White sandbar, crystal clear waters, and rooms for rent in the middle of the sea. Does that sound like Maldives to you? Well, what if I tell you, you can find this place in the Philippines? In Negros Oriental to be exact.
Dubbed as the “Maldives of the Philippines”, Manjuyod Sandbar is on every beach lover’s bucket list. And why not? The turquoise blue waters slowly go down to reveal a white sandbar during low tide. Want to check this place out? Here’s everything you need to know about Manjuyod Sandbar.
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How To Get There
You have two options for getting to Manjuyod Sandbar. You either join a tour (which is cheaper) or rent a private boat. Tours cost around P850 (17 USD) per person. This includes lunch.
On the other hand, you can rent a private boat for around P2,000 (40 USD) and above depending on the size of the boat you’ll be renting. The P2,000 quote was good for 2 persons only. If you’re around 15 to 60 persons, boat rental costs around P3,500 (70 USD) to P5,000 (100 USD).
For our trip, we booked a joiner tour from Manjuyod Sandbar Tours and paid P850 (17 USD) per person. Aside from us, there were 3 other couples who joined the tour.
Now, let’s discuss the guide on going to Manjuyod.
But before that, here’s a travel tip:
Check schedules and availability of buses, ferries, taxis or flights to book online with 12Go Asia.
- If you’re coming from Bacolod, ride the night bus from Ceres South Terminal heading to Bais City. This route will take you around four hours of travel. Fare is around P380 (8 USD).
- From Bais City, ride a tricycle to bring you to the port where you will ride a boat to Manjuyod Sandbar.
- Do note that the last trip from Bacolod City to Bais is at 1:00 AM.
- If you’re coming from Cebu City, you can either ride a bus to Dumaguete or fly to Dumaguete. And from there, follow the Dumaguete guide below.
- If you chose to ride the bus, first, make your way to Cebu South Bus Terminal. Here, go to aisle C11 and look for the bus that has the “Dumaguete” signage in front. The trip will take you 5 to 6 hours. Fare is around P270 (5.5 USD).
- From Cebu City, the bus will head to the Bato port where you will board the ferry. Note that the fares for the bus and ferry are separate. Ferry tickets cost around P85 (1.5 USD). You can choose to take a seat inside the bus or go to the passenger’s area of the ferry.
- Before the boat docks at Tampi port, you’ll have to go back inside the bus. From Tampi, the bus will travel to Dumaguete city.
- Now, you simply have to follow the steps listed below. Though, I’d recommend you to spend one night in Dumaguete before you travel to Bais and Manjuyod Sandbar.
- From Dumaguete, simply ride a bus heading to Bais as early as you can so you can watch the dolphins. We started our trip at 4:00 AM and reached the Bais City bus stop after an hour. Fare is around P68 (around 1 USD).
- Once you reach Bais, ride a tricycle to bring you to the port where you will ride the boat to Manjuyod Sandbar.
With all that said, if you want a hassle-free trip from your hotel in Dumaguete to Manjuyod Sandbar, I’d recommend booking a tour with Klook.
And aside from the Manjuyod Sandbar, you can also book trips to:
- Siquijor Cambugahay Falls and Heritage Day Trip – Reserve tickets here
- Twin Lakes Natural Park with Dumaguete City Tour – Reserve tickets here
- Half-Day Dumaguete City Heritage Tour – Reserve tickets here
- Oslob Whale Shark and Tumalog Falls Day Trip from Dumaguete – Reserve tickets here
Top Things To Do In Manjuyod
Our tour started at 6:00 AM. We first left the port to go look for dolphins. After almost two hours of boat ride to Tañon Strait, we saw several groups of dolphins. Our boatmen tried going near the dolphins. Since there were around 3 or 4 boats beside us, every boat wanted to go near the dolphins, too. This went on for around 30 minutes until we left for Manjuyod Sandbar.
Seeing the dolphins up close was magical, but remembering how the boats went after the dolphins kinda makes the experience a bit disappointing. The dolphins were clearly trying to get away from the boats. And the whole scene looked like a game of tag. These were dolphins in the wild so every time a boat got near, the dolphins would swim away underwater.
Note: The dolphin watching season is from March to October.
After dolphin watching, we moved on to the Manjuyod Sandbar. And apparently, the sandbar shows up during the low tide around 1 to 3 PM. Lucky for us, our tour included a seafood lunch buffet.
And while waiting for our lunch, several locals selling coconuts, oysters, scallops, sea urchins, squids, and all sorts of fresh seafood approached us. You can buy a bucket of sea urchins for around P300 (6 USD)! Wow.
Take Part In Several Water Activities
Just waiting for the sandbar to appear doesn’t have to be boring. There are several water activities available that you can enjoy. These include banana boat rides, snorkeling, or simply swimming.
Enjoy the Sandbar
After lunch, the sandbar started to slowly appear and what a beauty it was! Though most people describe it as white in color, I’d say it was more of a creamy color.
Rent a Cottage
If you want to rent one of the cottages at Manjuyod Sandbar, daytime use costs around P3,000 (60 USD). On the other hand, if you want to stay for the night, rental is at P4,000 (80 USD).
Where to Stay
I’d recommend Dumaguete if you’re looking for hotels to stay in. Not only is it just an hour away from Bais city but it also offers tons of tourist spots and awesome food. Plus, you can easily go to Siquijor or Cebu from here. So here are some Dumaguete accommodations I’d recommend.
- Casa Arrieta Hostel – Check Price and Availability
- Dino Residences – Check Price and Availability
- The Flying Fish Hostel – Check Price and Availability
- Henia Hotel – Check Price and Availability
- Manhattan Suites Inn – Check Price and Availability
- The Bricks Hotel – Check Price and Availability
Aside from hotels and resorts, you can also opt to stay at an Airbnb.
Responsible Travel Tips
When traveling to one place, make sure you practice responsible tourism. Here are some tips to do so.
1. Respect the environment
Don’t litter. Please hold onto your trash until you find a garbage can. And use coral-reef friendly sunblock.
2. Avoid single-use plastic
Bring your eco bag and refuse single-use plastic.
3. Shop local
Keep the traditional crafts alive and support local artisans. Buy from them. And try not to haggle, P20 may seem small to you but it can mean a lot to them.
4. Always ask permission
Be sure to ask for permission first when taking photos or videos especially when it comes to children.
What to Pack for Manjuyod Sandbar
- Eco-friendly Reusable Water Bottle
- Aqua Shoes
- Day Bag
- Dry Bag
- Power Adapter
- Universal Waterproof Phone Case
- Microfiber Towel
- Travel Insurance
- Money Belt
- reusable straw and reusable bag (no to single-use plastic!)
Related Article: The Only Travel Packing List You’ll Ever Need (Trust Me)
Our Camera Gear
- Mirrorless Camera: Fujifilm XT3
- Lenses: Fujifilm Fujinon kit lens (18-55mm) | Fujinon 35mm f2 | Fujinon 50mm f2
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- GoPro: GoPro Hero Black 7
- Power Bank: Romoss Powerbank
- Camera Backpack: Case Logic Camera and Laptop Backpack
- Monopod: Ifootage Cobra 2 a180
- Mic: Rode VideoMicro
- Gimbal: Zhiyun Weebill-S
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