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. According to the Philippine government Dumaguete is the most popular destination in the country for retiring abroad, and Forbes magazine included it in a list of the seven best places to retire worldwide.
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. 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 (134,100 in 2020 census)
- Bacong, south along the coast (41,200)
- Valencia, on higher ground inland to the southwest (38,700)
- 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 (64,300)
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 this century; many people live in them but come into Dumaguete to work or shop, or for restaurants and nightlife.
Valencia is in a volcanic area, though the volcanoes are dormant. 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 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, 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. You could take a bus to Iloilo, ferry to Bacolod, then another bus to Dumaguete, but each bus ride would be about six hours.
- 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.
For ground transportation there is a sign on the terminal building stating fixed rates. As of mid-2020 cost to city center was ₱100 by tricycle, ₱300 by van. To return to the airport, tricycles will quote ₱100-150. Jeepneys go between the highway next to the airport and Dumaguete Public Market downtown for ₱8 either way, but you have to walk a few hundred meters from the terminal to the highway.
There is a plan to build a new and larger airport in Bacong, south of the city center; there are no international flights to Dumaguete now, but the new airport will handle larger planes and is expected to have many. President Marcos, elected in early 2022, has said it will be completed during his 6-year term. However, as of late 2022 construction has not started and neither any politician's promise nor any Philippine schedule should be considered entirely reliable.
- 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 7:30AM (arrives 11:10AM) and 2:20PM (arrives 7:20PM). Tourist Class: ₱900, Business Class: ₱1200.
- 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. larger than most other ferries. They have one Manila-Dumaguete departure a week leaving Manila Sunday evening, arriving Tuesday morning, and leaving Wednesday for the return voyage. 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.
- Cokaliong Shipping Lines. Daily from Cebu City (7 hours, ₱355 and up). They also sail from Dapitan on Mindanao Tu-Th & Sa at 4 PM and return the same days at 7AM. for Dapitan departs at 7AM. from ₱355.
- George and Peter Shipping. out of service
- Montenegro shipping lines. to and from Dapitan and Siquijor.
- Aleson Shipping Lines. Daily to and from Dapitan and Siquijor.
- Super Shuttle Ferry. Daily to and from Dapitan. ₱385.
- FastCat. Dumaguete to Dapitan. ₱520.
- Medallion Transport 5am daily Dumaguete to Dapitan.
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 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.
- 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 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 ₱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.
You can also take a non-air-conditioned Ceres bus from the Cebu south bus terminal to Liloan ferry terminal for ₱165, then get a ferry over to Sibulan ferry terminal for ₱48, then a jeepney to Dumaguete downtown market for ₱12. Total ₱225.
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 Occidental
There 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.
There are many trips a day. Fare for a non-air-conditioned bus is ₱300 each way. and for the air-conditioned bus is ₱377. Travel time is 6-7 hours.
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.
Ceres 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 on Panay, 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 ₱2500, 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 3 Samboan, on Cebu Island to 4 Looc, 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. ☏ (Globe network), ☏ (Smart network). 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 City, 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 City, 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 either have their own vehicles or take pedicabs which are easier to find and cheaper.
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 are cheap by foreign standards, usually easily found, and very convenient.
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. Fare is regulated at ₱9 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 ₱10, 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. Coming from the airport, there are flat rates posted on signs outside the terminal, ₱100 for downtown and ₱120 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 ₱150 or more 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 (around the corner from the bell tower).
- 6 Jeepneys to Sibulan (northwest corner of the market).
- 7 Jeepneys to San Jose (next to the park, just off Perdices).
- 8 Jeepneys to Valencia (southwest of the market). ₱12 per person, ₱10 for seniors.
- 9 Jeepneys Valencia-to-Dumaguete (next to the market). 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 or on the highway going north out of the city, 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.
- 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 late 19th century. On the east or ocean side of the hall is a bronze bust of Horace Silliman.
- 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 (on Silliman campus). A Protestant church 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 University Anthropology Museum, Rizal Boulevard (on Silliman campus). 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..
- 6 Silliman Zoo, near Silliman Medical Center (signs opposite Silliman medical centre). 9AM-4PM. 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:
- 7 Mt. Talinis (Southwest of the city in Valencia Municipality). The second-highest mountain in Negros Oriental at 1903 m, a dormant volcano, 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.
- 8 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.
- 9 Volcanic Road (On the way to the power station). Get up close and personal with some sulphur vents along the roadside
- 10 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.
