I had initially intended to leave Dumaguete (eventually after some months) by bus and ferry and make my way overland back to Manila for my return flight to UK. Circumstances conspired against me and I had to take a flight instead. I have to say this idea did not fill me with joy as I had heard some pretty appalling things about both the airport facilities and secondly the two airlines that service the routem namely Air Phil Express, the low-cost arm of the national carrier and Cebu Pacific. Cebu Pacific are generally known amongst the expats as Cebu Pathetic and their website "boasted", if that is the correct word, a punctuality record of 66.6% for May 2012. I booked my flight a few days before but there are frequent promo fares for earlier booking so look out for those.
As you can see from one of the images, the runway extends into the sea and there is a beach right beside. Unfortunately, youngsters have a habit of walking across the runway as a shortcut. I have seen this myself and it is frightening. Occasionally, the guard will try to chase them off but apparently with little effect. The other end of the runway is right at Highway North so no room for an overshoot. Interesting for pilots, I would have thought.
However, I flew with Cebu Pacific and had no problems at all, so let me talk you through it. Firstly, getting to the airport is a breeze, it is effectively in the middle of town although it is technically in the municipality of Sibulan. A trike is only a few pesos from the centre or if you want to save a few more, get a Ceres Liner bus from the central Bus Station heading towards Bais, Tanjay or Bacolod and it will drop you off right outside for about 20 pesos.
It is a very small place with little in the way of facilities inside although facing the terminal in the comound are a number of refreshment stalls serving food and drink. I won't name the bikers bar in this complex as it is rude but for information it is now closed if any of the readers know it. As of May 2012 the owner, a mate of mine, has moved to Cebu but there are plenty of other options.
When you go into the terminal, you have to go through security to the left and then come back out to check in, which seems an odd arrangement. I checked in quickly and without hassle and then went back out of the terminal for a farewell drink with my friends who were seeing me off. You will know when it is time to go as there are very few flights and you will see yours arriving!
Quickly back through security, paid my 30 peso departure fee and into the sole departure lounge where somewhat oddly there was a busker with an acoustic guitar playing gospel songs. Straight onto the 'plane which took off and landed on time despite having to dodge some typhoon season type weather.
As the title says, I had heard horror stories but the reality was much more pleasant. Perhaps I just got lucky. I would say that there must have been some dust blowing up off the runway as my eyes seemed to be watering a bit on leaving such a wonderful place after so long!
I was travelling from Bacolod to Dumaguete and so I needed to take the bus which departs from the South terminal there. There are some aircon services, ne of which leaves early in the morning. I had awarded myself a lie-in that day, so the early bird service was not an option. Actually, I do not like aircon, it plays havoc with my throat, and I find it can become quite chilly on some buses. Also, in a strange way I feel closer to the place with the window open, the breeze blowing in and my elbow getting suntanned out the window, it is more my style of travellng.
There are basically two routes you can take to get to Dumaguete. You could go down the West coast via Kabankalan and Bayawan which is said to be the more scenic route but the quicker option is Kabankalan and over the centre of the island via Mabinay. This takes about seven hours with a few rest stops including a half hour food break at Kabankalan where there is a decent restaurant in the bus station. The fare was 264 pesos. Why 264 I do not know, but that is what it was. Buses on this route are fairly frequent and seem to go about every half hour except between about 0330 and 0600.
Like buses all over Asia, you will never go hungry as vendors jump on at every available opportunity. I do not knbw if the aircon buses, being "deluxe" do the same but the bus I got basically stopped on demand to pick up or set down passengers.
One tip I would give is that you take a note of your bus running number on the front. The drivers will often move them around in the stations and it is easy to lose track of which one you are on.
A few other words of advice. If you are a smoker like me, be careful where you smoke. Most bus stations will either have a designated area or else you have to go outside the confines of the place even though it is open. In Mabinay, one of the stops, the entire town is non-smoking so do not even get off the bus and smoke in the steet.
All in all, whilst long and a bit warm at times, it was a pleasant enough journey. The images show the bus and it's interior, a street scene from Mabinay, one of the limited scenic views from the bus coming down into Bais City and journey's end at Dumaguete. As always, be aware of the trikeshaws hanging around the bus station, they will try and rip you off. If you want to save a few pesos, it is easily walkable into the centre of town, just turn right out of the front of the station and keep on that road. 15 or 20 minutes will take you right into the middle.
Delta Fast Ferries has boats from Dumagete to Siquijor at 6:00 AM, 9:15 AM, 1:30 PM, and 4:30 PM. In Dumaguete purchase your ticket at Pier 3, Delta Ferries Passenger Terminal
(035) 225-3128 / 420-1111
Air Philippines is a sister Company of the National Flag Carrier Philippine Airlines since both are Owned by the Taipan Lucio Tan. it was founded in February 13,1995 as a budget carrier. their fleet is composed of Boeing 737's and Bombardier. The Price of a Round Trip Flight to Dumaguete City from Manila is about 6,500 pesos (including all surcharges, taxes and fees).
