Dumaguete’s locals alone are worth coming for – they’ve earned Dumaguete the nickname ‘The City of Gentle People’
Where? Negros Oriental – AKA Oriental Negros and Eastern Negros – is a province in the Negros Island region.
How? Fly into Dumaguete City from Manila (the flight takes an hour and 15 minutes). You can also catch a bus from Cebu to Oslob, which takes five hours, and then catch a ferry to Dumaguete, or make the four-hour ferry trip from Cebu.
Why? Negros Oriental has a quiet, historic charm and plenty of examples of preserved colonial architecture. The city isn’t frozen in time, though, as you’ll soon see if you take a walk along its arterial seaside boulevard, or dine out in one of the sociable restaurants.
What? Get a taste of local student life by walking around Silliman University, which was built by American Presbyterians in 1901. Enjoy a meal on tree-lined Rizal Boulevard, which doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sea views and people-watching. Other landmarks to tick off include Dumaguete Bell Tower and the Cathedral, in front of Quezon Park. Go dolphin-spotting around the Tañon Strait – you might be treated to a sighting of whale sharks, too. Divers will find plenty to please them in the waters around Apo Island, home to dazzling coral reefs and jewel-coloured reef fish. Water-babies should pay a trip to twin lakes Balinsasayao and Danao, northwest of Dumaguete, or go for a dip in the Palinpinon Hot Springs, 10 kilometres from the city.
Try… Head to Dumaguete City Public Market and nibble budbud kabog: steamed cake made with millet, instead of glutinous rice. Pair your cake with a cup of hot tsokolate. Sweet-tooths may also like silvanas: frozen cookies featuring a layer of buttercream, sandwiched between two cashew-meringue wafers, rolled in cookie crumbs.