Day 2: Dolphin Watching in Bais City
For this tour, we decided to book with Michelle from Dumaguete Outdoors. We got the package for P1,200 per person which includes everything including a sumptous lunch. The van picked us up from the resort at 6:15am. We were on the boat at around 9:30.
Unfortunately, we didn't see any dolphins! Yes, after going around and waiting for 2 hours, the only thing the group saw was a lone pygmy whale and it was very far that I didn't even see it. Well, they said there's 90% chance of seeing dolphins. I guess we're the 10% who don't. After waiting in vain, we decided to go the Sandbar and have our lunch there. Our luck continues because it's high tide and waters are choppy so we couldn't go down for a swim. Good thing our lunch was pretty yummy. It sort of made up for our disappointment :) The boat is pretty comfortable too with monoblock chairs and table. It even has its own bathroom and kitchen at the back. Makes you feel like you're on a yacht :)
Afterwards, we went to the mangrove where we just walked and took pictures. It was pretty hot in the sun so we didn't stay long there. It was interesting trivia that we heard that if you keep walking, you'll end up in Bacolod :) We took a dip here and I ended up trying to shake off water that entered my ears. This of course proved to be a blessing for me. When we left, I was still trying to shake off the water so I sat in front but facing everyone (looking back at the mangrove, everyone else is looking ahead). It was then that I saw something shot out of the water (near the mangroves) and it was a big stingray! I was like, wow! The only other person who saw it was the spotter beside me. Sort of made up for not seeing dolphins :)
Cost per person: 1,200 plus tip
Book with Dumaguete Outdoors and look for Michelle or Eddie. Eddie was the one who accompanied us and it was service deluxe!Related to:
- Whale Watching
Have a massage at Nuat Thai
We came across this new massage place near the shopping area of Dumaguete.
Traditional Thai foot and body massage is what they specialise in and who would believe you could get a good one far from Thailand. The guy that owns it was trained at some famous school in Thailand and in turn trained the staff there.
I opted for the 1 hour body massage which was only 150 pesos.
My brother took a 1/2 hour foot and a 1/2 hour back massage for the same price.
When you walk in you will see a row of nice leather reclining chairs to sit in if you are having a foot massage.
You go upstairs for the body and back massage and these are held in a large room that use curtains to make smaller rooms. You are handed a pair of oversized pyjamas to change into and then they massage you with these on.
Wonderful break from the heat and noise outside - highly recommended if you get a chance to go.
Foot massage 1/2 hour @ P50
Foot massage 1 hour @ P150
Body massage 1 hour @ P150
Body massage 2 hours @ P300
Back massage 1/2 hour @P75
Back massage 1 hou @ P150
Day 1: Hiking to Casaroro Falls
We left Sta Monica at 1pm and took their 'taxi' to bring us to Valencia. In Valencia, the driver let us off where there were plenty of habal-habals. There were 4 of us so we decided to get two habal-habals (motorbikes) to bring us to Casaroro Falls and to wait for us. We didn't go to Forest Camp anymore but I heard it's a good swimming place. We just wanted to check out the falls so off we went there. Wow, I didn't realize riding motorbikes uphill is quite an adventure. Especially since there's 2 passengers! I was afraid of falling off the bike and held on hard to our 'driver'. Poor driver, we were plastered to him and holding on to his clothes. By the time he let us off the bike, he looked like as if somebody tried to rape him :) And he's about 50 :)
The trek down to Casaroro Falls will involve going down 350 or so concrete steps. We didn't count so we'll just take their word for it. It's surrounded by lush greenery with giant bamboos, trees and ferns. At the bottom of the steps, you have to go cross the river to get near the lagoon. Pressure is strong even though it's summer. The falls is beautiful and clean. Makes you really feel like communing with nature.
After doing a little staring, thinking and picture taking (no, we didn't swim), we decided to go back. And that's when the hardship started... Imagine, you have to go up 350 steps. The task was quite daunting especially if you haven't had any exercise at all :) After 3 or more rest stops, we finally dragged ourselves out and was now ready to ride the bike downhill. From Valencia, we took the jeepney to bring us to the Dumaguete City. The fare is cheap at P10 but it was another adventure. We ended up waiting for the jeepney to get filled. And when I say filled, I mean really filled, 30 pax! There were also a couple of drunks who kept bumping to other people. And this in the middle of the day :)
Taxi from Sta Monica to Valencia - 400/4
Habal-habal (200 per bike) - 100
Entrance Fee - 10
Jeepney to Dumaguete - 10
Total per pax - 220Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Day 3: Snorkeling in Apo Island
For the Apo Island trip, we decided to DIY. We met up with the Tagle family at the Zamboangita wharf so we can share a boat. We rented a tryk who picked us up at 6am. We arrived before 7am and had breakfast at a carinderia.
Register first before paying for the boat. Maximum capacity for the big boat is 10. Waves were pretty big and the boat is not that big. The trip took about an hour. We saw dolphins along the way! Yes, plenty of them, some even crossed in front of our boat. Wow, this made up for our Bais trip!