Dumaguete Airport is Old and Decrepit, it is Named Sibulan Airport since it is located in Subulan Town Nearby. Only 2 domestic Airlines sevice it, the Budget Carriers Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific. The Airport is located just a 10 minute drive from down town. It has a small arrival area with just one room and manual baggage claim. the departure area is air-conditioned but is very small.
take the multicab to go to neighboring towns of Dumaguete City-- Valencia, Zamboangita, Sibulan, etc. The one-way fare for Dumaguete-Zamboangita is PHP 21 per head and one-way fare for Dumaguete-Sibulan is PHP 12. Note that the airport is in Sibulan, about 10 minutes away from the city proper.
The terminal of Sibulan-bound multicabs is near the public market. The terminal of Zamboangita-bound multicabs is in a gas station outside the city proper.
Take the bus to go to Bais City, where you can go on dolphin watching. The one-way fare per head is PHP 45, non-aircon. If you take the ordinary, non-Ceres bus (this one is slower and always filled), the fare is PHP 35.
The Ceres bus terminal is located on the southern part of the city, just tell the tricycle driver to take you to the Ceres bus terminal.
take the pumpboat to go to Apo island. The medium-sized boat can be rented at the flat rate of PHP 1,500. The boat is good for 4 persons. The boat will take you to Apo island and bring you back to Malatapay Wharf.
If you take the bus from Dumaguete City (the bus terminal) to Cebu City (the south bus terminal) the fee is 180pesos per person on aircon bus and about 20pesos cheaper on non air con bus. Also the entire bus will cross the 'bay' in ferry and they charge 40pesos per person for that also and that 40 pesos fee is paid directly on the ferry. Try not to ride the bus going to Cebu City on Saturday or Sunday unless you take very early bus, because of a huge amount of traffic.... making your trip last a long time. Hopefully this will help and have a nice trip!
if your a big group travelling in a place, the is the most economical means of transportation (it cost 5,000 pesos to rent a van for the whole day but that's including the gas so if your about 5 or more persons this is more economical means of going around and touring since it is flexi time and you can decide on where to go)
Necessity is the Mother of inventions!, due to the poor road conditions in the visayas and that rides to remote areas are expensive, the enterprising people build the sky lab aka "habal habal" a 5 to 7 seater tricyle that is economical and affordable (a short ride costs 15 pesos).
This is our diveboat, as provided by our dive operator. I found it spacious for a day trip. But for a dive safari, should fit in 4-6 people only. The crew is excellent! All kind people.
We were picked up somewhere in Dauin for our trips to Apo Island. The boat trip takes around 30-45 minutes, usually on choppy waters.
Bais Tourism office number is 035 402 6629. You may try contacting Mang Mathan. He runs Eli's place. It's a 2 story nipa structure right next to the port. Much nearer that La Planta. Mang Mathan owns 2 boats and I think you can rent rooms for about 500 yata overnight. Try calling or texting him to ask. The rooms are nothing fancy, just something to get you by for the night. His number is 09287853807. Not sure if he remembers me, pero you can try saying Anna referred you. As for the boats, depende how many you guys are, pero smaller boats can be rented for about 1500 to 1800, can accommodate 3 to 6 people.
Sorry have not stayed at Pura vida yet. Ive always stayed at Bethel. When you get back, please provide pics and feedback na rin of the place, for the benefit of the other readers of VT, if you dont mind :). Thanks!
Apo tour...hmm, depends on what you want to do there. Nothing much to 'tour' around APO really. But APO is a great place for diving and snorkling. There are some dive shops there you can call or you can just take a jeep to Malatapay (about 30 to 45 minutes ride, about 20+ pesos fare). From Malatapay, you can hire boats for the day. They have a coop there so rates are flat. Last time it was 1500 for the smaller boats, 2500 for the bigger boats for whole day rental.
If you are planning to go snorkling or diving, I can recommend a great DM. He even prepared us lunch. I think he's a gourmet chef din? Not really sure.
If you need help, just text me, I can give you the number of the divemaster.
Have fun in Dumaguete! Remember to buy Silvanas!! :)
My number, 0917 5376323.
Inspite of its city status, cabs or taxis have not yet invaded Dumaguete's streets. What keeps the streets busy are the numerous tricycles and motorbikes that serve as the primary mode of transpo within the city.
A tricycle can accommodate as many as 6 persons per trip and has a fixed fare of P7 per person. For trips outside the city, there is the motorbike as an option to jeepney/bus. Locally referred to as "habal-habal" or back-ride, rate depends on the destination.
Similar to Puerto Princesa City, Dumaguete has big tricycles that can virtually go anywhere. They're the most common form of transportation (aside from the motorbikes). Fare per pax is P6. It's about P500 f you rent it for the day.
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
Good for: Solo