Bais, Negros Oriental – Where can you find native wooden houses built on stilts that looks like they’re floating on the shallow blue water? Most travelers would probably say “Maldives”. Yeah right, because Maldives is famous for it and it’s damn expensive!
But what if I told you that you can actually find a similar island here in the Philippines? Yup! It isn’t as expensive and luxurious as Maldives, everyone can visit because it’s can be accessed easily and budget-friendly. Thanks to travel vlogger Christian LeBlanc, his video encouraged me and my friends to visit this precious gem.
How to get to Manjuyod Sandbar?
From Manila, we took a 1.5 hours flight going to Dumaguete City. From Dumaguete Airport, take a tricycle to Ceres Bus Terminal and board a bus going to Bais, Barangay Calindagan. The fare is around Php50 for air-conditioned. Once you get there, take another tricycle to Canibol Wharf or Capiñahan Wharf. If you want convenience, you can rent a private car for Php1,300 or 26usd.
From Capiñahan Wharf, you can rent a boat that will take you to Manjuyod Sandbar. Boat rental is around Php2500 or 50usd. If you want to include dolphin watching and a side trip to the Mangrove forrest, it’s Php5000 or 100usd.
You can contact the Bais City Tourism Office if you want to book in advance:
+63 (35) 541 5161
+63 (35) 402-8174
Things to consider when you visit Manjuyod Sandbar
1.) Bring food. There is no food on the island but you will see some vendors on their small boats selling sea urchin, freshly caught fish, and coconuts. My friends and I brought packed lunch from the market and bought coconuts as dessert. 🙂
2.) Check the weather and tide forecast. Where ever your destination is, always check the weather on Google. Although sometimes, it’s not accurate. I think it’s best to go early in the morning or after 12 noon so you can see the pristine 7 kilometers stretch of the premium white sandbar.
3.) Don’t expect luxury. In Maldives, the daily budget would cost you around 300usd to 850usd including accommodation. In Manjuyod, it’s less than 100usd. So don’t expect anything posh like in Maldives because you will just get disappointed. My advice is to see the beauty of the beach and make some friends like we did.
Yoga and Japanese guys
When our boat parked in one of the cottages, 3 Japanese approached our boat and asked if they can use it as a platform to cross. We let them cross and they went jumping like crazy happy kids. lol! When they got tired, we offered some food because they haven’t eaten breakfast yet. We talked for a while, they said they’re in Dumaguete because they are studying English. It’s way cheaper compared to language schools in Japan.
Aki, the yoga practitioner did some poses and we happily joined him. Here are some shots I took: