NEGROS: A PRACTICAL TRAVEL GUIDE FOR DIY & BUDGET TRAVELERS [UPDATED as of 2021]

Note: As a precautionary measure in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to check with the authorities the updated travel requirements and possible restrictions that might affect your travel plan. Contact Negros Tourism office at tourism_negocc@yahoo.com or at (034) 433 2515 to know the latest update.

Remember to always follow the health and safety protocols imposed from your travel origin to your destination. I wish you a safe trip ahead!

Traveling to Negros Island for the first time? This detailed DIY travel guide is exactly what you need. Scroll down and take note of the outlined information from sample itinerary and budget, best places to visit, top things to do, recommended tours and transports, budget-friendly accommodations, and other travel tips. Have a fun and enjoyable trip ahead!

START HERE!

NEGROS ISLAND AT A GLANCE

Grab a Philippine map and look for that boot-like shape island, that definitely is NEGROS, which is situated between the islands of Panay (to its left, where Boracay is) and Cebu (to its right). Its location tells you that as far as tourism goes, Negros has quite a competition so it is often left out by travelers. However, like its neighboring islands in the Visayas, Negros is a hundred-attraction offering that caters to different points of interest from beaches, historic sites, nature, and architectural buildings. Some of the attractions are still underdeveloped and remain off-the-beaten trail, an ear candy for travelers who prefer the less discovered tourist spots.

Go through each content and see what’s in store for you in this laid-back yet equally attractive island of Negros.

Poblacion beach of Sipalay, a public beach that has been a  major come on to the wanderlust for its long stretch of ivory sand which makes for an excellent site for camping.

WHERE TO STAY IN NEGROS ISLAND

Here are a mix of average to budget accommodations at the three major cities of Negros.

Bacolod

The best place to stay in Bacolod is within the city proper. Here are top-rated accommodations that you can find in the area. Click the photo for more details.

UNIT 1109 CITYSCAPE RESIDENCES
Rating: 9.1 | Price: 1,909 for a studio apartment with seaview good for 3 persons
REDDOORZ@RAMOS LACSON
Rating: 7.9 | Price: P1,001 for a family room good for 3 adults and 2 kids
AVENUE SUITES
Rating: 7.8 | Price: P1,884 for a room good for 3 adults and 2 kids
HEI HOMES BACOLOD
Rating: 9.4 | P1,889 for an apartment good for 3 persons

Dumaguete

The best place to stay in Dumaguete is at the downtown area for easy access of transport. Here are the best-rated accommodations that you can find. Click the photo for more details.

DINO RESIDENCES
Rating: 8.9 | Price: 1,245 for a family room good for 4 adults and 2 kids
GOLDEN GATE SUITES
Rating: 8.4 | Price: P972 for a room good for 3 adults and 2 kids
LANI’S PLACE
Rating: 9.9 | Price: P1,724 for an apartment good for 3 persons
HENIA HOTEL
Rating: 8.8 | Price: P3,266 for a family room good for 4 adults and 2 kids
ASTRA BELLA APARTMENT
Rating: 8.5 | Price: P2,374 for an apartment good for 3 persons
FLORENTINA HOMES
Rating: 8.4 | Price: P2,846 for an apartelle good for 4 adults and 2 kids
THE FLYING FISH HOSTEL
Rating: 8.7 | Price: P1,666 for a deluxe room with a garden view good for 4 persons

Sipalay

The best accommodations in Sipalay can be found near the beach areas. Here are some of them.

EASY DIVING & BEACH RESORT
Rating: 8.5 | Price: P1,865 for a room good for 3 adults and 1 kid, with free breakfast

More accommodations in Sipalay: (click the link for more details)

HOW TO GET TO NEGROS ISLAND

Here are your options in getting to the island of Negros.

By Air

There are two entry points for Negros by air; one for each capital: the Bacolod-Silay International airport for Negros Occidental which is located in the city of Silay, and the Dumaguete-Sibulan airport for Negros Oriental which can be found at the town of Sibulan.

