DumagueteDumaguete is the capital city and main port of Negros Oriental, the province that occupies the south-eastern part of Negros Island, in the Philippines. It is sometimes called the "City of Gentle People". A laid-back university town with a charming sea-front boulevard and a good selection of tourist-oriented services, Dumaguete is a good place to relax for anything from a few days to a few decades. There are many tourists and a large contingent of resident foreigners. According to the Philippine government Dumaguete is the most popular destination in the country for retiring abroad.
Dumaguete is a major transport hub for reaching destinations anywhere on the large island of Negros which is split into two provinces, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. In particular, it often serves as an entry point for trips to the diving on Apo Island or dolphin chasing and whale watching near Bais City. The small island province of Siquijor, with its many beaches and legends of sorcery, is also often reached via Dumaguete; it is visible from the downtown seafront.
The economy is quite diverse and is doing well; a 2009 survey showed Dumaguete with the lowest incidence of poverty of all cities in the Visayas and Mindanao. The city has been a center of education for over a century, and the transport, market and administrative hub of its region for even longer. Tourism and hi-tech have become important; Dumaguete is among the top ten tourist destinations in the country and has quite a few call centers, business process outsourcing companies and other IT-related enterprises.
- Dumaguete City proper (131,377 in 2015 census)
- Bacong, south along the coast (36,500)
- Valencia, on higher ground inland to the southwest (34,850)
Dumaguete is not a large city in population but is spread out over quite a wide area. All three suburbs mentioned above have experienced considerable residential development in the last few years; many people live in them but come into Dumaguete to work or shop, or for restaurants and nightlife.
Valencia is in a volcanic area, the volcanic soil is fertile, and there is plenty of rain. The area has long been known for agriculture, especially fruit and vegetable production. There is a large farmers' market in the center of Valencia, right where the jeepney from Dumaguete arrives.
The urban part of Valencia is over 200 m (660 ft) above sea level so the town is significantly cooler than Dumaguete on the coast. Partly because of this, it has several new upmarket real estate developments which attract both well-off Dumaguetinos and expatriates. Bacong and Dauin, the next coastal town south, also have a lot of upmarket housing development.
The climate is tropical with an average daily high of 30.6°C (87°F) and low of 24.8°C (77°F); this does not vary much from month to month. Precipitation does vary considerably with a dry season January to May and wet season June to December. Average annual rainfall is 807 mm (32 inches); for comparison, San Francisco and London each get about 600 mm while Metro Cebu gets about 1700 and Hong Kong 2400.
As anywhere in the Philippines, there is some risk of earthquake and typhoon. However, compared to other areas in the country Dumaguete has relatively low risk of either. Sometimes it gets side effects of typhoons elsewhere; for example in October 2017, heavy rain associated with Typhoon Paolo caused some flooding in Dumaguete.
If you change planes in Manila or Cebu, allow plenty of time since the security controls to enter each terminal — before you can even join the queue to check in — sometimes cause long delays. On a busy day at Manila Airport it can take almost two hours! You will also need a paper print out of your confirmed flight itinerary.
There are also international flights to Davao, Iloilo, or Clark Airport near Angeles. Cebu Pacific have Davao-Dumaguete and Clark-Dumaguete flights, and from Iloilo one can take a ferry to Bacolod, then bus. Since the new Panglao Airport opened there are now international flights to Bohol and there are good ferry connections from there to Dumaguete.
Kalibo (nearest airport to Boracay) also has international flights, but no good connection to Dumaguete.
Plans to build a new and larger airport in Bacong, south of the city center, have been proposed and financing from a Korean bank secured, but as of early 2018 final government approval has not been granted. If it is approved, it would take several years to construct and might go into operation around 2024. There are no international flights to Dumaguete now, but the new airport will handle larger planes and is expected to have many.
By seaFrequent sailings from Manila, Cebu City, Tagbilaran, Siquijor and Dapitan are offered with Cebu having the most options and trips.
Dumaguete PortAll the direct-to-Dumaguete ferries arrive and depart here, though other ferries run from southern parts of Cebu Island to Sibulan. Most of the traffic is ferries, though there are some small-to-midsize freighters and container ships. There are no cruise ships and the local fishing boats anchor elsewhere. There may be a few private small cruising vessels, but Tambobo Bay to the south is the main port for those on Negros.
A comfortable way to reach Dumaguete is on one of the better ferries. However, this is considerably more expensive than other ferry or mixed bus/ferry options. Also, they are for passengers only; you cannot bring a vehicle.
2Golarger than most other ferries. They have one Manila-Dumaguete departure a week leaving on Saturday afternoon and arriving early Sunday evening, at rates from . They also have a ferry from Dumaguete to Zamboanga via Dipolog.
Ro-Ro's are also available; these are slower and cheaper ferries where cars can roll on and roll off.
For trips from Dumaguete to Cebu, the best option is often the overnight boat with Cokaliong or George and Peter lines. These cost -odd, depart at 11PM or midnight, and reach Cebu around 7AM. Neither company has departures every night, but usually at least one does.
Ticketing offices for most boats are either along the road leading into the port (George & Peter, Cokaliong) or nearby on the main road just north of the port (Ocean Jet, Aleson). 2GO are further along the main road, past the first intersection north of the port. Most travel agents and some hotels can also get tickets. The boats, especially Ocean Jet, often get quite full so booking a day or two in advance is advisable.
CeresA major bus line serving Cebu and Negros islands. Their buses are a conspicuously bright yellow. Like the other bus lines, their drivers are recklessly fast and drive on the klaxon.
From CebuThe Ceres line has direct buses from the south bus station in Cebu City to Dumaguete; they go down to the south end of Cebu Island, across to Negros Island via a short ferry ride that lands in San Jose just north of Sibulan, then on to Dumaguete. Total travel time is typically about six hours but may be an hour or so less or considerably longer depending on traffic, weather and whether there is a delay waiting for the ferry.
From Cebu, the Dumaguete buses are scheduled at 6AM, 7:30AM, 10AM, 11:30AM, 1PM, 2:30PM, 4PM, and 6PM. The first bus for Cebu from Dumaguete leaves at 3:15AM and the last at 2PM; there are many trips in between, scheduled every hour or two. Scheduling is not at all strict; a bus will leave early if it is full, sometimes more than an hour early. Cost for the bus (Feb 2018) is , paid to the conductor. There is a separate charge for the ferry; someone comes round to collect it. A senior's discount is available on both fares, making them and .
