Dumaguete 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 including quite a few retirees.
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.
This article covers four towns that are administratively separate but effectively one city:
- 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, Valencia and Bacong are connected by three roads, approximately an equilateral triangle 8 km (5 miles) on a side.
- Sibulan, north along the coast; the two town centers are about 12 km apart (59,500)
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 located 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 600mm, while Manila gets about 2000 mm and Hong Kong 2400.
As anywhere in the Philippines, there is some risk of earthquakes and typhoons. 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.
The country's two largest cities, and its main hubs for international flights, are Metro Manila and Metro Cebu; from either, there are flights, ferries, and buses (which ride ferries for part of the route) to Dumaguete. Cebu is considerably closer and Mactan-Cebu International Airport is a more pleasant airport to arrive at with an international connection.
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, Kalibo (nearest airport to Boracay), or Clark Airport near Angeles. Most of those have neither direct flights to Dumaguete nor convenient land or sea connections; the exceptions are a Cebu Pacific Davao-Dumaguete flight and from Iloilo a ferry to Bacolod, then bus.
- 1 Sibulan Airport (DGT IATA), ☎ . The airport is in Sibulan, the next town to the north, but is not far from Dumaguete city center (3 km). It has a runway that in many countries would be considered too short for medium sized civilian jet aircraft, but both Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly in and out with Airbus and Boeing jets daily. Most jets take off toward the sea, where the runway ends abruptly at the salt water of the Tañon Strait/Bohol Sea, so both takeoffs and landings are thrilling affairs.
- Ground transportation. is public tricycles to city center which cost ₱60, vans ₱300. Jeepneys go past the airport to downtown for ₱8, but you just walk west for a few minutes out to the highway to catch one. The drop off is Dumaguete Public Market. To return to the airport, tricycles will quote ₱100-150. Walk to the Dumaguete Public Market and board a jeepney for Sibulan. Fare is ₱8. Trying to hail a full jeepney on Real St is difficult.
Two plans to improve the airport — expand the airport or build a new and larger airport in Bacong, south of the city center — have been proposed, but as of mid-2017 no decision has been announced.
- 1 Dumaguete Port. All 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.
- Ocean Jet. Fast hydrofoil ferries to and from Cebu via Tagbilaran on Bohol. From Dumaguete, departs 07:30 (arrives 11:10) and 14:20 (arrives 19:20). Tourist Class: ₱900, Business Class: ₱1,200.
- If you want to stop on Bohol, you have a choice of several fast ferries for the Cebu-Tagbilaran leg of the trip (see Tagbilaran#Fast_ferries) or you might reach Bohol from the south on a CDO-Jagna ferry. However, Ocean Jet is the only fast ferry for the Tagbilaran-Dumaguete journey.
- 2Go. Relatively luxurious and larger than most other ferries, more along the lines of a cruise ship. They have one Manila-Dumaguete departure a week leaving on Saturday afternoon and arriving early Sunday evening, at rates from ₱1,600. They also have ferries from Dumaguete to Dipolog or Zamboanga, four Manila-Cebu runs a week, and a Manila-Bacolod route.
Ro-Ro's are also available; these are slower and cheaper ferries where cars can roll on and roll off.
- Cokaliong Shipping Lines. Daily from Cebu City (7 hours, ₱320 and up). They also sail from Dapitan on Mindanao Tu-Th & Sa at 16:00 and return the same days at 07:00. for Dapitan departs at 07:00. from ₱320.
- George and Peter Shipping. To and from Cebu City (7 hours, ₱320 and up), and for Dapitan which departs at 06:00. ₱320 without air con, 600 with.
- Montenegro shipping lines. to and from Dapitan and Siquijor.
- Aleson Shipping Lines. Daily to and from Dapitan. ₱350.
- Super Shuttle Ferry. Daily to and from Dapitan. ₱385.
- FastCat. Dumaguete to Dapitan. ₱380.
For trips from Dumaguete to Cebu, the best option is often the overnight boat with Cokaliong or George and Peter lines. These cost ₱300-odd, depart at 23:00 or 24:00, and reach Cebu around 07:00. 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.
- 2 Ceres. A 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.
The 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 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.
Cost for the bus (Feb 2017) was ₱235, paid to the conductor. There is a separate ₱70 charge for the ferry; someone comes round to collect it. A senior's discount is available on both fares, making them ₱192 and ₱55.
From Cebu, the Dumaguete buses are scheduled at 06:00, 7:30, 10:00, 11:30, 13:00, 14:30, 16:00, and 18:00. The first bus for Cebu from Dumaguete leaves at 03:15 and the last at 14:00; 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.
