Before it gained as the “Maldives of the Philippines”, the Manjuyod sandbar or Sumapao Shoal has already rising in popularity way back then; it is one of the main attractions here in Negros Oriental and is always included on the list of amazing sandbars in our country.
Who wouldn’t be marveled by its 7 kms of pristine white sand in the middle of the ocean? The white sand bar completely appears on a low tide so it is best to observe the tidal patterns before booking a tour.
We got up as early as 3 a.m. so as catch a Dolphin watching activity. I always recommend to tourists to go when the boats are less crowded and the water is the most calm – Morning or Noon. Having calm water allows a better visibility.
Boat operators in Bais City and Manjuyod town usually offers packages in Tanon Strait specifically on Dolphin watching, to sandbar, other tours also include floating restaurant or fish cages. Tour includes land transfers from Bais City public market to Cannibol wharf or Campuyo Highway to Campuyo wharf, boat transfers either of those wharf to Tanon Strait and vice versa.
As soon as we arrived at Bais bus stop, we were welcomed by our boat organizer. We went first to the nearest city market to buy some food supplies for our breakfast. The motorized bangka is equipped with grilling tools, trash can, a toilet, canopy, and life jackets. While, the boat crew will also be bringing the necessary utensils for the food, such as spoon, fork, knife, charcoal, plates, glasses, saucers, water. The rest of the supplies will be provided by the guest especially on drinking water.
When we got on-board, everyone was excited for the good time awaiting us. We sailed the narrow channel in less than ten minutes and proceeded immediately to the Dolphin area. Because they are in the wild, the boat crew have to look for them. We were thankful for the fair weather, it’s the same old sun, but it’s still beautiful each and every time it rises.
While sailing in the deep blue sea, silence commences. Everyone was quite as we gaze into the vast ocean looking for a sign of their presence. And without warning, in a distance the boat captain pointed his finger in the surface where there was disturbance.
Dolphins live in social groups of five to several hundred. They often hunt for prey together surrounding a school of fish and trapping them. These marine mammals are well known for their agility and playful behavior. We were surrounded with a pod of high flying spotted dolphins, the most common sightings in the strait. These species usually leaps out of the water and follow boats in synchronized movement with one another. This behavior as a common practice is called a spy-hop (rising vertically out of the water to view their surroundings).
We were amazed by the sighting; countless dolphins were spy-hopping on us, not for food but to play :-D. With no other boat that time, the watching activity was all by ourselves. My companions were very glad seeing them up close in their natural habitat. While seeing some other boats arriving and had enough encounter, we decided to move to our next destination.
It was a timely arrival as we are able to catch a portion of the sandbar. The water is already rising up quickly when we dock. With no time to waste, one of my companions assembled his drone apparatus to take an aerial shot at the sandbar. https://www.facebook.com/molavetravel/videos/395734344132115/
We spent the whole morning in the sandbar and witnessed the changing of tides until the whole sandbar is submerged with water. While some of us where basking in the water, our boat crew were also helping us out in cooking our meals. Local fishermen are also selling sea foods in the area, such as sea urchins, crabs, shells among others.
Stress free cruise we had as we saw our table all set for our breakfast. It was like a luxury experience. Breakfast afloat, great food and amazing water views at Manjuyod sandbar.
There are five cottages in the sandbar, three of it can cater guests for overnight. Each cottages can be rented at P6,000 pesos per night and can accommodate a maximum of 20 people. You may contact Manjuyod Tourism Office (Ms. Leah-09056800055) for your reservations or Bais Tourism Office at 035-402-8338.
- Observe weather condition and tidal patterns prior to your trip.
- A docking fee of P100.00 is collected on any vessel in the sandbar.
- Tour rates on sandbar and dolphin watching starts at P2,500.00, good for 1-5 persons.Meals not included.