You can also take a non-airconditioned Ceres bus from the Cebu south bus terminal to Liloan ferry terminal for , then get a ferry over to Sibulan ferry terminal for , then a jeepney to Dumaguete downtown market for . Total .
At busy times, such as major holidays, you may be better off taking a boat or even plane since you can book tickets in advance for those rather than just queuing up and hoping. For example, during Cebu's Sinulog festival it will be slow and difficult to get a bus and when you do it may be very slow as the many parades cause traffic jams.
From Negros OccidentalThere are Ceres buses to and from Bacolod, capital of the western province of Negros Occidental (which shares the island of Negros with Negros Oriental whose capital is Dumaguete). Possible stops along that route include Kabankalan which has some beach resorts, Mabinay which is a caving destination, and Bais which has beaches, dolphins and whale sharks.
- Bacolod to Dumaguete: first trip at 2AM and last trip at 7PM.
- Dumaguete to Bacolod: first trip at 2:30AM last trip at 7:30PM.
An alternative route, longer and more expensive, would be to follow the coast rather than cutting across the center of the island. This would give the opportunity to stop at several beach areas along the way, notably Sipalay. See #Outside_town for places nearer Dumaguete on this route.
From LuzonCeres also now have a bus from the Cubao district of Quezon City (which is part of Metro Manila) to Dumaguete. It goes by land to Batangas City, by ferry to Caticlan, by land to Iloilo, ferry to Bacolod, and finally by land to Dumaguete. DLTB also have a bus route that goes from Cubao down to Bicol at the southern end of Luzon, across to Samar on a ferry, then overland to Ormoc. From Ormoc, one can reach Cebu City by ferry, and from Cebu there are both boats and buses to Dumaguete.
For most travellers, the buses from Cubao are not a desirable choice; either has travel time over 36 hours and cost above , which is higher than some flights or some classes of travel on the luxurious 2Go boats. However, one of them may be a good choice if you want intermediate stops. For example, one might visit two of the country's best-known tourist destinations by taking the bus from Cubao to Batangas, ferry across to Puerto Galera, back to Batangas for the ferry to Caticlan, short ferry ride to Boracay, and back to the bus for the run to Dumaguete.
If you want to see more of the southern parts of Cebu Island, you can travel south from Cebu City on your own, then reach Dumaguete with smaller hops from there. All these ferries are ro-ros so bringing a vehicle is possible,
- Take a bus to the San Sebastian (Bato) area of Samboan, then take a 20-30 minute ferry ride to Sibulan, 20 minutes away from the centre of Dumaguete. Ferries leave from Sibulan 5AM-5PM. To get this bus you must play the game chasing against time; seats are limited and if you don't get a chance to be an early bird in booking a ticket, you'll probably end up sleeping in the bus terminal waiting for the next day's departures.
- Ro-ro from , on Cebu Island to , Sibulan operated by Lite Shipping Corporation at 4PM, 7PM, 8:30PM & 10PM with journeys to Cebu Island at 5AM, 8:30AM, 11:30AM & 1PM with an 80-min journey time. , . Return vehicle fare (for a multicab) of includes driver and one passenger with additional passengers at each.
It is also possible to go west from Cebu City to Toledo and get a ferry to San Carlos (Negros Occidental) there, or get a direct bus from the North Bus Terminal in Mandaue to San Carlos. From San Carlos, you can then travel south along the coast of Negros via Bais and Tanjay toward Dumaguete. This route is longer, slower and less travelled.
From Iloilo, the easiest route is by ferry to Bacolod then bus to Dumaguete. From Palawan one can take a plane or ferry to Iloilo, or fly to Cebu City. From Manila one could get a direct flight or boat, but it is also possible take a ferry or plane to any of Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu City or Tagbilaran then continue to Dumaguete.
From Mindanao, there are direct connections to Dumaguete by boat from Dapitan.
From Cagayan de Oro or Camiguin it is also possible to take a ferry to Bohol and change to another for Dumaguete.
Dumaguete has few taxis and almost none of the jeepneys you'll see in other cities in the Philippines. There are some jeepneys going to nearby towns but, unlike other cities, there are no jeepneys with general-purpose downtown routes. Most in-town transit is by motorcycle/sidecar rigs called pedicabs.
Locals in the Philippines name a landmark or commercial establishment near their destinations, street names are rarely used or known. Many travellers will be able to get around knowing only the names of three landmarks: Rizal Boulevard, Lee Plaza and Robinson's Place; most other places of interest are within easy walking distance of one of those.
If you must have air conditioning and are willing to pay for it, then the few taxis are often found near the Bethel Guest House or at Robinson's Place Mall. Neither the locals nor the resident foreigners use these much; they take pedicabs instead.
Motorcycles are also popular; the roads have considerably more of them than cars. They can be rented in several shops along Perdices St, near the corners of Pinili and Santa Rosa Streets, typically for a day. Few locals use helmets; if you plan to ride it is a good idea to bring a good-quality helmet with you.
The standard transport option is a three-wheeled contraption usually called a pedicab. In parts of the Philippines a "pedicab" is human-powered, but in Dumaguete it is a motorcycle with a sidecar. In other areas, that might be called a traysikel. These are cheap by foreign standards, usually easily found, and very convenient.
These are shared vehicles; expect to ride along with whoever happens to be going the same way, and to take the odd detour as the driver diverts to deliver other passengers to their destinations. Fare is regulated at per person for trips of up to 3 km, more for longer distances and an extra charge for luggage is allowed. For most trips within town, just give the driver , or even for longer distances or at night.
When travelling to further-out destinations (airport, etc.), or if you want the machine to yourself, expect to pay more and negotiate, probably before you get in. Coming from the airport, there are flat rates posted on signs outside the terminal, for downtown and for the south side of town, e.g. Robinson Mall. Prices can be high for a journey to a suburb; for example most drivers ask for Valencia, and most customers take a jeepney for instead. A family with luggage going from downtown to Dauin might be asked for .
