Dolphin Spotting in Bais, Negros Oriental



Alighting out of a bus from Dumaguete, I arrived at the quaint town of Bais at the flinch of sunlight. This idyllic municipality was a bastion of 19th century barons who spearheaded the raw sugar boom Negros Oriental came to known for. As I took my first strides around the town, I quickly noticed the miscellanies of its storied past evidenced by the run-down but still charming pre-war colonial homes.


I would have explored the town further on foot towards the old factory of Central Azucarera de Bais – the pioneers of the sugar industry in the country, had I not have one thing on my mind that day: Dolphin spotting.

Master Show-pins

Buoyed by my enthusiasm of seeing dolphins out in the wild, I hustled to reach the port by taking a 20 minute tricycle ride. Since I was alone, I took up a chance to wait for other tourists so we could split boat rental fees. Just like how the Gods gifted my journey with fine weather, a foursome arrived a few minutes later and inquired about a boat.


After the compulsory introductions we quickly hurried boarding a spacious motorboat. Under the bright shimmer of the morning sun we stared towards the far sea while our boatman stood at the forward edge surveying the waters. Using hand gestures to direct the boat captain, we sailed straight into the waters of Tañon Strait - - the body of water that separates the islands of Cebu and Negros.


Declared as a protected seascape, the 100-mile long Tañon Strait serves as a resting, breeding and feeding marine area for 11 marine species that includes the bottlenose dolphins and the rare pygmy sperm whales.


It didn’t took long before I start hearing our boatman whistling to call our attention. Just a few feet from our boat, I saw a pod of dolphins showing off their spinning flair. They look like spinner dolphins because of their elongated muzzles.


As if surveying us for the first few moments, the dolphins maintained a steady distance by darting over and under the water. I was already satisfied at seeing them up close but what happened next really took my dolphin spotting experience to another level of high.

It started when one spinner dolphin suddenly shot out from underneath the water and somersaulted mid-air with aplomb, eliciting oohs and aahhs from our group. That lone showmanship turned out to be a cue for the others to start strutting their acrobatic skills.


For the duration of our more than one hour cruise around Tañon Strait, we saw the dolphins in all sorts of maneuvers. They soared and curled up in the air before diving back to the water with gusto. The sight of their playfulness out in the wild, tugged me at my heartstrings with fondness of their freedom.


Fulfilled at what we all witnessed that morning we decided to cruise back for a pit stop at Manjuyod Sandbar. As our boat sailed away from the waters of Tañon Strait, I looked back and saw a few dolphins flapped their tails before disappearing into the abyss of the ocean. I know it’s just happenstance but I wanted to believe that it’s their way of bidding goodbye. Besides, dolphins – other than being the most loveable, are one of the most self-aware and smartest animals in the planet. 



This trip is part of my Traveloka solo-backpacking series all over the Philippines. Traveloka is a mobile app and web site that makes travel simpler by letting you experience the easiest and fastest way of booking cheap flights and hotels in less than a minute.