DUMAGUETE CITY – With Boracay closing, on April 26, now is certainty the time for several exotic places in Negros Oriental and near places around Visayas to boom.
This province, as well as its capital Dumaguete City, is expected to become a top destination for tourists as Boracay temporarily closes shop, Negros Oriental Provincial Tourism Officer Myla Abellana said in an interview.
“I know Bohol and Cebu are very much ready to welcome the possible surge of tourists. We are, too,” she said.
Below are some spots in Negros Oriental that according to Abellana, are expected to be flocked by tourists this summer. A lot of tourists who have been to this province have come to love these places.
1. Apo Island
Located more than an hour away from Dumaguete City, Apo Island in Dauin is a well-known diving spot, boasting of crystal clear seas and abundant marine life.
The tourist favorite Apo Island is a marine sanctuary, as it is home to over 650 species of fish and 400 species of corals. “Finding Nemo” fans can see a lot of him at the so-called “Clownfish City” located at the southeastern part of this paradise.
In 2013, diving magazine Sport Diver named Apo as one of the top 100 diving spots in the world. “Tourists particularly love diving with the turtles there,” Abellana said.
The easiest route to Apo Island is taking a bus or jeepney ride from the capital to the Malatapay Market in Zamboanguita, which by the way, is popular for its delicious servings of fish tinola.
After getting off the market, it’s a 30-minute motor boat ride to paradise.
2. Manjuyod Sand Bar
This spot, located 38 kilometers north of Dumaguete, boasts of seven kilometers of nothing but pristine white sand and clear blue waters of the Tañon Strait. Although geographically located in the town of Manjuyod, the Sand Bar is commonly associated with neighboring City of Bais, which is a major dolphin-watching stopover.
The Sand Bar emerges when the tide ebbs. Tourists can swim, sunbathe, picnic, and snorkel around while enjoying a beautiful view.
From Dumaguete, tourists can take a 40-minute bus, jeep, or private van ride to Bais City. Feel free to ask the driver or the conductor, though. Locals will be ready to help visitors out.
3. Rizal Boulevard
This 800-meter strip is definitely one of the signature spots of Dumaguete City. Its Spanish-inspired design, along with an amazing view of nearby Cebu and Siquijor islands, is quite a treat. On the other side stands Silliman University, the “campus by the sea,” and its picturesque Silliman Hall.
The boulevard is a perfect jogging location in the morning, and a great place for street food in the evening, with vendors serving tempura and balut. Various restaurants stand along the strip, whose menus vary from German, Spanish, Filipino, Chinese, and Italian food, to name a few.
Its sea deck, which was opened just last January, is a perfect spot for those Instagram posts. Tourists can take a selfie, or even a groupfie, at the #DumaGetMe signage nearby. The sunrises and sunsets at the boulevard are worth an Instagram post, too.
4. Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park
Nature lover? You’ll definitely love twin lakes Balinsasayao and Danao in Sibulan, Negros Oriental, located around 40 minutes north of Dumaguete City. Getting there can be quite a challenge, but the breathtaking view upon reaching the lakes themselves is totally worth the effort.
Fishing and boating are some the common activities tourists do when in Balinsasayao, while some trek. However, just sitting down, doing nothing, and enjoying the view of Negros nature is just as fulfilling. It is also worth knowing that the Twin Lakes are a natural protected area, which means that its picturesque features are well-preserved.
It is also the home to some 114 species of birds, which include the critically endangered Negros bleeding-heart and Visayan wrinkled hornbill.