There are various terminals for jeepneys to nearby towns or suburbs; these are cheap and interesting, but often quite crowded. Sit up front with the driver if you can; this is more comfortable and has a better view. Most jeepneys give a discount for students or seniors.
The Jeepney terminals are mostly in the area around the cathedral or the market west of it.
Jeepneys to Dauin
Jeepneys to Sibulan
Jeepneys to San Jose
Jeepneys to Valencia
Jeepneys Valencia-to-DumagueteThis is where jeepneys from Dumaguete arrive and the ones going back depart.
Jeepneys to ZamboanguitaSome park a bit north of the corner, pointing south on the highway, others just west of the corner, ready to turn south. Zamboanguita is a seaside town south of the city.
Jeepneys to several placesThis terminus has jeepneys to Bacong, Dauin, Zamboanguita and Valencia.
Bell TowerThis is the oldest surviving structure in the city, a relic of the long Spanish occupation of Negros Island. It used to be a watchtower to warn the locals against marauding pirates from Mindanao. The first two storeys date from the mid-1700s with the structure above that added later. Its largest bell is engraved with a date of 1818.
Cathedral of Santa CatalinaA fine old Roman Catholic church, built under Spanish rule in the 1700s and consequently the oldest stone church in the whole of the province of Negros Oriental. It's dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria who is the patron saint of the city. Her festival is vigorously celebrated around the end of November each year since a Mass celebrating liberation from the Spanish took place in its grounds on the 24 November 1898. The entrance gates are supported by sculptures of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John on tall pedestals.
Dumaguete is a university town; there are four universities plus various colleges, and about a quarter of the population of the city proper are students.
Foremost of the city's educational institutions is Silliman University, the oldest American university in Asia and the first Protestant college to be founded in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. The main street running north-south through the campus is Hibbard Avenue, named for the missionary couple who founded it in 1901 as a high school. The street that borders the campus on the south is Silliman Avenue; like the university, it is named for the New England industrialist who financed the project.
Silliman University HallBuilt in 1902-1903, this is the oldest U.S. structure in the Philippines still standing. Its architecture is reminiscent of the Stick Style or Victorian type of architecture that characterized U.S. buildings in the 19th century. On the east or ocean side of the hall is a bronze bust of Horace Silliman.
address: Rizal BoulevardThe Anthropology Museum houses some Philippine artifacts that were excavated from many parts of the country dating back hundreds or thousands of years. A good example of how to make interesting stuff intensely boring. A smart move was to forbid any photographic record of the mediocre displays.
Luce AuditoriumConsidered the cultural center of the South. Named for the American Luce family, media magnates who owned Time, Life and other magazines. The tin ceiling was salvaged from an old theater in New York.
Marine Laboratory MuseumHouses the second-largest whale bone collection in the world.
Silliman University ChurchA Protestant church on the university grounds, with some fine stained glass windows. Like the university, it was set up by American Presbyterian missionaries, but its outlook today is very ecumenical; it describes itself as "a church ministering to all Sillimanians, regardless of their denomination and religious affiliations".
Silliman Zooaddress: near Silliman Medical CenterIt conserves endangered Philippine native animals which are rarely seen; eg, spotted deer, warty pigs and crocodiles. Well worth the entry fee. They also need financial support. It's a 15-min walk from the city center or a pedicab ride.
Inland (west) of Dumaguete are a range of volcanic mountains running from well south of the city to well north of it. None of the volcanoes are active but several of them are not extinct either; experts say they have the potential to erupt again. Travel services in Dumaguete or local guides closer to the sites can arrange trips. Some of the main sites are:
Mt. TalinisThe second-highest mountain in Negros Oriental at 1903 m, one of a group called the Cuernos de Negros (Horns of Negros). It has lakes, waterfalls and a mossy forest as well as a stream with sulfur vents. Local mountaineering groups frequent the mountain.
Palinpinon Geothermal PlantThis geothermal plant provides electric power for all of Negros Island, Panay, and Guimaras, plus parts of Cebu Province. The power station plaza is closed to visitors at the guard house.
Volcanic RoadGet up close and personal with some sulphur vents along the roadside
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural ParkA large protected forest area centered on two volcanic crater lakes. The flora and fauna have been considerably degraded, but it's still an interesting daytrip.
- Apo Island - a small island somewhat south of Dumaguete with excellent diving
- Bais City - a city on the coast to the north, known for dolphin and whale watching
- Siquijor - an island province with good beaches and many tales of witches and sorcerers, visible from the Dumaguete boulevard and accessible via frequent ferries.
There are many dive shops in Dumaguete. Some of them are:
phone: +63 35 422-1781
phone: +63 35 522-0144Has its own dive boats
phone: +63 35 225 7716PADI instruction and other services.
See also Diving in the Philippines.
There are also some golf courses:
phone: +63 35 400-3504address: San Antonio Barangay Rd, Pancil, Looc, SibulanBeautifully kept 18-hole course with plenty of shade trees and Zebu cattle has a view of the sea and an air-conditioned club room. Quarterly green fees are while 'walk-ins' pay for 9 holes, for 18 holes M-Th rising to & at weekends. Caddy fees are or , golf cart rental or , an umbrella girl or and golf set rental or for 9 or 18 holes respectively.
There is a hotel on-site with rooms from . The restaurant has a large, brick pizza oven and some other Italian dishes on the menu.
phone: +63 35 225 2109address: East Rovira DrA 9-hole course close to downtown, before the airport.
- Aqua Swimming pool Largest swimming pool in Dumaguete (Capital area) behind Freedom Park. per person.
There are decorated horse-drawn carts offering scenic rides around town.
There are sometimes dragon boat races in the harbor, with a large crowd watching from the boulevard. The traditional date for the dragon boat festival is the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month, which usually falls in June of the Gregorian calendar. However, Dumaguete often has races somewhat earlier (perhaps regional events to qualify for later national events?); for example in 2017 and 2018 there were races in early April.
There is a public library in the cluster of municipal buildings on Colon Street, next to the fire station & near the post office, with free WiFi.
There are four universities — Silliman, Saint Paul, Foundation University and Negros Oriental State U (NORSU) — plus several colleges and vocational schools. NORSU has six satellite campuses in other towns.