Local destinations that offer plane trips to Bacolod-Silay International Airport

  • Angeles
  • Butuan
  • Cagayan de Oro
  • Cebu
  • Davao
  • Puerto Princesa
  • Manila

Local destinations that offer plane trips to Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport.

  • Manila
  • Clark (New entry)
  • Cebu
Kayaking activity at Perth Paradise in Sipalay for P250 per person, good for an hour.

By Sea

Access to Negros by sea is also commonly done through its two capitals. Here are destinations that travel to:

Bacolod

  • Manila
  • Iloilo

Dumaguete

  • Bohol via Tagbilaran
  • Cebu via Santander
  • Dipolog
  • Siquijor
  • Zamboanga via Dapitan

TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN NEGROS ISLAND

Here are top ten (10) tourist spots that you can cover in a day or with an itinerary for 2 to 3 days in the island of Negros. These are just few of them. If you want to know more, click the link for top 25 attractions that can be found in Negros.

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL TOP ATTRACTIONS

PERTH PARADISE OF SIPALAY

Arguably the one to blame for the influx of tourists in Sipalay. Not that it’s meant in a bad way, but the resort is a magnet for its view of an infinite azure that stretches from the waters of its pool to the horizons of its seas where await an iconic sight of dotted, limestone hills. The resort is a 15-minute ride from the town proper. Entrance fee is P80, with a separate fee for use of pool for P100. Cottage is P500 and kayaking activity per person is P250. Contact them at +63 946 059 0076.

SUGAR BEACH OF SIPALAY

It is yet another long stretch of sand in Sipalay but sugary brown in color, that gives the right sweetness for those who love to find themselves in a quiet and secluded beach front. The beach is located at barangay Nauhang, outside the city proper, and can be reached either by going on a boat ride for 20 minutes from Poblacion beach (fare is P300 per boat) or by chartering a tricycle (for P100) from the town to barangay Nauhang where you can find small boats that will take you to the beach in a minute (the entrance to the beach is only a sight away) for P10 per person. You will be met by a mix of low to mid-range resorts; some offer a snorkeling and scuba diving activity like Takatuka and Driftwood village resorts which is a must-do while here because of the strong sense of marine life and underwater attractions at the off coast of the beach.

Sugar beach also faces the west and is suitable for a sunset experience. Give it a twist, hike up the hill and watch the sunset as it slowly dives deep down the horizon of a 360-degree Sugar beach view.

THE RUINS OF BACOLOD

The then-mansion-turned-to-ruins was built by a sugar baron for his Portuguese wife on her death. The place is considerably one of the most famous heritage landmarks in the country and is a premier destination for events in Bacolod. The Ruins welcomes visitors from 8:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. daily. Entrance fee is P100. The best time to visit is in the evening when the entire structure is lit up. After enjoying the Ruins, roam around the 400-hectare mansion and find yourself a comfortable seat at its park.

To get there by public transport, take a jeepney en route to Bata from the downtown area. Drop off at the tricycle terminal near a Pepsi factory. There is a sign showing the way to the Ruins. If you haven’t spotted the sign, ask any motorcycle driver in the area for directions. Some drivers would offer to take you to the ruins but the better way is to charter a tricycle which is only around the corner. Take note that there are no available transport from the Ruins back to the main road; it is best to ask the tricycle driver to wait. The round trip on a tricycle would set back for about P80-P100, depending on your negotiation with the driver.

CAMPUESTOHAN HIGHLAND RESORT OF BACOLOD

A sweet escape from the busy streets of Bacolod, Campuestohan is a rural theme park that sits on a 5-hectare highland overlooking mountains. It features a lineup of Native American-inspired tepees that can accommodate 6 people. The resort has a garden, restaurant, outdoor pool, a kid’s play area, ice cream shop, and a cafe. Activities available here are zipline and cable hamster wheel among others. Contact them at +63 915 211 1406; +63 917 300 5007 or visit their website for more details.

