Dumaguete, the gorgeous capital city of Negros Oriental in Philippines, is many things to a traveler. It has become a convenient Gateway City to the beaches, dive spots, eco-adventures of the province, of the island of Siquijor, of the southern tip of Cebu Island, and of Northwestern Mindanao.
It is a bizarre “University Town” with an atmosphere that’s enthusiastic and fun. It is also a bustling ICT Industry Town with more than 7000 full time employees now directly working in BPOs, KPOs, and ICT-enabled businesses.
But more than the laurels, it is best known as “The City of Gentle People.” I wonder why it’s easy to say these words. If you ask those who have come here, they comment this is a serene university town filled with gentle locals, and its atmosphere is conducive to artistic and scholarly pursuits. I believe so.
It’s for you to find out as every month, every week, there is always something going on in this buzzing, impressive destination. But the best time to come down is every November 16-25, 2013 when the city is uniquely transformed with the ten-day celebration of Dumaguete City Fiesta and Charter Day Celebration.
Don’t miss also the Sandurot Festival, a celebration of Dumaguete’s multicultural roots, and the Buglasan Festival of Festivals, which includes a bevy of cultural events and competitions showcasing the entire province of Negros Oriental.
TOP THINGS TO DO
As recommended by the Department of Tourism, you should never leave without enjoying the activities perfectly designed for travelers and residents alike.
Learn something new
Bring your feet down Siliman University, an esteemed institution and the most prominent among Dumaguete’s universities and colleges and soak up the quiet, intellectual atmosphere. It is the oldest American-founded university in Asia established in 1901. Inside the campus, the Siliman Anthropological Museum showcases artifacts that date back 2,000 years and an ethnographic compendium of the various indigenous groups in the country.
Dine along Rizal Boulevard
They say you’re spoiled for selection in the city, where you can have anything from fast food to slow food, family style to fine dining. Check out the places in and around this popular leisure spot. But of the many areas, your visit would never be perfect sans a leisurely walk on Roxas Boulevard, a beachfront promenade along the city’s commercial district. The area is superb where you can set back and relax with a morning cup of coffee or a lively evening with friends in restaurants, tempurahan (hawker-style stalls) and different watering holes.
Just keep swimming
Pay a visit any time between March and October and arrange for a cruise to the Tañon Strait to spot dolphins and even whale sharks.
Find sanctuary in the sea
Never leave without exploring and diving in the waters of the world-famous Apo Island, a dazzling marine reserve situated just off the southeastern tip of Negros Island. You’ll be captivated by its vast coral gardens and multitudes of reef fish. What with the 650 species of fish and 400 species of corals, and boasts spectacular drop-offs and sea walls. Considered to have the best underwater experiences the country has to offer, Dumaguete has 15 dive sites.
Explore beyond the city
Dumaguete is also a great jump-off point for exploring other attractions within the province.
Take photographs at the Manjuyod White Sand Bar, a stretch of powdery white sand that fully emerges during low tide. Don’t miss to drop by the Central Azucarera de Bais, the first sugar mill in the Philippines which was established in 1918. There, early machines, tools, and even the Baldwin Locomotive that was used to transport the sugarcane remain on display.
Bring home original handicrafts from Bacong where the stone-crafting factories and souvenir shops are. There is also the Negros Oriental Arts and Heritage Stonecraft (NOAH).
Run for your life
Experience running for your life during the Dumaguete Adventure Marathon (DAM), so far the only marathon in the whole of Planet Earth that celebrates rice. This has become a “symbol of cultural identity and global unity, shaping religious observance, festivals, customs and cuisine.”
The DAM was established to create awareness that the key to rice and food sustainability, in the reduction of hunger and poverty, and environmental preservation for the present and future generation – is a culture of conservation. Participants make the pledge to “Save rice. Save lives” in the registration forms.
Thai Airways flies on a regular basis from Dubai to the capital city of Manila. From Manila, a tourist may take a worry-free flight via Cebu Pacific to Dumaguete City.