Dumaguete, known as the “City of Gentle People,” live up to its reputation very well. Indeed, small but terrific are the best two words to describe this quaint area in the Visayas where you will meet warm and friendly people and experience a great adventure that will always stay with you long before you leave.
The capital of Negros Oriental is more than just a small provincial town in the Philippines. Home to several top universities and a number of college institutions, this Southern part of the country is fondly called the “University City” and has become a melting pot of students, scholars, professionals, and a whole lot more. Also known as the “Motorcycle Capital of the Philippines,” Dumaguete lets you experience a modern, yet idyllic urban setting that’s different from the usual metro scene.
You can take a direct flight from Manila or Cebu to Dumaguete via local airlines including Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. You will reach the city in less than two hours.
If you want to take a more scenic route, there are scheduled ferry trips via 2GO Travels that are bound to Dumaguete from Manila. Take note that travel time would take around 27 hours or one day and three hours.
Traveling via land is also possible, if you want to bring your own car or if commuting. This route also includes a ferry ride, and will take about one-day travel to reach Dumaguete.
Riding the tricycle is the most common and cheapest mode of transportation in Dumaguete depending on your destination. Make sure to negotiate well before you ride to avoid misunderstanding on the fee or getting scammed. The motorcycle is also a popular option if you want to go to farther areas.
Silliman University is one of the oldest educational institutions in the Philippines and one of the top places of interest in the area. It was established in the early 1900s. This unique tourist destination allows visitors to walk around the campus, see the school’s amazing architecture, and get to know the province’s history more. You can join an organized tour to explore the place.
While in Silliman, try to watch a live performance in Luce Auditorium. The theater is considered to be the cultural center of the Visayas region, which is found within the campus.
Meanwhile, Apo Island is another great stop when you visit Dumaguete. This protected marine sanctuary is considered as one of the top dive spots in the country. Going here will satisfy your craving for an adventure.
Start your discovery of Dumaguete through its historical sites. For a trip down the memory lane, stroll along Rizal Boulevard where the national hero Jose Rizal was said to have once walked or tour Silliman University. The sunrise in this 700-meter long road is a sight to behold. Don’t forget to light up a candle and say a little prayer for your loved ones at the Belfry Tower.
To complete your visit in Dumaguete, make sure to add dolphin watching in Bais Bay, trekking in Casosoro Falls, and exploring the twin lakes of Balinsasayao and Danao. When you go to Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park, you are spoiled for activities to do including snorkeling, camping, and diving.
Whether you’re craving for meat or seafood, there are many awesome food selections available in Dumaguete. Moon Café Silliman and Taco Surf both serve Mexican delights plus their own specialties. There’s also Neva’s Pizza that will give you the best value for your money with their reasonably priced pizza and other tasty meals.
Want to enjoy the view while dining out? Sans Rival Bistro along Rizal Boulevard faces the ocean. This allows you to take in the breathtaking scenery while having a good time with your family or friends. Make sure to bring home some Sans Rival pasalubong and their much-loved signature dessert Silvanas. If you have a more adventurous stomach, you can try the street food sold along the avenue.
Evening’s in Dumaguete are surprisingly active and fun, especially for tourists and yuppies in the area. There are many party places offering a hip and vibrant atmosphere where you can dance, eat, and drink the whole night away. Why Not in Rizal Boulevard is a popular discotheque that’s also a restaurant with a deli shop, billiard, internet café, and karaoke. You’ll definitely not run out of things to do here. Hayahay and Coco Amigo are also great places to grab a drink and chill with your friends.
There are budget accommodations in Dumaguete that travelers can stay in at P1,000 and under including Bethel Guest House, Hotel Nicanor, and Harold’s Mansion. The latter, which is a top choice among backpackers, have dorm rooms that you can rent for P250. Go Hotels is a budget hotel in Dumaguete that enjoys a prime location in the Central Business District and is less than 30 minutes away from the airport.
Want to treat yourself with a luxury lodging? Island’s Leisure Hotel and Spa have premium rooms that will make your vacation or business trip in Dumaguete more comfortable. Meanwhile, Florentina Homes features a Mediterranean-inspired rooms and apartelles ideal for families and groups. Or you can wake up with the soothing view of the beach when you stay in Sta.Monica Beach Club.
Book your ticket in advance when flying to Dumaguete, and always keep an eye out for seat sales so you can save on your transportation expenses.
People love a good bargain. Don’t be afraid to haggle with the prices when shopping in flea markets or, sometimes, renting a transportation.
Secure a guide when going trekking especially if you’re not used to it so you don’t get lost or hurt.