17 July 2019.
Between its far-flung islands and remote beachside villages, getting around in the Philippines is very rarely simple often requiring a rather convoluted mashup of tricycles, buses, jeepneys and boats.
Getting from Moalboal to Dumaguete and Siquijor is no exception. It’s a mission and a half.
Moalboal has long been a backpacker favourite for its heaving nightlife, cheap diving and proximity to stunning natural sites like Kawasan Falls and Osmeña Peak. Siquijor, on the other hand, is less well known and only just making its way onto traveller’s itineraries for its postcard-perfect beaches and lush forests, while Dumaguete and nearby Dauin provide the perfect jumping-off point for Apo Island, home to some of the best dive sites in the Philippines.
For whatever reason you’re visiting, here’s how to travel from Moalboal to Dumaguete, Dauin and Siquijor and return back to Cebu.
All details and prices are correct as of June 2019 but please feel free to leave a comment to help out your fellow travellers if things have changed.
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Most visitors to Moalboal will be staying around Pangasama Beach so you’ll first need to make your way up to the Moalboal bus stop on the main road.
Tricycles cost 150₱ (€2.60) or if you’re travelling with carry-on only luggage, you can jump on a motorbike for 50 to 100₱ (€0.90 to €1.70) depending on the size of your bags.
Buses pass every 30 minutes or so travelling to Bato and you can flag them down as they pass. I travelled in a non-air-conditioned bus which cost 83₱ (€1.50) and took around 2 hours. Expect to pay slightly more if you happen to flag down an air-conditioned bus.
From the Bato Bus Terminal, you’ll need to travel the 4.5km to Liloan Port. Tricycles will be waiting at the bus terminal and cost 150₱ (€2.60) per trip so try to get a group together before heading off. Once the tourists are loaded up, don’t be surprised if a few locals without luggage jump on the back, free of charge.
From Liloan, ferries depart for Sibulan Port every hour on the hour from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m. with extra services at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets cost 70₱ (€1.20) at the terminal and the trip takes just 15 minutes.
When you leave the ferry, you’ll find a tight cluster of tricycles and a few jeepneys offering to take you into town.
The tricycles are obviously more expensive but are faster and a little more comfortable if you’re travelling with plenty of luggage.
If you’re travelling to Dauin, you have two options. Either take a jeepney to the Ceres Bus Terminal which takes around 30 minutes and costs just 20₱ (€0.30). Here, you can jump on any southbound bus, so anything travelling to Bayawan, Zamboanguita etc. I ended up on an air-conditioned bus which cost 50₱ (€0.90) for the 30 minute trip to Dauin.
The alternative if you’re not travelling with much luggage is to take a jeepney into Dumaguete and then change to another jeepney bound for Dauin which leave from Colon Street near the south-west corner of Quezon Park.
For those travelling to Siquijor, see below.
For Siquijor, either take a tricycle or jeepney from the Sibulan Ferry Terminal toward the Dumaguete Port.
Tricycles cost around 100 to 150₱ (€1.70 to €2.60) per vehicle and will drop you directly at the port while jeepneys cost just 10₱ (€0.20) per person but will leave you on the main road from where you’ll have to walk the final kilometre.
Three companies ply the route between Dumaguete and Siquijor: Montenegro Lines, OceanJet and Aleson Shipping. Prices range from 100₱ (€1.70) to over 250₱ (€4.50) depending on what company you choose, whether you opt for Economy or Business Class and your destination in Siquijor, either Siquijor Port or Larena Port.
The first service departs at 5:30 a.m. and the last at 6 p.m. with a ferry every 2 hours or so. The trip takes 1 to 1.5 hours and you’ll need to buy your ticket at least an hour in advance. There’s also a 25₱ port fee (€0.45) and you may be charged extra for baggage. Keep an eye on the signs for pricing to avoid getting ripped off.
It’s best to arrive early in the day as some crossings can get very busy and may sell out well ahead of time.
It’s important to note that there is actually a direct ferry from Liloan to Siquijor which departs just once a day at 10 a.m., however considering there aren’t all that many places to stay nearby, getting to Liloan in time would mean a very early start from elsewhere in Cebu. These trips are run on a large and very slow car ferry, cost 200₱ (€3.50) and take around 3 hours.
Thankfully, getting back to Cebu is much more straightforward with the option to travel by ferry and bus, ferry or plane.
From Dauin, flag down any bus (50₱, €0.90) or jeepney (15₱, €0.25) bound for Dumaguete. Buses will likely drop you at the Ceres Terminal while Jeepneys will drop you near Quezon Park on Colon Street which is much more convenient. From here, walk one block north on Perdices Street and another block left on Bishop Epifanio Surban Street where you’ll find a collection of jeepneys parked around the market. When you’re nearby, chances are you’ll hear them calling out for Sibulan.
Jeepneys leave when full and cost just 10₱ (€0.17). If you’ve got a lot of luggage though, they’re not all that comfortable so consider taking a tricycle or taxi instead.
Now, when buying your ferry ticket, it’s also possible to reserve your spot on the bus heading directly from Liloan to Cebu.
I completely missed this and just bought my ferry ticket as normal. It wasn’t until I was trying to board the bus and told that I didn’t have a reservation that I was asked to wait until everyone else had taken their seats. Apparently, besides the desk for the ferry tickets, there’s a separate desk to buy your bus tickets as well. They’ll write a number on the back of your ferry ticket which acts as your seat number on the bus and which will be checked when boarding.
When you leave the ferry, you’ll find a handful of buses in the carpark and you’ll just need to find the right one. For those that didn’t purchase the bus ticket in advance (like me), you’ll be relegated to the back two rows of the bus. This allows just a handful of spare seats so if it’s a busy day, you could be left standing or not get on at all so definitely try to reserve your seat before boarding the ferry.
The bus cost 235₱ (€4.10) with air conditioning and took 4.5 hours, dropping you at the Southern Bus Terminal in Cebu City. Thankfully, there’s free wifi in the terminal making it easy to order a Grab to your hostel or hotel if you’re not travelling with data.
Door to door, this trip took almost 8 hours.
Alternatively, you can travel by ferry from Dumaguete to Cebu via Tagbilaran on Bohol. The trip takes around 5 hours and costs 1,600₱ (€30). Check timetable and availability here.
There are also several direct daily flights from Dumaguete to Cebu which are very reasonably priced and take just 45 minutes. Search the best flight deals here.
Pangasama Beach To Moalboal Bus Stop | Tricycle | 10 mins | 150₱
Moalboal Bus Stop To Bato Bus Terminal | Ceres Bus | 2 hours | 80₱
Bato Bus Terminal To Liloan Port | Tricycle | 10 mins | 150₱
Liloan Port To Sibulan Port | Ferry | 15 mins | 70₱
Sibulan Port To Dumaguete Centre, Ceres Bus Terminal or Port | Jeepney OR Tricycle | 30 mins | 10₱ OR 150₱
Dumaguete To Dauin | Jeepney from centre OR Bus from Ceres Bus Terminal | 30 mins | 15₱ OR 50₱
Dumaguete Port to Siquijor | Ferry | 1 hour | 100₱ to 400₱