Apo island

Manjuyod Sandbar The Maldives Of The Philippines

The Manjuyod Sandbar is known as a top attraction in the Central Visayas region and is less than a 90-minute bus ride from downtown Dumaguete.

The Sandbar itself is a beautiful strip of white pristine sand which can be reached via a short 15-minute boat trip from Bais City.

The sandbar’s surface only emerges when it is low tide, exposing the stilts that hold up wooden native cottages on the sandbar. However, during high tide, the cottages appear to be actually floating on the water.

Amazingly, the surface of this strip is around 600 hectares, which includes the portions that are submerged, and stretches for over 20 kilometres, although only around 7 kilometres is visible at low tide.

Dolphin watching is a popular tourist attraction in this part of Negros Oriental. Bais City is the main area that offers tours for dolphin watching in Negros Oriental, although you can also organise tour packages from Dumaguete.

Many of the tourists and visitors to Bais choose to combine their visit to Manjuyod Sandbar with dolphin watching. There are full day-trip packages available along with a stay overnight in one of the cottages at Manjuyod Sandbar.

However, having been inside one of these cottages, they are very very basic and far from comfortable so don’t expect anywhere near even a two-star hotel standard.

Fear not, as you can also hire them just for the day so you can hang out on the balcony and watch the tide come in and go out while having a picnic or BBQ and enjoying a few drinks.

Dolphin Watching At Its Best

The boat ride takes you to Tañon Strait where you get to enjoy the sights of dolphins in their natural habitat while cruising along crystal clear blue waters.

Tañon Strait is known for having one of the largest concentrations of marine mammals in the world. It is also home to the biggest protected marine areas in the Philippines which is located between Negros Island and Cebu Island.

Thanks to the protected status of this area, marine life remains rich and abundant. This is because the national and local government are focused on conserving the wildlife in this area, while at the same time promoting foreign and local tourism.

This area boasts 14 different species of whales and dolphins. The more common sighted include the spotted dolphins, the spinner dolphin, Pygmy sperm whales, and bottlenose dolphins.

From time to time you might also catch a glimpse of the pilot whales, dwarf whales, and Pygmy killer whales.

Best Times Of Year To Visit

The dolphins remain in this strait throughout the year, yet the more popular dates to book a tour run between March and October. This when the Tañon Strait is calm which makes this the perfect time to take part in these tours.

The most popular months are from March to May which is the summer months.

The ability to watch these beautiful animals that are not confined to tanks or aquariums is a truly amazing experience which I enjoyed immensely.

The ideal time to book your dolphin watching tour would be as early as possible in the morning, directly after sunrise.

The ocean is usually at its calmest making it easier to spot the whales and dolphins. In the morning they are also more active and populous improving your chances of spotting them.

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Dolphin watching near Manjuyod Sandbar

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A view of the cottages with the tide still in

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Close up of one of the cottages with the tide out

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Standing on Manjuyod Sandbar with the tide out

How to get there

Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific fly to Dumaguete from Manila twice daily with the flight taking just over one hour.

From the Ceres bus terminal in downtown Dumaguete to Bais City is only 50kms and takes a bit under 90 minutes. The fare one way is about P70.

From Capiñahan wharf in Bais City, you are able to book a tour with one of the boat operators for a dolphin watching adventure. If only going to Manjuyod Sandbar, the boat ride is only 15 mins. However, if you are going out to Tañon Strait for dolphin watching, the boat ride is 45 minutes.

The cost for the boat will depend if you take a tour package or not but the going rate for a boat is P3,500 for up to 8 pax. This is good for all-day use.

If you need to take a tricycle from Bais City to Capiñahan wharf, this will take about 10-15 minutes and costs P20. Don’t let the tricycle drivers try and extract too much more from you.

Dezza´s Tip

If you want to see the sandbar fully exposed, avoid going there in the middle of the day as that is when it is high tide. Therefore, early in the morning or mid-afternoon are the best options. However, the best time to see the dolphins is early in the morning so if you also plan to go dolphin watching, early morning is the way to go.