- Bacolod to Dumaguete: first trip at 02:00 and last trip at 19:00
- Dumaguete to Bacolod: first trip at 02:30 last trip at 19:30.
There are many trips a day. Fare for a non-airconditioned bus is ₱300 each way. and for the airconditioned bus is ₱377. Travel time is 6-7 hours.
You can also take a non-airconditioned Ceres bus from the Cebu south bus terminal to Liloan ferry terminal for ₱165, then get a ferry over to Sibulan ferry terminal for P48, then a jeepney to Dumaguete downtown market for ₱12. Total ₱225.
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 05:00-17:00. 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 3 Samboan, on Cebu Island to 4 Looc, Sibulan operated by Lite Shipping Corporation at 16:00, 19:00, 20:30 & 22:00 with journeys to Cebu Island at 05:00, 08:30, 11:30 & 13:00 with an 80-min journey time. Globe network ☎ +63 915 780 0252, Smart network ☎ +63 929 586 1702. Return vehicle fare (for a Multicab) of ₱1080 includes driver and one passenger with additional passengers at ₱70 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.
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 ₱300 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 do have a windshield and a roof so there is some protection from the elements, but they are neither quiet nor very comfortable. The sidecar has seating for four, two facing forward and two back, but it is designed for Filipinos and four Westerners will not usually fit unless one rides pillion behind the operator.
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. City regulations set a flat fare of ₱8 per person for trips within the downtown area, though an extra charge for luggage is allowed. Some Filipinos and most foreigners often give the driver ₱10 and decline the change if offered, or even ₱20 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. Prices can much higher for a journey to a suburb; for example most drivers ask ₱150 for Valencia, and most customers take a jeepney for ₱12 instead. A family with luggage going from downtown to Dauin might be asked for ₱400.
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.
- 5 Jeepneys to Dauin.
- 6 Jeepneys to Sibulan.
- 7 Jeepneys to San Jose.
- 8 Jeepneys to Valencia (south of the market). ₱12 per person, 10 for seniors.
- 9 Jeepneys Valencia-to-Dumaguete. This is where jeepneys from Dumaguete arrive and the ones going back depart. ₱12.
- 10 Jeepneys to Zamboanguita (across from Robinson Place). Some 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.
- 11 Jeepneys to several places (behind Robinson's Place). This terminus has jeepneys to Bacong, Dauin, Zamboanguita and Valencia.
Jeepneys or buses northbound to Sibulan, San Jose or Tanjay can sometimes be flagged down on Rizal Boulevard, and jeepneys for many places can sometimes be found near the pier, but your chances of a comfortable seat are better at the terminal.
- 1 Bell Tower (Campanario de Dumaguete). This 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.
- 2 Cathedral of Santa Catalina (Dumaguete Cathedral) (next to the bell tower). A 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.
- 3 Silliman University Hall. Built 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.
- Silliman University Anthropology Museum (in Silliman Hall). The 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. Base rate ₱40 for locals, ₱60 for others, with discounts for children and seniors. Rates double on weekends or holidays..
- Luce Auditorium (in Silliman Hall). Considered 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 Museum (in Silliman Hall). Houses the second-largest whale bone collection in the world.
- 4 Silliman University Church. A 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".
- 5 Silliman Zoo, near Silliman Medical Center (signs opposite Silliman medical centre). 09:00-16:00. It conserves endangered Philippine native animals which are rarely seen; eg, spotted deer, warty pigs and crocodiles. Well worth the ₱10 entry fee. They also need financial support. It's a 15-min walk from the city center or a ₱8 pedicab ride. ₱10.
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:
- 6 Mt. Talinis (Southwest of the city in Valencia Municipality). The 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.
- 7 Palinpinon Geothermal Plant (Palinpinon is a Barangay of Valencia). This 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.
- 8 Volcanic Road (On the way to the power station). Get up close and personal with some sulphur vents along the roadside
- 9 Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park (Northwest of the city in Sibulan Municipality). A 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.
Each of the suburbs we include in this article — Valencia, Sibulan and Bacong — is administered as a separate town and all have been towns since the era of Spanish rule. They all have some buildings going back to that era, clustered around a central plaza; the ones in Bacong include the oldest church in the province.
There are several popular seaside resort areas nearby and it is common for travellers to use Dumaguete as a base for visiting one or more of them, since the beaches in town are often highly polluted. Many hotels and all travel agencies in Dumaguete can arrange trips to any of them.
- 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:
- Adventure Diving (Bogart's Bar on the boulevard), ☎ .
