Selinog Island, Dapitan City, Zamboanga Del Norte

Escape the crowd of tourists to this idyllic island you probably never heard of, Selinog Island.

While the secret is out about popular destinations,there are still remote and peaceful islands in our archipelago that offers a rare tranquility. Selinog is not part of Negros Provinces but this deserves to be introduced, knowing that for sure most of you doesn’t know this exist or probably you’ve been seeing it already but didn’t get a chance to step on its shore. You see, Dumaguete is your gateway to many destinations in Central Visayas and areas in Mindanao.

Roro Vessels travel from Dumaguete City to the following areas:

  • Siquijor Port,Siquijor Province
  • Larena Port,Siquijor Province
  • Cebu City, Cebu Province
  • Tagbilaran, Bohol Province
  • Dapitan City, Zamboanga Del Norte
  • Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte
  • Zamboanga City
  • Manila

By Plane Daily flights are now available from Dumaguete to the following areas:

  • Manila
  • Cebu
  • Cagayan De Oro
  • Davao

With the development of technologies through the years, we are now able to view places within our island, within our country and anywhere in the globe. It enables us to search the exact locations through navigational system providing location and time information in all weather conditions anywhere via Satellite.

While navigating Google map in Negros and nearby islands there was this tiny islands visually very interesting to me. I’ve seen this islands en route Dumaguete to Dapitan City basically located somewhere in Dapitan bay and where neighboring islands of Siquijor and Apo island.

Viewed from afar, this two islands resembles the attributes of Balicasag island in Bohol, it’s a flat coralline island filled with palms trees surrounded with white coastline. Selinog and Aliguay islands are actually under the jurisdiction of Dapitan City in the province of Zamboanga Del Norte.

Information on this islands are quite limited so before going make sure to plan your trip ahead. I understand it’s impossible to reach this two on a day trip, and so we will visit them one at a time. Now, let’s put Selinog island on a limelight.

Initial plan:

Our initial plan was to form a group so as to lessen the expenses on our transport to the island. There were 10 people who confirmed, 8 of them are from Zamboanga Del Norte province and two from Bacolod City. The transport will only include Bangka transfers from Dapitan City to Selinog island and vice versa.

A day before our scheduled trip, while finalizing all the arrangement, things went unclear when the people involved refuse to respond my messages, and the Bangka owner also confirms, 8 of our group backs out, worst the two from Bacolod made also adjustments as one of them is ill. In the same manner, felt unhopeful, I was the only person left in the group.

But with eagerness, with things ready on my part, I was willing to grab the transport package with or without them. I was able to close a deal at 1,500 pesos transport.

An hour before I leave my workplace, in a surprise, the two from Bacolod City confirms that they are on their way to Dumaguete to accompany me. Je Em, an English teacher in Bacolod will be joined by his Vietnamese student Kelvin whom all set for our DIY experience.

How did we get there (DIY):

From Dumaguete City, we boarded a ferry(FastCat) bound to Dapitan City at about 4 hours. Je Em, having no dull moments with him, constantly establish conversation with us made sure that we are alright.

Early morning, we arrive at the “Shrine City of the Philippines”. From Pulawan port we proceed immediately to the coast of Brgy Bagting. The fishport area transformed into a busy market trade among local fishermen including the residents of Selinog. This is where our negotiation happens. We approached some anchored fishing boats in the shore. The first vessel was already a good deal as they offered 1,000 for us, but Je Em was cheerful enough to look for another. The second boat offered 900 which we could have ended. But the owner informed us that we have to stand by for at least two hours while he waits for his companion. Can’t wait that long, we went to the third Bangka, Je Em persistently haggled for the last deal, 600 pesos for us.

Tip:

Look for local residents and join the group bound to Selinog, fare price ranges for as low as 50 to 200 pesos. Travel duration is 2 hours. The same scenario goes on your way back.

The Island

While on a voyage, a pod of dolphins greeted us with a warm welcome, spinning in the air, they are a usual sight around the island. Selinog or Silinog lies at 12.9 kilometers off mainland Dapitan City, Zamboanga Del Norte. The island was declared a marine reserve by the local government of Dapitan and is teeming with rich underwater marine ecosystem. It has a land area of 78 hectares surrounded by 70 hectares of coral reefs and white sandy areas.

There is no resort in the island,no restaurants and cafeterias. Staying overnight is highly recommended and experience an island life in Selinog. You may opt to camp and set up tent in the beachfront, or sleep on its sands or look for a local Homestay at 100 pesos per pax. There is no electricity in the island, fresh water for drinking is a problem, phone receptions are available at the beachfront. 100 pesos is levied for a table at the beach. As much as possible bring your own food. Marine sanctuary is a must see when you visit Selinog, in the same way, bring your own life vest and snorkeling gears. Swim at your own risk.

As we draw closer to the island, we already had a sight of the stretch of a  beachy paradise, the waters were insanely crystal blue. As we arrive, our first assignment was to look for a Homestay.  Thankfully, the islands chieftain who was with us in the vessel offered their home to be our shelter. We couldn’t asked for more with her, as she provided us the things we needed. When finally settled, we utilized the remaining hours on exploring the small island.

As dusk falls rapidly, we gathered at the beachfront were it turns a hangout with other visitors. I can’t forget that captive setting of the sun until the moments turned to night. Not only that, sunrise can also be observe in the island. This is just a total package for anyone who’s looking for that intact slice of paradise and experience a slow pace of life.

