Cebu to Dumaguete Road Trip With Family: 2019 Itinerary, Expenses


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We’ve been talking about going on a road trip with our car for weeks now but haven’t really gotten to it. There were many ideas on where we could go or which place we wanted to visit first with our new-ish car, but this weekend, we finally got on a Cebu to Dumaguete road trip with the family.

This isn’t the first time we visited this rather small city in Negros Oriental, but this will be the first with only the three of us in our car. Ivan and I used to come here a lot with our motorcycle (reminiscing about that epic motorcycle trip we had from Cebu to Baguio) but story’s different now because we have a not-so-little kid.

If you want to know some tips on how to go on a road trip to Dumaguete with family, you’re in the right place.

It’s been a while since we traveled. Well, maybe not really. 😂 Our last was in July in Boracay but I didn’t write about it, did I? Nope. But a road trip to Dumaguete with family is something that I want and need to write.

I love road trips. I love how I’m able to play my (or our) favorite songs while getting to see green sights. Kai was mostly asleep that time when we were on the road so not so much annoying chatter going on there. So, that too – it’s a peaceful time for us.

When it comes to road trips in Cebu, going South is usually a favorite. There are great beaches in the South for the whole fam to enjoy. The south tip of the island is also where you’ll be heading to get to Dumaguete from Cebu.

What to Prepare During Road Trip to Dumaguete with kids?

Traveling with a kid can be a real challenge. You will always have to think about them, about their food (if they’re extra picky) and think about how you can avoid potential tantrums. You need to be a step ahead and make sure you keep them entertained, in the car or in the hotel room when you’re chilling.

In the car, you may need the following:

  • a couple of your kid’s favorite pillows
  • blanket, because they get cold in the car. I didn’t bring this; I had thought of it and didn’t bring anyway but now I realized we really need it, especially for Kai
  • some snacks
  • favorite toys (a bag of them, if you may)

I’m not so much of a fan of gadgets and using them to entertain or keep your kids from getting bored, especially in the car. We have observed that every time we go on a road trip, Kai will just sleep because we set off as early as 4 or 5 am so there’s really no need for that.

For his toys, he brought his favorite Avengers figurines from his Busy Book, a ball that lights up, and the blue crochet Octopus his godmother made for him. We also had to stop by Dumaguete’s City Mall for some papers and pencil. And it worked. Kai didn’t get bored in the hotel room when he had all those.

Cebu To Dumaguete Road Trip Itinerary

If you like to avoid the possible heavy traffic in Minglanilla, San Fernando and Carcar, then set out early. If you’re a follower, then you know we’re from Lapu-Lapu but we still set out a bit late, because we had to wait for Daddy to get off from work at 6 am. We left the house around 6:45 after putting all our stuff inside the car. This was some kind of a last-minute trip for me because I had thought we would leave by Sunday. The night before our travel, I was in a hurry packing. Lol I wouldn’t recommend that, especially if you travel with kids because you want to make sure you have everything you need.

Still, I managed to pack all the things we need and more haha! No worries, this is the beauty of traveling in your own car, you can bring the whole house with you. :P

We traveled straight from our house to Carcar, only stopping by to gas up P1,500. Once we’re done, it’s a straight, nonstop drive to Carcar, which only took us an hour and 30 minutes or so.

Our breakfast lechon in Carcar

Once in Carcar, we had breakfast. When we go for road trips to the South, Carcar is always our breakfast stop. Do you fancy awesome Cebu lechon? Then you can have breakfast there. While you can go and meet with the aggressive sellers inside Carcar’s public market (not to mention the scandal at Carcar’s lechon in the public market, we would rather go to a more peaceful eatery, just a bit further straight. I forgot the name of the store but there were about 5 (or so) of them with decent tables and benches to eat your lechon comfortably. Below is a map where you can find the eatery.

Cebu to Dumaguete Ferry Schedule

The time you get to Liloan port in Santander depends on the time you left your house. For us, it usually takes 4 hours (from Lapu-Lapu to Santander). Just make sure you’ll be on time to catch the ferry. You’ll be aboard Maayo Shipping, and with a full sedan, we only paid P650 (car + two free passengers) + 62 (child fare, miscellaneous like terminal fee, etc) = Php 712. Below is the Cebu to Dumaguete (Liloan to Sibulan) ferry schedule and rates for 2019:

Regular Fare: Php85.00

Student Fare: Php72.00 must have a valid ID

Senior Citizen: Php68.00 with valid ID

Children 3-9 years old: Php42.00


Morning Trip Schedule

  • 4:30 AM
  •  6:00 AM
  • 7:30 AM
  • 9:00 AM
  • 10:30 AM

Afternoon Trip Schedule

  • 12:00 NN
  • 1:30 PM
  • 3:00 PM
  • 4:30 PM
  • 6:00 PM
  • 7:30 PM
  • 9:00 PM
  • 10:30 PM

Even though we set off early in the morning, we got held up by traffic jam in San Fernando and Carcar. We almost didn’t make it to the 12NN departure. Luckily, we arrived just in the nick of time. We were among the two last group of passengers to board the ship.

