Dumaguete Tourist Attractions
As a university city, Dumaguete pulsates with life and youthful energy. More than just a jump off point to its neighbouring islands, it has its own natural and cultural attractions.
As an initial introduction to the city, strode over to its popular waterfront promenade - Rizal Boulevard. Here you can join the locals while they stroll, exercise, or just watch the boats going in and out of the bay. It is best to come here after 4 pm so you can wait for sunset and stay over for dinner. There are plenty of restaurants across the road and it gets really busy especially on weekends. Except for the occasional beggars who mean no harm, it totally felt safe since we've observed a police car cruising about.
American Institute and its museums
A few minutes away from the bay is the country's oldest American Institute which was founded in 1901, Silliman University Campus (Real Street). Access to its grounds is free but you will need an ID to enter its premises. Also, there is an admission fee of PHP50 to visit its anthropology museum, open from 8:30am to 5pm. The university is huge but we had a relaxing time roaming around under century old trees. If you're into relics and artifacts, you will absolutely love it here. Besides having its own church, football field, and a vast library, the university boasts of no less than 3 museums: Anthropology Museum, Marine Mammal Museum, and Gonzales Museum of Natural History.
Catherine of Alexandria Church
Not far away from the boulevard too is the oldest stone church in the province, Catherine of Alexandria Church (Perdices Street). Built in 1754, we admired how well preserved everything is. Right next to it is the historic Belfry Tower which was built as a watch tower against the marauding pirates centuries ago. If you like history, this is worth a quick stop.
Dumaguete certainly does not lack in natural attractions either. A majestic waterfall awaits just an hour away from the city, the Casaroro Falls in Valencia, approximately 9.4 km west. At 100 ft. tall, the falls is really magnificent as its strong water cascades to a basin down below. The slippery boulders around it though can be a bit treacherous especially if you're not wearing appropriate footwear. Knowing that we had to cross some streams, we wore trekking sandals during our excursion. Fair warning though, you'll have to climb 350 steps down and back again but the experience is totally worth it. Entrance fee is only PHP10 and there's a lady selling drinks and some snacks so no need to pack your own.
Another good escape from the city is the stunning Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao & Danao, situated about 1.5-hour away, 12 km West of Sibulan. We paid the PHP30 entrance fee and proceeded to the viewpoint to be greeted by a serene view of one of the lakes. We then went down to the wharf to rent a boat in order to get to the other lake. The path was mostly paved but a bit steep. We rented a boat for PHP250 and took our time paddling around the lake. The placid water, the cool breeze, and the surrounding forest is enough to wash our stress away.
A cultural experience of a different kind, Malatapay Market (Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental) is worth checking out especially on Wednesday from morning till noon. Travel back in time when people exchange goods and services through barter system. You will see livestock like pigs, cows, and goats being auctioned. Lots of vegetables, dried and fresh fishes, wood crafts, souvenirs, kitchen wares, and many more on display. It was really a feast for the senses so if you haven't been to an Asian market before, this would be a real eye opener.