After several weeks traveling around the Philippine islands, I saw so much diverse nature that it seemed that not much could surprise me. But it turned out that I was mistaken, and Negros island was able to directly defeat me with its beauties and absolutely incredible nature! I decided to share with you the most interesting attractions and made the TOP 10 places that definitely deserve attention! 🙂
What To Do in Negros Island
I decided not to rank my list as “top” (when each attraction has its own place or a certain position in the ranking), but simply present the most interesting, in my opinion, places in the order I visited them.
Initially, I planned to stay in Dumaguete when I arrived from Siquijor Island, only a couple of days, but this turned out to be absolutely not enough to finish all my ideas. Therefore, I slightly changed my plans and decided to explore the island in more detail, as far as time allowed. And after Negros set aside a week to Palawan. By the way, I already wrote a couple of stories about it – one of them will tell you about the miracle of nature – Puerto Princesa Underground River!
Oops, I deviated for a bit from the main story …. So, let’s go back to Negros Island!
1. Mag-Aso Volcanic Steam Spring
Since I had a place of basing in the Dumaguete, so it would be logical to explore Negros, starting from the neighborhood of the city. Moreover, there is something to surprise here.
Mag-Aso Volcanic Steam Spring – this name immediately surprised me, when I just started exploring Negros island on a Google map. I am not indifferent and with trembling interest concern to any volcanic activity, and this place was not an exception.
The Mag-Aso Volcanic Steam Spring of volcanic origin and it is 14 km away from Dumaguete. It’s very easy to get to it on a motorbike or by taking a “private” tricycle. The same road leads to two other attractions. I will tell you about them a bit later.
The Mag-Aso Volcanic Steam Spring is a natural hot spring that flows down rock formations along the road. Puffs of hot steam surround the water outlet and have a very pungent smell of hydrogen sulfide. Along the road, there are signs that this steam is poisonous. We stopped for a few minutes to take a look at the Spring and take a couple of photos. It’s really breathtaking and truly impressive!
I forgot to say that around Negros I partially traveled with my friend Eva from Costa Rica, who was my companion on my solo trip to the Philippines.
The entrance to Mag-Aso Volcanic Steam Spring is free and it’s working around the clock! 🙂
2. Pulangbato Falls
After a magical-volcanic spring, the road turns right to the next attractions. There are two of them here, one of which we decided to visit on the way back and for now, drive forward to the beautiful and very unusual Pulangbato waterfall. After a couple of kilometers of a not very good road, we arrived at the Pulangbato Falls sign. This sign indicated direction to the waterfall and to a recreation complex that has the same name as a waterfall.
This complex has sun loungers, several relaxation areas, and swimming pools. It looks like you have to stay here for a couple of hours and relax a bit.
Nature around is amazing and very relaxing. The waterfalls are not big but beautiful. There is a bridge where you can make good photos.
The Entrance to this complex is not free – 100 pesos per person, but it is definitely worth it.
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00
Eva and I also decided to spend some time here and have lunch!
3. Red Rock Hot Spring
Following the plan, we had another relaxation spot, but at the hot springs. Riding a motorbike, we went down the road in the direction to Dumaguete, about one kilometer. We were politely met by the staff of the “Red Rock Hot Spring” complex.
The story of this place is very interesting. The area around this hot spring once was bought by a European. There was nothing equipped there back then, but trickles of water flowing out of the rock heated by the bowels of the earth. The owner decided to collect these trickles and organize a pool so you can comfortably swim in hot water.
Later the owners decided that everyone should enjoy the natural hot baths, so they built all the necessary infrastructure. There is a shower (it must be taken before and after bathing at the spring), tables, a small restaurant. Food prices are slightly above average but affordable.
The Entrance fee is only 70 pesos, and this is very cheap to relax without a doubt.
Opening hours: 07:00 – 20:00
I was so relaxed in this place that I completely forgot that there was a road ahead to Dumaguete in order to try to catch another attraction.
4. Twin Lakes, Balinsasayao Natural Park
After a really good rest, 33 kilometers of road awaited me to get to a truly large-scale sight!
In the depths of the jungle, in the crater of extinct volcanoes there hid two lakes similar to each other, so they were called Twin Lakes. They are like twin brothers spilled over many hundreds of square meters, surrounded by green slopes of the mountains. You can rent kayaks for 150 pesos per hour or a boat – 250 pesos per hour on the shore of the first lake to freely ride around the lake and even see Olayan Falls.
The road to Balinsasayao National Park is very winding, mountainous. So, we had to work hard to arrive on time. As a result, we arrived at the checkpoint around 15:45, i.e. just an hour and something before closing. There we paid entrance fees, listened to a small briefing, and even take a look at the layout of the area.