- Harold's Dive Center (At Harold's Mansion hotel), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Has its own dive boats
- SCUBA Ventures (At Harold's Mansion hotel), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. PADI instruction and other services.
See also Diving in the Philippines.
There are also some golf courses:
- 1 Bravo Golf Course (Dumaguete Golf Course), San Antonio Barangay Rd, Pancil, Looc, Sibulan, ☎ . Beautifully 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 ₱15,000 while 'walk-ins' pay ₱750 for 9 holes, ₱1,250 for 18 holes M-Th rising to ₱1,000 & ₱1,500 at weekends. Caddy fees are ₱175 or ₱275, golf cart rental ₱400 or ₱650, an umbrella girl ₱120 or ₱180 and golf set rental ₱650 or ₱650 for 9 or 18 holes respectively.
There is a hotel on-site with rooms from ₱2250. The restaurant has a large, brick pizza oven and some other Italian dishes on the menu.
- 2 Ang Tay Golf Course, East Rovira Dr, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A 9-hole course close to downtown, before the airport.
Several of the resorts have swimming pools, but the public pool downtown is cheaper:
- Aqua Swimming pool Largest swimming pool in Dumaguete (Capital area) behind Freedom Park. ₱20 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 there were races in early April.
The Silliman University Library is not only one of the best in the Visayas with more than 100,000 volumes, it also provides a relatively quiet and air conditioned sanctuary from the perpetual hum and throb of the streets. It's not usually open to the public, but for a purely nominal fee and a courteous word with the librarian you might be admitted as an overseas visitor.
There is a public library on Colon Street, next to the fire station & near the post office.
Dumaguete has several international schools; as anywhere, these mainly teach the children of expatriate residents and they tend to be of good quality but quite expensive.
- ONE International School (Oriental Negros International School), National Highway, South of the city, ☎ . Ages 1 to 9, British curriculum plus Tagalog and Visayan
- Royal Oaks International School, E J Blanco Drive, Piapi Barangay, ☎ .
- Negros Oriental Montessori International School, National Highway (near airport), ☎ .
- Negros Oriental Montessori International School, Jose Romero Rd (on road to Valencia), ☎ .
- Divine Grace International Christian School, National Highway, Bacong, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city also has dozens of other primary and secondary schools; Wikipedia has a list. There are also 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.
- 1 Cang's Department Store, East Rovira Dr. M-Sa 09:00-19:30, Su 10:00-19:30. Moderate 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 ₱6 each make good value and lightweight souvenirs if you are flying from nearby Dumaguete airport.
- 2 Cang's downtown, San Jose, corner of Maria Christina. Newer and smaller second location, with no cafe.
- 3 Lee Plaza & Supermarket, Perdices St (near the middle of the town's main commercial street). 09:00-20:00. Main department store in the city centre with a large supermarket in the basement; accepts Visa, JCB and MasterCard.
- 4 Robinson's (in the same block of Perdices Street as Lee Plaza but on the opposite side of the road). 08:00-21:00. Department store with a supermarket.
- 5 AAC Tech, RHD Building, Ma. Cristina St, ☎ . Computers, Apple products from laptops to i-Pods, other gadgets.
- Unitop Department Store, Percides Street Cor Locsin street (Park bldg.), ☎ . 09:00-20:00.
On the boulevard, Why Not? and Bogarts have imported (mainly European) groceries, including some things you cannot find elsewhere. Prices tend to be high but are sometimes better than in the imported foods section of a supermarket.
- 6 Lee Plaza Hypermart, Valencia Rd. 09:00-19:00. One large store, plus a food court.
- 7 Robinson's Place Mall, Dumaguete Business Park. This is a large, air-conditioned suburban mall. Expensive, but there is no surcharge for Visa or MasterCards in its supermarket, although none of the chain eateries take plastic.
- 8 Silliman Farm (North of the campus, toward the airport), e-mail: email@example.com. A 24-hectare (60-acre) farm run by the university's College of Agriculture. High-quality milk and eggs, sometimes other products including turkeys.
- 9 Citi Mall, Dumaguete North Road (On the highway, just before the airport). 09:00-21:00. Has a Savemore supermarket. Watsons, Ace hardware, and many fast food outlets. Coffee shop.
If you want a lot of stuff, for example if you are setting up housekeeping, then the Hypermart may be preferable to Robinson's Place. Robinson's have four separate stores in their mall — supermarket, department store, TV & appliances, and other hardware — with separate delivery systems for each, and they refuse to combine purchases from multiple stores into one delivery. At the Hypermart you can get groceries, appliances, bedding and furniture in one store, and get them all delivered in one load.
There 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.
- 10 Dumaguete market. Around this market is the best place in town to look for small services: key cutting, shoe or bicycle repair, tailors, manicure.
