Three days in Dumaguete sounds like a long time to allot for such a small city. But actually, a trip to the city will give you plenty of opportunities to see other amazing places in its neighbouring towns and municipalities.
Personally, 3 days is just too short. But as most of us don’t have the luxury of time to explore, 3 days is enough with a well-thought out itinerary.
I have previously posted our Dumaguete Travel Guide with the hopes of giving you, our readers, an overview of the wonders you can enjoy while visiting. We haven’t even included day trips to Siquijor, which is another amazing adventure that you’ll enjoy.
On this next post, I’ll be sharing our itinerary on enjoying Dumaguete even for just a limited number of days. Interested? Read on!
Table of Contents
- Arrival in Dumaguete City
- Dumaguete Itinerary Day 1
- Dumaguete Itinerary: Day 2
- Dumaguete Itinerary: Day 3
- Dumaguete 3-Day Itinerary with List of Expenses
Arrival in Dumaguete City
We arrived in Dumaguete at around 7:15 PM on a Sunday night.
Why Sunday night, you might ask. My husband and I don’t want to be with the weekend crowd, hence we mostly travel during weekdays.
For me, this is definitely one of the perks of being a digital nomad. We have the flexibility of time. It allows us to travel anytime we wanted.
When we arrived in Dumaguete, it was a little late. There were few public transportation available at the airport. Good thing I asked people who have travelled to Dumaguete beforehand and it was with purpose that we ignored the car for hire signage at the exit area. We went to look for a tricycle that can take us cheaply to our hostel instead.
Our hostel, Harold’s Mansion was located at Hubbard Avenue in the city. It was about 10-20 minutes from the airport. We paid 80 Php for both my husband and I. Far cheaper than the 200 Php fare that we were informed about.
When we arrived at the hostel, we immediately approached the receptionist to check-in and inquire about our activity the following day. Our room was a twin room at 1000 Php per night. Breakfast was already included, which for me was definitely a steal.
Booking a room here was actually a last minute decision as our flight was moved unexpectedly. Instead of waiting for the evening flight on Monday, we’ve decided to take the flight the day before (which was Sunday). This way we will have more time to explore and we won’t be rushed.
After taking our key and bringing our things to our room, we headed out as I wanted to try some local restaurants in the area. Unfortunately we went back and just decided to eat at the rooftop of Harold’s Mansion where food was available upon request.
By 10PM, my husband and I retired for the night as we were expecting an early morning start the following day.
Dumaguete Itinerary Day 1
Day 1 of our Dumaguete trip started out pretty early. We were up by 5:30 and was already busy with re-packing our bags and preparing for the day.
We were scheduled for our Apo Island day tour. This was an activity that I was looking forward to the most. We availed the tour from Harold’s Divers (the same company as the hostel where we were staying).
By 6AM, my husband and I were at the rooftop bar to check out if breakfast was already available. Unfortunately, they serve breakfast at 6:30 AM. We needed to be at the registration area by 6:30 AM. So it was impossible for us to wait.
Good thing that they already have coffee and hot bread available. We took some of those and had us a pretty simple but filling meal.
Snorkelling and Swimming with the Sea Turtles at Apo Island
At 6:30 AM, we were already at the reception area checking out. We had the entire day to swim with the sea turtles so we had to leave our bags.
The hostel allows its guests to leave their stuff at the reception area while out for the tour. We happily left our things behind and proceeded to the Harold’s Divers’ office next door.
After registering, paying the fee of 1,200 Php each and getting our needed snorkelling equipment, we headed out to the waiting service vehicle along with the rest of the guests.
We left Dumaguete City by 7:30AM and arrived in Dauin at 8:05AM where we will be taking the boat to Apo Island.
Apo Island was a 30-minute boat ride from the mainland. There, we got the chance to swim with the sea turtles for hours. The tour we availed already included the guide fee, the service vehicle to and from the hotel, boat, and the snorkelling equipment we acquired earlier in the day.
Personally, I think it was a good value for money as we didn’t have to worry about anything at all.
At 3:30 PM, we were sailing back to the mainland ready to end the day. The ride back was a bit bumpy but it felt pretty safe as we were on a big boat and the rest of the guests were pretty much enjoying the feeling and the splash of water on our faces.
