10 Things to Do In And Around Dumaguete

Are you thinking about flying to Dumaguete in 2020?
PHOTO: (LEFT) INSTAGRAM/SECRETASIANMAN008, (RIGHT) INSTAGRAM/TRAVELINGPINOY

Been to Cebu, Iloilo, and Bacolod countless times? It’s time to pay another Visayan city a visit. Dumaguete is also known as “the City of Gentle People,” which lets you know that you’re up for a laidback time in the city. But chill doesn’t mean boring; in fact, the capital of Negros Oriental has loads to offer, whether you’re into exploring the city or adventures out in nature.

  1. Go on a tour of Silliman University.

    One of the Philippines’ top universities, Silliman University, is rich in history—it is, after all, the first American school in the country. Today, Silliman University is known as a private research university and for its annual National Writers Workshop, but even if you’re not a student, the picturesque university is worth a visit. Take a leisurely stroll around the 62-hectare campus, and check out historical landmarks like The Gate of Knowledge, The Gate of Opportunity, and Silliman University Bell. Or you can also go on a guided tour of the Silliman University Anthropology Museum, home to artifacts that go as far back as 200 BC.

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  2. Feast on street food on Rizal Boulevard.

    A boardwalk overlooking the sea, Rizal Boulevard was named after our national hero, who was believed to have made a stopover at Dumaguete and had taken a stroll here before his exile to Dapitan. Today, Rizal Boulevard still boasts a gorgeous view of the sea—drop by in the late afternoon to get a view of the sunset. The boulevard is also home to plenty of stalls that offer street food, like tempura, balut, and barbecue. 

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  3. Take a moment to reflect in Dumaguete Cathedral.

    Like a lot of cities around the Philippines, Dumaguete has its own special church: St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral or Dumaguete Cathedral. Built in 1754 and finished in 1776, the cathedral is the oldest stone church in Negros. Though most of its façade has been reconstructed, the cathedral has kept its old-world features like the intricate stone pillars outside the church, the statues of the Apostles, the high ceilings, and elaborate chandeliers. 

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  4. Visit the oldest belfry in Visayas.

    Right next to the Dumaguete Cathedral is the Campanario De Dumaguete, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. The bell tower used to be one of four imposing watchtowers built in Dumaguete to stop invading Moros. Today, the tower is also the site of a grotto of the Lady of Perpetual Help, where you can light candles and offer prayers. It’s also home to a small souvenir shop for religious items.

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  5. Go dolphin-watching at Tañon Strait.

    A few hours’ drive from Dumaguete is Bais City, where you can take a quick boat ride to Tañon Strait, home to different species of whales and dolphins that frolic around in full view, especially during the summer months. For whale and dolphin watching, it’s recommended to contact the Bais Tourism Office first. You can also opt to join the many tours offered in the city.

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  6. Go bird-watching at Talabong Mangrove Park & Bird Sanctuary.

    Whales and dolphins aren’t the only animals you can marvel at while in Bais. You can also visit Talabong Mangrove Park & Bird Sanctuary, a 400-hectare mangrove forest that’s also home to different kinds of birds. Roam around the area with binoculars and go bird-watching, then relax and watch the fishes swim by with your toes in the seawater. You can also take a walk along the long pier, which extends with the sea on all sides—it almost feels like you’re floating on water.

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  7. Swim with the sea turtles at Apo Island.

    A bus and boat ride away from Dumaguete City is Apo Island, known as one of the country’s top diving destinations. Home to over 400 species of coral and 650 species of fish, Apo Island is best known for the sea turtles that live around the island. Plus, you’ll be glad to know that the island is also a community-organized marine sanctuary, which means they’ve taken measures to make sure that diving and snorkeling here doesn’t hurt the island’s ecosystem. 

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  8. Marvel at the “red” water of Pulangbato Falls.

    If you don’t mind a bit of a trek, Pulangbato Falls in the town of Valencia (a short ride away from Dumaguete) is worth a visit. The waterfalls are famous for its “reddish-orange” water—an optical illusion thanks to sulfur deposits. Don’t fret, however, as swimming in the falls is 100 percent safe. For extra relaxation, you can also soak in the nearby Red Rock Sulfur Hot Spring, with water heated by sulfur.

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  9. Have breakfast at Casablanca Restaurant.

    While Casablanca is open all day, it’s best to have breakfast here as the resto overlooks Rizal Boulevard, where you have a perfect view of the sunrise. They also offer an extensive breakfast menu like Visayan Breakfast or fried chicken with a fried egg, rice, and juice.

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  10. Buy pasalubong at Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries.

    Did you really visit Dumaguete if you don’t bring home silvanas as pasalubong? Aside from the buttery pastries, Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries also sells a scrumptious Sans Rival Loaf, which is rich, creamy, and almost sinfully buttery. Remember to ask the staff on how to best bring these treats back to Manila!

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