The main shopping area downtown is Perdices Street from around the Bell Tower to the edge of Silliman University. The street continues north into the university, but the name changes to Hibbard Avenue.
Cang's Department Storeaddress: East Rovira DrModerate prices with UnionPay, Visa, JCB and MasterCards accepted, this is a good option for a weekly grocery shop on the ground floor since the basement car park is both free and underutilised. There is a food court on the second floor and the Filomena Cafe 2 (of Bethel Guest House fame) accepts cards too. Purified and cooled water is available free of charge from a self-service drinking fountain with glasses. On the first floor above the ground, small Philippines flags at each make good value and lightweight souvenirs if you are flying from nearby Dumaguete airport.
Cang's downtownaddress: San Jose, corner of Maria ChristinaNewer and smaller second location, with no cafe.
address: Perdices StMain department store in the city centre with a large supermarket in the basement; accepts Visa, JCB and MasterCard. Two bakeries, ground floor and basement; the basement one may be the only place in town with bagels.
Robinson'sSupermarket, bakery (with seating & coffee) and drugstore on ground floor. Appliances and hardware store in basement.
phone: +63 35 226-2830address: RHD Building, Ma. Cristina StComputers, Apple products from laptops to i-Pods, other gadgets.
phone: +63 35-4228223address: Percides Street Cor Locsin streetGenerally cheaper than Lee or Robinson, popular with locals.
address: Valencia RdOne large store, plus a food court.
address: Dumaguete Business ParkThis is a large, air-conditioned suburban mall.
Silliman FarmA 24-hectare (60-acre) farm run by the university's College of Agriculture. High-quality milk and eggs, sometimes other products including turkeys.
address: Dumaguete North RoadHas a Savemore supermarket. Watsons, Ace hardware, and many fast food outlets. Coffee shop.
Other shoppingThere are farmers' markets near the center of every town; all are very good for fruit and vegetables and have other things as well. All these markets except Valencia are all right on the main north-south coastal highway through the region. The one in Dumaguete is just west of the cathedral and the one in Valencia is where the jeepneys deliver you if you arrive that way.
Dumaguete marketAround this market is the best place in town to look for small services: key cutting, shoe or bicycle repair, tailors, manicure.
Valencia marketHas several restaurants.
Zamboanguita, south of Dumaguete, also has a market. Every Wednesday, the village of Malatapay there has a large market; the specialties are handicrafts and seafood.
Kev the butcher is an Australian based in Dumaguete. He makes several types of sausage, smokes bacon, and has other products. He has refrigerators with his products in several bars including Bogarts and Flip-Flops.
Robinson's Place has two bookstores, both part of nationwide chains and both with a reasonable selection of books in English. National Bookstore on the ground floor has new books while Book Sale, upstairs, sells used books. There is also a book store downtown on Perdices a little north of Lee Plaza; it has a lot of children's books and textbooks, but almost nothing for general adult readers. On the hallway leading to the immigration office (listed under #Cope) is a book rental place which seems to be the only establishment in town with a good selection of sci-fi and fantasy; they also have a large collection of romances. The second floor of that building also has a bookstore.
There are restaurants all over Dumaguete and some of the plainer ones with Filipino customers away from the central strip may be the best places to search for low prices or local color. In particular, places catering to the student market near any of the universities (especially along Hibbard Avenue near Silliman University or the North Highway near Negros Oriental U) are often cheap and lively.
All the places listed under #Drink below also serve food, though not all have a large menu.
BudgetMost of these places — at least Chow King, Filomena, Food Net and Scooby's — offer free filtered and chilled water from a self-service fountain with a supply of glasses. Most also have soft drinks around , and some have tea, coffee or juices. None serve alcohol.
Albertos Pizzaphone: +63 35-4226392address: Real StreetFree home delivery.
Chow KingA chain offering moderately-priced Chinese (mainly Cantonese) food. Pork or beef fried rice, with four shui mai (small noodle-wrapped pork items) and a soft drink, .
Filomena CafeA very hygienic, air-conditioned cafeteria-style place with a good selection of reasonably priced dishes. Their vegetable fried rice is particularly tasty. All-you-can-eat buffet on Friday evenings for . Visa and MasterCard are accepted. They give a 20% discount on most things for seniors with Philippine ID, such as the government ACR card which many longer-term visitors have.
Food Netaddress: corner of Noblefranca & Santa CatalinaFood Net are a chain with several locations around town. They have cafeteria-style service, Filipino food, moderate prices and a largely student crowd. A basic meal — meat dish, veggie dish, rice, soft drink — is about .
Gyro MonstersCheap and tasty shawarma; the best seller is beef or chicken shawarma wrapped in pita at , or 35 with cheese. The most expensive thing on the menu is shawarma rice for ; two of the sandwiches are a better buy.
If you expect shawarma as you would find it in the Middle East, you will be disappointed here. For that, at slightly higher prices, walk a block north to Mediterranean Food or half a block west to Kapitan's Kebab (both Turkish, listed at #Other downtown places) or go to Tarbush (Lebanese, #North of the center).
For Western tastes, most Filipino spaghetti sauces are appallingly sweet, and many will find the spaghetti here downright ghastly. Order the lasagna here () or go to Filomena for a much better cheap () spaghetti. For excellent pasta at prices around , try Bogart's or Pasta King.
The place is popular with the town's resident foreigners; it gets more younger ones and fewer drunks than their other hangouts.
Mid-rangeA major area for restaurants and bars is the scenic seafront strip along Rizal Boulevard, plus the streets just behind it up to or a bit beyond Perdices. The cheapest food in this area is from street vendors who appear along the sea front, mainly near the north end, in the evenings selling tempura and corn-on-the-cob.
The restaurants are generally mid-range in pricing, with main courses in the range, though an imported steak can be up to . The food is generally quite good and the range of choices is large, but prices are often somewhat higher than in other areas of town. Quality of the coffee varies rather widely but they more-or-less all have cold beer () and many serve good milkshakes (). Tea, juices, wine and mixed drinks are also on offer in many places. Many offer calamansi juice, from a local fruit similar to a lime; this is worth trying if you like citrus drinks.