Back at the hostel, we returned the equipment and picked-up our stuff from the reception area. We were able to hire a tricycle immediately to take us to our next accommodation for the trip: the Golden Gate Suites.
The hotel was located more centrally and near establishments like a pharmacy, a bakery and a convenient store. Upon our arrival, we immediately checked-in and paid the total amount of our duration which was 1,998 Php (good for 2 persons for 2 days).
Our stay at the Golden Gate Suites did not include breakfast but it was alright for me because first, we needed to leave very early the following day for Manjuyod and second, I wanted to try restaurants nearby for breakfast on the last day of our trip.
Visit Dumaguete Cathedral and the Dumaguete Belfry Tower
After freshening up, we walked towards the Dumaguete Cathedral and Bell Tower. I wanted a chance to explore the city centre on foot so that’s what we did.
We spent a few minutes admiring the structure and paid our respects at the church. Afterwards, we hired a tricycle to take us to the Hayahay View Deck.
The restaurant was a bit far from the city centre and instead of the usual 8 Php fare, we paid 10 Php each.
After dinner, we hired another tricycle to take us back to the hostel for that much needed rest. Swimming is tiring and I know that I’ll need energy the following day for our next adventure.
Dumaguete Itinerary: Day 2
On our second day, I was up by 4AM to prepare for our trip to Manjuyod Sandbar. Our boatman have instructed previously that we needed to be there early in the morning at around 6AM for the dolphin watching.
After buying some coffee and bread at the convenient store, we hired a tricycle to take us to the Ceres Bus Terminal. There, we were able to catch the departing bus for Kanlaon.
Visit the Manjuyod Sandbar
Travel time to Manjuyod Sandbar was around an hour ride with fare at 61 Php each. We asked the bus ticketing officer to drop us off at the Bais bus stop. We were met by a man named Jun2x who took us to the Canibol Wharf where the boat and our boatman were waiting for us.
At the wharf, we gave the partial amount to our boatman. We were supposed to join a Joiner Tour (to save money as it is far more cheaper than going on an Exclusive Tour). But since there were no other passengers we got it on an exclusive but at the same price previously agreed.
We spent the whole morning enjoying the sandbar and had lunch near one of the islands. After lunch, we decided to head back to the mainland. We wanted to go to explore more thus the shortened time at the Manjuyod Sandbar.
Upon arrival at the port we paid the boatman the remaining amount of the tour fee. We also paid 20 Php for one gallon of fresh water to wash. After freshening up, we rode the same tricycle back to the bus stop. We paid a total of 150 Php for the fare, that already included the round trip pick up and drop off.
At the bus we settled for another hour of travel time back to Dumaguete City. We arrived at the hotel at around 2PM, quickly changed and left some of our gear inside the room.
After asking some directions from the hotel staff, we headed out to look for the jeepneys/ multicab that’ll take us to Valencia. We were indeed in luck when we arrived at the jeep terminal as they were only waiting for 2 more passengers before driving out.
Valencia Day Trip
Valencia is another municipality in Dumaguete City where we wanted to check out the beautiful falls that it is popular of. Fare to Valencia from Dumaguete was at 12 Php per head and travel time was just 30 minutes.
As luck would have had it, there was a man already looking for passengers to take to the falls. We quickly negotiated and at no time at all we were already winding through the steep hill towards our first destination: the Casaroro Falls.
Hike to the Casaroro Falls
When we arrived there, we paid the entrance fee of 10 Php per head and braved the long and steep stairs going down the falls. The people at the entrance asked if we wanted a guide to take with us. But we refused since there were people ahead of us and we just wanted to follow them.
The hike to the Casaroro Falls was very challenging indeed. We had to cross the stream and climbed over big and small rocks to get there. But, I soon forgot about the aches after seeing the majestic view of the falls.
We did not stay long however as we wanted to check out the Pulangbato Falls. The walk back to the falls was shorter but a lot harder especially at the stairs. LOL.
Not wanting to waste time, we immediately headed back to the tricycle and let our driver guide us to our next destination: the Pulangbato Falls.
