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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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