Nearly all these places have patios with a view of the sea; this is a mixed blessing. The view is lovely and there is often a welcome sea breeze, but there is no air conditioning, the traffic noise can be distinctly unpleasant, during storms the rain blows in, and people on the patios will be bothered by beggars and vendors of various things.
Along the boulevard
We list the boulevard restaurants here in north-to-south order:
- The Blue Monkey Grill, on the corner of Rizal and Silliman, closed in early 2018. As of October, their building has been demolished but nothing new built. Their location at the other end of the boulevard, listed below, is still open.
- The Bricks Hotel has a restaurant and bar.
Tom 'n Tom's CoffeeNew in 2018, part of a chain, large with nice decor. Has good air conditioning, free Wifi, and a good selection of both baked goods and variations on the theme of espresso. Prices might be considered good by tourists but are high by local standards.
Just Do EatLarge, with much seafood on the menu. Popular with Asian tourists. The city's resident foreigners more often go to Lantaw, listed at #North of the center.
Bo's CoffeeA chain with several locations in Dumaguete, serving mainly coffee & baked goods. Prices are high by local standards.
La Residencia Almar(listed under #Sleep) has four restaurants.
Don AtilanoUpmarket, Spanish decor & menu, steaks a specialty. All-you-can eat lunch buffet Friday & Saturday, .
The FilipinoUpmarket Filipino food.
Das BürgerySmall, clean & modern. Menu is limited — only burgers, fries and soft drinks — but quality is good & prices are quite reasonable for what you get. No beer and not much seating, so do not plan an evening here; just grab a burger then go elsewhere for the beer.
Hamburg jointsTwo small cheap places, one with BBQ chicken as well as burgers. The burgers are not nearly as good as in the tourist restaurants on the Boulevard, and they are smaller as well, but then they are about a quarter the price. The waitress who brings you the expensive burger elsewhere quite likely eats here on her breaks.
Sans RivalOne of the oldest cake shops in the city. They occupy a pair of buildings on a corner with the cake shop in the smaller one on the side street and "Sans Rival Bistro" on Rizal.
Sans Rival cake shopOffers baked goods (surprise!), drinks, and some pasta and salad dishes.
Sans Rival BistroThe bistro offers a broader range including a half dozen breakfast options at -odd. All-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on Sunday 7:30-10AM for .
7-ElevenChain convenience store with a few tables; the best-selling item is a large soft ice cream cone for . It also sells soft drinks, snacks and cigarettes; for any of those it is more expensive than supermarkets but cheaper than the bars. The chain is expanding; there are several other locations around town and more coming.
Paseo PerdicesA building with two floors, built on the location of the Perdices family home; one family member was the provincial governor and has one of the town's main streets named for him. There are two levels, and the lower level has a large shaded central courtyard.
phone: +63 35 421 1111Part of a chain. Delivery available; they use yellow scooters.
Max's Restaurantphone: +63 35 421 0615Part of a chain. Their specialty is fried chicken. Breakfast from 7:30AM.
Infini Teaphone: +63 35 522 2991Their specialty is milk tea.
Gabby's BistroSecond location; the first one is an in-house restaurant at Hotel Florentina.
Why Not?One-stop shopping? Restaurant, deli, disco, karaoke, cyber cafe, billiard room, and travel agent under one roof. Beer here is sometimes among the cheapest in town, at in the restaurants in the afternoon, but higher at other times and at the disco.
Le ChaletSalads, pasta, other types of European and American food, with decent quality and prices. Inside with a/c or patio. The current chef is from Milan but the menu emphasizes German and Swiss specialities. There are also a few Thai dishes, competently done, for those who prefer something spicier. All-you-can eat breakfast buffet on Sundays, .
Chiccos DeliSelling meats, wines, cheese & chocolate, with many imported European items. Has a bakery with good croissants and pretzels. There are few tables inside and a small patio in front. Both offer the same menu as Le Chalet, but many customers just come for coffee or beer.
Why Not? discoA popular place for male travellers looking to meet local women, and vice versa. Attitudes to the place among resident foreigners vary widely; some absolutely refuse to set foot in it while others visit it quite often. Hazards include painfully loud music, the chance of getting a ladyboy instead of a woman, and the occasional drunken brawl. There are some prostitutes, many lasses who just want to dance and flirt, and many who are interested in acquiring a prosperous boyfriend. A typical salary for a waitress or sales clerk here is well under (~US$200) a month, so to them most foreign men seem rich.
Honeycomb Tourist Inn(listed under #Sleep) has a restaurant with a large patio area out front, sometimes with live music. Around the side is a small Japanese restaurant, and inside the building a disco.
AllegreA large restaurant offering mainly Italian and Filipino dishes. Pool table downstairs, table is in better shape than at the one at Why Not? and there are usually fewer players competing for it.
Blue MonkeyFilipino food and live music. Acoustic evenings Tuesday & Friday.
Gerry's Bar and GrillA fine old house renovated in 2018 to become a large restaurant. Part of a large chain with reasonable quality but some unreasonable prices.
Other downtown placesThere are also a number of restaurants that are not on the boulevard but are within easy walking distance. Many are either on Santa Catalina (parallel to the boulevard, a short block inland) or on Silliman Avenue (running inland from the north end of the boulevard).
address: Silliman AvePart of a chain that advertises "Mexican-inspired" food. They offer that, various pizza and pasta dishes, and other western dishes; most of it is done very competently. Good soups , burrito , pizza from , small but good steak . The best-buy drink is bottomless iced tea at . Other dishes, such as the "nachos" (overpriced chips & salsa) or the "enchiladas" (a salad served in a tortilla), are distinctly unimpressive. Senior's discount 20% but you need the Philippines senior's ID to claim it; they will not take an ACR card.
El AmigoLive jazz on weekends
Captain Ribber'sThe specialty is ribs, but they have a range of other dishes.
Jo's Chicken Inatoaddress: Silliman AvePart of a chain specializing in barbeque chicken. Favorite among locals and tourists.
- There is another Jo's in Sibulan, a km or two beyond the market, with a large patio and a fine sea view.
Poppy Coffee and CupcakesIn a Silliman University building called Portal West which also has a bank, Scooby's, and several other shops. They also have sandwiches and a breakfast menu.
Harbour City Dim SumMany types of dim sum, plus various soups and rice or noodle dishes.
address: Santa CatalinaFantastic wide-ranging menu, very reasonable prices, lovely chilled out studenty vibe and a great building to host it. Quite honestly a breath of fresh air in the Philippines. Wonderful coffee too!
Mediterranean FoodGood Turkish kebabs and donair. They have distinctly unexciting hamburgs for .
phone: +63 35 422-8307address: Santa CatalinaJapanese restaurant. All-you-can eat buffet , Tu & Sa evenings.
MELs Cafephone: +63 917 835-8337address: 2nd Floor UTH Bldg, Sta Catalina St., near Cnr Locsin StThis place serves and advocates healthy food, has a certified nutritionist supervising the food. It is small and a bit difficult to find, but worth the trouble. Serves great four season themed salads, a variety of scrumptious sandwiches and unique rice meals like CoFFeeCHoP (pork chop marinated in coffee) or their cheesy delightful fish dish called 'cheesy dory' a favorite among the locals. You can also try their Butter beer in variety of flavors, including vanilla and banana. It is the only place in town that serves beer (non-alcoholic) to minors.
phone: +63 35 421-0865address: Santa Catalina, corner of LocsinPizza and many pasta dishes, done very well. Pasta in two serving sizes, around or 319. The small one will be enough for most people, perhaps with a soup or salad if you are quite hungry.
address: Santa CatalinaIndian and Malay food. Small, no a/c, a limited menu, and rather slow service. It is well worth putting up with these minor annoyances, though, since the food is good and prices moderate.
Fish153Korean restaurant and grocery store. Neighborhood has a few other restaurants and some guesthouses.
phone: +63 35 225-9644address: Ma. Cristina StLocally-produced fresh fruit ice cream. Try the fried ice cream! This is a chain with several locations in Dumaguete and a few in nearby towns.
South of the center
There are also some restaurants south of downtown either on Jose Romero (the road that goes west to Valencia) or on the highway south toward Bacong. Many of these are popular with local expats.
address: Jose Romero RoadLarge shaded patio, big TV with sports, live band Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Open mic on Tuesdays, acoustic performances or karaoke other nights.
phone: +63 920 458 1625address: Banilad BarangayRestobar serving cold drinks and both Asian and Western food, popular with local expats. Full meals plus a mix and match bar snack menu. Billiard and poker tables plus live music on a couple of nights.
phone: +63 905 343 6231Pool table, darts, sometimes live music.
phone: +63 35 424 8356Big-screen TV mostly showing sports. Live music and all-you-can-eat BBQ on weekend evenings.
phone: +63 905 382 1325Tex-Mex food, done well.
North of the centerThe area Where EJ Blanco reaches the coast north of town is developing rapidly. Flores Avenue along the coast is being widened, there is a large upmarket condo/mall project (with construction well along but not complete as of March 2018), and several new restaurants have opened since 2013. Right in that area are:
phone: +63 35 225 3536address: Flores AveLarge and popular. Often has live music, reggae every Wednesday. Good pizza.
- There is a small stand with Filipino-style barbecue chicken between Hayahay and Lantaw.
LantawA large place with upmarket Filipino food, much of it seafood. Popular with prosperous locals and with seafood-loving foreigners. Possibly the best place in town to take a Filipina out to dinner; she will probably both like the food and be impressed by the decor.
Cafe Raceraddress: E J Blanco RoadA diner in the style of mid-20th century America. Decor includes some old cars and a gorgeous motorcycle; the bar is built inside a old VW van. Menu to match; decent burgers, small but excellent milkshakes, etc. Live music sometimes.
Korean Barbequeaddress: EJ BlancoA fairly large place with nice decor.
TarbushTwo Lebanese brothers running a small place for middle eastern food. Good shawarma & juices.
Cafe MafiosoAnother Italian place, cheaper than some of the others, with pasta dishes around .
address: Hibbard AvenueRibs are the specialty; quality is good & servings large. The burgers are good too. This is part of a chain with several locations in Bacolod, one in Iloilo and one in Busan, Korea.
ValenciaValencia has a large market near the center of town with bakeries, fruit vendors, several restaurants with Filipino food, and two pizza places. On Sundays many additional vendors appear; most are selling used clothing at good prices, but a few offer interesting food — European sausage-in-a-bun and good cheap ( for a small loaf) French bread.
On the streets on the south and west sides of the market are many restaurants, including some that are quite popular with the town's large expatriate community:
Ayla's Breakfast RestaurantA good variety of breakfast dishes, including some less common ones like eggs benedict or biscuits & gravy, plus a few other things like chile con carne. They rent the space from the municipality which sets limits on their prices, so they have the cheapest beer in the region at . Owners are an American-Filipina couple; bottles of his hot sauce are available.
PacosA tiny stand with a few tables and good Mexican food, run by Americans. You can drink at Ayla's and order food from Pacos brought to your table with no objection from Ayla's management.
SpiceRun by a Filipino chef who trained in Thailand. If you like spicy food, there are Thai and Indian dishes. If not, various Filipino or Western choices are available.
SplurgeCompetition is stiff for restaurants in Dumaguete, and the restaurants listed above all have many moderately-priced items on their menus so we have listed them all as "Mid-range". If you want elegant decor and a menu that includes upmarket offerings, then your best bets are Casablanca, La Residencia Almar, or Lantaw.
Gmik Baraddress: Dr V Locsin St
KamaligA large semi-outdoor (covered patio) place with live music, Filipino BBQ and some other food, and beverages.
Tiki BarA large place with a patio and often live music.
For those who enjoy karaoke, there is a KTV place above Mooon Cafe on Silliman Avenue, and another a few doors further west; these cater to a mainly student crowd. As anywhere in the country, there are also many "videoke" places scattered around town, generally loud, cheap, in low-rent neighborhoods, and catering to the working class. For tourists, one of these might be a good choice if you are out with Filipino friends, but otherwise probably not.
Unlike some places in the Philippines, Dumaguete does not have a flourishing sex trade. As anywhere on Earth, there is prostitution, but it is not nearly as blatant as in places like Angeles or Puerto Galera. There are some girlie bars outside Dumaguete city limits in Sibulan along the North Highway beyond the airport, but nothing so obvious in town.
phone: +63 09159527594address: Dr E Meciano Road.A/C double with queen size bed good for 2 with cable TV and free Wifi. Newest hotel in Dumaguete as of June 2017.
