This is the continuation of our South Cebu-Negros Oriental excursion way back in November 2015.

November 30, 2015

Finally, we arrived at the fourth and last day of our excursion. Yesterday, unlike our previous two days, was more laidback and more relaxing. My first taste of Negros Oriental was full of promise that I looked forward to the last stretch of our tour with relish.

For our last day, we are going to visit a destination Ate Jo and Ate Kenken have been to already – Manjuyud Sandbar. During that time, Manjuyud was still largely obscured from the minds of the ordinary Filipino traveler but what very few we saw over the world wide web made us look forward to the experience; Rey and I particularly. It didn’t surprise us when a few weeks later, pictures of Manjuyud’s blew up and everybody now wants to visit it. But why?

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Giddy and excited – they are ready for a new day of adventure. Photo by Kenken Amango

Heeding the call of many a blogger, we woke up early (again). We must get to Bais the earliest we can, before the sea swallows the sandbar. Arrangements with a local guide were already made ahead of our tour; we only had to present ourselves. From Dumaguete, it took about an hour and a half to reach Bais City. We were met by our guide at the city market. We rode a tricycle going to the wharf where our boat was waiting for us.

It took about fifteen minutes to reach the sandbar. However, our group opted to go for the dolphin watching first before exploring the sandbar; besides it was already crowded with early morning visitors. Before Manjuyod became famous, it used to be just a stopover for Bais dolphin and whale watching tour.

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Of Elusive Dolphins, Anxiety and Faith

Beyond the breakwaters, the waves were rough, but we still went ahead. Our guide is a veteran of the sea. This is the perhaps the third time during our trip that I am putting my life at the mercy of a stranger – the first was when we boarded the plane and second was when we rode the habal-habal to Osmena Peak. Man, this trip is certainly teaching me a lot of things.

About thirty minutes after departing from Manjuyod, it has become clear to us that this time around, the dolphins and whales are elusive. We were straddling the waters between Negros and Cebu islands. Amidst the dark blue waters, our outrigger boat is the only thing that can be seen for miles beyond. Downcast, we decided to go back to the sandbar. However, the waters were charging on us – the waves got as high as a meter or two. It kept battering our small vessel.

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The ominous waters shook me to the core. My anxieties seized me and my mind went askew, thinking of worst-case scenarios. To calm my nerves down, I uttered a silent prayer then let our captain and Captain steer the small boat. It made me feel better but what truly amazed me was how skillfully our captain maneuvered the boat against the terrifying waters. He would idle the engine then turn it on again or he would just let the boat ride the waves. He read and analyzed the sea the way we accountants read and analyze mind-boggling financial statements.

When we anchored on the sandbar, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. Now time to explore this expanse of white, grainy sand!

The Maldives of the Philippines

When we visited Manjuyod Sandbar, it wasn’t still as famous as it was a couple of weeks after our visit. Fellow travelers shared their pictures on social media and it blew over, captivating everyone’s mind. Social media is truly a powerful tool in promoting tourism. Its unmatched beauty that riveted everyone earned it the moniker the “Maldives of the Philippines.

Back to our adventure. Thankfully, we returned to a deserted sandbar – we had the place to ourselves. Filled with youthful energy, we ran around and explored the area, its every nook and cranny. The sand is very fine and glimmered in the midst of the scorching heat. It is a very idyllic spot to say the least.

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The sandbar, which stretches to about a kilometer in length, is propped up with elevated cottages. This can be rented for the day or for overnight visitors. Honestly, it does diminish the virginal qualities of the area. However, it does give the area a more rustic feel, an off-the-beaten path atmosphere.

While trudging the path where many a tourist have walked before, I can’t help but be amazed of the beauty of nature. The ethereal beauty of Manjuyod Sandbar exhibits nature’s endless prowess to astonish. It is a white gem that rises from the bottom of the sea when the tide recedes. Bereft of luxurious accoutrements, it is the perfect spot to appreciate nature at its best. It is the best spot to for those who are in want of tranquility away from a world drowned by raucous noise.

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After a couple minutes of unobstructed luxury, the tide began taking over what it rightfully owns. It is a signal that we have to go and continue our journey. As the sandbar slowly disappears, I can’t help but ruminate on the beauty that I have just witnessed – it was simply other-worldly. I can compose a poem about it if only to describe it; it can awaken the inner poet in anyone. But alas, no superlatives come to mind that can justify the beauty of Manjuyod Sandbar.

Do watch out for the last part of South Cebu-Negros Oriental excursion.

Manjuyud Sandbar Short Travel Guide

How to Get to Apo Island

Manjuyod is geographically part of Manjuyod municipality, Negros Oriental. The jump-off point, however, is at Bais City. Manjuyod Sandbar is very accessible from Dumaguete City; various modes of transportation are available.

To get there, ride a bus. Here are the directions:

  • Go to Ceres Bus terminal.
  • Ride a bus going to Bais City. Bus fare is PHP 55.00 Alight at the city center.
  • Ride a tricycle to Canibol Wharf or Capinahan Wharf, the jump-off points for island hopping.
  • Rent a boat going to Manjuyod Sandbar.

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Expenses and Fees

Boat rental fees:

5-7 Capacity – PHP 3,000.00
8-15 Capacity – PHP 5,000.00

Boat rental is good for one whole day and includes tour of Bais Bay, Manjuyod Sandbar, and the Mangrove Forest.

For those who want to stay overnight, cottage rental rate are:

Daytime Use only: PHP 3,000.00
Overnight Use: PHP 4,000.00
24-Hour Use: PHP 6,000.00

Practicalities

  1. The best time to visit the sandbar is from 5 AM to 10 AM when it is still low tide. At noon, the sandbar is swallowed back by the sea.
  2. Best time to visit is during the dry season, from December to May.
  3. There are no restaurants in the sandbar. Buy food at the city market ahead of your trip.
  4. The most practical way to travel is in groups. If you are traveling solo, join other groups. Not only will you have someone to take pictures of you but you can have someone to split the bill with.
  5. Boats are available at the Canibol Wharf and Capinahan Wharf.
  6. Don’t forget your action cam!
  7. Be generous in applying sunblock, especially if you don’t want your boss to know that your sick leave is not really a “sick leave”.

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Other Information

For more information and other tourism needs, visitors can also arrange tours or contact Manjuyod Tourism Office or Bais Tourism Office. Contact details are below:

  • Manjuyod Tourism Office:
  • Bais Tourism Office:
    • Cellphone number: +63 918 265 0474/+63 917 300 5945
    • Landline number: +63 35 402 8338
    • Email address: baistourism@gmail.com
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Beauty and adventure awaits those who are not afraid of the oblivion. Photo by Rey Ernesto.

Disclaimer: Pictures featured in this article are not owned by the author. Other than the picture credited to Kenken Amango, all pictures are owned by Rey Ernesto.

To check the rest of this travel series, you may click on the links provided below:

South Cebu 2015: Canyoneering
South Cebu 2015: Swimming With The Gentle Giants
South Cebu 2015: Side Trip to Tumalog Falls
South Cebu 2015: Osmena Peak, Mother Mountain
South Cebu 2015: A Spanish Affair
Negros Oriental 2015: Into the Island of Turtles