- 11 Valencia market. Has several restaurants.
- 12 Sibulan market.
- 13 Bacong market.
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.
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.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
Most 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. All also have soft drinks around ₱10, and most have juices. Except for the buffet, none serve alcohol.
- 1 Chow King (on Perdices, diagonally opposite Lee Plaza). A 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, ₱99.
- Filomena Cafe (two locations: see Bethel Guest House listing under #Sleep, and Cang's under #Buy). A 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 weekend evenings for ₱200. Both 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.
- 2 Food Net, corner of Noblefranca & Santa Catalina (a block inland from the boulevard). Food Net are a chain with several locations around town; they have Filipino food, moderate prices and a largely student crowd. A basic meal — meat dish, veggie dish, rice, soft drink — is about ₱90.
- 3 Food Net, Hibbard Ave (across the street from the Coco Grande hotel).
- 4 Food Net, South end of Perdices (close to bus station).
- 5 Gyro Monsters. M-Sa 10:00 to 21:00. Cheap and tasty "shawarma"; the best seller is beef or chicken shawarma wrapped in pita at ₱30, or 35 with cheese. The most expensive thing on the menu is shawarma rice for ₱50; 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 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).
- 6 Lindai's Buffet, Noblefranca St (just off Perdices). All-you-can-eat buffet of Filipino food. ₱199.
- 7 Scooby's, San Jose St (a bit east of Lee Plaza). Scooby's is a chain with various locations around town. Their brewed coffee at ₱35 is better than most coffee offered on Rizal Boulevard at ₱40-120. They also have all the usual variations on espresso, several types of herbal tea, a range of mostly western-style baked goods, and moderately-priced mostly Filipino hot foods. The meatballs (₱21 each) are tasty. Their spaghetti is appalling; order the lasagna here (₱55) or go to Filomena for a much better cheap (₱45) spaghetti. For excellent pasta at prices around ₱195, try Bogart's or Pasta King. There is a seniors' discount if you have a Philippine senior ID. ACR card not accepted.
- 8 Scooby's, Silliman Ave (In the university's Portal West building). Another location.
- Albertos Pizza, Real Street, ☎ . 09:00-23:00. Free home delivery. from ₱75.
There are also two small cheap burger places on the Boulevard, next to Bogart's. See #Along the boulevard.
A 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 ₱150-350 range, though an imported steak can be up to ₱1200. 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 (₱50-60) and many serve good milkshakes (₱60-110). Tea, juices, wine and mixed drinks are also on offer in many places.
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:
- 9 Blue Monkey Grill (corner of Rizal and Silliman). A large place with outdoor tables (not all with shelter if it rains) serving beverages and barbecue to a mostly Filipino crowd. The satay-like pork BBQ sticks are great. Live music on weekends.
- A three-storey building that until recently held an insurance company's offices is being renovated to become The Brick Hotel. As of March 2018 it has been gutted (even the window frames are gone) and there is a sign advertising for hotel staff, but it looks far from completion.
- 10 Bo's Coffee (inside an office building, on the ground floor). A chain with several locations in Dumaguete. Coffee & baked goods.
- La Residencia Almar. (listed under #Sleep) has two restaurants, one Spanish and one Japanese, both upmarket.
- Coco Amigos has closed; as of early 2018 part of the large building they occupied is for rent and some of the rest is being renovated to house Tom 'n Tom's Coffee.
- Duma Seafood Restaurant (on the second floor, above Tom 'n Tom's). Large. Popular with Asian tourists.
- Hamburg joints. Two 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 a less than a quarter the price. The waitress who brings you the expensive burger elsewhere quite likely eats here on her breaks. ₱25-40.
- 11 Bogart's Bar, 48 Rizal Blvd, ☎ . M-Sa 08:00-02:00, Su 16:00-02:00. Small and plain compared to other places, with no a/c but many fans. Owners are an Austrian/Filipina couple, and the menu is mostly European. There are many expatriate customers, including a lot of German speakers and Scandinavians. Food is excellent and they have some good European beers as well as the usual Filipino fare. Their milkshakes are OK, but the calamansi juice is worth trying instead; this is a local fruit similar to a lime.
- 12 Sans Rival. One 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 shop. Offers baked goods (surprise!), drinks and some pasta and salad dishes.
- Sans Rival Bistro. The bistro offers a broader range including a half dozen breakfast options at ₱200-odd.