The next morning, we explored more of the other parts of the island and just layed the rest of our hours in the beach while looking for boat back to Dapitan City. It was already mid morning when we are able to negotiate someone back. In connection with it, there is an alternative way on getting to and from Selinog island.

 

Option 2:

There are organized boat tours that shuttles Dapitan City in Brgy Bagting or via Brgy Banbanan. Fare starts from 1,500 good for 5 people. Travel duration through Brgy Banbanan to Selinog is around 1 hour.

Our way back to Dapitan was via Brgy Banbanan which the boat organizer was kind enough also to fetch us back together with the other group. Adding up on our itinerary, he guided us to Banbanan cave and pool in their community, hoping to promote the attraction and introduce the hidden gems in their area, not to mention their are sheltered white sandy beaches in Brgy Banbanan worth the time to visit.

To sum it up, Selinog island  truly left a place in my heart. Living the island life,its idyllic spit of sand curves gently into its clearest waters. Where mass tourism has not spoiled the sense of paradise in the island, Selinog is sorrounded by pristine tropical landscape and white sandy coasts, bathed by crystal crystal clear and vibrant turquiose waters.

 

Expenses:

  • Ferry fare – P450.00 – Economy/Head
  • Tricycle ( Pulawan port to Brgy Bagting) – P10.00/Head
  • Boat transfer ( Dapitan to Selinog ) – P 200.00/Head
  • Homestay – P100.00/Head
  • Boat transfer ( Selinog to Brgy Banbanan ) – P100.00
  • Habal Habal ( Brgy Banbanan to Dapitan City ) – P25.00
  • Meals (2 Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner) – P300.00

*Suggested time to visit: During summer

 

 

 

 

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Pagsalsalan falls/Maaslum twin falls-Ayungon,Negros Oriental

Discover the striking elegance of natural twin waterfalls in Ayungon Town, Province of Negros Oriental.

The rural atmosphere en route to Ayungon is another alternative for someone who’s looking for laid-back settlement. The countryside has scenic views of expansive rice fields, coconut and pineapple plantations, sugarcane, bananas and some others. Located at about 82 km north of Dumaguete City, this small town has a total land area of 265.1 sq km of which the people are mainly engage in agriculture, whereas the life in coastal areas revolves on fishing as a major activity.

The geographic areas outside the town proper has pretty rolling scenes of plantations, mountains, and some of the remaining forests of the province extending to the boundaries of Bindoy, Mabinay and Tayasan.

With its remote location and some insurgencies on critical areas in the mountains, some destinations in the hinterlands doesn’t draws that much attention for a visit. Nevertheless, EnrouteNegros is optimistic on discovering distant natural attractions and sharing you the hidden gems of the community.

Pagsalsalan falls or Maaslum twin waterfalls is situated about 8kms from Ayungon national highway. That is just an estimate of 25 minute drive from town proper to Brgy Maaslum. Driving our own vehicle, it enables us to see a glimpse of the lives and environment of the villages. The road accessibility to central Maaslum has established road due to operations of a mining firm. From a distance before arriving to the mining site, we observe a discouraging scene of a sloping mountain.

Photos by Madelane Banjao Anfone
Photos from Madelane Banjao Anfone
Photos by Madelane Banjao Anfone

The Goodyield Resources Development, Inc. (GRDI), a firm engaged in exploitation of mineral resources mainly on silica sand and quartz of which it produces cement, copper smelting, and fiber cement board plants. The mineral resources will be transported to its private port situated in Tampocon, Ayungon, Negros Oriental.

January 2019, it was reported of an issuance of a closure order by its town mayor after its failure to comply the requirements for a business permit.(https://visayas.politics.com.ph/negros-oriental-firm-to-sue-mining-firm-for-operating-without-permit/).

Just a few meters from the quarry site is a river that flows along the barangay down to the next villages and exits to Ayungon town. The river stream if followed will lead us to the twin waterfalls. Jump off area for vehicles is basically near the site then hike begins.

From the jump off area, we make use of our time exploring around, there were security guards along the premises of the quarry site with some heavy equipment. Seeing the devastation, we could imagine the adverse effects of the environment, soil erosion, surface water contamination, destroyed landscapes and agricultural land, leakage of chemicals are just examples we foresee if this operations will continue. The mountain over the site were expansively depleted. On the other hand, we explored more on the other side where we followed a trail and eventually found ourselves moving on a river trek.

The good side of the picture has greens on all sides, there were trees, a river stream with sulfur content and a trail to somewhere. We had a peaceful walk to a sloping trail up until we don’t see the terrible side. At the end of the trail is an adjoining river streams and a vision of an elevated waterfall. Now we can truly appreciate the raw beauty of nature on this side. We went closer to it as the natural pool is hiding beneath the large portions of a rocky cliff. That was a good view of a deep basin from our vantage point.

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Its twin falls on the other hand is just situated in a nearby gorge. That was a dramatic drop of the second waterfalls. It flows on another lofty hill spreading its waters as it goes down a shallow and craggy basin.

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Nature provides us with many wonderful things, from mesmerizing sights, to our consumption and even shelter. All of these are necessary to sustain our life in this planet. But with the advancement of economic activities and the spread of human footprints, our environment deteriorates. But we can do something with it, each one of us has the responsibility of the change. May we never forget one of our purpose in life, we live to protect and sustain our nature. Most importantly, we make sure that we leave a lasting legacy of protecting our environment, better for our generation and to the next. Let us help one another on conserving our nature.

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