2 days of laag-laag felt like 5 days. Like thousand kilometers.
1st: getting to the south part of Negros Oriental from Cebu City. 176km.
Getting at about 12am from Cebu south bus terminal will get you to Lilo-an Port of Santander about 4am. (Bus fare, p200) The Ceres bus will stop at the port and you should be able to get tickets for the ferry right away (Ferry fare, p62). It takes only 15 mins and you will arrive at Sibulan port of Negros. From there just walk outside the port to the highway where the Birdees bakeshop is, no need to cross the road. As buses going to Bais city (the nearest starting point for Manjuyod sandbar) pass by the port side (bus fare, p48). The bus stop at Bais city is across Jollibee. Your guide should be waiting for you there. Our contact for the boat is Hadji, +63 999 522 6152. He can fetch you at that bus stop. His trike takes 8-10 people. He can take you to breakfast, & market just beside the Jollibee to buy lunch. His contact boats to the sandbar are docked at Canibol port. Most blog post I’ve read about Manjuyod starts at Capiñahan wharf. This Canibol must be an alternative. I’m not sure, the guide says it is now at Canibol. Anyways, the best time to really see the sandbar must be earlier than 7am or 6am. As when we arrived at about 7am, it was already knee high water. Hadji also waited for us back at Canibol port and took us to a house where we washed off for p20.
The next leg of our trip is Bais city to Bacolod city (Oriental to Occidental) 169km. (Bus fare P298)
After we washed off and changed, the guide (Hadji) took us back to the bus stop, and we waited for an ac-ceres bus going to Bacolod city via Kabankalan. We arrived shortly after 4pm at south bus terminal and we actually just told the driver to take us to the nearest inn/hostel/pension house near lacson street. He took us to Pleasant Travellers at 13th aguinaldo street. It was good enough for us who only stayed for a night and good rate as well. Clean room and sheets. It was just a walking distance to the main Lacson street. The next morning we packed up and checked out at 7am.
We did the usual Bacolod tour, but I suggest to do it it with a private transport is much better than DIY. The rate for an adventure is p1,500 for 25 hours + fuel p700. That’s good enough for 8 to 10 people to split. 1st stop was Silay City and the ancestral houses/museums. They have guides that makes the tour interesting as they tell stories about rich families and their cultures. 2nd stop was Campuestohan resort, it was at Talisay and we passed by the express airport road. Vast lands of sugarcane and growing subdivisions and housings are sprouting in that area. And the looming presence of mountains and their silhouette is what stays with me in that whole ride.
When we arrived at Campuestohan at around 10am, it was scorching hot. It was humid as well. That is why the pools look so inviting for anyone visiting that park. There are a lot of activities one can do like zip-biking or zip lining, and others. There is also an obstacle course which looks so challenging and fun.
Our 3rd stop was at Mambukal resort. I will never forget the hot more-than-lukewarm spring. It was p50 for entrance at the main gate. Inside there are 2 pools for kids and 1 for adults. And 2 hot springs. Restaurants are next to each other. There are cottages as well. It is P50 fee for taking a dip on that hot spring. Beleieve me it was hot but it was also good. I certainly recommend more cold flowing water at the side to make the heat bearable. After about 5 minutes in that hot water, was all that we can take. But it was good experience. One of the most memorable indeed in that Negros trip.
Our last stop is The Ruins. We wanted to see it by sunset. Before going there, we went to have coffee at this little place called Butchok’s. They serve iced coffee and this dish called nacho fries (which was gone in 60 seconds). The Ruins was full of tourists, and there was a wedding, so you can imagine the crowd. Nevertheless it was quite spectacular, it has an eerie sense of both abandonment and mystery.
Before we head off to the bus terminal we had lunch at a pala-pala place, called the 18th street Palapala seafood restaurant which turned out to be just very near the place we stayed at 13th aguinaldo street. There are other palapala place like near the local market. We also visited Pendy’s and bought some Negros “Napoliones”, which turns out to be a best-seller as not of all us is able to buy.
And finally to end the trip, we made the 218km ceres bus trip via escalante city from bacolod north bus terminal to cebu north bus terminal. It was already about 9pm when we arrived at that huge, modern and clean Ceres bus terminal. Nothing compared to what Cebu has. Cebu is a little behind when it comes to local transportation! Tsk! Cebu Local Government?!!!!!!!!
The trip was about 7 hours, which we just slept off. (P420 bus fare and roro/barge fare of p130) And we arrived at cebu at 5am, when there was still no sun and it was quite good to arrive so early. Overall distance of all that ceres bus rides = 563km. That’s it. 500+ miles of 53 hours something of butt-numbing ride, all new places we’ve never been to. Sea water and volcanic water dip! Good times with good company. A group of people that never complains and outdone each other. We silently agreed to have fun and go with the flow and enjoy the ride!