The 4th largest island in the Philippines is Negros Island which is part of the Visayas in the central part of the country. It’s split into two provinces: Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.
Today I’m going to share with you my top tips for visiting this beautiful island on your next trip to the Philippines. I’ll also share the best things to see and do while you are there.
How to Get to Negros Island?
The gateway to Negros Occidental is Bacolod City, which is a 55-minute flight from Manila, or a 30-minute flight from Cebu. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific both provide multiple flights here daily.
I found this to be the easiest and quickest travel option. Your other option is to arrive by sea, and you can board a ferry from Manila or Iloilo.
Best Time to Visit Negros Island?
The best time to visit Negros island is between November and April when you will experience warm temperatures and lower rainfall levels.
The average temperature year-round is between 28-30°C. The island does have a tropical monsoon climate, and so in the summer especially the levels of rainfall can be relatively high. Check the full guide for the best time to visit the Philippines.
See also: Malapascua Island Travel Guide
Moving around Negros Island
As the fourth largest island in the Philippines, Negros is over 5,000 square miles in size. It’s a very laid-back island, and the primary way of traveling around it is by bus, which I used between the various towns.
If you are traveling a shorter distance, you can also take a tricycle or jeepney. From Bacolod City, you can also catch a taxi to your hotel or your next destination.
Where to Stay in Negros Island?
There are a few main areas to consider when deciding where to stay on Negros Island. First up is Bacolod City, where there are plenty of apartments and hotels to stay in.
The downtown area of Dumaguete in Negros Oriental is also a great choice, and it’s a good hub for transportation options.
I chose to stay in Sipalay, which offers beachfront accommodation. I stayed at the good-value Big Bamboo Beach Resort, and it provided the perfect jungle-style escape.
Best Things to Do on Negros Island
Apo Island Marine Reserve
Whether you are looking to relax and escape, or have an action-packed trip, Negros is the perfect island for you. If you enjoy snorkeling and swimming, I’d highly recommend visiting Apo Island Marine Reserve.
Located seven kilometers from the south of the island, this man-made reserve is the most beautiful part of the island and my top recommendation for a day out.
The island also features many other diving and snorkeling opportunities for avid explorers. Another popular trip I took was to visit Casaroro Falls.
Located in Valencia, the waterfall is over 30 meters tall, and you will have to hike to reach it. It’s well worth the walkthrough for the view at the end!
If you are looking to see a more historical site, visit The Ruins. Constructed in the 1900s, I was so surprised by this ancestral home. It was unlike anything else I saw in the Philippines. It’s located in Talisay City and inspired by Italian architecture.
Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao
Finally, I’d recommend heading to the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao, located in the Negros Oriental province. It’s a relaxing day out and is a hassle-free tourist attraction.
Nightlife on Negros Island
The 4th largest island in the Philippines is not particularly renowned for its nightlife, however, there are some great options for bars and restaurants after a day out.
Gie-Gie’s Sports Bar located in Dumaguete has a laid-back atmosphere and some great cocktails on the menu.
Also, in the same area, I enjoyed Thunder Road Bar & Grill, perfect for dinner and drinks. In Bacolod, head to Bites & Booze for another great dining and drinking option.
Negros Island Travel Tips
Here are a few of my top tips from my time spent on Negros Island:
- English is widely spoken on the island. However, it may be worth picking up a few local phrases. In Negros Occidental they speak Hiligaynon, and locals on Negros Oriental speak Cebuano.
- Negros Island produces more than half of the country’s sugar cane – so make sure you try its juice!
- If you love to hike, one option is to visit Mount Kanlaon, the third most active volcano in the Philippines. There are two major hiking trails here, and this would be a great two-day adventure.
- If you enjoy spending time in nature, consider visiting the Mambukal Mountain Resort, which has hot springs, bathhouses, waterfalls, and a butterfly garden.
- If you’d like to see a local festival during your trip, consider visiting in October for Masskara Festival or April for the Panaad Festival. Check for more festivals in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
- Food-wise, the island’s most popular dish is chicken inasal, which is a roast chicken. Other notable dishes include empanadas, kalamay hati, which is a sticky rice cake, and lumpiang ubod, a vegetable egg roll.
Negros Island is an amazing option for your next trip to the Philippines and one that is often overlooked by tourists.
You will find much less crowded sites here in comparison to elsewhere in the Philippines, so take advantage of this beautiful island and all it has to offer.
In case you’re wondering what is the largest island in the Philippines, it’s Luzon, home to Manila.
The Philippines really does have endless destinations for you to visit on your next trip. Start exploring ideas for your next adventure here today!
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