A travel guide to Siquijor and Negros Oriental, including Dumaguete and Apo Island! This is a trip that I’ve taken solo this June.
I actually 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.
Here are my thoughts about this trip: 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.
4 Days itinerary to Siquijor and Negros Oriental
Here’s the rough itineary that I made including Siquijor Island, Dumaguete and the nearby Apo Island.
– 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, optional: Casaroro Falls)
– Back in Dumaguete City
How to get to here
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.
Most people say that it’s possible to tour Siquijor island for half a day, but for me it takes at least a whole day especially if you won’t rush your time.
Places to see in Siquijor
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
You can read about my trip to Siquijor here.
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.
If you’re looking for other activities, you might also want to look at the dive sites in Siquijor.
Tour rates in Siquijor
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.
Baha Bar and Dagsa Restobar for the seafood.
Exploring 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.
Anyway, one of the things that make Dumaguete great is that it’s a gateway for other attractions in Negros Oriental.
Here are some places you can visit from Dumaguete:
- Sibulan: twin lakes of Lake Danao and Lake Balinsasayao
- Dauin: Apo Island
- Valencia: Pulang Bato Falls and hot spring, Casaroro Falls
- Bais: dolphin watching and Manjuyod sand bar
Of these, I’d been to Dauin and Valencia.
Dumaguete City is also connected via sea travel to various provinces in Visayas, including Siquijor, Cebu, Bohol and even Zamboanga.
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.
Apo Island, Dauin
In Apo Island in Dauin, 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.
You can read about my snorkeling tour in Apo Island here.
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.
Pulang Bato Falls and Hot Spring, Valencia
Valencia offers unique attractions: a falls surrounded with reddish rocks, mountain hot springs and (literally) smoking mountainside.
To get here, 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.
Where to stay
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
I stayed in JJ’s Backpackers Village.
You can also check out discounted rates of accommodations here.
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/ book discounted 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/ book discounted rates here
Other budget accommodations
- One Bethany Place – P695 (aircon)
- Gazebo Pension Inn – P700 single room (aircon)
- Gabby’s Bed and Breakfast – P900 single room (aircon)/ Facebook page/ book discounted rates here
You can also check out discounted rates of hotels here.
I stayed at One Bethany’s Place and then later at Island’s Leisure Boutique Hotel and Spa.
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. Budget also largely depends on which tour you’ll take. I spent around P7000-8000 on my visit, which is 5 days total (excluding flights).
Did this travel guide to Siquijor and Negros Oriental help you? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂
P.S. You might also be interested in the following:
- Guide to Cebu, Siquijor and Bohol by Trotter Hop
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