- 13 Chin Loong (Rizal Boulevard), ☎ . Good Chinese (Cantonese) food, with reasonable service and prices
- 14 Casablanca (Rizal Boulevard), ☎ . open for breakfast at 06:30. European food, elegant décor, and a good wine list. There are several breakfast options; the American breakfast at ₱275 includes unlimited coffee, juice, two eggs, bacon, bread, and some fried tomatoes and onions.
- 7-Eleven. Chain convenience store with a few tables; the best-selling item is a large soft ice cream cone for ₱15. 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.
- 15 Paseo Perdices. A 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.
- Yellow Cab Pizza (Lower level), ☎ . Part of a chain. Delivery available; they use yellow scooters.
- Max's Restaurant (Lower level), ☎ . Part of a chain. Their specialty is fried chicken. Breakfast from 07:30.
- Infini Tea (Upper level), ☎ . Their specialty is milk tea.
- Gabby's Bistro (Upper level). Second location; the first one is an in-house restaurant at Hotel Florentina.
- Thai Massage (Upper level).
- 16 Why Not? (70 Rizal Boulevard). One-stop shopping? Restaurant, deli, disco, karaoke, cyber cafe, billiard room, and travel agent under one roof.
- Le Chalet (Part of Why Not?). Salads, 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, ₱331.
- Chiccos Deli (Part of Why Not?). open until 01:00 weekends. Selling meats, wines, cheese & chocolate, with many imported European items. The patio in front offers the same menu as Le Chalet, but most customers just come for coffee or beer.
- Why Not? disco. A popular place for male travellers looking to meet local women. Attitudes to the place among resident foreigners vary widely; many 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 a few professional prostitutes and many lasses who will do no more than dance and flirt. However most of the women here are students or badly paid workers who are quite likely to come to bed but will expect it to pay off in some way, either acquiring a prosperous boyfriend or just having a one-night-stand give them money in the morning.
- 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.
- 17 Allegre. A small place offering tapas.
- 18 La Bella. Another place for Italian food, more expensive than others in town with pasta dishes around ₱250. They do offer a student discount with ID.
- Blue Monkey (behind La Bella). Filipino food and live music. Acoustic evenings Tuesday & Friday.
Other downtown places
There 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).
- 19 Mooon Cafe (The 3rd 'o' in the name is deliberate), Silliman Ave (just off the boulevard). Part 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 ₱50, burrito ₱100, pizza from ₱165, small but good steak ₱300. There is a small patio, but no sea view; instead you can look at Silliman Hall. Senior's discount 20% & an ACR card is acceptable ID.
- El Amigo (next door to Mooon). Live jazz on weekends
- 20 Jo's Chicken Inato, Silliman Ave (Just tell the driver that you want to eat at Jo's.). Part of a large 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.
- 21 Poppy Coffee and Cupcakes (corner of Silliman and Hibbard, facing Hibbard). In 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.
- 22 Harbour City Dim Sum (across the street from Portal West). Many types of dim sum, plus various soups and rice or noodle dishes. ₱40-90 per dish.
Along Santa Catalina:
- 23 Cafe Antonio, Santa Catalina (2nd floor, Spanish Heritage Building, entrance on Santa C). Fantastic 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!
- 24 Mediterranean Food. 09:00-22:00. Turkish kebabs and donair. They have distinctly unexciting hamburgs for ₱30. most dishes ₱80-140.
- 25 Mafioso, Santa Catalina. Another Italian place, cheaper than Pasta King or La Bella with pasta dishes are around ₱140.
- 26 Mifune, Santa Catalina, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Japanese restaurant. All-you-can eat buffet ₱333, Tu & Sa evenings.
- 27 MELs Cafe, 2nd Floor UTH Bldg, Sta Catalina St., near Cnr Locsin St, ☎ . This 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. ₱30-100.
- 28 Pasta King, Santa Catalina, corner of Locsin, ☎ . M-Sa 11:00-21:00, Su 16:00-21:00. Pizza and many pasta dishes, done very well. Pasta around ₱200.
- 29 Fish153 (on street running inland from ferry terminal). Korean restaurant and grocery store. Neighborhood has a few other restaurants and some guesthouses.
- 30 Panda Ice Cream House, Ma. Cristina St, ☎ . Locally-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.
Perdices Street has several chain restaurants; Jollibee's and McDonald's have two each, and Dunkin Donuts and Chow King one. Fruit is available in the supermarkets, from fruit shops, or from street vendors, and there are many bakeries; Lee Plaza and Robinson's each have one and there are several more along the street.
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:
- 31 Flip-Flops Restobar, Jose Romero Road (near Lee Hypermart). A popular hangout for local expats. Large shaded patio, big TV with sports, live band Thursday, Friday, Saturday.. Open mic on Tuesdays, acoustic performances or karaoke other nights.
