Last updated on December 26th, 2018 at 01:11 pm
If you are following us on Instagram, you would know that we recently visited Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental. It was our first time to visit the city and there were so many surprises and things to do in Dumaguete we encountered. We were coming from Cebu after visiting Kawasan Falls and we stopped in Dumaguete for a few days before going to Siquijor. There were a few Dumaguete tourist spots that we didn´t want to miss and also local food to try in Dumaguete and we will tell you in our Dumaguete travel guide.
We loved Dumaguete City since there are Dumaguete tourist spots, a few local places to eat there and you can visit the market and enjoy its beaches. It is also a quiet, peaceful place. What we liked the best in Dumaguete is it’s convenience when traveling to nearby provinces like Siquijor, Apo Island and Oslob, which is a must when visiting South Cebu.
How to get to Dumaguete
How to get to Dumaguete by land
If you’re traveling to Dumaguete from Cebu, you can take a bus from Cebu City and travel for several hours to Lilo-an. From Lilo-an, you can take a bus to Sibulan. This bus will ride on the RoRo (a vehicle vessel ship) to reach Negros Oriental. The ride on the ferry from Lilo-an to Sibulan lasted 20-40 minutes. The bus ride costs around 230 PHP for a non-air conditioned bus. From Sibulan, you can then reach Dumaguete in around 20 minutes.
How to get to Dumaguete by sea
If you don’t want to ride the bus and want to get on a ferry from Cebu City that goes straight to Dumaguete, you can go on a fast ferry that is available daily in the city’s main port terminal.
A tourist class ferry ride from OceanJet costs 1,500 PHP while a business class ticket costs 1,910 PHP. Boats depart hourly from Cebu City from 6-8 AM. This ferry ride takes 4 hours and has a stopover at Tagbilaran City.
A cheaper and more direct option to reach Dumaguete is riding with Cokaliong Shipping Lines. Their ferries leave Cebu at 7 PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrives at 1 AM the following day. Those leaving on a Sunday can take the ferry at 12 PM and reaches Dumaguete at 6 PM. A ride costs 600 PHP for the tourist class and 320 PHP for the economy class.
Best time to visit Dumaguete
If you’re looking for a party in Negros Oriental, the best time to visit Dumaguete is on the 3rd or 4th week of November. It is when the city celebrates their festival dedicated to Sta. Catalina de Alejandria, their patron saint
Weather-wise, the best time to visit Dumaguete is from February to March and from May to early June as this is the driest and coolest months of the year. Still, year-round temperatures really don’t vary much in Dumaguete. Rain does fall quite often during the wet season, though, especially around October, so you might want to consider visiting earlier in the year.
Transportation around Dumaguete
There are a few ways to get around Dumaguete, with the tricycle being the cheapest option. These 3-wheeled vehicles can be hailed down on most roads at a flat rate of 10 PHP. If you’re traveling long distances on a tricycle, it’s best to negotiate a fee before riding. Tricycles from inside the airport may charge around 80-100 PHP to take you to your hotel.
Motorbikes can also be rented in Dumaguete. There are a few shops at Perdices Street that offer these services. You can also try renting motorcycles at Pinili corner Santa Rosa Street. Taxis are mostly found at the airport and hardly anywhere else. Here’s a tip: You can ask your hotel or resort for more details on how to get around Dumaguete.
ATMs and Currency in Dumaguete
The country uses the Philippine Peso as its currency, where $1 USD = 53.55 PHP. As the capital city and main port of Negros Oriental, Dumaguete is a modern city with lots of establishments, universities and landmarks. There are several local banks like Bank of the Philippine Islands and Banco de Oro with ATMs all over Dumaguete that come with a 150-200 PHP withdrawal fee and a limit of 10,000 PHP per transaction.
Daily Budget for Dumaguete
Even as a thriving city in Visayas, the cost of living in Dumaguete is still relatively low, especially for those carrying Western money like euros, dollars and pounds on their wallets. For example, as previously mentioned, transportation only costs as low as 10 PHP for a tricycle, while the flat rate for a cab is 40 PHP.
