old churches
- Capilay Spring Park
- Balete Tree with Fish Spa
- Cambugahay Falls
- Salagdoong Beach
- Guiwanon Spring Park
- Tulapos Marine Sanctuary
- Paliton Beach
I skipped going to the old churches and monasteries because there’s already a lot of them in the Philippines. For me, the ones worth visiting are these: the enchanted balete tree, Cambugahay Falls, Salagdoong Beach, Tulapos Marine Sanctuary and Paliton Beach.
Tulapos Marine Sanctuary is awesome, although it’s not as popular as the others. You can see baby sharks and sea turtles here, along with the usual fishes and other sea creatures during snorkeling. Paliton Beach is said to be the best beach in Siquijor, although it seems to require regular maintenance.
I also like Larena’s Triad Coffee shop. I’ve been told it offers the best view in Siquijor. The food is decent and reasonably priced. I’m not sure if it’s included in the island tour, but I think it can be made a quick detour.
Currently, the standard rates for an island tour is P1000 for a tricyle and P1500 for a multicab; for a mountain tour, chartering a tricycle costs P1200. If you have a driver’s license and know how to drive, you can rent a motorcycle from your accommodation for P350 a day. I think renting a motorcycle is the best way to explore Siquijor, since I find public transport to be very limited. You can also visit smaller waterfalls in the island.
Vehicles for tours are waiting at the arrival area in Siquijor port, so you don’t need to book in advance.
Must-try restaurants: Baha Bar and Dagsa Restobar for the seafood.
What to see and do in Negros Oriental
Dumaguete City is known as a university town. There isn’t much to do here, except food tripping or having a nice staycation. Dumaguete is the origin of a famous recipe for sans rival and silvanas.
I love the laid-back ambiance of Dumaguete City and its convenience. Everything is just an arm’s reach away! There are tricycles any time of the day and you only have to pay P10 for each ride.
One of the things that make Dumaguete great is that it’s a gateway for other attractions in Negros Oriental. You can visit Sibulan (twin lakes: Lake Danao and Lake Balinsasayao), Dauin (Apo Island), Valencia (Pulang Bato Falls and hot spring, Casaroro Falls), Bais (dolphin watching and Manjuyod sand bar) or Sipalay.
Of these, I’d been to Dauin and Valencia. For the Apo Island, I availed of a packaged tour from Harold’s Mansion for P1200, which includes round-trip transportation to and from Dumaguete City, lunch, snorkel equipment and lifevest and guide fee. The lunch was meh but everything else about the tour was great. Our guide has been really helpful and helped me get great shots of underwater scenes in Apo Island. Transportation is also hassle free.
While you’re at it, a good friend also recommends stopping by the Tabo Tabo market in Malapatay, another jump-off point to Apo Island. It is open every Wednesday. It’s described as a cultural experience: you can see goods sold by mountain farmers, including animals, as well as native food and delicacies.
Meanwhile, to get to Valencia, simply ride a jeep from anywhere in Dumaguete and then hire a habal-habal to take you to the falls and hotspring for P200-300. If you’re going to the Pulang Bato twin falls and hot spring only, ride a jeep to Palinpinon (P20) and then hire a habal-habal from the jump-off point (P30). On Sundays, jeeps going back to Dumaguete are until afternoon only.
There are two hot springs in Valencia: Red Rock Hot Spring and Ocean 24. A local recommended me the first because it has a more natural feel compared to Ocean 24.
Dumaguete City is also connected via sea travel to various provinces in Visayas, including Siquijor, Cebu, Bohol and even Zamboanga.
Must-try food or restaurants: Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries shouldn’t be missed; Hayahay Restobar, Atong Kamalig (currently under relocation); also check out the local market for budbod and tsokolate.
Where to stay in Siquijor and Negros Oriental
Please let me know if you know other cheap accommodations in Dumaguete and Siquijor or any updates with the pricing in the comment section below. 🙂
Siquijor Beach Resorts
There are several beach resorts in Siquijor and it’s relatively cheap especially if you’re traveling with someone. You can get an air-conditioned room for around P1000 for 2-3 people. Most of the resorts are family owned, except for Coco Grove Beach Resort — which is also one of the best, if not the best, resort in the area.
Anyway, if you’re traveling solo like me, here are some budget-friendly Siquijor beach resorts:
- Tori’s Backpackers Inn – P350 dorm type, fan room. Contact info: Facebook page
- JJ’s Backpackers Village – Situated alongside other beach resorts in San Juan. This hostel has a modern native decor, complete with bamboo bunk beds. Apparently it’s a favorite especially of foreign tourists, so make sure to book ahead. P350 dorm type, fan room. Contact info: Facebook page
You can also check out the lowest prices of accommodations and beach resorts in Siquijor here.
Dumaguete City hotels
There’s actually a lot of options for budget Dumaguete City hotels and inns, starting from P300 above. The ones located downtown are popular, so if you’re staying in that part of the city it’s best to reserve in advance.
- Harold’s Mansion – Possibly the most famous backpacker lodging in Dumaguete. Bunk beds in dorms are cheap, but for a little more you can have a single-bed aircon room in other inns. Harold’s Mansion is convenient because have Apo Island tours for joiners. P300 dorm type, fan room. Contact info: Facebook page/ (tour) 0917 783 5172 OR (lodging) 0917 302 4455
- Flying Fish Hostel – A new hip accommodation in Dumaguete. They have mixed dorm and separate female dorms. P470 dorm type, fan room. Contact info: Facebook page/ check current room rates here
- Hostel Tropical – Another hostel with stylish design. They hold seafood nights exclusive for house guests for less than P300 per person. P500 dorm type, aircon room. Contact info: Facebook page/ check current room rates here
- Vintage Inn – P400 single room (aircon)
- Tiptop tower – P600 single room (aircon)
- Moriah Pension Inn – P450 single room (aircon)
- Casa de Monteverde – P500 single room (aircon)
- One Bethany Place – P695 (aircon)
- Gazebo Pension Inn – P700 single room (aircon)
- Gabby’s Bed and Breakfast – P900 single room (aircon)/ Facebook page/ check current room rates here
You can also see discounted rates on Dumaguete City hotels here.
I stayed at One Bethany’s Place and then later at Island’s Leisure Boutique Hotel and Spa, after reading a good review about. The latter is a really cool, well thought-out hotel with mixed Balinese and Mediterranean decor. The hotel is small, but overall it’s a very nice place to stay in. It also has a small dipping pool and spa that offers various kinds of massage for P500.
I booked online and got almost 50% discount: a premier room good for 2 people for about P1100 only (excluding P200 in tax). You can check the current rates in Island’s Leisure Boutique Hotel and Spa here.
Budget and expenses
You can easily spend as little as P5000 for visiting Siquijor and Negros Oriental if you’re traveling with at least one other person. I spent around P7000-8000 on my visit. It also largely depends on which tour you’ll take.
Did this travel guide to Siquijor and Negros Oriental help you? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂
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