24 Hours in Dumaguete

A popular educational destination, “The City of Gentle People” also lures travelers with its great outdoor adventure buffet.

By Krissie G. Pacia
November 12, 2012

The name Dumaguete originated from the Tagalog words daggit and dumaguet ("to snatch" and "to swoop" respectively), the former for the city's frequent pirate attacks and the latter for the attraction that enchants its visitors to stay for good. Dumaguete is a city in the province of Negros Oriental vibrant with culture and natural beauty.

First Things First

Dumaguete enjoys a tropical climate with a dry season from December to May, the hottest months being April and May. These are also the best months to travel since most activities in the city involve some fun under the sun.

Getting There

You can reach Dumaguete via air and sea from Metro Manila and Cebu. When flying in from Manila, choose the morning flight of Cebu Pacific so that you will arrive in the city early. Remember to book in advance to catch special deals and promotions offered by the budget carrier. Travel time takes approximately an hour and a half.

Common modes of transportation in the city include tricycles (more commonly known as pedicab or motorcab), jeepneys, buses, and non-metered taxi cabs. You can also rent motorbikes for a minimal fee when touring the city.

Photo courtesy of Go Hotels Dumaguete

Where to Stay  

In order to stay within your budget and maximize your 24-hour vacation, choose centrally located accommodations like GoHotels Dumaguete. Robinsons Place Dumaguete Mall is right next to it, a plus for any emergency purchases you need to make during your stay.

6 AM: Touchdown, Dumaguete!  

Upon arrival at the airport, hail a motorcab (P10-P15) outside the Dumaguete Airport compound to save a few pesos. Head toward Go Hotels Dumaguete, which is around 15 to 20 minutes away, for early check-in. Remember to advise the hotel ahead of time so that they may anticipate your arrival. Since their usual check-in time is 2PM, you can opt to leave some of your things at their concierge/front desk while you are on your morning tour.

7 AM: Mornings at Bais Bay

Take a quick breakfast at the hotel's Asian Gourmet & Café where set meals are sold for less than P200 before leaving for your trip to the famous Bais Bay.

Share your morning with the various sea creatures that live in the waters of Visayas. You can choose to make arrangements with the hotel and rent a vehicle for the 45-minute drive to Tanon Strait. You may also book a package tour from the hotel's on-site travel agency, Maganda Travel & Tours Inc.

Aside from dolphin and whale watching and swimming, the package includes a running tour of a sugarcane farm plantation called Central Azucarera de Bais, one of the pioneers in the Philippine sugar industry, and a trip to Sidlakang Negros Village, the arts and crafts hub of Negros Oriental, where guests can purchase souvenir items and admire exhibits and art galleries.

Departure from the hotel is at 7:30AM with the drop-off point being your last stop at 3PM.

3 PM: Recharge and Refresh

If you weren't able to check in upon arrival at the hotel, now would be the best time to go there to freshen up and secure your room.

Siliman University
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

4 PM: Educational Stop

Dumaguete is also known as "University Town" because of the number of universities and colleges in the area. It is a popular educational destination of surrounding provinces and cities. A tour around the Siliman University, the first and oldest American University in the country, is a must. Famous landmarks such as Siliman Portals and Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium can also be found on campus.

5 PM: Discovering Dumaguete

A short walk from your last stop is another famous landmark in the city and the oldest bell tower in Visayas, the Dumaguete Belfry, which was used to warn locals of incoming danger. Devotees flock to the grotto of the Virgin Mary erected at its base for prayer requests.

St. Catherine of Alexandria Church
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Stop by the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral nearby. This historical structure was built in the same year as the Belfry as a tribute to old European architecture. You can also visit the small boutique that sells religious souvenirs near the cathedral.

Be warned that the density of the crowd is heaviest in this section from 9AM to 5PM as it is located in the proximity of the downtown area.

6 PM: Beachfront Boulevard

Take a leisurely stroll to the 780-meter strip of wide beachfront promenade called The Rizal Boulevard. This is one of the most visited places in Dumaguete, where you can sit on the grass, enjoy street food like balut, and soak in the view.

Stay and watch the boulevard come alive as it becomes a night market with affordable hawker food. End your evening with a bottle of cold beer and tempting aromas of grilled seafood and barbecues while a band plays nearby.

9 PM: Home Base

After a long and action-packed day, it's time to hail a pedicab and head back to the hotel. Sleep early so that you can get up refreshed and buy some last-minute snacks for your plane ride back to the metro. Try local delicacies like budbud (sweet, sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves) and baye baye (grated young coconut with either corn or pinipig) to scratch these must-tries off your Dumaguete bucket list.

 Need somewhere to stay for your trip? Try value-for-money accommodations like Go Hotels. Learn more about Go Hotels here.