Our feet took us to Dumaguete this time for our local out-of-town wandering. Having no pre-determined itinerary on hand when we boarded our plane from Manila we armed ourselves with our backpacks, flip flops, and copious amount of sunscreen. Follow us on this 5-day travel experience as we show you Where to Eat, Where to Go, and What to Do in Dumaguete City.
Dumaguete City as our jump-off
A university town and provincial capital part of Negros, bustling, relatively urbane, and yet having a laidback atmosphere. Thanks in part to a large and thriving ex-pat community, Dumaguete is also a convenient base for exploring all that southern Negros has to offer.
The small city center is as cramped, noisy and chaotic as any other city in the Philippines, but Dumaguete’s harbor-front promenade, lined with upmarket bars, restaurants, and food stalls, and blessed with peaceful sea views, is an undeniable draw. After becoming familiar with the city – one only needs a couple of days – it becomes our comfortable place to return after short stints of our outside town activities.
What to Do
Rizal Boulevard is a way of life. Here you can have a glimpse of how giving the locals are with their smiles every time you meet them eye to eye as you walk pas along with them and how they speak Visayan in a much softer tone and calmer voice compared to their neighboring regions. They sit happily alongside the shoreline with their family and friends.
It is a common meeting ground for everyone. Local, out-of-towners, foreign visitors. Every day, people would religiously start to hang out in the bay area from 3:30 pm until late.
While most local cities aren’t generally known for their beauty and cleanliness, Dumaguete’s waterfront promenade along Rizal Blvd is an exception to the rule. The boulevard was built in 1916, this scenic quarter-mile breezy stretch is a peaceful spot to stroll, we don’t mind strolling along its path and buying street-side snacks. We sit quietly on benches as we gaze out to sea.
Nearby is a good selection of restaurants, bars, hotels, and food stalls. If you’re staying within the city, we advise you to book a hotel near the Rizal Boulevard.
Swim with the sea turtle at Apo Island
Apo Island is a volcanic island covering 74 hectares of land area, 7 kilometers off the southeastern tip of Negros Island and 30 kilometers south of the island’s capital, Dumaguete.
It’s a protected area with 650 species of fish and various types of corals. It’s famous for being a feeding ground of the hawksbill and green sea turtle.
To get to the island, you can either book a tour with a local tour provider or you can rent a boat for 2000 PHP ( Around 40 USD) for 4 people. If you choose to Do-it-yourself, head over to Malapantay seaport around 20 kilometers south of Dumaguete.
Remember to make advanced reservations to the boat on the number here +63906 689 1049.
You also need to pay entrance fees and environmental fees when going to the island.
If you don’t have your own equipment, renting snorkeling materials is a MUST, so you can see the sea turtles.
Guides are optional, but we suggest getting one as they are professionals when it comes to spotting the turtles and helping you avoid the corals in the shallow areas of the reef.
Explore Siquijor Island
Siquijor Island is a remote island in the Visayas that is known as a mystical island, filled with witches and sorcery. Even when the Island was first discovered by the voyage of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi in 1565, the island was originally called “Isla del Fuego” or Island of Fire, because the island gave off an eerie glow.
With a land area of 327 square kilometers and a coastline 102 kilometers (63 mi) long, Siquijor is the third smallest province of the Philippines. The island is known for a vast array of beaches, caves, and waterfalls.
The most popular spots are the Century-old Balete tree, Salagdoong Beach, Paliton Beach, and Cambugahay Falls.
To get to the island, head over to the port at the end of Rizal boulevard and buy a ticket to the ferry that will cost you from 150 PHP to 500 PHP (3 to 10 USD) depending on the ocean liner you will pick. We suggest getting on Montenegro shipping lines or GL Shipping lines. It might take a bit longer then Oceanjet but having tried both, we found the first two to be a more comfortable ride.
To get around, we suggest renting a motorbike ( 350 PHP or 8 USD) or hiring a tricycle (1000 PHP or 20 USD) who can take you around the island. The main tourist spots are just 30 min away from each other so it’s easy to find and get around.
Most of the attractions have a minimal entrance fee.
To learn more about our Siquijor experience, click here.
Where We Ate
What I love most every time I’d find myself in the Visayan region is the throve of wonderful and not to mention reasonably priced food options.
After we settled into our hotel we found ourselves craving some grilled food for lunch. We took our curiosity to and asked our Instagram audience “Where to eat when in Dumaguete” — and this Inato joint topped their recommendations.
Jo’s Chicken Inato
Inato came from a shorten word “atin ito” thus “inato” meant the way they cooked their chicken. Compared to other Visayan styled grilled barbecue, their recipe is not salty and has a sweeter taste due to a special blend of secret ingredients. Imagine your “Tagalog” chicken barbeque, but with less salt and sugar. The dipping sauce is still your classic calamansi, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili.
Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries
Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries is the go-to dessert and pasalubong when visiting Dumaguete. Their Sans Rival is known to be crisp, creamy, and melts in your mouth. This little snack it’s so easy to eat, you won’t notice you’ve had more than 1 of these heavenly snacks.
Moon Cafe was one of the places that were recommended to us by our friends who had been to Dumaguete before. It’s right in front of Siliman University, so you can expect the meals to be very budget-friendly. This Mexican inspired restaurant served very good baby back ribs, pasta, gambas, and nachos. The serving sizes were also very generous.
Another recommendation to us was Lord Byron, it’s a place where you can get good ribs. Aside from their ribs, they also have unlimited wings and unlimited shrimp promos.
Here’s a list of places we also recommend you try:
- Lantaw Native Restaurant
- Cimbali Coffee
- Negrese Microbrewery and Food Lab
How to Get Around
While we are very used to using grab or taxis when we travel. There are no taxis here in Dumaguete. The best way to get around is by tricycle or jeepney.
From the airport, you can take a tricycle that will cost you 4 USD or 200 PHP.
Now when you want to go around the town, a tricycle will cost from 0.30 to 0.70 USD or 10 – 30 PHP.
Where to Stay
There are many options on where to stay in Dumaguete. We found the best area to reside in is the Rizal Blvd. area.
At the start of our trip, we had only booked one night, so we kept transferring every few days. We recommend The Bricks hotel as it had the best location, value for money, and very nice facilities.
- Day 1: Dumaguete – Explore Rizal Blvd and taste the local cuisine.
- Day 2: Apo Island – Swim with the Sea turtles
- Day 3: Siquijor Island – Get a ferry and head over to Siquijor island. Rent a motorbike and explore the island.
- Day 4: Siquijor Island / Dumaguete – Take the afternoon ferry back to Siquijor so you can still explore the islands’ numerous waterfalls, caves, and beaches.
- Day 5: Dumaguete – Buy Pasalubong and prepare for your flight.
Dumaguete is a university town that has great affordable offerings when it comes to dining and accommodations. It’s the perfect jump-off point when you visit nearby islands or towns such as Apo Island, Oslob, Manjuyod Sandbar, and Siquijor.
While you might visit Dumaguete for a few days before you set off to your next island or town. It’s nice to know that she’ll be there to welcome you back once you return.
You can also check out our Dumaguete Travel and Experience Guide on Google maps HERE.
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