Exploring Danjugan Island, A Reef and Rainforest Haven
How to get there:
- From Manila, take a flight to Bacolod. Major airlines such as Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have daily direct flights from Manila to Bacolod. To make the most of it, get the earliest flight.
- From the New Bacolod-Silay Airport, board a shuttle to the city proper. There are shuttle vans parked outside the arrival area. Fare is at Php 150. Make sure to tell the driver to drop you off at the Ceres Southbound Terminal.
- At the Ceres Southbound Terminal, you can either board an air-conditioned bus bound to Kabankalan City, which has a signage that says "two stops," or ride the direct non-air-conditioned bus to Hinoba-an. Please take note though that the direct non-air-conditioned bus takes longer to reach your destination as it picks up passengers along the way. The seats are not as comfortable as the those of the air-conditioned bus, too, so if you have many baggage with you, you might be uncomfortable. For your convenience, I highly recommend that you take the two-stop air-conditioned bus to Kabankalan City (fare is Php 135), and at the Ceres Kabankalan Terminal, transfer to another bus bound to Hinoba-an (fare is Php 99). You might be even lucky to board an air-conditioned bus all the way to Cauayan! - thanks Ayi Esguerra for this tip. It shortened our travel time from five to four hours!
- Tell the driver to drop you off at Bangga Salamat Po, or the corner to Punta Bulata White Beach Resort and Spa.
- Make sure to pre-arrange your tricycle pick-up. Punta Bulata White Beach Resort and Spa can do this for you at Php 100 per way per head. The distance from Bangga Salamat Po to the resort is about three kilometers on rough up and down hills.
- Punta Bulata White Beach Resort and Spa can arrange your boat transfers to Danjugan Island
|Punta Bulata's small boat to Danjugan Island|
|On the way to Danjugan Island, the waves are a bit huge. Best time to go is during summer and monsoon-free months|
|The docking area|
|Danjugan Island Learning Center|
|At the main reception|
|The trail is paved for easier trekking|
|The bat cave|
|Continuing the trek|
|The "mud" lagoon|
|Still on Turtle Beach|
|The sand is fine, off-white, with some coral rubbles|
|The skies were a bit overcast during our visit|
|Limestone formations on Turtle Beach|
|Our boat hiding at the Typhoon Beach Camp on the far corner|
|Typhoon Beach Camp|
Once we settled our stuff at the cottage, we geared up to explore the beautiful reefs of Danjugan Island. Since we're not certified divers, we just enjoyed snorkeling instead. If you are a licensed diver, you must see the amazing dive spots in Danjugan Island. The island has an in-house divemaster who can guide you all the way. Diving and snorkeling gears are not a problem as the island can provide you with these during your visit.
Since we were just snorkeling, we were only able to explore the shallow reefs that are just a few meters away from the shore. It was high tide when we started. What did we see underwater, you ask? Here, take a look:
According to the PRRCFI website, there are at least 17 species of mangroves, 572 fish species belonging to 139 genera, 244 species of hard corals, 8 species of seagrasses and 74 species of macroalgae have been recorded in Danjugan Island. Giant clams are also observed in the reefs, and a restocking program for the endangered species of giant clams is being implemented in collaboration with UP-MSI. Other commercially important invertebrates observed are abalone and spiny lobster . The endangered coconut crab still occur in the coastal and mangrove forests of the island. The western beaches of Danjugan Island are known nesting sites of the hawksbill and green sea turtles. There was one sighting of a Dugong in the past while sightings of dolphins are common within the municipal waters of Cauayan which is a migration path of some larger marine mammal species.
Since we were so pre-occupied with the spectacular underwater scenery, we almost forgot that our four-hour eco-tour of the island has came to an end, and that it was already time to go to our next destination: Turtle Island.
We left Danjugan Island with a heavy heart as we really fell in love with the bare beauty of the place, but then, it was time to move on.
The Sulu Sea was bumpy when we left the island, and the way to Turtle Island became a bit challenging for the boatmen and scary for us. We were almost near the docking area when our boat's propeller crashed, leaving us swaying with the huge waves amidst the rough sea. Fortunately, the staff of Punta Bulata White Beach Resort and Spa was able to get in touch with the people at Danjugan Island to seek help. We were rescued (yes, again! bisyo na'to!) after about 30 minutes. It's a good thing that Turtle Island is just 10 minutes away from the resort. They said the island is also a great place for snorkeling and diving. Oh well, I guess we have another reason to go back then.
|On the way to Turtle Island|
|No wonder it is called "Turtle" Island|
|A cave on its mouth|
|This was our view when we got stranded|
|A closer view, taken when our boatmen were able to find a way to somehow anchor our boat|
|The beach at Turtle Island|
Punta Bulata White Beach Resort and Spa
Cauayan, Negros Occidental, Philippines
+6334.433.5160 / +6334.473.0235
The Philippine Reef & Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc.
Door #7, Teresa Building, Mandalagan, Bacolod City 6100, Philippines
+6334.441.6010 / +63920.281.8718