A first timer’s guide to experience Dumaguete like a local

Dumaguete came from the Visayan word “Daguit” which means “to snatch” or “to capture”.  According to ancient stories, Moro pirates would often snatch beautiful young women and children from the coastal town. But today, that is not anymore the case as tourists and guests are now the ones captured by the beauty of the city and of course the charm of the people. They don’t call it “The City of Gentle People” for nothing after all.

Photo by Waltz Siy

On our first day, we met with the charismatic Nicky Dumapit, an eco warrior and environmental artist. Nicky is born and raised in Dumaguete, he creates musical instruments out of recycled and indigenous materials.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

“Parang flashback lang from my childhood, nakakamiss yung days na paggising mo maririnig mo yung huni ng mga ibon. Yung sound ng nature ay maganda and sad to say na hindi na ito tulad ng dati dahil mas urbanized na ngayon. Kaya gusto ko mashare yung sound na ito sa iba kahit man lang through my instruments.” Nicky explains as he shows us some of his work.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

Despite the continuous urbanization, it is reassuring to have eco-friendly establishments like The Flying Fish Hostel that advocate the protection of Mother Nature and encourage a sustainable lifestyle to their guests.

Photo by Waltz Siy

We also loved how they kept the place surrounded in mango and bamboo trees to create a peaceful atmosphere.

Photo by Waltz Siy

Their in-house restaurant, Nom by Flying Fish, offers delicious vegan options and the meat dishes are always served with a hefty amount of fresh veggies.

Photo by Cocoy Ponce

We recommend trying the Jackfruit Adobo Burger Patty, Nasi Goreng Rice and the Chicken Satay.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

Being a university town, we had to visit Silliman University, known to be one of the best and biggest universities in Asia.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

We took a guided walking tour around the campus to learn more about it’s rich history, culture and appreciation for art.

Photo by Lucky Alabado Photo by Lucky AlabadoPhoto by Cocoy Ponce

For a true Sillimanian experience, try the famous Bossing’s Tempura dipped in the Level 5 sauce if you dare!

Photo by Lucky Alabado Photo by Lucky Alabado

Just near the university are the historic St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, the oldest stone church in Negros and the Belfry Tower, one of the most significant landmarks in Dumaguete.

Photo by Cocoy Ponce
Photo by Lucky Alabado

The tower was built back in the 1800s to warn the town from pirates that would come to pillage the town.

After an interesting afternoon in the city, we took a relaxing evening stroll at the Rizal Boulevard.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

The place was bustling with tourists, locals, street vendors and food stalls. As if we didn’t have enough Tempura at the university, we ordered another round at the boulevard as we enjoyed the ocean breeze.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

Being at the center of Negros Oriental, Dumaguete has one of the most convenient gateways to stunning spots in the Philippines like the Manjuyod Sandbar in Bais and Apo Island in Dauin.

Photo by Waltz SiyPhoto by Waltz Siy

The Manjuyod Sandbar is also dubbed as the “Maldives of the Philippines” with its breathtaking turquoise waters and iconic cottages on stilts.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

We recommend checking the tide forecast before going here so you can experience lounging on its white sandbar.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

Dolphin watching is a popular activity when going to Manjuyod and we were lucky to have calm waters on that day, so we got to see these spectacular creatures as they playfully danced across the sea.

Photo by Cocoy PoncePhoto by Cocoy PoncePhoto by Lucky Alabado

A trip to Bais is not complete without stopping by at Nene’s Halo-Halo for a glass of their refreshing Halo-halo topped with your choice of Mango or Ube ice cream.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

Photo by Cocoy Ponce

On the next day, we woke up early to go to the “Painitan” at the Dumaguete Public Market as recommended by Nicky.

Photo by Lucky AlabadoPhoto by Cocoy Ponce

We tried delicacies like the Budbud and Puto Maya served with their super yummy hot tsokolate that will surely make your morning.

Photo by Cocoy Ponce

Photo by Lucky Alabado

At the south of Dumaguete we headed to Apo Island, a marine sanctuary and a popular site for diving and snorkeling.

Photo by Lucky Alabado Photo by Lucky Alabado

Enjoy swimming with Sea Turtles and take a lot of amazing photos with these gentle creatures!For non-swimmers, you can go to the Lighthouse or take the 20-minute trek to the Apo Island Rock Point View Deck for a spectacular view of the sea towards Mindanao.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

After a fun day at Apo Island, we stopped by Subida Souvenirs, and we got to see their craftsmen and artisans at work.

Photo by Lucky Alabado Photo by Lucky Alabado

We honestly felt like little kids in Santa’s workshop as they let us play around with the old school toys they were making.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

Photo by Lucky AlabadoPhoto by Lucky Alabado

As we entered the souvenir shop, we were mesmerized by all the beautifully crafted items on display. From hand weaved backpacks and handmade jewelries to intricate miniature toys and souvenirs, everything was so nice! It’s impossible not to buy anything from their store.

Photo by Waltz Siy

We were also fortunate to witness the Sandurot Festival, a celebration of the town’s hospitality.

Photo by Cocoy Ponce

The parade of colorful costumes and the energy of the street dance performances were absolutely exciting!

On our last day, For the ultimate Ligiron experience, we drove to Liptong Woodland in Valencia, a mini forest that houses endangered native trees and owned by Rainforest Hero, Rene “Tatay Eti” Vendiola.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

Ligiron, which means, “to roll” is a four-wheeled bamboo cart used by farmers to transport their produce to the market.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

Photo by Lucky Alabado

The Ligiron is very close to Nicky’s heart and he even organized the first ever Ligiron racing competition back in 2013 and gained international attention.
Photo by Waltz Siy

We also got to meet one of the early Ligiron makers in Valencia, Tatay Ronnie. He started riding the Ligiron when he was just 5 yrs. Old.

Photo by Cocoy Ponce

As we got ourselves on the Ligiron and prepared to go downhill, we were nervous with nothing but our feet as brakes. But when we let go of the fear and started gliding down the hill, we were hooked!

Photo by Waltz Siy

It was a truly exhilarating experience that both adults and kids will enjoy and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this unique sport.

Photo by Lucky Alabado

Before leaving Dumaguete, don’t forget to stop by at Sans Rival Cakes & Pastries where you can get the most heavenly desserts.

Photo by Lucky Alabado Photo by Lucky Alabado

Buy a box of their famous Silvannas, a delectable golden cookie that’s crunchy on the outside and filled with soft buttercream goodness on the inside. This is hands down the best pasalubong!

Photo by Lucky Alabado

We wish we could stay longer but we knew we were taking home that special feeling we found in Dumaguete. As Nicky would often say, “Lipay ang Kalibutan” which translates to “The world is happy” and we were happy.

Photo by Cocoy Ponce

Till we meet again Dumaguete!

Photo by Cocoy Ponce

Are you ready to be captured by Dumaguete too? Book your flights now with Cebu Pacific Air to get the best deals.

Photo by Cocoy Ponce

We would like to thank Nicky Dumapit, Benzi Florendo and our friends from Happy Juanderer Travel Inc. for making our trip an unforgettable and happy one! Check out their Negros tour offers here.

 

Photo by Cocoy Ponce

Check out #DiscoverMNLxCebuPacific for more of our travel adventures and visual stories!

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