Where to Stay in Dumaguete

If you’re new to the city you know that Waze is your best friend. That was the first time we used the app, to be honest and we didn’t realize it was so much fun. Waze helped us get around and it also entertained us the whole time, especially Kai, who would laugh at the person giving the directions. We used the boy band voice because it’s funny. We still do.

Top up your phone so you can find the best places to stay in Dumaguete and use Waze to find them. While there are many Airbnb’s (check out this awesome Airbnb we stayed in) and hotels in Dumaguete, we ended up at the Insular Hotel. We’ve stayed in this hotel before when Ivan and I frequently traveled with our motorcycle pre-Kai days. It’s affordable and it’s a great family-friendly choice. It’s situated near various shops so if there’s anything you need, you can just take a short walk to get there. Our room cost P1,200/night.

The room is small but it’s beautiful. It’s good enough and Kai loved it too.

Killing boredom with pencil, paper and crayons – NO GADGETS PLEASE!

As we were on our way to the pier to cross the island back to Cebu, Ivan wasn’t feeling well. Actually, he wasn’t in good condition once we got to Dumaguete because of an upset stomach. It never went away so the whole time he had been experiencing stomach pains. On the Sunday that we’re about to go home, he wasn’t himself. So instead of driving to the pier, we checked in another hotel to stay for another night.

We drove to Sulit Budget Hotel, which I have to commend. They’re a new hotel so they’re so clean, it’s really nice. And affordable at P1,200/night for our small room. So you can also choose it as one of your hotel picks. It’s near the City Mall so there’s that. The thing with the room, tho is that it doesn’t have a separate room for toilet/bath. It’s just a glass partition with its top open so you can just smell whatever’s going on in the bathroom. And that’s exactly what happened. LONG STORY SHORT: Dad threw up like crazy; projectile vomiting and you can just smell it. Ugh.

Had to check in for the night because dad wasn’t feeling well.

Things to Do In Dumaguete with Kids

Dumaguete is a fave spot for hip restaurants and bars and for hanging around and having fun with and meeting new friends, but it’s also great for the family. I love the small-town vibe it gives off, it’s like a good break from the bustling city of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu. I love how we can just walk around there, getting from one point to another without having to worry about petty crimes.

I’m sure there are lots of things to do in Dumaguete with kids that we haven’t done but here’s what I can share based on our recent Cebu to Dumaguete road trip and our past Dumaguete visits:

  • Eat Silvanas at Sans Rival – this you shouldn’t miss.
  • Walk around Siliman University
  • Visit Quezon Park to have fun in the playground
  • Get to the bell tower at the Campanario De Dumaguete, a landmark of the city.
  • Adventure at Twin Lakes in Balinsasayao.
  • Eat at Jo’s Inato Chicken Inasal and check out the Housepet chicken
  • Hang out and just chill along Rizal Boulevard
  • Drive along the Sulfur Vents Highway in Pulangbato, Valencia
Smells like rotten eggs because of sulphur! Presenting: Pulangbato, Sulfur Vents Highway
Kai checking out the chicken at Jo’s Inato
  • Swim in hot pools in Pulangbato
  • Visit Pulangbato falls
  • On your way to Pulangbato, you’ll get to see these awesome green views


Even though dad wasn’t in his best health when we traveled, it was great for him to take a break from work and good for us to get away from our house, in which we stay 5 days a week without seeing anything else.

In summary, here’s what we spent on:

Gas – P1,500 (going) + P1000 (coming back), but there’s still more left. Total P2500

Ferry rate – P1,500 (back and forth)

Carcar Lechon (breakfast) – 400

Insular Hotel – P1,200

Sans Rival – P2000 for the entire weekend, we ate twice. We ran out of options and we can’t decide, so Sans Rival was our safe bet.

Fastfood emergency – P400

Jo’s Chicken Inato – P500

Sulit Budget Hotel – P1200

Hot Pool (Pulangbato) – forgot the exact entrance fee so I’m just going to estimate P100 for the three of us.

That’s a total of P9800 pesos for 2-night stay in Dumaguete!

Hope this post helps you if ever you’ll plan to go on a Cebu to Dumaguete road trip with kids. Are you planning to go? Have you visited Dumaguete with your family? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.