Ok, we definitely didn’t plan to go to Dumaguete, it was a last minute decision to come when we saw Apo Island from our beach. I briefly talked about this in my previous entry about Siquijor. We originally planned on going to Moalboal after Siquijor, or at least explore Cebu. I definitely have written down more places to visit in Cebu than Dumaguete. But once we’ve had our fill of Siquijor, we took a ferry to Dumaguete, which only took about an hour. This will be a short one, because I was looking through my photos and we really didn’t do much despite spending a few days there. I guess the highlight this time would definitely be Apo Island, which is actually located in Dauin, which is around 30 minutes away from Dumaguete.
So obviously, you get off at Dumaguete Port, which is right in the center of the city so if you’re staying within this area, you can just take a tricycle or walk. Our hotel is around 1km from the port so we decided to walk. Looking back, that was such a crazy decision. I think we just wanted to avoid the mob of tricycle drivers.
ACCOMMODATION: GOLDEN GATE SUITES
Marc booked this and we initially booked for two nights, and had to extend. You know what’s crazy though, I can’t remember if we stayed there for 3 or 4 days, so I had to resort to Google to tell me! Google knows my timeline better than me, which is scary! Anyway, back to talking about this hotel. I can’t believe I don’t have photos of the place though! It is right in the middle of the city and we were close to a lot of restaurants.. I actually love the location, we have a 7-11 downstairs and there was a laundromat nearby so we were able to do our laundry as well. We take the tricycle for places that are a bit farther, like Robinson’s Place, the bus terminal, or the Hayahay / Lantaw area. It’s actually a really nice hotel, we had a TV, bathroom, we had twin beds (which I like!). I was able to wash my undies and dry it in there. LOL. (Don’t judge, we were away for almost a month!) This is their page on booking.com. I recommend it, there’s nothing not to like.
Like I said, we mostly got around via tricycle. The only time we had to take the jeepney was when we went to Pulang Bato Falls. We also had to take a habal, but I will talk about that more when I get to that item.
Ok, I am so bummed I didn’t get to go inside Silliman University when Dumaguete is freaking known for it. Well, actually there are many places we didn’t get to visit anyway.
I went around by myself on the first day because Marc wanted to stay in the room and rest. I walked around town that afternoon until it got dark. This is the first place I went to. It rained though for a few minutes while I was there so I had to wait it out.
ST. CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA CATHEDRAL PARISH
Also known as the Dumaguete Catholic Cathedral.
CAMPANARIO DE DUMAGUETE
Aka the Bell Tower. It’s the oldest surviving structure in the city, reminiscent of the Spanish occupation of Negros Island. It used to be a watchtower to warn the locals against marauding pirates from Mindanao. It is right beside the Dumaguete Catholic Cathedral.
I think most major cities in the Philippines has a boulevard facing a certain body of water and Dumaguete is no exception. We have Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete! So many things to see in here but near the port, you have a tempurahan area and the #DumaGetMe sign. And yes, obviously, a really beautiful view of the sunset. It was already dark when I returned to the hotel.
Our day trip to Apo Island was on our second day. We booked via Harold’s Mansion, I just searched for joiner tours on Google and I found them. They have a hotel and a dive center, but they also offer tours. They pretty much have all your tourist needs. We considered staying there as well but was not very convinced with the reviews so we decided to stay somewhere else.
I don’t remember how much we paid back then (Nov 2018) but their website shows it as PHP1,200 now. Like most day tours, it starts really early, I think at around 7am. We just took a tricycle to Harold’s Mansion, which is the meet-up place. Pre-trip stuff was done at the dive center like signing waivers and collection of snorkelling equipment.
The jumpoff point to Apo Island is in Dauin, which is 30 minutes away. We took a small van going there, and then transferred to a boat going to Apo Island. I believe they own the boat, so that’s really convenient and I think that’s what makes their tour more affordable.
I am happy about the Apo Island Tour, it was true to the inclusions mentioned. The staff is helpful, they helped us take videos of and with the sea turtles. My tactic always is just to stick with the guide, LOL. At some point in the afternoon, I just let him drag me back to the boat using the buoy because I was tired of swimming.
I also met some new friends during this tour and I hung out with them a lot during the day. And funny, I went to the same university as one girl, and the second girl lives in the city next to where I live and I met up with her once last year.
We asked to be dropped off at Quezon Park and ate something at McDonald’s. LOL. We were hungry from all that swimming!
RED ROCK / PULANG BATO FALLS
We went here on our last day and we actually left the hotel late so we only had time to go to one falls and we chose Pulang Bato Falls. The other falls being Casaroro Falls. Both are in Valencia, which is 25 minutes away from Dumaguete. They are on two different ends of the main road so to go to both, you literally need to go back to the center and go the other way. This is why, if you are hiring a habal-habal, you need to pay twice the amount if you would like to go to both falls.
So from our hotel, we went to the market and asked the way to the jeepney terminal going to Valencia. We sat beside the driver and told him to drop us off where we can take a habal-habal going to Pulang Bato Falls. He kept his promise and stopped somewhere where there is a habal-habal parked. I forgot how much we paid the habal-habal driver though.
