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Posted by on May 1st, 2009
Filed Under: Dumaguete, Featured

Dumaguete Photo

The capital city and main port of Negros Oriental, the province that occupies the south-eastern half of Negros Island, in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. Popularly known as the “City of Gentle People”.

Dumaguete is the “city of gentle people.” It is where you can still find tree-lined streets, with motorcycles, not cars and taxis, dominating the road. Everything about it is simple and serene- from its people to the various places surrounding the city. It is located in Negros Oriental, opposite Bacolod City. A University town where you can see more students than working professionals, Dumaguete is among the most peaceful and clean cities in the Visayas.

Philippines Dumaguete Boulevard

Lights at Dumaguete city’s boulevard: Momentarily stopped here before taking a boat and departing the city. “The Boulevard,” which is officially named Rizal Avenue, is a a great place for breakfasts by the sea, business lunches and romantic dinners.
Photo by storm crypt

Every time one would visit Dumaguete, there is always that longing to come back again. You can actually breathe in clean and fresh air- something you can hardly experience when you are in busy cities in the country.

Why Not Go

I cannot think of any reason why anyone would regret going to Dumaguete. Perhaps if you prefer the hustle and bustle of busy streets and fast-paced living then probably, you will not enjoy the quietness of this little city.

Why Go

When a person wants a place to relax, it is always a good excuse to go to Dumaguete. A place where everything is accessible even by foot, it provides convenience to visitors- you can just walk to the mall, church, hotel and market. Moreover, Dumaguete is very close to beautiful dive sites and lovely islands that are most ideal for honeymooners or simply for people who want to have some fun in the sun. Plus, it is always nice to know that almost everything in Dumaguete is inexpensive, from accommodation to food, you can go there regardless of how much your budget is. Laid-back living, fun, convenience and affordability are what will want to make people visit this city.

Best Time to Visit

Philippines Dumaguete City

Aerial view of Dumaguety City: Photo taken from the Japanese Shrine, Valencia, Negros Oriental.
Photo by storm crypt

November would be a good time to go, specifically around the 3rd to 4th week of the month because this is when the city celebrates its most anticipated fiesta in honor of their patron saint, Sta. Catalina de Alexandria. This is always celebrated with grandeur, complete with parades, shows and carnivals. Most homes would always prepare a sumptuous celebration for 2-3 days. You might want to book your hotel ahead though as they are mostly full during this time.

Where to Stay

Philippines Hotels and Resorts

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One of the nicest places we’ve stayed in is at Sta. Monica Beach Resort in Banilad. It is about 10 minutes from the center of the city, complete with a swimming pool, sea view and a big garden. Rates start at $38 for air-conditioned rooms. You can also stay at Bethel Guesthouse right along Rizal Boulevard, which is where everything is. Rates for their standard rooms start at $19. Now if you are on a tight budget, there are clean rooms available at pension houses such as Hotel Palwa (it’s a pension house, not a hotel) which can be as low as $8 a night.

Where & What to Eat

You can eat your lunch at City Burger located at Perdices Street. They have the best “chicken inasal” in the city.

Then proceed to the most popular dessert place called Sans Rival at San Jose Street. Everybody goes there for their Sylvannas and Sans Rival but personally, I like their tiramisu best.

Dinner should be at Lab-as where you can sample fresh sea foods. They offer Sutukil, a set meal with grilled fish, fish soup and raw fish soaked in vinegar and herbs. They also have a soup specialty on the menu called “boullabaise” which tastes really great.


The place to be to have fun at night would be along the Boulevard where you can find a few bars and pubs. You can go to Y Not Bar and Gimmick. However, a lot of people go there not just to have some beer but also to just sit down and admire the beautiful sea view and enjoy the cool breeze.

My to do List

• First off, you should see the renowned Silliman University. It is one of the oldest schools in the country and is among the biggest too.

Philippines Dumaguete Cathedral

Saint Catherine of Alexandria Church: More popularly known as the Dumaguete Cathedral
Photo by storm crypt

• Then you can stop by the city’s age-old cathedral named after their patron saint, Sta. Catalina de Alexandria (or St. Catherine of Alexandria) built in the 17th century. It is a very prominent landmark in the city. Adjacent to it is the old belfry which was used as a siege tower during the Spanish colony.