There are two options to get there: 1) By shuttle service which stations at Caltex Circumferential road in front of McDonalds or at i-Mart convenience store. Trip goes in an hourly basis from 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Last trip from the resort to the city is at 5:00 p.m. One way fare is P50. 2) By public transport, ride a jeepney to Burgos Market, fare is P8. At the market, ride another jeepney that goes to Alagilan terminal; fare is P20. At the terminal, charter a tricycle to Campuestohan. Round trip is P400.

LAKAWON ISLAND OF CADIZ

At the coast of Cadiz, outside Bacolod city, is an imposing, banana-shaped island that brags of its sublime, white sands that extend to 13 hectares – Lakawon Island.

Book for an overnight stay (by room, hut, cottage or canopy tent) and jam at the evening party or enjoy a good drink on its floating bar; the bar operates until 5:00 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, and until 8:00 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

To get there, make way to the Ceres North terminal in Bacolod. Catch a bus that goes to Burgos public market for P250. Transfer on a tricycle going to the port for P120, travel time is 15 minutes. Book for a boat to the island and pay all fees for P270 . For day use guests, last trip back to mainland is 5:00 p.m. Travel time is 30 minutes. Contact them at +63 917 555 6979, +63 939 969 7574 or visit Lakawon Island website.

Note: Food items here can become pricey so bring your own food. Corkage fee is P50. Also, customer service and amenities in the resort sometimes require extra patience. Pack a load of it. 😉

NEGROS ORIENTAL TOP ATTRACTIONS

APO ISLAND OF DAUIN

A modest work of nature and human geniality that is APO ISLAND lies 30 minutes off the coast of Malatapay in Dauin, Negros Oriental, less than an hour away from Dumaguete city. It stretches for about 72 hectares terrestrial area, and 619 hectares marine area. 

What draws most tourists are the soft coral gardens that are well-orchestrated from the shallow waters of the island down to the steeps of its ridges; and the turtles that are exceedingly just about everywhere because of the abundance of algae and seagrass that make up for their food. These two create a brimming beauty of underwater scenery that launches Apo island as a premiere snorkeling and diving destination in the Philippines.

MOUNT KANLAON

Kanlaon Volcano, located in the central-northern part of the island is the third most-active volcano in the Philippines and overlooks bordering communities and the city of Bacolod to the west. It is the highest peak of the whole island and of the Visayas.

The volcanic activity in Negros is harnessed into electricity through two geothermal power plants in the island. One is located in Palinpinon of Valencia in Negros Oriental and the other is in Mailum of Bago City in Negros Occidental, but was eventually shut down.

TWIN LAKES OF DANAO & BALINSASAYAO OF SIBULAN

The tranquil and relaxing lakes of Danao and Balinsasayao – getting there from the junction in San Jose, Sibulan requires a long motorbike ride of steep, curvy yet scenic road up at the highlands for about 30 minutes. Entrance fee to the lake is P30 for locals, P100 for foreigners. From the entrance, you can hike through the outskirts of the mountain or paddle a boat through the vastness of Balinsasayao lake (the first lake from the entrance) for P250 per boat to the viewpoint section where both lakes meet.

CASARORO FALLS OF VALENCIA

You are looking at one of the sought after gems in Valencia, Negros Oriental – Casaroro falls is nature’s finest. To get there from Dumaguete city, take a jeepney at the downtown area and drop off at Valencia town proper. There are regulated tourism tricycle drivers that will offer you a tour to the falls for P200. At the jump off point to the falls, you will hurdle through steep, long staircase and go over rocks and boulders before finally able to view a scenic waterfall with its majestic cascade.

MANJUYOD SANDBAR OF BAIS

Manjuyod at its gloomy disposition.