We just took photos here, because there is a hot springs nearby and thought it would be better to swim there. Water in falls is usually cold, and this was no exception.
RED ROCK HOT SPRING
This is not even a kilometer away from the falls. You will pass by this hot spring before you get to the falls, but we decided to go to the falls first and then here, after. There are two pools and while there are not a lot of people when we went, everyone’s in the first pool. We transferred to the second one before leaving and it was empty so we took photos there. Honestly, the second pool was so much better! I like the random rock in the middle of the pool!
I barely have any photos in these restaurants. LOL.
We had lunch here on our first day and this is a really good spot! I believe we just went on Tripadvisor and check out the top restaurants and this was #1 I think so we went here. It’s really close so we walked here. Their food is moderately priced and so so good!
We had dinner here on our first night. I don’t have good memories in this restaurant because we had a fight here and because of that, we didn’t talk the entire time we were in Apo Island the next day. I really enjoyed my frozen braso though.
I love this restaurant! It’s a family restaurant so the dishes have huge servings! Everything was really good here, too. If you are a big group, this is the perfect resto for you.
We met some friends here after dinner at Lantaw, since they’re pretty close to each other. It’s a pretty nice bar actually. Super spacious, and it has two floors. We went to another bar after and I couldn’t remember the name, but it was close to Rizal Boulevard. That was such a fail. LOL. It is definitely not a happening place.
Ok, I didn’t know that the owner is the nephew of the man who invented Fettuccine Alfredo. Well, it does make sense because the food here is legit! I think we ate here twice, we liked it a lot!
DUMAGUETE TO CEBU
After a few days in Dumaguete, it was time to go back to Cebu for one night because we took our flight to Siargao from Cebu. It was at 7:40am so, we only had a few hours in Cebu again, before leaving for another island.
Ok, the travel back to Cebu took almost an entire day. Dumaguete is really close to Cebu but to the southern part, so travelling back to Cebu City was what took so long. We took the Ceres Bus (the terminal is close to Robinson’s Place in Dumaguete). It says on this website that it takes 6 hours, but I’m pretty sure it took longer than that. So, it’s a direct bus from the Dumaguete terminal to the Cebu terminal, but you will get off the bus once you are in the RoRo. The fare is also separate, you pay the bus, but it doesn’t include the RoRo fare. The waves were so strong that day! I don’t know if that was normal, but I definitely felt it more then than when we were crossing from Siquijor to Dumaguete. Not even during the 4-hour ferry ride from Cebu to Siquijor.
It was super traffic in Cebu so that’s why it took us definitely more than 6 hours. I don’t mind because we don’t really have any plans in Cebu but I needed to get to the pier before 6pm since I had to meet the manager from Cupcaken. I will share the story why next. Anyway, on top of traffic, it was raining, too! Luckily, I was able to catch a cab from the terminal to the pier and got there all before 6pm. Whew!
SIDE STORY: CUPCAKEN
When we were leaving Cebu from Siquijor, we were early so we had some time to have breakfast. We bought coffee from Cupcaken and stupid me forgot to get my change. I only realized it the next day when we were already in Siquijor. LOL. Why did I forget? They didn’t have change when I went to pay so they said I can get it later, but I totally forgot before boarding our ferry. I didn’t want to bother them about it because it was my fault, but Marc urged me to try and reach out to them. I ended up finding their Facebook page so I messaged them about my situation and they actually replied! They gave me the manager’s number and I reached out to them again on the day we went back to Cebu, like 8 or 9 days later. When we went back to Cebu, the manager actually went out of the pier to give me my change because the guard won’t let me in. I was so thankful to them for being so accommodating! I was so pressured that day because of the long travel from Dumaguete and thought we’d miss the closing time. It was literally our last chance because we had an early flight the next day. So, I’m glad everything worked out in the end. Super thankful to Cupcaken! Please visit their shop when you find yourself in Cebu. ^^
CEBU ACCOMMODATION: SOUTHPOLE CENTRAL HOTEL
I literally had to go on booking.com and look for this hotel because I don’t remember its name! I found it and when I Googled it, it confirmed it for me that I was there 2 years ago. Man, Google is scary. LOL. Marc found this while we were at the pier. I think we got it at 50% off because we booked really late. We lucked out with this one because it’s a nice room. This is not too far from Teofel Hostel, which is where we stayed before leaving for Siquijor. That makes it closer to the pier, and still 30 minutes away from the airport, but our flight is in the morning so I didn’t think there will be much traffic then anyway. I’m a bit bummed we only had a few hours here because it’s a nice hotel. We didn’t actually go out for dinner that night either, we ate at the hotel’s restaurant.
Honestly, I kind of want a do over of Dumaguete and then really explore Cebu next time! Maybe, third time’s the charm. LOL.
This is the end of the Cebu – Siquijor – Dumaguete leg. The next part is the last leg, which is Siargao. We were there for 9 days. We left on Day 10, which is a day earlier than planned. I will share why on the next blog.