You can get a decent and delicious meal from a local restaurant for as low as 100-200 PHP. If you want to go even lower, Perdice Street has carinderias (local canteens or eateries) that have 25 PHP home-cooked meals. Other eateries serve a wide variation of food from 30-100 PHP. For something a bit fancy, a three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant in Dumaguete can go for 450-700 PHP. That’s still only $9-14 USD for a dinner for two, though! Finally, beer can be bought for 50-70 PHP in Dumaguete.
Dorms, lodges, hostels and budget hotels in Dumaguete charge around 400-1000 PHP. On the other hand, mid-range hotels cost 1,200-2000 PHP and luxury rooms go for 2,200-5,000 PHP.
You can also try AirBnB in Dumaguete where you can get deals for $15. Click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB!
Things To Do in Dumaguete And Dumaguete Tourist Spots
Dumaguete isn´t really big but there are a few things to do in Dumaguete and also a few Dumaguete tourist spots that you cant miss:
1. Visiting the Market and Trying Local Food
Visiting the market is a must if you want have a taste of delicious local food. We visited during the night and it was quite busy. We tried the best halo-halo ever that can be eaten inside a coconut.
2. Meeting Friends in Dumaguete
Meeting friends to go around Dumaguete and know the best Dumaguete tourist spots, best places to eat for our trip was the best idea!
3. Talabong Mangrove Park
If you want to see more of nature in Negros Oriental, you can take a trip to Talabong Mangrove Park in Bais City, only 45 kms away from Dumaguete. It is a 400-hectare green space that protects mangroves, birds and other wildlife and serves as a tourist destination for nature lovers. You can rent a boat to enjoy this protected area and take lots of pictures around the park.
4. Adventure in Mt. Kanlaon
If you’d like to have a slightly thrilling adventure, go to Mt. Kanlaon. This is the highest mountain in the Visayas region of the Philippines and is also the largest active volcano here. There are beautiful waterfalls and lagoons to visit and lush forests to explore. There’s also a campsite and a resort in the area from which you can take tours to the volcano’s crater. Mt. Kanlaon is one of the best places to visit in Dumaguete as it is only 170 km from the city.
5. Dolphin watching
This exciting trip starts with a boat ride along Bais Bay to Tañon Strait where bottlenose, long snouted spinner, and pantropical spotted dolphins abound. This is also home to several melon-headed whales, pygmy sperm whales, pygmy killer whales and many more. After visiting the strait, tours usually head to Manjuyod White Sandbar for some lunch, swimming, snorkeling and other water activities.
6. Visit Pulangbato Falls
Named after the natural redness of the rocks in the falls, Pulangbato is a refreshing and relaxing space in Valencia, only one 30-minute jeepney ride away from Dumaguete. There are several waterfalls to swim in and it is a very picturesque place for families and couples to enjoy. The area is not as commercialized as other tourist spots and it is very well-maintained and peaceful.
More Things to do in Dumaguete and Dumaguete Tourist Spots
7. Rizal Boulevard
Another bustling destination and one of the best places to visit in Dumaguete is Rizal Boulevard. The street is easily seen from the port to Dumaguete and is only 15 minutes away from Sibulan Airport so it’s impossible to miss. Rizal Boulevard is lined with accommodations and restaurants that locals and tourists love. This is also one of the best spots for local street food. Rizal Boulevard is a nice play to meet friends and maybe even make some new ones.
8. Aquino Freedom Park
Named after Ninoy Aquino, a national hero, this green park in the heart of Dumaguete City is a perfect place to chill and unwind after days of sightseeing. It is a family-friendly park that’s both quiet and safe. This spacious park is also where Dumaguete’s Buglasan Festival is held.
9. Dumaguete Belfry
Another famous landmark in the city is Campanario De Dumaguete, or Dumaguete Belfry. It was built in 1811 and was used as a watch tower to save Dumaguete’s residents from pirate attacks. There is a grotto of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at the bottom of the tower where visitors can light candles and say their prayers.
10. Casaroro Falls
Another beautiful waterfalls in Valencia is Casaroro Falls, a real treasure and adventure spot for locals and tourists to enjoy. Casaroro is special because it is 100 feet tall and uniquely narrow for a waterfall. You need to take a short hike to get to the falls, but the concrete stairs make the site easier to access than before. The cool waters and beautiful scenery once you reach Casaroro Falls are worth it, for sure.