Avenue Park Hotelphone: +63 35 421-0710address: Perdices StFan single with common bath/ fan double with common bath/ air-con single with common bath, cable TV/ air-con double with common bath, cable TV.
phone: +63 35 228-000address: Hibbard AvePopular backpacker hotel. Rooms are spacious and clean with a/c or fans. Free coffee all day & rate includes a small breakfast in the upstairs cafe. Free Internet/Wi-Fi. This is where many of the foreign tourists stay, especially divers. If you are travelling out to Apo island you can leave your large bags there safely. Harold himself is extremely friendly and helpful. Harold is happy to have Peace Corps volunteers visit. There is also an attached massage place that is clean and cheap. Dive shop in the same building, tours arranged.
Negros Lodging Housephone: +63 35 225-9622In particular, the single rooms with fan are quite cheap for Dumaguete.
Piapi BeachA beach area with several budget places
J & J Hotellierphone: +63 35 423-1375address: Flores Avefree Wifi.
Crisfils Lodgephone: +63 35 225-7147address: Flores AveAll rooms have TV.
Worldview Pension Plaza
OK Pension House
Gabbys Bed and Breakfast
Joraville Pension House
Dastraum Guest House
phone: +63 35 225-2000Don't let the name fool you, this is a five-storey, squeaky clean, modern building with a whip-cracking management style that can shame the Swiss. Flunky to open the door to the large and comfortable lobby and its own large generators to power the air-conditioning during frequent brown-outs. Well equipped, en-suite shower rooms and free, cooled, filtered water. 1270 m from the port terminal. This is a non-smoking, no-liquor hotel and pets and whores are not allowed.
The Bricks Hotelphone: +63 936 927 0638Opened in 2018 in a renovated building.
phone: +63 35 422-9000address: Locsin St50 air con spacious and clean rooms in this hotel. Cable TV, free Internet in rooms, laundry, restaurant.
phone: +63 922 464 6835address: Calindagan corner South Road, Central Business DistrictLocal location of a national chain. Brand new budget hotel with 102 rooms (60 Queen, 42 Twin, some without windows) 16-22 m², free Wi-Fi, Asian Gourmet & Cafe
phone: +63 35 225-1181address: Rizal Boulevard, corner Dr. V. Locsin St.16 air-conditioned rooms, with hot & cold shower, cable TV, PABX telephone, Wi-Fi in the Coffee Shop, ample parking area and 24/7 standby power generator. With Restobar and Coffee Shop offering food, music and nightly fun! Complementary Filipino breakfast.
phone: +63 35 226-3330address: San Jose StA/C, free Internet, hot & cold showers.
phone: +63 35 226-2775address: Dr. V. Locsin StNear international ATM.
Plaza Maria Luisa Suites Innphone: +63 35 225-3267address: Bishop Epifanio Surban St22 air-con rooms. Clean and modern interior, local breakfast, internet, money change
SplurgeAt early 2018 exchange rates is about $40 US, so even these upmarket places are cheap by Western standards.
phone: +63 35 422-1328address: Hibbard AveRooms are nice, all with fridge, Wi-Fi and shower. Price includes Western or Filipino breakfast. The same company have a beach/diving resort called Coco Grove on the nearby island of Siquijor, the Apo Island Beach Resort on Apo Island. They have several vans for moving customers around, mainly between those.
address: Rizal BlvdSpanish-influenced style, very central. The building includes three upmarket restaurants, one Spanish, one Filipino and one Japanese.
Bravo Golf Course(listed under #Do) has a hotel with rooms from .
Long-term staysIt is fairly common for travellers to stay in Dumaguete for long periods, in particular for most or all of what would be the winter season back home. Some even settle permanently; this is a prime destination for retiring abroad. Many hotels and some small guest houses offer by-the-week or by-the-month deals.
There are also places catering mainly for long-term guests. Prices start around /month for a room in a house full of students; actual apartments range from roughly /month. Many of the resident foreigners have quite nice places in the range, but finding vacancies for such places may be difficult and you need to sign at least a six-month lease for most of them.
phone: +63 35 225 8982address: Perdices StGood place for longer-term stay. Large rooms with a/c, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, fridge (but no cooking facilities). bathroom and shower (with hot water in some rooms, not in others). Hot & cold purified water available free, a dispenser on each floor. Rooms are on 2nd and 3rd floor and there is no elevator. For weekly or monthly stays, electricity bill is extra, about /month with moderate use of A/C. Weekly & monthly rates are not always available; when it is busy they will rent only by the day.
phone: +63 35 421 1343address: Palinpinon RdA/C, Internet, cable TV, microwave & gas stove, swimming pool. No children. Strictly no smoking, anywhere in the compound. Inhabited mostly by retired western men with Filipina wives or girlfriends.
There are real estate agents (web search will find a dozen, or you may notice signs around town) who can connect you to anything from by-the-month accommodation to buying property of various types. A foreigner cannot legally own land in the Philippines, but they can buy a condo in their own name or start a company which can own land.
Why Not? on the boulevard has a notice board with ads to rent or sell property, cars and motorcycles.
Outside townWest of downtown there are several highland resorts mainly oriented to outdoor activities. These are in a forested area and are reached via Taft Street which starts a bit north of downtown Valencia and runs west along a river.
Valencia Forest Campaddress: Taft Street, ValenciaAccommodation includes a backpacker dormitory, treehouses and nipa huts. Has two swimming pools.
phone: +63 35 400 3977address: Taft Street, ValenciaA development with ziplines, ATVs, Segways, slide, and natural pools, a Jeepeny ride from downtown Dumaguete.
Harold's Eco-lodgeThis place has the same owner as Harold's Mansion in downtown Dumaguete; you can book and arrange transport there.
Beyond Siaton, around the corner onto the southwest coast of the island, are several more towns, also often reached via Dumaguete. These are a bit off-the-beaten-path, not well-developed as resort destinations. Listed east-to-west:Negros Occidental; the nearest resort area there is Sipalay, not highly developed or heavily touristed but with good beaches and diving. This is a popular destination for Dumaguete or Bacolod residents who want to get away from it all.