Since we absolutely had no time left to walk around the park and enjoy the surrounding nature, we decided not to take the boat, but walk along the path to the second lake. The one-way road took us approximately 20 minutes. At the end of the path, there is a tower with a great view of both lakes.
The Twin Lakes is definitely worth a look. However, I would recommend you to arrive there as early as possible in order to have time to see everything, go boating and have a great rest. There are tables, barbecue areas on the territory, so you can even hang out for the whole day.
On the way back to Dumaguete we stopped several times to take photos because nature around was incredible!
The Entrance fee is 100 pesos per person + 35 pesos for parking a motorbike.
Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:00
5. Casaroro Falls
The next day we met Lamis and three of us went to another miracle of nature – Casaroro Falls. By the way, Lamis happily shared her emotions about traveling to Palawan. This story will reveal all the secrets of Port Barton. This story is very interesting, I recommend it! 🙂
The main reason I was unable to visit Casaroro Falls the day before was that the waterfall “didn’t work”! 😀 Yes, yes, this is possible! When Eva and I arrived there to see it, it turned out that the waterfall was on “service”! This word surprised me so much that I could not restrain myself to find out all the details. It turned out that after the rain a large stone fell on the road leading to the waterfall. It seemed to the administration of the waterfall unsafe for tourists, so they decided to close the waterfall for “maintenance” in order to remove the stone and repair the destroyed path.
Lamis agreed to be our local guide and show the most beautiful camera angles for photography at the waterfall. I had no idea of its scale back then, but Olya, with whom we were traveling in Qatar, said that this was the coolest waterfall she had ever seen!!!
After going about 330 steps down and crossing the river a couple of times along cement paths and fording, we finally saw Casaroro Falls! The sight is unbelievable – huge water flow breaks down from a 30-meter height as if someone had opened a huge crane! The flow is so powerful that it’s even impossible to talk near the waterfall!
Everything said earlier turned out to be true – this is the coolest waterfall I’ve ever seen!!! In my rank of attractions in Negros, it can worthily take the first place! 😉
We paid 30 pesos per person for the entrance.
Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:00
6. Apo Island
It is known that vacation in the Philippines is most often associated with diving, snorkeling, and beaches. The most interesting place for snorkeling in the Dumaguete area is the Apo island. I decided to go there with a one-day excursion.
You can get to Apo by yourself if you take a bus from the Bus Station in the direction of Zamboanguita to the small market in Malatapay (the ticket price is 20 pesos), and from there to the Malatapay Wharf pier. You can rent a boat for 4 people for 2500 pesos, for 6 people – 3000 pesos, for 8 people – 3500 pesos and for 10 people – 4000 pesos.
I decided to take an organized tour from the diving center “Harolds Dive Center Dumaguete”. The cost was 1200 pesos per person.
The tour package includes:
- Round-trip bus transfer;
- Equipment (flippers, mask, life jacket);
- Breakfast, water, tea, and coffee;
- Separate boat;
- Marine Park Fees
This was the rightest decision because I didn’t have snorkeling equipment with me.
Unfortunately, I had nothing to do with the underwater shooting, and Lamis forgot to take a waterproof mobile case for her phone. As a result, there were only vivid memories of how I swam in the company of 4 huge turtles and another 5 tour participants. My impressions were unforgettable and it was very emotional!
This event took us almost the whole day – from 05:00 to 15:00 and I exercised a lot, so I do not recommend planning a lot of activities for the evening. It’s better to pick up something calm.
7. Bulwang Caves
A huge cave complex Bulwang is located near to Mabinay City. It turned out that the Mabinay province is not only the cave capital of Negros island but also all the Philippines! There are about 400 caves in this region, 100 of which were explored, and about 50 of these investigated caves were explored by the Danish-Belgian team of cavers in the late 90s.
The most profitable option to get there is on your own (rented) motorbike. This will not only save money but also allows you to see several other attractions in the area.
This time I chose not the most convenient and profitable option – a bus. It took us (Lamis and I) 2 hours to get from the Bus Station in Dumaguete to Mabinay City by Ceres bus. The ticket price was 126 pesos per person. We were planning to visit Pandalihan Cave and Bugsok Waterfall, but it turned out that no public transport goes there, and local cabmen can deliver us there for 600 pesos! This was an absolutely unacceptable price for 11 km!!!
We decided to cancel this idea and took a jeepney for 20 pesos per person from Mabinay City to the Bulwang Caves Information Center.
Due to the fact that we spent too much time on the road and understanding that there was nothing to do in Mabinay City, we were able to visit only one of the caves. If you arrive at the cave center before 08:30, you can pick a tour to 3 or even to 7 caves!