11. Eat Silvanas and Sans Rival
Dumaguete is known to be “The City of Gentle People.” However, even sweeter than its residents are the two desserts that the city is known for. Silvanas are frozen cookies made from buttercream and cashew-meringue wafers that are covered with cookie crumbs. The creaminess melts in your mouth whenever you take a bite of this heavenly snack. On the other hand, Sans Rival (literally “without rival”) is a cake made from the same ingredients and has also won the hearts and tummies of many.
These two are the perfect pasalubong (souvenir) from a trip to Dumaguete City. The best ones can be bought from a shop called Sans Rival Cakes & Pastries that are found in Dumaguete and all over Negros Oriental.
12. Dumaguete City Tour Itinerary
Gwyn, a local, and his wife showed us around Dumaguete. They brought us to the most touristic places and also introduced us to local food like the best halo-halo in town shown above. They gave us so many tips in traveling to Dumaguete and Siquijor, our next stops on our long journey. We visited Silliman University, a campus that has existed since 1901. We also went to Rizal Boulevard and got the famous and super delicious silvanas from Sans Rival Bakery. You’ll recognize the goodies from Sans Rival Bakery with their signature blue box.
13. Exploring Apo Island
Visiting Apo Island is a must if you are traveling to Dumaguete. We teamed up with Orientwind Travel for this tour. They picked us up from our hotel in Dumaguete and they drove us in a van for an hour. Then we took a small boat and had a 20-minute trip to Apo Island. In the day trip we had, another couple joined us. They are also Instagram-ers and Bloggers- Jacob and Kally. Check them out!
Apo Island is famous because of the turtles swimming around the beach. There were many of them and we spent more than an hour snorkeling. We got really nice shots and who enjoyed the most was our little one, Han, because it was his first time seeing and swimming with turtles.
We visited a very beautiful beach in Apo Island and took stunning shots of the aerial view with the drone. The day was really awesome. You can even stay in the island for overnight camping. There are restaurants around but there is no electricity in the island. It was such a cool adventure!
14. Swimming with the Whale Sharks in Oslob
For this day, we also chose Orientwind Travel. Again they picked us up in Dumaguete and took the ferry to South Cebu. From there, we rode a tricyle to Oslob, the place where the whale watching is.
While I am aware that some people aren’t in favor of watching whales sharks, I choose not to discuss the issue here and just keep my opinions to myself.
You will ride a small boat for one minute and then you’ll see the whale sharks up close. It was really impressive! We were snorkeling for about 30 minutes around the whale sharks. The three of us were so impressed with the huge whale shark and we tried our best to take nice shots. Needless to say, we really enjoyed the experience!
Rates are at 1000 PHP for foreigners and 500 PHP for Filipinos, and comes with the snorkeling gear. If you don´t go down from the boat, the price is cheaper. In my own opinion, the tour’s pricing for this one is so expensive, to think that it was a shared boat for just a 30-minute trip. With the same price on some other tours, you get a whole day package, lunch included.
Festivals in Dumaguete
Originating from the Visayan phrase “pakig-sandurot” which means “to join in,” Sandurot Festival celebrates the hospitality and friendliness of Dumaguete City. After all, Dumaguete isn’t called “The City of Gentle People” for no reason. This gentleness is seen as the reason why people from all over the country and the world love visiting Dumaguete. Parades, pageants, cultural shows, food booths, trade fairs, street dancing and fireworks are used to celebrate Dumaguete’s culture and the city’s patroness, Sta. Catalina de Alejandria. The festival is held annually on the 3rd week of November.
Another important event in Negros Oriental is the Buglasan Festival. This event is called “The Festival of Festivals” in Negros Oriental and is celebrated in mid-October. It honors the creation of the map of Negros by Diego Lope Provedano in 1752, where he named the island “Buglas Insulis.” This is a festival that unites all the towns, municipalities and cities of Negros Oriental as each place showcases their traditions for an entire week.
Where To Stay in Dumaguete
During our trip to Dumaguete, we stayed at Victorias´s Haven. It was a super beautiful and quiet place. There are green areas around and all the comfort that you need will be provided. It´s located 10 minute away to the city center and 5 minutes away from the port. We loved the style of the colonial house and the breakfast was also really good. There are common areas for playing pool and walking around. Check out these shots:
Click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB!