Dumaguete Travel Guide
In a nutshell
Also known as The City of Gentle People, Dumaguete is fast emerging as a top destination of choice for its small town charm yet world class surrounding islands.
Why go to Dumaguete
Dumaguete is the best of the both worlds. For those who like taking their time and enjoys watching the world go by, there's Rizal Boulevard where you can leisurely spend hours immersing yourself into everything local: eat street food, break out some sweat and exercise with the locals, and watch the sun go down together.
If you like museums or the palpable energy of the youth, head over to Silliman University.
For some religious sites and monuments, visit St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, the Belfry, and the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres Monument.
If you're ready to embrace nature, there are gorgeous lakes and falls a little bit away from city. Spend a day at Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao & Danao where you can have some picnic at the view deck or row your way around the placid lake in a rented canoe.
Fancy chasing waterfalls? There are several in nearby towns but the more popular ones are located about an hour away in Valencia, the Casaroro Falls and Pulangbato Falls.
If you're ready to see some action, Dumaguete serves as a jump off point to some of the best snorkeling and dive sites in the world. Swim with giant sea turtles in Apo Island and go see the dolphins in Bais.
When to go to Dumaguete
Dumaguete falls below the typhoon belt so it can be visited year round. However, if you wish to join in the local revelry, you can visit during the months of November to December when they celebrate at least 4 major festivals.
Where to stay in Dumaguete
Dumaguete offers a wide array of accommodation for both budget and luxury travellers. As a rule, it is always ideal to stay within the city centre to minimize transportation costs. In the case of Dumaguete, this would be somewhere around Rizal Boulevard and Perdices St. This area has various cafes and restaurants, shopping places, and some of the city's major attractions.
Budget wise, you can do for as low as PHP500. This would get you a bunk bed in some of the hostels offering dormitory accommodations such as La Fusiòn Garden Resort, Hostel Tropical, and The Flying Fish Hostel. For somewhere around PHP700 to PHP1500, you can get a private room for a bit more privacy. For the price of between PHP2000 to PHP3000 per night, it is already possible to book twin accommodations or a room at an apartment hotel.
Where to eat in Dumaguete
Unsurprisingly, the public market is where you can score the cheapest grub. Besides the freshly caught seafood, fruits, and vegetables, they have a so-called "painitan" section where you can feast on native delicacies like "budbod" (sticky rice rolls wrapped in banana leaves), budbod kabog (same as budbod but is made with millet rather than glutinous rice) puto maya (rice cake), shiakoy (local version of donuts), and a lote more. By the way, "painitan" means "merienda" or the light meal people are fond of having in between the three main meals of the day. However, it might as well mean a bit literally as a place where you can warm yourself in as the native delicacies are usually best paired with a cup of sikwate (hot chocolate ).
In addition, you will find plenty of street food along Rizal boulevard as well as lovely restaurants and cafes with menu catering to both local and Western visitors. Because the city is a melting pot of students, locals, domestic and foreign tourists, the menu items are usually reasonable priced.
How to get around Dumaguete
While Dumaguete is best explored on foot, you can also hail a tricycle to get you around the city. Minimum fare is PHP10 per passenger and it can seat up to 4 people. Unless you have the entire vehicle occupied though, expect that the driver will pick up random passengers on the street and you might have to go through minor detours as those people are dropped to their destination.
If going further out, expect to pay more and we strongly advise to agree on the fare before you even get in. One handy tip – give the nearest landmark to your destination instead of the street name. In any case, you'll get by just knowing Rizal Ave., Robinson's Mall, and Lee Super Plaza as most places of interest are near these landmarks.
You may also rent a motorbike for about PHP400 to PHP800 per day depending on the model and the bike rental place that you go with. You'll have significant savings if you rent for three days or a week at a time.
Jeepneys are also available but they go to nearby towns or suburbs instead of around downtown area which is typical in other places. Jeepney terminals are usually found around the church or public market.
Lastly, taxis are few and far between. You can find them only at the airport, Robinson's Place, or along Rizal Ave. near Bethel Guesthouse.
How to get to and from Dumaguete
Air travel is still the fastest and most convenient way to get to Dumaguete from Manila, Davao, or Cebu. It is located less than 2 hours from Manila and Cebu Pacific have several flights daily for about PHP2,500 to PHP6,000 one way. Philippine Airlines also services the same route for about PHP2,000 to PHP6,000.
It is also possible to fly from Cebu and Davao via Cebu Pacific for as low as PHP800 if you book a few months in advance.
You can also travel by boat from Manila to Dumaguete. However, taking into account that a ticket to Dumaguete from Manila via 2Go costs PHP2,130 and the significantly long travel time, you're better off flying.
From Bacolod, hop aboard a Ceres bus at Bacolod Soutbound Terminal. Ticket costs about PHP300 and travel time takes approximately 6 hours.
Siquijor is another common destination to and from Dumaguete. There are several ferries that ply this route such as M/V Siquijor Island, OceanJet, GL Shipping, Delta Ferry, Aleson Shipping Lines, and Montenegro Shipping. It takes only about 1 to 1.5 hour for roughly PHP130 to PHP360 one way.
Is Dumaguete a safe place to visit?
Dumaguete is called the City of Gentle People for a good reason. People are friendly and we never felt unsafe walking around at night. It is a University town so it's more trimmed to say the least. As always when travelling, try to keep it low and do not flash valuables and you should be okay.