The free public urban beach is Silliman Beach, just south of the airport (3 km north of downtown). While often crowded and usually littered, it has three advantages over many other beaches of Negros: the bottom is all sand without mud or rocks, it's deep enough so that the sea does not retreat far from the beach even at low tide, and mature trees provide a good amount of shade in the afternoon.
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 - 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), ☏ , email@example.com. Has its own dive boats
- SCUBA Ventures (At Harold's Mansion hotel), ☏ , 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 ₱15000 while 'walk-ins' pay ₱750 for 9 holes, ₱1250 for 18 holes M-Th rising to ₱1000 & ₱1500 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, ☏ , 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 and 2018 there were races in early April.
There are many small colleges and vocational schools, some English-teaching mainly for Chinese and Koreans, and four universities:
- 1 Silliman University (north end of the boulevard). 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.
- 2 Saint Paul University.
- 3 Foundation University.
- 4 Negros Oriental State University (NORSU). The main campus is in Dumaguete, and there are satellite campuses in other towns.
The Silliman University Library is one of the best in the Visayas with more than 100,000 volumes, and 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 in the cluster of municipal buildings on Colon Street, next to the fire station and near the post office, with free WiFi.
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 9AM-7:30PM, Su 10AM-7:30PM. 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 top 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). 9AM-8PM. Main 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. Food court on top floor.
- 4 Robinson's (in the same block of Perdices Street as Lee Plaza but on the opposite side of the road). 8AM-9PM. Supermarket, bakery (with seating & coffee) and drugstore on ground floor. Appliances and hardware store in basement.
- 5 AAC Tech, RHD Building, Ma. Cristina St, ☏ . Computers, Apple products from laptops to i-Pods, other gadgets.
- 6 Unitop Department Store, Percides Street Cor Locsin street (Park bldg.), ☏ . 9AM-8PM. Generally cheaper than Lee or Robinson, popular with locals.
- 7 YanYan Baking and Culinary, corner of Mabini St and Santa Rosa St (a few blocks south of Dumaguete Market). Primarily supplies bakers with all imaginable and unimaginable ingredients, but also carries an interesting selection of other hard-to-find groceries.
On the boulevard, Why Not? has 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.
- 8 Lee Plaza Hypermart, Valencia Rd. 9AM-7PM. One large store, plus a food court.
- 9 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.
- 10 Silliman Farm (north of the campus, toward the airport), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A 24-hectare (60-acre) farm run by the university's College of Agriculture. High-quality milk and eggs, sometimes other products including turkeys.
- 11 Citi Mall, Dumaguete North Road (On the highway, just before the airport). 9AM-9PM. 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, get them all delivered in one load, and pay only one delivery fee.
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 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.
- 12 Dumaguete market. Around this market is the best place in town to look for small services: key cutting, shoe or bicycle repair, tailors, manicure.
- 13 Valencia market. Has several restaurants.
- 14 Sibulan market.
- 15 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 the small family-owned X.I.Q. bookstore (which also 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 selection of romances and children's books. 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. Most also have soft drinks around ₱10, and some have tea, coffee or juices. None serve alcohol.
- Albertos Pizza, Real Street, ☏ . 9AM-11PM. Free home delivery. from ₱75.
- Bakery (basement of Lee Plaza). A range of espresso variants and baked goods, done well enough that the regulars include a group of European French speakers. One of very few places in town that sell bagels. Cheapest brewed coffee downtown at ₱36, though some people prefer Scooby's at ₱50 for larger cups and better chairs.
- 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 Friday evenings for ₱200. 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 cafeteria-style service, Filipino food, moderate prices and a largely student crowd. A basic meal — meat dish, veggie dish, rice, soft drink — is about ₱90.
- Next to Food Net on Noblefranca is a small stand with cheap Filipino food. Their deep-fried bananas (cut up, coated with batter and optionally with sugar) make a tasty cheap dessert at ₱10 a stick. Two sticks would be a light meal.
- 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 (a block east of Lee Plaza). M-Sa 10AM to 9PM. 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 slightly higher prices, walk a block north to Mediterranean Food (Turkish, listed at #Other downtown places) or go to Tarbush (Lebanese, #North of the center).
- 6 Scooby's, San Jose St (a bit east of Lee Plaza). 7:30AM-10PM. Scooby's is a chain with various locations around town. Their brewed coffee at ₱50 is both a larger serving and (at least for some tastes) better quality than most coffee offered on Rizal Boulevard at ₱70-120. 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. There is a seniors' discount if you have a Philippine senior ID. ACR card not accepted.