Once you're in Apo Island, you need to register and pay the fees. We decided to go straight to the marine sanctuary and walked through the barangay. We passed by the carinderia and ordered our lunch. They didn't have much on the menu but we settled for adobo, curry and chopsuey. They brought this in the huts in the sanctuary where we had a meal later. The food is surprisingly good and service was good too :)
Snorkeling in the sanctuary is supposed to be pretty good with the best corals. I guess I was a bit disappointed on this score because the corals didn't seem as good as the ones I saw in Puerto Galera. Also, the big waves stopped us from staying long in the water. We were afraid that it will smash us to the rocks. But there were still interesting fishes that we saw and our friend, Jun, even saw a sea snake. The place is surprisingly deserted. We were the only people in the area. Good thing we went together with the Tagle family.
We went afterwards to the Apo Island Resort. You only need to spend P50 each to stay on their beach. The place is pretty cool! We did some snorkeling here too. Plenty of fishes near the rock but waves are also big. We had fun just lying on the beach and enjoying the view (and the water). We left the island at about 4pm.
Tricycle Rental - 500/5
Brkfast - 150/5
Boat (half) - 1250/5
Lunch (half) - 500/5
Fees - 200
Tip - 400/5
Total per person - 760Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
The Dumaguete Cathedral or more popularly known as the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral was built in 1811 next to its equally famous bell tower. The church's interior is reflective of European architectural influence with its ornate altar, high ceiling, elaborate chandeliers and tiled floor. But while the belfry has retained its original structure, the cathedral's facade was restored in 2005 giving it a more modern look.Related to:
- Religious Travel
The Old Belfry
The cathedral's belfry is one of the city's famous and most photographed landmarks. Like most bell towers in the country, this belfry was built in 1811 for a double purpose - as a bell tower and as a lookout point against incoming pirates.Related to:
- Religious Travel
Fish and Meat market
Fresh Fish in Abundance
Fresh fish can be found in abundance around the more than 7000 Islands of which the Philippines are comprising.
The meat of the Sting Ray is fabulous and very tasty. Once you have laerned how to take off the thousands of the flat bones it is a delicassy. On this picture the long tails have been cut already.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Study Abroad
Old Chinese Temple by the Sea
A colorful landmark just over the southerntip of Rizal Blvd., the main road stretching along the city's seacoast is an old Chinese temple. The building has bells on its towers. The details of the wall and building designs such as dragons and Chinese-inspired ornates are well-detailed.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Dumaguete Cathedral Belfry
What remained of the old church built by the Spanish colonizers in the early 19th century, the belfry of the Dumaguete Cathedral (also known as El Campanario) is still standing through the test of times. Again as in other bellfries in the early days, the tower is used as a lookout for pirates and the bells are rung to warn the villagers in such event. Today, the bells are still operational ad ring at sundown for the daily Angelus.
The imposing figure separated about 20meters away from the new cathedral building and across the city plaza has been restored and kept as much as to its original form - declared as a Historical Site by the government.Related to:
- Historical Travel
The city square (plaza) was named Rizal Park after the national hero whose statue stands at the center of the square. Back-to-back with him is the statue of Maria Clara, the leading female character in his book and said to be the epitome of a true Filipina.
As in most old towns/cities, the plaza is across the street from the church and is the venue for public gathering and shows, reminiscent of the Spanish times. During our trip, the square became the venue of an outdoor show featuring bands and ballroom dancing. It's also a favorite hang out of teeners, students, families, and lovers.Related to:
- Family Travel
Sunrise Activities by The Baywalk
Most of the early morning baywalk visitors are either jogging the stretch back and forth for the physically fit; or just slow-paced walking for the less-energetic to burn some calories.
I wish the movement of my eyeballs and head enjoyingly watching the people do their rounds as the beautiful sun rises could have burn me enough calories also to counter the seafood frenzy we had the night before.Related to:
- National/State Park
Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres Monument
Built along the Rizal Blvd. Baywalk, The SPC monument was put up in 2004 to commemorate 100th year of the arrival of the 7 pioneering Sisters of St Paul of Chartres (5 French and 2 Chinese) who founded the St. Paul Academy of Dumaguete.
The monument shows the nuns arriving in a boat. The location is right where the monument is presently erected.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Jose Rizal/Maria Clara Monument.
The Jose Rizal Monument at the City Plaza has the National Hero's figure in front while back-to-back with it is the figure of Maria Clara. Maria Clara is the fictitious character depicting the typical Filipina in Rizal's novels.Related to:
- Historical Travel
The City's Oldest University
Silliman University was established in 1901 by Presbyterian Protestants through a gift from Dr. Horace Silliman from whom the school was named. It was the first Protestant school in the Philippines and the oldest American university in Asia. It started as an all-boys school which later opened its doors to girl students. Barely a decade after it was established, Silliman was granted a university status and has continuously improved its system making it competitive with higher learning institutions in Manila.
The university's main building, Silliman Hall is an example of American architecture and a famous landmark in the city.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Museum Visits
Acacia-Lined Rizal Blvd. by the Sea
The peaceful feeling of strolling by this wide boulevard along the seacoast and under the shade of century old acacia trees is so calming. No stress!
The more than 1km stretch of the boulevard are lined with hotels, restaurants, bars and other entertainment centers which come more alive as night falls.Related to:
- Road Trip
Dumaguete City Hotels
Lipayo, Dauin, Negros Oriental, Dumaguete, Negros, 6217, Philippines
Good for: Business
Washington Road, Dumaguete, Negros, 6200, Philippines
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
Banilad, Dumaguete City, 6200, Philippines
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
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