- 32 Happy Jack's Restobar, Banilad Barangay (1.5km South of Robinsons Mall), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 11:00-22:00. Restobar 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.
- 33 Lord Byron's, 2331 South Road, Calindagan Brgy (South of Robinson Place, on the left). 10:30-14:30, 16:30-22:00. Ribs are the specialty; quality is good & servings large. Local expats rate the burgers the best in town.
Robinson's mall has many chain restaurants including Shakey's Pizza, Mister Donut, Krispy Kreme and KFC inside the mall. A courtyard at the east of the mall has several more, including Bo's Coffee and Mooon Cafe. A food court at the north end of the second floor has many places, mostly with Filipino food.
North of the center
The area on the coast north of town, around Flores and Blanco, is developing rapidly. The road 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:
- 34 Hayahay Bar, Flores Ave (Escao Beach), ☎ . Large 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.
- 35 Lantaw (Corner of Flores and EJ Blanco). A 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 for a foreign man taking a Filipina out to dinner; she will probably both like the food and be impressed by the decor.
- 36 Cafe Racer, E J Blanco Road (next to Lantaw). A 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.
Families with kids may appreciate either Racer or Lantaw. Between the two is a small playground with swings, slides and a grassy area to run around on; kids can reach it without either going on a road or being out of the parents' sight.
West of Racer is a rather plain but good Korean BBQ stand which might be the cheapest place to eat in the area. Then there is a large Italian place with nice decor and unremarkable food.
Elsewhere north of downtown are:
- 37 Tarbush (corner of EJ Blanco & Hibbard). Two Lebanese brothers running a small place for middle eastern food. Good shawarma & juices.
- 38 JamRock Cafe (on EJ Blanco, east of Hibbard). good Jamaican food
Valencia has a large market near the center of town with bakeries, fruit vendors, several restaurants with Filipino food, and two pizza places. On the streets on the south and west sides of the market are many restaurants including some places quite popular with the town's large expatriate community:
- 39 Ayla's Breakfast Restaurant (Red tables). A 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 ₱35. Owners are an American-Filipina couple; bottles of his hot sauce are available.
- Tacos (right next to Ayla's). A tiny stand with a few tables and good Mexican food, run by Americans.
- 40 Spice (above 7-Eleven). closed on Sundays. Run by a Filipino chef who trained in Thailand. If you like spicy food, there are both Thai and Indian dishes. If not, various Filipino or Western choices are available.
Competition 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 Cafe Antonio, Casablanca, La Residencia Almar, Lantaw or Why Not?
Tourists and resident expatriates do much of their imbibing in the strip of restaurants and bars along Rizal Boulevard; those are listed under #Along the boulevard above. There are also a number of other restaurants, plus some discos and karaoke places, just inland from there.
Some bars outside that central region, but within a few minutes pedicab ride, are:
- 1 Gmik Bar, Dr V Locsin St (in Daro).
- 2 Kamalig (E side of Hibbard, N of EJ Blanco). A large semi-outdoor (covered patio) place with live music, Filipino BBQ and some other food, and beverages.
When ordering a rum & coke in Dumaguete, a double usually costs less than a single; Philippine rum is cheaper than the mixer. Some places offer a triple for even less.
For those who enjoy karaoke, there is a KTV place above Moon 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 go-go bars outside city limits (technically in Sibulan) along the North Highway beyond the airport, but nothing so obvious in town.
Dumaguete is a tourist town with a large number of hotels, not all listed here. Walk down almost any street near the center of town and you are bound to find several.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
- White Kinghts Inn Main, Dr E Meciano Road., ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. A/C double with queen size bed good for 2 with cable TV and free Wifi. Newest hotel in Dumaguete as of June 2017. M-Th from ₱400. F-Su from ₱500.
- 1 Avenue Park Hotel, Perdices St (beside Crown Pharmacy.), ☎ . Fan 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. ₱275/395/450/550.
- 2 Harold's Mansion, Hibbard Ave, ☎ . Popular "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. ₱350 and up; bed in dormitory: ₱250.
- 3 Negros Lodging House (Opposite the Robinsons Mall), ☎ . In particular, the single rooms with fan are quite cheap for Dumaguete. Single ₱130 (shared WC, fan), double ₱300 (own WC, fan), twin ₱350 (own WC, fan).
- 4 Piapi Beach (Flores Ave) (along the coast, north of downtown). A beach area with several budget places
- Coastal Inn, Flores Ave (Piapi beach), ☎ . Double en suite ₱430, ₱550 with air-con.