For Western tastes, most Filipino spaghetti sauces are appallingly sweet, and many will find the spaghetti here downright ghastly. Order the lasagna here (₱55) or go to Filomena for a much better cheap (₱45) spaghetti. For excellent pasta at considerably higher prices, try Mafioso or Pasta King.
- 7 Scooby's, Silliman Ave (In the university's Portal West building). 8AM-midnight. Another location.
- 8 Wah Crepe, Ever Mall, Perdices St (ground floor, back right hand corner). 9AM-6:30PM. A small stand selling coffee, crepes, waffles & fruit shakes. All are freshly made and good quality; plum crepes and avocado shakes are remarkable. Best buy is a combo, shake plus waffle. It is only one of a group of food stands, so ordering a shake here and getting food elsewhere is possible.
The place is popular with the town's resident foreigners; it gets more younger ones and fewer drunks than their other hangouts. ₱50-80 for most items.
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, and much of it is not worth the prices charged here; see #Budget above for alternatives. However the boulevard places 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. 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 the start of 2020, something is actively under construction on their former site.
- The Bricks Hotel has a restaurant and bar. ₱50 beer, smoking area out back.
- Kimstaurant. New in 2019, large, clean and modern. Korean food.
- 9 Tom 'n Tom's Coffee (ground floor). 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 Eat (on the second floor, above Tom 'n Tom's). Large, 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.
- 10 Bo's Coffee (inside an office building, on the ground floor). A national chain with several locations in Dumaguete, serving mainly coffee & baked goods. Prices are high by local standards.
- La Residencia Almar. (listed under #Sleep) has three upmarket restaurants. All are somewhat expensive, and all have some customers who consider them worth it. There is also a moderately priced burger bar.
- Don Atilano (La Residencia Almar). Spanish decor & menu, steaks a specialty. All-you-can eat lunch buffet Friday & Saturday, ₱339.
- Wakagi (La Residencia Almar). Japanese food.
- The Filipino (La Residencia Almar). Filipino food.
- Das Bürgery (La Residencia Almar). Small, 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. burgers ₱80-230, fries ₱50-160, drinks ₱45.
- Hamburg joints. Two small cheap places with mostly Filipino customers, 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 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 GameOn Sportsbar, 48 Rizal Blvd. Small and plain compared to other places, with no a/c but many fans, big-screen TVs for sports, sometimes live music.
- Japanese place (down a hallway beside Bogart's). Nice decor, sake and other Japanese drinks.
- 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. All-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on Sunday 7:30-10AM for ₱285.
- 13 Chin Loong (Rizal Boulevard), ☏ . Good Chinese (Cantonese) food, with reasonable service and prices. Large covered patio.
- 14 Casablanca (Rizal Boulevard), ☏ . open for breakfast at 6:30AM. European food, elegant décor, and a good wine list. Their patio is above street level and has a wall, so customers here are not bothered by beggars or street vendors as often as at other establishments.
There are several breakfast options starting at ₱230, all including unlimited coffee and a glass of juice. The American breakfast at ₱295 is bacon, two eggs, bread, and some fried tomatoes and onions.
The Austrian owner/chef sold the place to Filipinos in 2021 and some say it has gone downhill since than.
- 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 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 7:30AM.
- 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. Beer here is sometimes among the cheapest in town, at ₱42 in the restaurants in the afternoon, but higher at other times and ₱90 at the disco.
- 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 1AM weekends. Selling 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? disco (Part of Why Not?). 9PM until wee hours. A 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, and some are forbidden to do so by their wives or girlfriends, 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 ₱10000 (~US$200) a month, so to them nearly all foreign men seem rich.
- Honeycomb Tourist Inn. (listed under #Sleep) has a restaurant with a large patio area out front, with live music most evenings. Around the side is a small Japanese restaurant, and inside the building a disco and a sports bar.
- 17 Allegre. A large restaurant offering mainly Italian and Filipino dishes. Highest prices in town for pasta.
Pool table downstairs, table is in better shape than at the one at Why Not? and there are usually fewer players competing for it.
- Bethel Guest House (listed under #Sleep) has Filomena Cafe (listed under #Budget).
- Starbucks. Another place for coffee and baked goods at prices that are high by local standards.