There are 3 different packages:
- Basic level – 25 pesos per person for entrance to 1 cave (there are 3 of them – Panligawan, Pandalihan, and Crystal Cave) + 400 pesos for a guide for 6 people;
- Advanced level – 100 pesos per person for entrance to 1 cave (there are 7 caves in total) + 400 pesos for a guide for 5 people;
- Extreme level – the cost is negotiated separately, depending on the training level of the participants, as well as their special equipment.
In the tourist center, I met a local guide Shem, who not only told us about the caves in the area but, after telling about my caving experience, he also invited me to the annual world speleologists’ camp here in Negros! As a nice bonus was also a small discount because there were only two of us 🙂
Of the three caves that are available in the Basic Package, we visited only one – Crystal Cave. Even after several Crimean caves, which I visited in 2011, and descended to a depth of “-200 meters”, this Crystal Cave was very impressive! Here are a few photos that I made during a short tour.
8. Niludhan Falls
It would be a shame to go so far from Dumaguete and see only one cave, so we decided to try to get at least one waterfall.
There is the picturesque Niludhan Falls not far from Bulwang Caves, but it also does not have any public transportation which goes there. Since we were without motorbikes, we had to ask local guides to bring us to the waterfall. After 20 minutes of negotiations, it was possible to establish a price – 520 pesos. This price included 2 personal drivers on two motorbikes + refueling 1 liter of fuel in each bike, which generally was OK for us.
After 25 minutes we arrived at the place! I think that in the rainy season this waterfall should be very deep and spill over its entire width! We got only a few tricks, but they were also beautiful.
This waterfall is worthy of attention, but I recommend visiting it on a rented bike, and not on public transport!
The entrance fee is symbolic – 25 pesos per person.
9. Manjuyod White Sandbar – The Philippine Maldives
I really wanted to get to this beautiful place! Unfortunately, the tide schedule did not coincide with my sleep schedule, and package tours were very expensive, so I decided to skip this attraction this time. Lamis will tell you about it in details 🙂
To get to Manjuyod Sandbar you can either take a bus going to Bais City or join an arranged group tour. Everything in the tour is included. Prices depends in each agency you applied. I recommend Harold’s Mansion you can check their site and see prices. They also offer different tours.
As for my experience, I was invited by my friend to go to Manjuyod Sandbar joining with her Mom and her Mom’s colleagues. There were a lot of us, so the boat we rented was a big one. More or less we were 15 – 20 people. The more the merrier, the cheaper the breakdown of cost for the boat. Food is not included nor transportation going there.
How to get to Manjuyod White Sandbar?
Take a bus that goes to Bais City the fare is around 60 pesos. Once you arrive in Bais take a tricycle to get you to Campiñahan Wharf or Canibol Wharf. Rental boats are available there. Prices range from 3500 – 4500 pesos depending on the season and number of people.
If you rented a motorbike then you can save more. The trip is an hour from Dumaguete to Bais.
You’ll see small boats that roam around in Manjuyod Sandbar that sells snacks and drink even seafood and they can cook it for you. But prices are a bit pricey.
Tip: Buy and bring your own food and drinks, there are no stores to pass by during the trip.
10. Canlaon (Kanlaon) Volcano
I decided to complete my list of the most exciting attractions in my opinion on Negros island on the active Canlaon Volcano.
The Canlaon volcano is located 175 kilometers from Dumaguete or 50 kilometers from Bacolod. Since I was based in the Dumaguete, I planned to go to this highest mountain on Negros island from there.
The height of the Canlaon volcano is 2435 m with a base diameter of 30 km! This fact only acted out my imagination to hike to its top. At the end of 2019 the Taal volcano erupted, which was somehow connected by one volcanic chain to the Canlaon volcano. In this case, the danger level of visiting this region was set at Level2 – which meant that it was closed for visiting by tourist groups.
No matter how hard I tried, alas, a visit at the beginning of 2020 was impossible. I’ll try another time. But I managed to collect some information about how exactly it is possible to climb to the top of the volcano and take a look into its crater.
There are two options for visiting Canlaon Volcano:
- as part of a tourist group, from the base of the volcano – 500 pesos for the entrance to the reserve + guide services start from 700 pesos per day + food for the group and guide. So, the final cost depends on the number of people. It is necessary to agree in advance;
- to purchase a 2-3-day package tour in Dumaguete, Bacolod, or in Cebu City – the price starts from 8000 pesos for “all in one”.
Unfortunately, climbing to the top of the volcano by yourself is prohibited!
There are also two climbing routes to the volcano – from the city of the same name Canlaon City, as well as from the other side from a small village Guintubdan.
All detailed information can be found in the official Facebook group.
This concludes my story about the most incredible attractions of Negros Island. Of course, this island is huge and you can find more interesting places! I will be glad to your comments and additions to further discover the Philippines and beautiful nature of Negros!
See you! 🙂