Philippines Dumaguete

Dumaguete Belfry: Used as a watchtower during the 19th Century to warn the inhabitants (by ringing the bells) of the then small fishing village of impending raids by marauding pirates from the south of the islands. From its top can be seen the island of Mindanao on the horizon (now obscured by trees and buildings).These raids were so rampant in the area during those times that this little fishing village came to be known as “Dumagit” or “Dagit” which means “kidnap” in the local Cebuano language. The Spanish authorities later adopted and restructured or “hispanized” the name to “Dumaguete”.
Photo by baktincorporation

• Next, go see Mountain Camp in Valencia which is about 20 minutes from Dumaguete. There you will be surrounded with Nature, literally- what with tall trees and cold springs around. Entrance fee is about $1.25 per person.

• If you like to play golf, you should check out Bravo Golf Resort at Sibulan, which is about 15 minutes from the city limits. It is very secluded; they have a 9-hole golf course at very cheap rates. You should also know that they have a hotel and 3 huge infinity pools, plus the best Italian food in Dumaguete!

• You can also find one of the top 10 diving sites in the country- Apo Island. You can take a 35-minute boat ride to get there from the city.

Philippines Dumaguete Apo Island Diving

Apo island is an important migratory route for whales and dolphins and home to the first community-run marine sanctuary which has been protected since 1982. The spectacular diversity of species and dive sites available here is proof that the community approach to coastal resource management works; at Apo island, you get to see enormous, silvery schools of jacks (a species related to tuna), endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles, Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, brilliantly colored soft coral gardens with thousands of fluttering clown fish, and at certain times of the year thresher sharks have also even been sighted.
Photo by Caloy & Myra

• You can also avail of ATV rentals from various places in Dumaguete such as the Atlantis Resort. Experience dirt road driving with these vehicles for as low as $30.

• If you like to explore some more, you can go to Bais City which is about an hour and a half’s drive away from Dumaguete. Here you can go dolphin and whale watching for just $25 (group).

• The magical island of Siquijor is also within a short trip from Dumaguete, and makes an excellent overnight trip – ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. Trekking and spelunking is also highly recommended on Siguijor!

Stay Away From

The city is perfectly safe, although you do need to be careful with your belongings just to be sure.

Getting There

If you are in Cebu, you can get there by ferry or bus.
• You can take a fast craft at one of the Cebu city ports or you can travel to the southern part of the province where you can ride a Ro-Ro to Dumaguete.
• The Oceanjet ferry, provides the quickest service, about 3.5 hours trip via Tagbilaran. There are also 2 boats (GP and Cokaliong) that runs slightly 5 hour trips to and from Dumaguete.
• Bus: The Ceres Liner offers 5 hours air conditioned trips from Cebu to Dumaguete crossing the Tanon Stratis via a barge from Bato (cebu) to Tampi (Amlan – 25 mins from Dumaguete City).

If you are in Bacolod, you can get there by bus, in about 4-5 hours – the Ceres Liner cris-cross Oriental Negros everyday with trips to Dumaguete with 30 min interval per trip.

If you are in Manila, you can reach the place by plane, which will take about an hour. Cebu Pacific and PAL have daily flights going there (in the morning and early afternoon). You can also take the ferry from Manila – WG&A Superferry and Negros Navigation does overnight trips to/from Manila via Tagbilaran.

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Roz Visarra has always been fond of travelling. As a young girl, she would travel with her parents in the Visayas and Mindanao because their relatives are from all these areas. She currently resides in Cebu, the Queen City of the South and looks forward to her next travel. Learn more about me [+]

Tourism Philippines thrives on the knowledge of the community. Got a tip, photo or even a guide on a place you been to in Philippines? We will love to hear from you!

7 Responses to “Dumaguete”

  1. Cebu Philippines Expat says:

    Dumaguete is one of calmest and most peaceful places in the Philippines. Definitely the cleanest! I travel there often, going south from Cebu by bus and then crossing the channel by outrigger boat. It usually takes about 3 1/2 hours….

  2. JMZ says:

    It’s a really nice place, with fresh countryside air…used to work there..first time to comment on this space..Thanks

    Another thing i appreciate about the people is that they’re real earth stewards as manifested by how they manage their solid waste at their dumpsite…not just plain dumping..From my standpoint, as a city, it’s just alright for them to continue to grow because they have a sustainable development. God will all the more appreciate that.

    Thanks for allowing me to comment, want to see more pics of the place. Haven’t been there for long.