Visit the sandbar on a low tide during a full moon between the months of April to October to get a glimpse of its full beauty. To get there, take a bus bound for Bais at Dumaguete city near Robinsons mall. Drop off at Jollibee beside a gymnasium and take a tricycle that goes to a small port where outrigger boats that go to the sandbar await for guests.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN NEGROS ISLAND

Here are top things to do and activities that are worth a try in Negros island.

Scuba diving in the marine reserves of Dauin, Danjugan or Sipalay.

Julien’s Shipwrech at Sipalay of the coast of Sugar beach.

Quench the thirst of your gastronomic delights by going on a food trip in Bacolod city.

Manokan Country of Bacolod

Go chasing waterfalls in Valencia

Aside from Casaroro, Pulangbato falls is also a major attraction in Valencia. Go to the town and arrange a tricycle tour for only P400 which would include other attractions like Forest Camp, Smokey mountain and Red Rock Hot Spring.

Experience the Tawhai floating bar of Cadiz.

Jam at the evening party or enjoy a good drink at Tawhai floating bar at Lakawon island.

NEGROS ISLAND RECOMMENDED TOURS

Here are some of the recommended and affordable tours from KLOOK for Negros Island. Click the link for more details.

Search below for more KLOOK tour packages and transport services for Negros:

Klook.com

NEGROS SAMPLE ITINERARY & BUDGET

In getting around the top tourist spots in Negros, one can go on a DIY or an arranged tour package; Do-it-yourself (DIY) tour is preferred by travelers who are on a shoestring budget. Try some of these sample DIY itineraries for Negros Occidental and Oriental that are good for a quick tour or 2 to 3 days.

Click here for Bacolod Budget Travel Guide

The Ruins (Mansion) of Bacolod all lit up at night time.

Click here for Sipalay Budget Travel Guide

Tinagong Dagat  of Sipalay with its wooden footbridges connecting two islets.

Click here for Negros Oriental Budget Travel Guide

The amphitheater of Silliman University. The place was built in 1921 and will turn a century old 3 years from now.

Click here for Apo Island Budget Travel Guide.

Apo Island
Frolic around in the clear waters of Apo island.

QUICK FACTS AND TIPS ABOUT NEGROS ISLAND

Here are few facts and tips to consider while traveling around the island of Negros.

  • The island of Negros is the fourth largest in the country. It is divided into two (2) provinces: Negros Occidental to its west with Bacolod City as its capital and Ilonggo as the main language; and Negros Oriental to its east with Dumaguete as its first city and Cebuano as the native tongue.
  • Negros is known today as “Sugarlandia” as it produces more than half of the country’s sugar cane.
  • One notable peak in the island is Mount Kanlaon, the third most active volcano in the country which can be accessed by two major trails that would last for about 2 days.
  • Generally, the island of Negros is laid-back. The main modes of transportation are buses if you are traveling from one town to another, and jeepneys and tricycles if you go for short distances. Taxis are only available in Bacolod city.
On the way to Pulangbato falls in Valencia, Negros Oriental is a mountain with geothermal vents of sulfuric smoke. Check out this pure delight for free especially during rainy season when the vents produce more smoke than usual.

USEFUL PHRASES

English is widely understood in Negros Island, but in case you want to speak the local tongue, here are phrases that proved to be useful.

English to Hiligaynon (main language used in Negros Occidental)

Good morning – Maayong aga
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gab-i
Thank you – Salamat
Where is… – Diin ang…
How much – Pila

English to Cebuano (main language used in Negros Oriental)

Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gabii
Thank you – Salamat
Where is… – Asa ang…
How much – Tagpila

MEET THE BLOGGER

Leaning on our boat at Punta Sibaring 1. This photo was taken during a high tide.

Hey there! I’m Ker, The Fun-sized Traveller. Fun-size because I’m a short guy from the Philippines. Thanks for checking out this virtual block I have started building since my 30th birthday to document my 2nd quarter life. Yup, it’s more of a personal pursuit, but a part of me also wants to give back to the travel community that is why I make it a point to share travel articles out from my trips around Asia.

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