- 18 Gerry's Bar and Grill. A fine old house renovated in 2018 to become a large restaurant. Part of a large chain with reasonable quality but some unreasonable prices.
Parents bringing kids to the boulevard fairly often get them either hot dogs at the cheap burger places or ice cream cones at 7-Eleven.
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 competently. Good soups ₱59, burrito ₱139 (quite good, provided you tell them not to put lettuce in it!), pizza from ₱165, small but good steak ₱300. The best-buy drink is bottomless iced tea at ₱58. 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 may need the Philippines senior's ID to claim it; sometimes they will take an ACR card, but not always.
- El Amigo (next door to Mooon). Live jazz on weekends
- Captain Ribber's (next door to El Amigo). The specialty is ribs, but they have a range of other dishes.
- 20 Jo's Chicken Inato, Silliman Ave. Part 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.
- 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 (Silliman Avenue, across 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. 9AM-10PM. Good Turkish kebabs and donair. They have distinctly unexciting hamburgs for ₱30. most dishes ₱80-140.
- 25 Mifune, Santa Catalina, ☏ , email@example.com. Japanese restaurant. All-you-can eat buffet ₱333, Tu & Sa evenings.
- 26 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.
- 27 Pasta King, Santa Catalina, corner of Locsin, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 4-9PM. Pizza and many pasta dishes, done very well. Pasta in two serving sizes, around ₱179 or 319. The small one will be enough for most people, perhaps with a soup or salad if you are quite hungry.
- 28 Roti Boss, Santa Catalina (near southeast corner of the park). Indian 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. ₱50-150.
- 29 Halang Halang (on San Juan, corner of Santa Catalina, behind Bo's Coffee). Excellent Sichuan food, authentic so much of it is very spicy.
- 30 Fish153 (on street running inland from ferry terminal). Korean restaurant and grocery store. Neighborhood has a few other restaurants and some guesthouses.
- 31 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 each have two, while Dunkin Donuts, Chow King, Greenwich Pizza and Mang Inasal (Filipino BBQ chicken) each have one. Fruit is available in the supermarkets, from fruit shops, or from street vendors. There are many bakeries; Lee Plaza has two (one listed at #Budget and another on the ground floor), Robinson's has 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. Many of these are popular with local expats.
- 32 Flip-Flops Restobar, Jose Romero Road (a bit east of Lee Hypermart). Large shaded patio, big TV with sports, live band Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Open mic on Tuesdays, acoustic performances or karaoke other nights.
- 33 Happy Jack's Restobar, Banilad Barangay (1.5 km south of Robinsons Mall), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 11AM-10PM. Restobar serving cold drinks and both Asian and Western food. Full meals plus a mix and match bar snack menu. Billiard and poker tables plus live music on a couple of nights.
- 34 [dead link] Katz Restobar, ☏ . 7:30AM-9PM. Pool table, darts, sometimes live music.
- 35 Octagon Sports Bar (South Highway, Bacong), ☏ . Big-screen TV mostly showing sports. Live music and ₱250 all-you-can-eat BBQ on weekend evenings.
- Pastry Dream, Colon Street, Brgy. Bagacay (Beside Hypermart), ☏ . 9am-7pm. Offers wide a variety of European pastry, like eclairs, fruit tarts and French macarons. They also have refreshments and coffee.
Lobos Sports Bar is located on the Diversion Road near the intersection with the Western Nautical Highway. Showing sports from around the world with ice cold beer and great food. 2 billiards tables, 3 dart boards, 1 shuffle board, and 1 set of corn hole. The waitresses and staff are friendly and they are ready to serve.
Robinson's mall has many chain restaurants including Shakey's Pizza, Jollibee, Mister Donut, Krispy Kreme, Mang Inasal 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 Where EJ Blanco reaches the coast north of town is developing rapidly. Flores Avenue along the coast has been widened, there is a large upmarket condo/mall project (#Marina Spatial) at the Flores/EJ Blanco intersection, and there are many restaurants in the area:
- 37 Hayahay Bar, Flores Ave (Escao Beach), ☏ . Large and popular. Often has live music, reggae every Wednesday. There are several separate places selling food within the complex; one has good pizza and another offers fine Jamaican food.
- There is a small stand with Filipino-style barbecue chicken between Hayahay and Lantaw.
- 38 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 to take a Filipina out to dinner; she will probably both like the food and be impressed by the decor.
- 39 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 an 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.
