If you are arriving in Cebu City at the airport and traveling to Dumaguete in Negros, what is the best way to get there and what is the cheapest way? There are several options out there but I think I have found the cheapest one. If there is one even better, let me know!
Let’s get the elephant in the room dealt with. The easiest and best route is a direct flight from Manila to Dumaguete airport. We all know that but the prices to do that leave it out of the discussion as the cheapest way to get to Negros.
The other elephant in the room is a direct ferry from Cebu City to Dumaguete City. It is possible but you have to travel on the right days and it is not the cheapest option either. It is affordable but it is the winner of how low can we go on travel.
In order to travel on a budget along this route, we will need:
A jeepney ride
A boat ride
A short walk
A ferry ride
Another jeepney ride
It might sound like a lot of jumping around but it is really is not. It also is part of the adventure of saving some money. This is the cultural experience you came to the Philippines for, right?
Steps to the cheapest way to Dumaguete
After landing in Cebu International Airport, you will walk out the terminal after some customs agent treats you like you a terrorist. As you step out, you will look to the right and about 50 meters down the road or so is jeepney coming by. No one in the airport will tell you they exist for some reason. Just walk down to where the workers are and wait until a jeepney (multi-cab) comes by and get on it. It will cost you 15 cents and you will get off at the Metro ferry terminal.
Once there, you will just walk down to the ticket booth and buy a ticket to cross to Cebu City. You are technically in Lapu Lapu City at this point. It is not a big deal. All you need to do is cross the channel on the boat. The cost of this is roughly 25 cents or 13 pesos.
Now, you are in downtown Cebu City. You have a small walk ahead of you. Just walk through Plaza Independencia (local park) and head down Legaspi St. until you get to Colon St. (This is the most well known street in Cebu) Turn left and walk two blocks and then turn right on Loen Kilat St. You will walk about two blocks and turn left at Elizabeth Mall (locals call it E-Mall). Just go straight until you see the entrance of the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Congrats, you just did the hard part. It is all easy from here.
The next thing you will do is fight the ordinary bus marked Bato. If you are going for the cheapest way to Dumaguete, you will need the non-air conditioned bus to save some money. This is also smarter as the bus drivers in the Philippines treats the air conditioner control as an ice box.
Once the bus is moving, a conductor will come and hand you a ticket with the price to pay to Bato. It should be around $3. Pay it and relax. You have a long ride ahead of you.
When you arrive at the small town of Bato, they will let you out at the terminal for Maayo Shipping. This is the ferry to take you to Negros on the cheap. They start running at about five in the morning and until late. There is also a small restaurant at the terminal if you are hungry. Be warned: they only have local dishes! The Maayo Shipping ferry will cost you about $1.25 to cross to Tampi in San Jose. Expect about a 40 minute trip.
The last thing you will do is walk out the gate and wait for a Cere Liner bus to come by and pick you up. They will take you to the heart of Dumaguete for about a quarter. You have made it. You just did the cheapest way to Dumaguete.
The total expense for traveling from Cebu comes out to $4.90. There are easiest way but this is the cheapest that I know of!
Is doing this option safe?
I believe it is and yes, I have done it many times. If I have never been to the Philippines, I would suggest just taking the ferry from Cebu City that is ran by Cokaliong Shipping Lines. It is easy and will only cost you about $13 to use overnight.
The main concern of safety would be between the Cebu Pier and the bus terminal. Downtown Cebu can be war zone at night and if you have never been in a dodgy area before, Cebu City is not the place to have your first experience. This is the skid row of the Philippines.
It might be worth it for you to spend the extra dollar and a quarter and get a taxi from the pier to the bus terminal at night. I would even think twice operating in that area and I am a seasoned traveler that is a former combat fighter. Those images of how dangerous the Philippines is are from this area!
Otherwise, the rest of the trip is safe but make sure you are watching advisories put out by the State Department and take them serious. They do not put them out just so people can have something to read. Realize that you are not in Kansas anymore and your puppy is not Toto. Security conditions can change at any moment in this area of the world.
With all that said, if you have tried the cheapest way to Dumaguete lately, let me know how it worked for you and the cost of doing it. If you know of a better way to get there that is even cheaper, let us know in the comments before as well.
Are you going to Dumuguete, Philippines?
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