Dumaguete City is attractive to foreign retirees because of the low cost of living and also the slow pace of life. We noticed many of them down the boulevard enjoying a chat with their friends.
It’s a smoke-free city. Also, it is a wonderful destination for a food trip. There are lots of great restaurants especially around their coastal boulevard. So foodies rejoice!
You won’t have any problems with the transportation because there are many tricycles available to take you from your doorstep to anywhere around the city for a minimum of P7.50/P8.00. To go to farther places, you can take jeepneys or Ceres buses.
Aside from being a good livable city, Dumaguete is a gateway to many nature destinations in Negros with its proximity to lovely beaches, diving spots, mountain trails and several other scenic places.
Last month my cousin Mayeen, my friend Lovelijune and I visited Dumaguete City for a sun-drenched weekend. We stayed here for a night to get to Apo Island to swim with the sea turtles (pawikans) and for a quick glimpse of the enchanting Balinsasayao Twin Lakes.
Where to Stay on a Budget
Hotel Camilla was recommended by cousin’s friend from Dumaguete. The hotel is just a minute walk from the public market. Unfortunately, when we went there it’s already fully booked.
We just stayed at Vintage Inn, one of the cheapest hostels in Dumaguete. It is located across their public market. When we asked about their prices, the front desk lady didn’t seem friendly (but not really rude) and said that their rooms are almost full but we guessed not. We said that we will just come back and survey other hostels.
We also inquired at Hotel Essencia that has reasonable prices for a better accommodation. We later found out that the couple we met in Apo Island stayed here. Another good budget stay is Hostel Will.
But since we’re tired from walking around in a hot weather, we just decided to walk back to Vintage Inn and booked their Deluxe Twin Room (aircon without windows, with private bathroom) for P1,000 for the 3 of us.
Where to Eat
I can’t really tell much about where to eat in Dumaguete because during our weekend trip, we are mostly out, sightseeing, but here’s where we ate our meals:
Sans Rival. We went there on the last day. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to taste the best in their menu–Sans Rival dessert because it was already sold out around 2pm. That’s how popular and “Without Rival” it is.
Also, nothing beats the delectable sweetness of the favorite pasalubong treat, Silvanas, which they said taste-like but not-as-great as Sans Rival but I really love it. I ate a box of silvanas (10pcs) alone at home—it was sinful, but heavenly.
Another pasalubong is the soft and sweet, Braso de Mercedes. When my brother went the next week in Dumaguete, he brought home a long box of Braso de Mercedes.
We stayed here for an hour or so and tasted divine slices of their other buttery and creamy cakes, and paired it with a cup of Dilmah tea.
Robinson’s Mall. We went here after we checked in the backpacker’s inn for lunch and to have a break from the hot weather outside. There’s a food court on the 2nd floor and other restaurants inside. You can also buy your snacks at their grocery. I treated myself a yogurt ice cream from one of the stalls there.
Ching Loong. We first thought of having dinner at Sans Rival, but we noticed Ching Loong just across, so we just decided to have a Chinese cuisine dinner. There are many choices in their menu, but we just ordered their combo meal around P190 and pansit bihon since their food servings are mostly family sized. There were many customers that time and the prices are okay and the food is decent.
Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete is dotted with several restaurants that offer delicious food but since we only stayed for a night here, I will just try it on my next visit. My cousin, who used to work in Dumaguete, had Mamia’s Bar & Restaurant as one of her favorite places to dine out.
In the evening at the boulevard, you might want to enjoy a walk and smell the salty air and have a wonderful time sitting and eating street food at the tempura pungko-pungko. Also, I was told that early in the morning, a few vendors serve really good puto and sikwate like what we tried in Zamboangita (Apo Island wharf).
What to Enjoy
Negros Island is blessed with many attractions, especially exciting for nature enthusiasts. When In Dumaguete, visit other nearby interesting places and the top of the list is Apo Island.
Apo Island. On top of the list is a small volcanic island, just an hour and a half from Dumaguete City by Ceres bus and by boat ride via Zamboangita. We had a blast snorkeling with the marine turtles! It is one of the top diving destinations in the world, but we just snorkeled since the turtles and coral gardens are just near the shore. If you want to go deeper, their diving package is around P1,200.00/person. I have a separate blog post for our Apo Island snorkeling experience.
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes. We went to Sibulan late afternoon. It was literary enchanting. Check Strange Experience at Lake Balinsasayao.
Casaroro Falls. Also near Dumaguete, located in Valencia town is a nice waterfall. I was able to visit here during a climb up to Mt. Talinis via Apolong trail. To reach Casaroro Falls, you need to take an easy hike about 30 minutes through a rugged and muddy terrain.
Bais. Awesome place to spot dolphins frolic in the sea while boat riding. Our newly-found friends went here before we met in Apo Island. They also enjoyed Manjuyod Sand Bar early morning.
Siquijor. This beautiful island with great beaches is accessible from Cebu via Dumaguete.
Silliman University. It is one of the oldest universities in the country and is located near the boulevard. They have a museum.
There are many other amazing places to visit. See Negros Oriental tourist map below:
You might also like reading: Apo Island & Twin Lakes (Itinerary and Notes)