Dumaguete

18 05 2006

I didn't expect to fall in love with Dumaguete but this city is so homey and modern at the same time. It is so much like Manila because it has enough entertainment and dining options to keep your gimmick-hungry selves sated but it is better than Manila because it has less pollution, kinder people and a more laid-back atmosphere. It is where Silliman University and a couple of other Southern universities are located so the place is multi-cultural and has a dynamic and youthful vibe to it.

NATURE SPOTS

Beautiful beaches, lakes and magnificent falls are just an hour's ride from the city. There are the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes which used to be the crater of a now extinct volcano. You don't have to pay anything to swim in the cool waters and hike in the dense vegetation connecting the two lakes, life vests and cottages are even provided for the guests free of charge.

Forty minutes from the city is Kookoo's Nest beach. This bay with calm waters only has 5 cottages so there is no chance of overcrowding which makes a trip to the beach stressful. There is a buffet at night in the open-air dining hall where guests can mingle with the American owners and lounge before going to sleep. The night we were there, we were the only Filipino guests. The nipa huts range from 500 to 800 pesos while the buffet costs 250 pesos per person. These rates include the ride to the resort and back to the city. The snorkeling area is just several meters from the white sand shore so there is no need to rent a boat to go to another island.

If you're one who is heavily into hiking, you can walk all the way to Casaroro Falls from the main plaza of Valencia without paying the 100 peso fee for a habal-habal (motorcycle) ride. The old rusty bikes can fit four people, two sitting behind the driver and one in front. To get to Casaroro Falls, you will have to descend almost a hundred steps down and walk a good five minutes along a stream. The entrace fee is only 10 pesos.

FOOD

Because I am a confessed foodie, dining options in a place is a major factor for me. The multi-cultural demographics in Dumaguete could have resulted to the myriad food choices in the city. But who wants to know the real reason anyway, my foodie soul certainly isn't complaining.

If you crave Persian cuisine, there is the Persian Palate restaurant on San Juan St. The food is superb and there are a lot of cute Iranian soccer boys hanging around, perfect for boy watching while you're waiting for your food. Incidentally, Silliman University records show that Iranian student comprise highest number of enrollees last year.

If you're a sucker for Italian food, you can go to Chicco's on Rizal Boulevard. It is a deli/restaurant which serves surprisingly affordable but definitely delicious pizza and pasta. By the way, did you know that Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete is named as such because it is said that Jose Rizal actually walked down the boulevard and spent time contemplating there before going to Dapitan?

If you had too much to eat from the different restaurant peppering Rizal Blvd, post-dinner coffee or tea can be taken at Memento Cafe. The place is owned by an artist so the cafe' interiors is lined with stunning photographs and quirky stuff. The ambience is perfect for smoking a couple or a whole pack of cigs and hanging out. They also offer a mean dumaguete sling. The only disadvantage is that they close at 10pm. So sad.

A night out in Dumaguete can set you back 500 pesos, tops. That amount already includes a sumptious dinner, decent coffee and a full-blown inuman session at Patag that will leave you wasted at night and nursing a hang over the morning after. But I've learned that a self-inflicted puke (read in English please) marathon session before you sleep on said drunken night prevents the hang-over hehehe.

PEOPLE

The people in Dumaguete are sincere and very friendly. I guess living in a multi-cultural hub has taught the people to be open and accommodating. Getting around the city is easy because they're always ready to help.

Of all the places I have been to, this is the only one I seriously considered relocating to during a serious life-changing point in my life. Maybe because the place has a vibe similar to UP and anything as warm and welcoming as UP is home to me hehehe.

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3 responses

1 08 2006
Corey

I felt quite at home in Dumaguete, though I was actually 10,000 miles from everything I had ever known in my life. It took a few days to adjust to being in a such an alien culture. However, when it came time to leave I realized just how attached I had become.

Very nice seaside town, this Dumaguete.

14 09 2006
negrense

I have a nice read of your Dumaguete blog.I missed dumaguete now and can’t wait to get back.Dumaguete has changed over the years,have serious problem of road congestion,but still has it’s old charm.I hope they will work out better solution for the overwhelming traffic in the city center that also brings pollution.I was there 2 years ago,and the traffic is terrible.
Perhaps,to get rid of half the congestion is to make more bypass roads,pedetrianize some streets like that of perdices,also along the boulevard is a must and would be nicer if only allowing the horse drawn’kalisas’ bicycles,passenger tri-sikads (it’s like a motorcab but instead of having an engine power,it has a bicyle power). Nontheless to mention is the use of Tram around the city,and this is diff kind of transport powered by electricity.Vehicle traffic within the city center is only restricted to shop owners or cargo vehicles that transport supplies.Also,they have to design for more greenery in Dumaguete,or plant more trees!

27 11 2006
Dumaguete Dreamin'

So, if you aren’t into drinking then you can get by on much less than 500 pesos? I’m the type that would prefer gathering at a friend’s house for a movie anyway. Of course, that would be a night “in” as opposed to “out”. I’m not much for public spaces.

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