- Crisfils Lodge, Flores Ave (Piapi beach), ☎ . All rooms have TV. Double ₱200 (shared WC, fan), ₱350 (shared WC, air-con), 425 (private WC, air-con).
- 5 RM Guesthouse, 2F RM Building, North National Highway corner East Rovira Road, Bantayan, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Wi-Fi available. ₱550-1000; dorm bed ₱175-400.
- 6 Vintage Inn, Legaspi Street (right by the main market), ☎ , . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. A decent budget option in the center of town. Has fan and AC single/double rooms all rooms have own bathroom. Free Wifi. Fan room from ₱400.
- 7 Worldview Pension Plaza, Perdices St, ☎ . AC single room with hot water bathroom and cable TV. ₱650.
- Moriah Pension Inn, Molave Street Daro Dumaguete, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. AC double room with own hot water bathroom. Cable TV. Free Wifi. Has a nice garden to sit in. Can buy breakfast. ₱550.
- OK Pension House, Santa Rosa Street, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. AC double room with own bathroom and cable TV. 550.
- J & J Hotelier, Flores Avenue Looc Dumaguete (Jebel Building), ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. AC double room with own bathroom and cable TV, free Wifi. From ₱650.
- Hotel Camila, Real Street, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. AC double room with own bathroom and cable TV. Free Wifi. From ₱599.
- Gabbys Bed and Breakfast, Cimafranca subdivision clay town daro, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. AC single room with own bathroom and cable TV free breakfast, free Wifi. from 499.
- New White Knights Inn two (cell phone +63 915 952 7594), 300 m from White Knights' main, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. A/C queen size bed good for two with shared bathroom all rooms have cable TV and dvd player. Free Wifi. M-Th from ₱400. F-Su from ₱500.
- Joraville Pension House, Valencia Drive, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. A/C double rooms with own bathroom and cable TV. ₱700.
- Dastraum Guest House, San Jose Extension. Check-out: 12:00. Fan single/double rooms with own bathroom and cable TV. Single: ₱350, double: ₱450.
- 8 Bethel Guest House, ☎ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Don'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. ₱850-4000.
- 9 Check Inn, Locsin St, ☎ . 50 air con spacious and clean rooms in this hotel. Cable TV, free Internet in rooms, laundry, restaurant. ₱850-1,800.
- 10 GoHotels Dumaguete, Calindagan corner South Road, Central Business District (just east of Robinson Mall), ☎ . Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 14:00. Local location of a national chain. Brand new budget hotel with 102 rooms (60 Queen, 42 Twin, some without windows) 16-22m², free Wi-Fi, Asian Gourmet & Cafe ₱888 & up.
- 11 Honeycomb Tourist Inn, 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. ₱800-1,500.
- 12 Hotel Nicanor, San Jose St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A/C, free Internet, hot & cold showers. From ₱1050.
- 13 Hotel Palwa, Dr. V. Locsin St, ☎ . Near international ATM.
- 14 Plaza Maria Luisa Suites Inn, Bishop Epifanio Surban St (on park square near Rizal Blvd), ☎ . Check-out: 12:00. 22 air-con rooms. Clean and modern interior, local breakfast, internet, money change single ₱800, double ₱950-1500.
At early 2017 exchange rates, even these upmarket places are cheap by Western standards.
- 15 Coco Grande, Hibbard Ave, ☎ . Rooms 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. From ₱1400.
- 16 La Residencia Almar, Rizal Blvd. Spanish-influenced style, very central. The building includes two upmarket restaurants, one Spanish and one Japanese. From ₱1350.
- Bravo Golf Course (Sibulan). (listed under #Do) has a hotel with rooms from ₱2200.
It 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 ₱1,200/month for a room in a house full of students; actual apartments range from roughly ₱6,000-30,000/month. Many of the resident foreigners have quite nice places in the ₱10,000-18,000 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.
- 17 DND Building, Perdices St (Above the Frozen Throne Internet cafe), ☎ . Good place for longer-term stay. Large rooms with a/c, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, fridge (but no cooking facilities), cold water shower. Rooms are on 2nd and 3rd floor and there is no elevator. From ₱800/day, ₱3,000/week, ₱10,000/month. For weekly or monthly stays, electricity bill is extra, about ₱800/month with moderate use of A/C.
- 18 Dumaguete Studio Apartments, Palinpinon Rd, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A/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.
Coco Amigos and Why Not? on the boulevard have notice boards with ads to rent or sell property, cars and motorcycles.
West of downtown there are several highland resorts mainly oriented to outdoor activities. These are located in a forested area and are reached via Taft Street which starts a bit north of downtown Valencia and runs west along a river.