Enjoy the View at the Pulangbato Falls
The Pulangbato Falls is situated on a commercialised area with a restaurant. We paid an entrance fee of 50 Php per head and enjoyed the falls and the view.
After Pulangbato we decided not to visit the Red Rock Hot Springs (as it was getting pretty late at this point). We did, however, stopped a few minutes at the Sulphur Vent which was along the road only.
Jeep to Dumaguete City is only until 5 PM. But it was already late by the time we went back. Good thing that our driver helped us look for tricycles that will be going back to the city.
We fortunately found one in just a couple of minutes and was on our way back to Dumaguete. Fare was still at 12 Php each so it was all good.
We opted to be dropped off at Sta. Teresa Resto. We added another 8 Php (each) on our fare since the agreed fare was at the city proper and the restaurant wasn’t located there.
After dinner, we hired another tricycle to take us to our Dumaguete hotel.
Dumaguete Itinerary: Day 3
Sunrise at the Rizal Boulevard
I wanted to catch some sunrise at the Rizal Boulevard on the following day so we woke up earlier than desired. The weather was a bit gloomy so we weren’t that positive we can catch the sunrise.
Unfortunately, our instinct proved to be right. Thankfully despite that, it did not rain and we still had the nicest breakfast by the sea that I wanted.
Stroll at the Quezon Park
After breakfast, we walked towards the Quezon Park for some morning stroll. We also took some photos of the Dumaguete Cathedral and the Bell Tower.
Satisfied we walked back to the hotel and prepared our things. We were going home later that night but before we go, we still had our itinerary set for the day. I wanted to visit the Twin Lakes so we opted to leave our things at the reception area.
Once all our bags were secured, we went back to the Ceres Bus Terminal to look for a bus that’ll take us to the Jal-Anan Junction. We were unsure where exactly to stop so we asked the bus ticketing officer to drop us off where we can hire a motorcycle to the Twin Lakes.
Instead of dropping us at the Jal-Anan Junction/ Twin Lakes Crossing, we were dropped off at Calo. From there we hired a motorcycle to take us to the Twin Lakes. Price was at 300 Php per head, back and forth. The driver will wait for us the entire time and take us back to the main road once we are done.
Explore the Beauty of the Twin Lakes: Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao
The road going up to the lake is (mostly) concrete but is steep at some part. We enjoyed the view while making our way to the Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao. It was hot but I guess the view made up for it.
We arrived at the main entrance where we had to pay 50 Php per head. Should you wish to be driven to the main area of the lakes, you’ll have to pay 32 Php for the driver. We opted to let him drive us over as it was nearing noon when we arrived.
The road leading up to the Lake Balinsasayao (the first lake) is concrete. You can hike all the way to the Lake Danao or rent a boat to take you across it.
We wanted to try the boat and see the lake up close. Fee was at 250 Php per hour and succeeding rates will apply if it’s more than the allotted time. Our boat man was very informative and gave us lots of trivia about the lake.
We spent around 2-4 hours at the lake including our travel time to and from Dumaguete City. By the time we arrived at the city, it was already past 2PM.
Visit the Siliman University’s Anthropology Museum
We had lunch at Gabby’s Bistro and then hired another tricycle to take us to the Siliman University. Unfortunately, and to my disappointment, the Anthropology Museum that I wanted to check out was closed. It was the Holy Week when we visited so they were already on holiday.
We then just spent the afternoon at the Rizal Boulevard. It was a great time to observe the locals and enjoy the the afternoon breeze.
At 4PM, we decided to have our early dinner at the Sans Rival Bistro. I wanted to try their Silvanas before I go so I convinced my husband to eat with me despite still being full.
After enjoying our delicious meal, we headed back to the hotel to get our things and hired another tricycle to take us to the airport.
Dumaguete 3-Day Itinerary with List of Expenses
If you are planning to visit the city, above is a copy of our Dumaguete Itinerary that you can use and benchmark.
PS: Please note that the food expense was set to 150 Php. Total amount may change if actual food expense exceeds or not.
We may have spent a short time in Dumaguete but we certainly seen a lot and enjoyed our trip. Have you been to this part of the Philippines?
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