Dumaguete in a Day
Dumaguete City is known as the “City of Gentle People”, and for all the right reasons! Despite being the gateway to the many Tourist Attractions in Negros Oriental, the city itself is a hidden gem that needs to be explored. It is filled with rich history, culture, delicious food, and beautiful views. You know what’s the best thing about it? You can experience all of it in one day! It’s perfect for a stop-by before heading out to your next destination.
Being the capital of Negros Oriental, Dumaguete City has its own seaport and airport. Simply check the Dumaguete Ferry Schedules and get on the next boat. If you prefer flying in with style, there is the Dumaguete – Sibulan Airport that is only 10 minutes away from the city center. If you are coming from the other side of the island, buses and vans are also available.
The day starts with a quick walk at the Rizal Boulevard. If you are entering the city through the seaport, the boulevard is the first tourist spot you will see. The Rizal Boulevard is a long stretch of shoreline that is a favorite by both locals and tourists. It is rich in history since the national hero of the Philippines himself, Dr. Jose Rizal, walked along the same shoreline before his exile to Dapitan. At one end of the Rizal Boulevard, you will see a #DumaGeTmE signboard. Perfect for a few selfies or group pictures with the family or friends. On the other end of the boulevard, you will see the newly built Pantawan. It has a cement ship that resembles the Victoria ship. The first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world during, the Spanish expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan. After his death during the voyage, the mission was continued by Juan Sebastián Elcano.
Another great thing about the Rizal Boulevard is the selection of restaurants and cafes that are located in the area. The waterfront is home to many European-inspired restaurants, Filipino delicacies, pizza places, burger joints, Japanese & Chinese restaurants, and bars. The boulevard is a hot spot for a romantic walk, local street food, picnics, and more! If you wake up early enough, you may even get a chance to see a breathtaking sunrise. Rizal Boulevard is open to the public all year round.
After your morning walk at the Rizal Boulevard, you can either grab some local breakfast at the “Painitan” section of the public market. You can wave any pedicab or tricycle in Dumaguete City to take you there for a few pesos. A local favorite is the puto with tsokolate (sticky rice with native chocolate sauce) and the sari-sari (native breakfast drink) which will cost less than PHP100 (US$2) for a hot local meal. Other breakfast dishes and snacks are also available suck as eggs, omelet, hotdogs, sandwiches and noodles.
TIP: Order PHP10 worth of white puto and PHP5 of tsokolate. You can always order more if you want.
If you don’t feel like eating just yet, you can visit the Chinese Bell Church. It is located a few meters from the end of Rizal Boulevard. You can ask locals around where it is. The Chinese Bell Church may not be grand, but if you are into temples, then it’s a nice place to visit. You can enjoy the colorful dragons, bells, statues, pagoda and garden. This attraction is free and open for all. However, they do ask for donations to maintain the place just like in any other church.
Speaking of church, the Dumaguete Cathedral and the Belfry is also a must visit in the city. This is where the real city tour begins. Since both of these tourist attractions are located in the center of the city, it is easy to get around. The original foundation of the cathedral was laid in 1754. The stone church is believed to be one of the oldest of its kind in Negros. This attraction is also for free; however, donations are highly appreciated. Near the cathedral stands the old Campanario de Dumaguete or the Dumaguete Belfry. It was used back then to warn the people of pirates and invaders. The bell served as the beacon and as a warning for locals. Today, it is used during Sunday masses. If you want to light a candle or buy some rosaries and other religious items, you can do so at the local vendors near the tower. Prices will rage for these items. However, you can buy small and thin candles for 1 peso only.
Next stop in the city tour is the Freedom Park. The Ninoy Aquino Memorial Freedom Park, simply Freedom Park, is named after the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. He was a prominent politician who was assassinated in 1983. Freedom Park has other political ties, since it also contains the provincial capitol building. Sometimes the park is used for special events. One of the biggest events held at the Freedom Park is the Buglasan Festival. It is a yearly gathering that brings all municipalities and cities of the province together in one grand occasion. If you are visiting in the middle of October, there are high chances that the Freedom Park will be filled with booths, local food, singing, dancing, and other programs. During the rest of the year, the park is quite and perfect for a stroll or a picnic. Just take note that the park is family-friendly, so alcohol is not allowed.
We end the city tour with a quick tour of the Silliman University Hall. Dumaguete City is known as the “University Town” or “center of learning in the south” by the local and regional media. This is due to the presence of four universities and a host of other colleges and schools in the city. Silliman University is one of the more popular universities in the city since it is the first American and Protestant founded institution in the Philippines and in Asia. Most parts of the university are closed to the public. However, the Silliman University Hall and the Silliman Church are some of the places you can visit. There isn’t much to actually see in this attraction, however you can still take a picture to show to your friends and family. By the end of this city trip, you should find yourself near the Rizal Boulevard once more.
As the day slowly comes to an end, it is time to buy some “pasalubongs” or souvenirs. And all-time favorite delicacy and snack is the silvanas from Sans Rival. It is a Filipino cookie that is frozen. It consists a layer of buttercream sandwiched between two cashew-meringue wafers coated with cookie crumbs. Aside from the original flavor butter, there is also chocolate, ube, strawberry, and pandan flavored silvanas. Enjoy the night life in the city has to offer with a drink or two.
That…is Dumaguete City in a day.