You do see evidence that locals are concerned about security. Many of the larger old houses and more-or-less all the new luxury housing are in walled compounds, and barbed wire, spikes or broken glass to discourage people from climbing the walls are common, as are bars to keep burglars from entering windows. Most businesses have roll-down metal doors for protection when they are closed. Many businesses and some residential compounds have armed guards. Guards at the entrances to many department stores or malls use metal-detecting wands to scan customers before entry. All of this, however, is true in most areas of the Philippines, and much of it is common to most low-income countries.
Traffic can be distinctly hectic; there are no traffic lights and few stop signs in the town, and you rarely see policemen directing traffic. Most of the oddities of Asian driving are seen in Dumaguete: running without lights at night is common, motorcycles fairly often do interesting things like going down the wrong side of the road or ignoring one-way traffic signs, and so on. On the positive side, the traffic is not remarkably fast, there are few traffic jams and, compared to some other Asian cities, Dumaguete has fewer drivers who seem obviously insane to western observers.
Pedestrians should be quite cautious in Dumaguete. The traffic is dangerous, some roads lack sidewalks, and even if there is a sidewalk, it may be blocked by parked motorcycles. Both roads and sidewalks are often seriously uneven — some have holes that could easily break a leg, and many more could turn an ankle — so it is essential to watch your step.
As in any tropical area, there is risk of sunburn; it is quite important for newly arrived visitors to exercise caution.
A few vaccines may be of particular concern:
- The city has many stray dogs and cats, and some rats, so rabies vaccine may be a good idea.
- A vaccine for the mosquito-borne disease dengue fever came on the market in 2016. Dengue is widespread in the Philippines and Dumaguete has some mosquitoes (though not many), so this might be a wise precaution. On the other hand, this vaccine has now been mostly taken off the market; see Dengue_fever#Vaccine for details.
The city has many health services — doctors, dentists, pharmacies, optometrists — and, as elsewhere in the Philippines and indeed most of Asia, these services are often much cheaper than in higher-income countries. There are exceptions when imported products, such as dental implants or certain drugs, are required for the treatment.
Dr. Myrine Garupaphone: +63 920 918 7821A dentist many of the local expatriates use. Implants are expensive at but most services are cheap by western standards. She does not offer procedures under general anesthesia.
Hospitals & clinicsAs of early 2019, the city had three hospitals, with a fourth under construction:
Negros Oriental Provincial Hospitalphone: +63 35 225-0950A public hospital (the others are privately run). It has the lowest costs, but sometimes the longest waiting times.
Silliman University Medical Centerphone: +63 35 225 0839Where many of the local expatriates go.
Holy Child Hospitalphone: +63352250510Next to the cathedral, very central.
The Generics Pharmacyaddress: Door No. 4 GF Forex Bldg No. 46 San Jose StreetA national chain with several branches in Dumaguete.
Generika Drug Storesphone: +63 35-4210421address: Noblefranca Street
Negros Grace Pharmaciesaddress: Twin arcade building. Perdices Street
The erection-enhancing drugs Viagra and Cialis are available from most pharmacies without prescription. There are also vendors who patrol the boulevard bars selling them; they are considerably cheaper provided you bargain the price down some, and the products do work, but the pharmacies are probably safer. In any case, you should not take these without consulting a doctor since they affect the circulatory system and may be quite dangerous for some men.
There are a number of fairly large Internet cafés; they cater mainly to people playing online games, so they provide reasonably powerful computers with decent screens and a fast connection. One is above the Scoobie's coffee shop on San José, another is at Harold's Mansion, and several are around the corner of Perdices and Silliman to catch the student trade, including Frozen Throne a half-block south on Perdices which opened in late 2015 so it has relatively new machines.
If you rent or buy a place, home Internet service starts around a month and ranges up to over . Most foreign residents opt for a package that includes cable TV and fast Internet for something in the range.
Cell phone connections are fast and reliable anywhere in the city itself or in central areas of the major suburbs, but can be quite flaky in some outlying areas.
Caltex Filling StationAccepts AmEx, JCB, UnionPay, Visa & MasterCards for fuel and knicknacks in the air-conditioned mini-bar attached.
Bureau of Immigration Dumaguete Officephone: +63 35 225-4401address: Door 8 Lu Paga Bldg 38 Dr V. Locsin StThe Dumaguete office is small and sometimes overloaded because there are so many foreigners in town so you will often need to wait a while, at least in winter when demand is highest. Get a number from the security guard when you arrive. As of early 2018, they accept extension applications only up to 2PM Monday-Friday and you can usually pick up the passport after 2PM on the next working day.
address: EJ Blanco Drive, PiapiNear the Sidiakan Negros handicraft outlet.
Buglas Isla Co-workingSpace and services for digital nomad workers.
SmokingSmoking is not encouraged in Dumaguete; a municipal ordinance prohibits smoking in public places, including on the streets or in restaurants and bars, and most or all hotels prohibit smoking in the rooms. However, a few bars have smoking areas and some hotels provide a patio or balcony area where nicotine addicts can indulge.
Lighters GaloreA wide selection of lighters and cigarette cases, notably a range of electric lighters from around up to . These are not disposable and do not burn a fossil fuel, so arguably they are rather green. Also convenient, completely windproof and unlikely to set hair or beard afire; they just need to be recharged, most via USB.
For those who prefer a vaporizer:
Vape Avenueaddress: Santa Catalina, corner of NobelfrancaVaporizers, spare parts, and a good range of liquids for them
For chewing tobacco, Bogart's Bar on the boulevard stocks a Swedish product called Snus.
The Dumaguete-Bacolod bus route passes through several places that may be worth a stop. Mabinay, up in the mountains about halfway, is a center for spelunking; the area around it has many caves but accommodation choices are not brilliant. Kabankalan is where the road reaches the sea again, on the west coast south of Bacolod, and has some beach resorts.
Bais City, 44 km north of Dumaguete, is known for dolphin and whale watching, and also has public ballroom dancing in the plaza, mangrove swamps, and a 7-km long white sand bar that is washed clean twice a day by each high tide. Oslob on Cebu Island is known for whale sharks.