  3. Ivy says:

    I loooove Dumaguete. It’s such a nice, quaint town with really friendly people. I’m definitely going back here since our trip wasn’t maximized due to the rainy season (missed out on Bais and Siquijor). But it was all good, since we got to eat A LOT of delicious food. :)

  4. Ian Ray says:

    I really love this place because this is my hometown i miss it so much that i will quit my job here in macau to go back to my hometown. There is really no place like home even if your not from Dumaguete City. But i dare anyone who reads this comment: ‘You should really check out this place its very nice just check it out and you”ll see.’ I GUARANTEE IT.DUMAGUETE CITY #1

  5. Robert says:

    Hi all,

    I have been to Dumaguete twice because I just love it and I will surely go back there and bring friends with me.
    In Dumaguete, I spent 2 days for each visit.

    Here’s how I arranged the schedule:

    DAY 1

    8am: Plane arrives Dumaguete from an hour flight from Manila
    8:30am: Check-in at my favorite backpacker’s inn and settle my things here.
    9:30am Head to Casaroro Falls (in Valencia town, 30mins from Dumaguete through jeepney). I love this waterfalls. It’s a slim but tall one. Everytime I go here, there’s no one and it is deep in the forest. From Valencia town, you need to take a single motorcycle (they call it locally as habal-habal which will cost 400 pesos round trip since the driver will wait for you since they have no passenger back to town). The motorcyle carries only one passenger and I think it is reasonable because going to Casaroro is really challenging. It’s uphill and some parts are bumpy. It takes 10-15mins to get here. Once here, pay 5 pesos entrance fee if you are a Filipino while foreigners pay 10 pesos I think (I can’t recall exactly how much is for the foreigners but still it’s very cheap). After paying the entrance fee, you need to do some trekking for like 10 15 or 20mins depending how physically fit you are. You need to go down to get to the waterfalls. Don’t worry because the narrow trail (in stairs form) is paved and with adequate handrail to hold on to. Once you get to the waterfalls, it’s breathtaking! You can swim if you want to. Now, leaving the are is very challenging because you need to go up and climb the stairs.

    11:30am Take the same motorcyle that is waiting for you and head back to Valencia town. You can have your lunch here if you want. The town center is small and has a cute plaza. Going back to Dumaguete is so easy since jeepneys are waiting near the plaza.

    12:30pm Back at the hotel to do quick shower.
    1:30pm Take a jeepney and head to San Jose town (next to Sibulan) for TWIN-LAKE adventure. Jeepney from Dumaguete takes 30 to 45 minutes to get to San Jose. Tell the driver to drop you off at the crossing/intersection that goes to Twin Lake. Once in the intersection, motorcycles (or habal-habal) is the only method of transportation and again costs 400 for roundtrip. I haggled it for 300 pesos and deal! By the way, you will see the southern tip of Cebu from this intersection/coastal highway. The habal-habal trip takes another 30mins because it is too far from the intersection. While on the way, you will see wonderful landscapes and mountain views plus hikers that opted to walk rather than taking motorcyles. Again, it is uphill. The lakes are up in the mountain. There are two lakes here (balinsasayao and danao).
    In Balinsasayao lake, you can hire a paddle boat with a boatman and enjoy the tranquility and God’s masterpiece. It such a serene and magnificent place and the water is so clean. I wish Laguna lake is as clean as this.

    5pm Time to go home and take the same motorcycle that is waiting for you. At the intersection, take bus or jeep going back to Dumaguete.

    8pm Dinner and night out. Dumaguete has many affordable food places and very delicious. The city is also full of activities to enjoy the night.


    DAY 2

    In the morning, take a jeepney or bus to go Dauin for snorkeling experience. It takes less than 1 hour to get here. You need to pay for 50 pesos entrance fee and another 50 pesos for gear rental. You can bring your own snorkeling gear if you want. The good thing here is that, the corals which is very abundant are in just by the shoreline. You don’t need to hire a boat. It’s right by the beach where you can swim. You will see here different kinds of corals and fishes.

    The go back to Dumaguete for lunch.

    Then flight back to Manila is around 4pm.

    (Note: The prices that I qouted are as of November 2010)

  6. Rolin Migyuel C. Obina says:

    I love Dumaguete, as much as I love Bais, my hometown. The whole of Negros Oriental is home of gentle people, fun-loving, highly educated invidivuals. In Dumaguete, or even in other towns and cities, you can always feel hospitality and warmth. If you love to party, there’s not much to see. But if communing with nature, or going back to your roots is what you’re after for, then Negros Oriental is the place to be.

    Dali! Dayon!

  7. cristina says:

    i am a girl in dumaguete city my favourite mall there is superleeplaza i like the the greenwich fastfood restaurant because the pizza is delicious but i like jollibee fastfood restaurant more

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