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Apr 21, 2011

Dolphin Watching in Bais

Off to Bais
It has been nearly a year since I got wind of the fabled sandbar and the dolphin-watching in Bais when I got an invite from Rene to join him and his visiting relatives for a boat ride in Bais to see the dolphins - cool! It was an early 5:30am meet-up in Dumaguete to start the land trip for Bais, another municipality about an hour's trip north. From the Bais wharf, a sizeable outrigger took us across the strait towards Cebu in search of dolphins.

Tañon Strait
Tañon Strait is a protected waterway separating the islands of Negros and Cebu. Because it's deep with strong currents, toothed whales, dolphins, porpoises and other cetacean species are commonly seen along these waters. Butandings (whale sharks) have been seen in these waters too, together with the rare leatherback turtles.

Dolphin Possé
We were nearing Cebu and ready to head back hoping we'd see the dolphins on the way back when they started showing up. Suddenly life surged on the boat. All the passengers got excited to see even a dorsal fin slice through the water. Pretty soon, schools of dolphins made their presence felt. It felt more like different gangs of dolphins laying claim to their territory. Hmmm...I wonder what their version of "urinating on the hydrant" is like. On one occassion, a crowd-pleasing dophin shot up into the air in a swirling motion. That certainly got an applause. Hmmm...I hope that wasn't a guy from the tourism board on a dophin suit!

The Sandbar
After the dolphin episode, the boat headed to the sandbar. Now, this is an interesting thing. The sandbar lies a few kilometers offshore. It would seem like from out of nowhere at sea, you see a long stretch of sandbar. During our time though, the tide was up and the telltale sign of the sandbar was the equally interesting cottages on stilts. Visualize being in a house in the middle of an ocean - at least that's how it feels. We didn't really go to the house, but went swimming anyway on the sandbar which at that time was waist-deep.

Food Glorious Food!
Sumptuous lunch was served on the boat - budbud cabog/tanjay, grilled fish, tiger prawns, eggplant salad, the sweetest mangoes (fresh picked from their farm in Nueva Ecija) and ice-cold beer! The Abesamis' knew how to do things in style!

The Dolphin Rider
Thru Facebook, still wired about the dolphin experience, I asked Bianca, another marine-bio friend who just completed a 2-year dolphin aquarium project at the Subic Ocean Park, if it's possible to ride a dolphin the way you would ride a horse. She said yes - you hold on to the dorsal fin for balance. That got me excited for her. I followed up, "Are you tempted to dress up like Wonder Woman...mask, cape and all, and ride a dolphin alongside a boat full of unsuspecting kids and then disappear before they can call their parents? They'd be all jumpy and excited but no one would ever believe them! Then the legend of the super heroine who rides the dolphins would come to be." Bianca yawned. Ok, next topic.

--- TheLoneRider

Thank you Rene for not tiring to tag me along!

Boat Contact for Dolphin Watching:

  • Jun (a private individual but recommended) - 09196023439. He can arrange a boat from the southern wharf. Boats there are larger and a little cheaper.
  • Bais Tourism Office - 402.8338 or 402.3180

How to Get There from Dumaguete:

  • take the Bacolod-bound Ceres bus at the Dumaguete Ceres Station. With parts of the highway getting fixed, it'll be dusty. Take the aircon's worth it! 45kms, less than an hour trip, fare around ~P55.00.
  • if you're out to see the dolphins, get off at the Capiñahan Wharf in South Bais Bay
  • if you're a big group, best to hire a van from Dumaguete to take you to Bais. ~P1400, 50 minutes.

Bais Articles on

Where to Stay in Bais

    Casa Don Julian, Bais
  • Casa Don Julian - ancestral home turned pension house | #581 Mabini Street, Bais | phone (035)402.9457
  • La Planta Hotel - (035)402.8321
Dumaguete boulevard Bais Port waiting for the boat all aboard
chilling out on the deck a family outing kids love it rainbow
house on stilts watchtower cebu dolphins at the bow
pair of dolphins lone dolphin sandbar bais sandbar

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