- 19 Valencia Forest Camp, Taft Street, Valencia. Accommodation includes a backpacker dormitory, treehouses and nipa huts. Has two swimming pools. ₱90 per person for swimming.
- Tejero Highland Resort and Adventure Park, Taft Street, Valencia, ☎ . A development with ziplines, ATVs, Segways, slide, and natural pools, a ₱12 Jeepeny ride from downtown Dumaguete. swimming ₱60 per person.
- Harold's Eco-lodge. This place has the same owner as Harold's Mansion in downtown Dumaguete; you can book and arrange transport there. Dorm bed ₱250, rooms from ₱500.
South of the city is a coastline well provided with dive resorts, which we cover in the articles on the coastal towns. Listed north-to-south, those are:
- Either Dauin or Zamboanguita has boats to Apo Island which has some of the best diving in the region. Transport to the island, and accommodation there, can also be arranged through tour agencies or hotels in Dumaguete.
- Siaton - near the southern tip of the island, with the scenic Lake Balanan in the mountains inland of it and a harbor popular with people Cruising on small craft.
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:
Dumaguete is generally a safe city. There are enough beggars and touts to be annoying, but by Asian standards these problems are relatively mild. Police are quite visible, especially along Rizal Boulevard.
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.
Health risks in Dumaguete are not large but, as for most travel, it is worth checking with your doctor and possibly getting some vaccines before setting out. The area is tropical, so see also hot weather and tropical diseases.
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 may be a wise precaution. Most Watson's pharmacy locations, including the one at Robinson's Place and the one inside Lee Plaza downtown, offer the vaccine at ₱4000 each for the three shots.
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.
- 12 Dr. Myrine Garupa (dentist), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 08:00-18:00. A dentist many of the local expatriates use. Implants are expensive at ₱65,000 but most services are cheap by western standards. She does not offer procedures under general anesthesia.
Hospitals & clinics
- 13 Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital, ☎ . A public hospital (the others are privately run). It has the lowest costs, but sometimes the longest waiting times.
- 14 Silliman University Medical Center, ☎ . Where many of the local expatriates go.
- 15 Holy Child Hospital, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Next to the cathedral, very central.
- Social Hygiene Clinic, part of the city health office at the City Hall on Colon Street, offering free testing for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. The Central Visayas region ranks third in the country for the most cases of HIV.
- Generika Drug Stores. Noblefranca Street. phone 035-4210421 low cost drug store.
- Negros Grace Pharmacies. 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.
Internet service is generally very good; Dumaguete is one of the hubs of the fiber optic network that connects the country. Most hotels and many restaurants offer free Wi-Fi; connection speed is fine for text, photos and most graphics but music or video streaming is sometimes jerky.
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 located 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 ₱700 a month and ranges up to over ₱10,000. Most foreign residents opt for a package that includes cable TV and fast Internet for something in the ₱1400-2500 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.
- 16 Caltex Filling Station. 24/7. Accepts AmEx, JCB, UnionPay, VISA & MasterCards for both fuel and knicknacks in the air-conditioned mini-bar attached.
- 17 Bureau of Immigration Dumaguete Office, Door 8 Lu Paga Bldg 38 Dr V. Locsin St (A bit hard to find, down a long alley/hallway off to the right. There is a small sign near a large Huillier pawnshop sign.), ☎ . 08:00-17:00, but extension applications only accepted before 14:00. The Dumaguete office is small and sometimes overloaded because there are so many foreigners in town so service can be slow, at least in winter when demand is highest. As of November 2016, they accept extension applications only up to 14:00 Monday-Friday and you can usually pick up the passport after 14:00 on the next working day. The larger offices in Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Bacolod or Cagayan de Oro have shorter queues and can process an extension in an hour or two. The closest other office is in Tagbilaran on Bohol; we do not know how fast it is. ₱1930 for most extensions.
- 18 Negros Oriental provincial tourism headquarters, EJ Blanco Drive, Piapi, e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 08:00-17:00. Near the Sidiakan Negros handicraft outlet.
- 19 Post Office.
Smoking is not encouraged in Dumaguete; a municipal ordnance prohibits smoking in public places, including on the streets or indoors in restaurants, and most or all hotels prohibit smoking in the rooms. However, many restaurants have patios where smoking is allowed and some hotels provide a patio or balcony area where nicotine addicts can indulge.
- Lighters Galore (small stand, ground floor at Robinson's Place). A wide selection of lighters and cigarette cases, notably a range of electric lighters from around ₱250 up to ₱1800. 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 Avenue, Santa Catalina (above Mafioso restaurant, listed at #Other_downtown_places). Vaporizers, 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.