Our first time to visit Dumaguete city the capital of Negros Oriental we found so many surprises and things to do in Dumaguete. 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.
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How to get to Dumaguete
Getting to Dumaguete by land from Cebu
If you’re getting to Dumaguete from Cebu. From Mactan International Airport you can get a taxi, Grab or take public transportation to South Bus Terminal. You can take a direct bus from Cebu City South Bus Terminal in Cebu (located close to Elizabeth Mall) to Bato.
Prices of the buses 270 PHP plus 70 PHP for the ferry to Tampi which is 40 Minutes by ferry. One more hour by bus to Dumaguete City from Tampi port. The schedule of the buses going direct from Cebu to Bato port are from 5 am to 6 pm daily buses and the travel time is around 6 hours.
Read here full blog post how to get from Cebu to Dumaguete!
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. From Sibulan port to Dumaguete City there are multicabs around 15 PHP for 15 minutes ride. And there are also tricycles going to the city for around 100 PHP and you can join 3-4 people depending how much luggage you are bringing.
Getting to Dumaguete from Cebu by boat
If you don’t want to ride the bus and you are getting to Dumaguete 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 costs 1,600 PHP while a business class ticket costs 1,910 PHP. Boats depart hourly from Cebu City around 9 AM. This ferry ride takes 4 hours and has a stopover at Tagbilaran City.
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 its 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 month 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 20 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.
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 250 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 20 PHP for a tricycle, while the flat rate for a cab is 60 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 40 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.
Things To Do in Dumaguete And Dumaguete Tourist Spots (City)
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. We ate this delicious food at Jo’s Chicken Inato.
2. Meeting Friends at Quezon Park in Dumaguete
Quezon Park is the perfect meeting point in Dumaguete. It’s close to the market and Rizal Boulevard. 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. Chinese Bell Church
Chinese Bell Church is a Taoist Temple in Dumaguete City. It’s opened from Open from 6 am to 6 pm. It will be nice to see apart from the churches. It’s just a few minutes walking distance from Rizal Boulevard.
4. Catherine of Alexandria Church
Catherine of Alexandria Church was built in 1776 and it’s the oldest stone church in Negros. It’s located in Dumaguete City Center close to the Public Market and Rizal Boulevard.
5. 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.
6. DUMAGUETE UNIVERSITY AND 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.
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. Tierra Alta Resort
You can spend the day at Tierra Alta Resort. It’s popular because is the Santorini of the Philippines, similar to Thunderbird Resort in La Union.
There is an entrance fee is 500 PHP (300 PHP consumable) and they allowed you to use the pool. And 50 PHP entrance fee if you go for dinner.
It’s located in Valencia just 20 minutes drive from Dumaguete. You will ahve to ride the jeepney going to Valencia and later a tricycle for 100 PHP.
11. 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.
12. Dumaguete Mount Talinis
Dumaguete Mount Talinis also called “Cuernos de Negros” (Horns of Negros), The peak is 1864 meters above sea level and it will take 4 hours hike just going to the summit.
To get there you will have to ride a minibus to Dauin around 40 minutes drive. Once in Dauin you will have to get a habal-habal to Geothermal Site where you can start the trekking. You can sleep in the tent if you are planning to do different routes and you can also visit Casaroro Falls.
13. Lake Balanan
Lake Balanan is located 60 kilometers South of Dumaguete City. There are different activities in the lake. You can rent a kayak, try the zipline and ride a boat. You can also rent a floating cottage. Lake Balanan entrance fee is 50 PHP.
To get to Lake Balanan you will have to ride a bus to Siaton it. The travel time from Dumaguete to Lake Balanan is around 2 hours and the price of the bus is 60 PHP. Once in Siaton you will have to ride a habal habal to Lake Balanan for 50 PHP per person.
14. Adventure in Mt. Kanlaon: Makawiwili Ridge
If you’d like to have a slightly thrilling adventure, go to Mt. Kanlaon and Makawiwili Ridge. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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 Dumaguete tourist spots and it is very well-maintained and peaceful.
