We did it! We bloody did it. Ten whole months in Dumaguete and it took us until the final week to visit the famous Manjuyod Sandbar. Not through lack of want, or effort, but because it was closed the entire time we were there. Some say it was for COVID, some say it was for repairs, others say it was a local government ownership dispute. All we knew was that it’s one of the most iconic tourism attractions in Negros Oriental, and we just had to visit.
When you put a lot of hype on something for so long, you run the risk of being disappointed when you finally get to experience it in real life. Fortunately, Manjuyod Sandbar did not disappoint! It was a little different to what we expected, but it was still one of the best days out we’d had in Negros Oriental during our time there.
WHERE IS MANJUYOD SANDBAR
Manjuyod Sandbar is smack bang in the middle of the towns of Bais and Manjuyod, in North Bais Bay on Negros Oriental’s east coast. It’s just over an hour’s drive from Dumaguete City, which makes it an easy day trip.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
One of our biggest obstacles was timing low tide with good weather. Low tide is critical to enjoying Manjuyod Sandbar, because if it’s high tide there won’t be any exposed sand. We arrived during a low-ish tide, however by the time we left, the sand was already covered by water. This ended up being a blessing as it made drone photos look better. You’ll also want to go on a sunny day as this makes the blues pop!
HOW TO BOOK A TOUR TO MANJUYOD SANDBAR
We had a friend of a friend with a boat in Bais, which made things easy for us, but not everyone has that privilege. There are a whole bunch of different tour operators, but the most convenient and stress free option is to book online at Klook. The Klook package also includes Dolphin Watching in Bais Bay, but we went during a non-dolphin season so unfortunately missed out. It’s ₱2400 or around $50 USD for the combined Manjuyod Sandbar and Dolphin Watching tour, including lunch on board the boat and round trip hotel transfers.
WHAT TO BRING TO MANJUYOD SANDBAR
Prepare for your trip to Manjuyod Sandbar with our must have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Action camera: GoPro HERO9 Black (click for price)
GoPro dome: TELESIN Dome Port Lens for GoPro Hero 9 (click for price)
Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro (click for price)
Snorkel, mask & fins: Cressi Adjustable Mask,Fin & Snorkel Set with Carry Bag (click for price)
GETTING TO MANJUYOD SANDBAR
We arrived early, around 7ish to the pier in Bais. This is where we left our car and hopped on the outrigger boat that would take us to Manjuyod Sandbar.
It’s about 20 minutes from the port in Bais to the Manjuyod Sandbar. We tried our luck and kept an eye out for dolphins on the way, but our captain told us it was very unlikely we’d see any, as the sea was quite rough and it was a windy day. He was right, we didn’t see any.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT MANJUYOD SANDBAR
This is where it gets a little “expectation vs. reality”. When a place is affectionately dubbed “The Maldives of the Philippines” you kind of expect sparkling white sand. In front of the cottages, the sand was indeed white, but when we threw the drone up we could see a vast majority of it was brown and seaweedy. This is why it ended up being a blessing that the tide came in just before we left, because it made it all look turquoise.
Up close and personal, the sand was a powdery white! If you’re not into drone photography, then it doesn’t really matter what it looks like from the sky anyway. If you’re wondering about the consistency of the sand, it’s nice and soft. A lot of Philippine beaches boast “white sand” which ends up being crushed coral. The sand at Manjuyod Sandbar was very fine.
COTTAGES AT MANJUYOD SANDBAR
There are a handful of cottages at Manjuyod Sandbar that can be rented for day or overnight use. They are basic, wooden establishments that are pretty much camping on stilts. They have few to no amenities and it’s often necessary to bring your own sleeping bag or mattress. It’s ₱5000 for daytime use, ₱4000 for overnight and ₱9,000 for 24 hour use. When we visited, the cottages were getting a much needed facelift so they were unavailable for rental. You can check out the official website for all the details here.
WATER SPORTS IN PARADISE
The last thing we expected when we set sail for Manjuyod Sandbar was an afternoon of water tubing. This was definitely a first for us, as every sandbar we’ve been to in the Philippines has always just been a sightseeing destination. This. Was. FUN. Our boat hire provided us with a bunch of different tubes to take for a spin, and we had an absolute blast tubing in paradise. It was definitely the highlight of our entire day.
We had so much fun during our day out at Manjuyod Sandbar, and we’re honestly so glad it managed to live up to our expectations. It’s one of the most iconic destinations you can visit in Negros Oriental and we can’t recommend it enough. Manjuyod Sandbar really is a must-do when you’re in town!
LOVE SANDBARS? VISIT TURTLE ISLAND IN SIATON NEXT
Manjuyod Sandbar isn’t the only sandbar in Negros Oriental, but it is most definitely the biggest. If you’ve got a thing for exploring white sandy beaches, add Turtle Island Siaton to your list. It’s even closer to Dumaguete and you don’t even have to take a boat to get there!
PIN IT FOR LATER
WHERE TO STAY NEAR DUMAGUETE
Most people who visit Negros Oriental are told to stay in Dumaguete, but what they really mean by that is stay around Dumaguete. True, Dumaguete City has plenty of tourist inns and budget hotels, but it’s the surrounding towns of Dauin and Zamboanguita that offer the best spots to stay. There’s not a whole lot to do in the city itself, so when you stay in the nearby municipalities there’s plenty of nature to explore whilst still being nice and close to Dumaguete City. Check out our top picks for accommodation near Dumaguete City.
LUXURY: Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, Dauin
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa in Dauin is the resort to stay at if you’ve got a big budget and fancy the finer things in life. Atmosphere has hosted its fair share of local celebrities and deep pocketed divers looking for the best beachfront luxury in Dauin. Read our full review of Atmosphere Resorts & Spa here.
MIDSCALE: Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort, Dauin
If you want to stay by the ocean without breaking the bank, Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort in Dauin is a comfortable midscale accommodation option perfect for diving enthusiasts. If you’ve never dived before, you can get your certification at Mike’s, and divers of all skill sets can enjoy the abundance of macro diving opportunities in and around Dauin.
BUDGET: Bongo Bongo Divers, Dauin
Bongo Bongo Divers is one of the most popular hostels in Dauin for backpackers looking for cheap accommodation in a convenient location. The rooms are simple, without any glitz and glam, but the vibe is fun and welcoming. They have a variety of room styles to choose from, ranging from couples rooms to AC or fan only dorms.
AIRBNB: Villa Amani, Zamboanguita
Villa Amani in Zamboanguita is the perfect holiday home for small families or groups of friends looking for privacy that a traditional resort or hotel can’t offer. The main house sleeps 4 with additional space for 2 in the guest house, or you can book the guest house separately if it’s just the 2 of you and you’re on a budget. The property has a swimming pool, an unbeatable view of Apo Island and kayaks to use whenever you want. Read our full review of Villa Amani here.
MORE NEGROS ORIENTAL GUIDES:
Red Rock Hot Spring, Valencia
Secret Hot Spring & Waterfall, Dauin
Baslay Hot Spring, Dauin
Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Upper Pulangbato Falls, Valencia
Lake Balinsasayao & Danao Twin Lakes, Sibulan
Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Swimming with Apo Island Turtles, Dauin
Original Casaroro Falls, Valencia
Tottyn Falls, Valencia
Dumaguete Belfry Tower