More Things to do in Dumaguete and Dumaguete Tourist Spots
17. 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. A perfect one in the list of Dumaguete tourist spots if you like the nature.
18. Exploring Apo Island
Visiting Apo Island is a must if you are traveling to Dumaguete. We joined a tour for this day. 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!
Read here the best places for diving in the Philippines!
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!
19. 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.
More Tourist Spots and Things to do in Dumaguete
20. Bulwang Caves in Mabinay
Bulwang Caves: Panligawan, Pandalihan, and Crystal Caves in Mabinay. It’s located 70 kilometers North Dumaguete. You will have to get a bus going from Dumaguete to Mabinay. Once there you cant hire a guide who will tour you around the caves.
If you go early morning you can combine the trip with Manjuyod Sandbar. Click here to get a discount booking Manjuyod Sandbar tour with Klook!
21. Twin Lakes Dumaguete
If you want to get to Twin Lakes from Dumaguete you have to get a jeepney going to Amlan 15 PHP per person and getting off in San Jose. From here you can go by habal-habal 400 PHP return good enough for two people. If you prefer you can rent a motorcycle in Dumaguete 400-500 PHP for the whole day.
Once in the lake the entrance fee is 100 PHP for foreigners and 25 PHP if you are a local like Rachel. It’s a great place to spend your day. Check below if you prefer joining to an organize tour.
22. Manjuyod Sandbar
You can rent a boat for 4000 PHP good enough for 15 people island hopping going to Manjuyod Sandbar . Apart from the sand bar you can visit the Bird Sanctuary, Mangrove Forest and dolphin watching. Make sure you go there with the low tide to enjoy the sandbar. Click here to check the low tide before your trip to Manjuyod Sandbar.
23. Day Trip to Siquijor Island
You can go for a day trip to Siquijor Island where you can enjoy amazing beaches like San Juan and Paliton Beach. Have a great snorkeling in Tubud Sanctuary and the beautiful waterfalls of Cambugahay and Lugnason. You can read here Siquijor Travel Guide!
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.
Cheap Accommodation in Dumaguete: Ese House
Rated for the best value in Dumaguete, ESE house is also close to Dumaguete Belfry and Dumaguete Public Market. Every room has its own wardrobe and a seating area but the bathroom is shared. Other rooms also offer a balcony for a view. The place is also good for couples. A night only costs for about 10 USD.
ESE House is located at ESE House, House No. 18, Larena Drive, Motong, Dumaguete. Click here to book with Booking.
GO HOTELS DUMAGUETE
Good for an overnight stay, backpackers love the value this place returns to them. All rooms have free wifi, TV, shower, telephone, and air-condition. It is also very near to Robinsons Place Dumaguete, only 390 m away. There’s ATM available on site as well. The best deal offers almost 30 USD for a one night stay, 2 kids under 11 are free!
GO Hotels in Dumaguete is located at Calindagan Corner South Road, Dumaguete Central Business District, Dumaguete City. Click here to book with Agoda.
KAV’S BEACH RESORT
Popular for its outdoor swimming pool, garden and restaurants, KAV’S Beach Resort is a place to see. Each room ahs its own balcony, mirror, private entrance, shower, and safe box. All rooms has its own WiFi too. Going to the airport will take only about 45 mins. For one person, a bunk bed only costs 10 USD while a beautiful deluxe room costs about 40 USD.
Kav’s Beach Resort can be found at Old Spanish Road, Zamboanguita, Dumaguete. Click here to book with Agoda.
Luxury Accommodation in Dumaguete: Atmosphere Resorts & Spa
A private beach, daily housekeeping and a free airport service, you get it all at Atmosphere Resorts & Spa. That’s what you would expect for being a 2018 top Agoda’s traveller choice. They are popular for their relaxing spa and swimming pool. Each room has air-conditioning unit, bathrobes,closet, TV, mini-bar and many more.
It is only 20 km away from Sibulan Airport. The place is also near Dauin that is excellent for scuba diving. A night costs for about 200 USD, pretty worth it as tourists recommend this place a lot.
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa is at Maayong Tubig, Dauin, Dumaguete. Click here to book with Agoda.
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.
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About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.