- Low & Slow, EJ Blanco (just west of Racer). A fairly large place with nice decor, offering both American and Filipino styles of barbecue. Prices are reasonable. BBQ is good, burgers decent but nothing special. Margueritas are awful; have a milkshake or ₱50 beer.
Elsewhere north of downtown are:
- 40 Tarbush (corner of EJ Blanco & Hibbard). Two Lebanese brothers running a small place for middle eastern food. Good shawarma & juices.
- 41 Cafe Mafioso (Plaza Escano, along the beach north of EJ Blanco). Another Italian place, good quality and cheaper than most of the others, with pasta dishes around ₱140.
Valencia has a 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; along the north side of the market is (mostly used) clothing at good prices, while to the west is a park with vendors of interesting food including European sausage-in-a-bun and good cheap (₱10 for a small loaf) French bread. Delicious Spanish Omelettes and Croquetas and a fantastic Greek Yoghurt are also available around the kiosk area of the Sunday Market.
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:
- 42 Ayla's Breakfast Restaurant (Red tables) (west of market). 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 ₱40.
- Pacos (right next to Ayla's). A tiny stand with a few tables and good Mexican food, owned by Americans. Ayla's will not complain if you sit at one of their tables and buy beer from them but get food from Paco's.
- 43 La Cocina by Beth (south of market, above 7-Eleven), ☏ . closed on Monday. Run by a Filipino chef who trained in Mexico . If you like flavorful food, there are Mexican dishes. Cold drinks and margaritas, fresh lemonades, the only air conditioned restaurant in the town with a perfect view.
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 Casablanca, La Residencia Almar, or Lantaw.
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.
- 3 Tiki Bar. A large place with a patio and often live music.
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 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.
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:|
- 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. single ₱400 and up; bed in dormitory: ₱300.
- 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
- J & J Hotellier, Flores Ave (Piapi beach), ☏ . free Wifi. single en suite ₱600 with air-con but no window. Has cable TV.
- 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, ☏ , (mobile), email@example.com. Wi-Fi available. ₱550-1000; dorm bed ₱175-400.
- 6 Vintage Inn, Legaspi Street (right by the main market), ☏ , . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. 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 ₱500.
- 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: noon, check-out: noon. AC double room with own hot water bathroom. Cable TV. Free Wi-fi. Has a nice garden to sit in. Can buy breakfast. ₱550.
- OK Pension House, Santa Rosa Street, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. AC double room with own bathroom and cable TV. 550.
- Hotel Camila, Real Street, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. AC double room with own bathroom and cable TV. Free Wi-fi. From ₱599.
- Gabbys Bed and Breakfast, Cimafranca subdivision clay town daro, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. AC single room with own bathroom and cable TV free breakfast, free Wi-fi. from ₱499.
- White Knights Inn Main, Dr E Meciano Road., ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. A/C double with queen size bed good for 2 with cable TV and free Wifi. M-Th from ₱400. F-Su from ₱500.
- New White Knights Inn two (cell phone +63 915 952 7594), 300 m from White Knights' main, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. A/C queen size bed good for two with shared bathroom all rooms have cable TV and dvd player. Free Wi-fi. M-Th from ₱400, F-Su from ₱500.
- Joraville Pension House, Valencia Drive, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. A/C double rooms with own bathroom and cable TV. ₱700.
- Dastraum Guest House, San Jose Extension. Check-out: noon. Fan single/double rooms with own bathroom and cable TV. Single: ₱350, double: ₱450.
- 8 Bethel Guest House, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. 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. ₱850-1800.
- 10 GoHotels Dumaguete, Calindagan corner South Road, Central Business District (just east of Robinson Mall), ☏ . Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 2PM. Local 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 ₱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. ₱800-1500.
- 12 Hotel Nicanor, San Jose St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: noon. 22 air-con rooms. Clean and modern interior, local breakfast, internet, money change single ₱800, double ₱950-1500.
At early 2023 exchange rates ₱2000 is a bit under $40 US, so even these upmarket places are cheap by Western standards.
- 15 The Bricks Hotel, Rizal Boulevard, ☏ . Opened in 2018 in a renovated building. from ₱2000.
- 16 Coco Grande, Hibbard Ave, ☏ . Rooms are nice, all with fridge, Wi-Fi and shower. Price includes Western or Filipino breakfast, OK but by no means great.
The same company have a beach/diving resort called Coco Grove on the nearby island of Siquijor, and the Apo Island Beach Resort on Apo Island. They have several vans for moving customers around, mainly between those. From ₱1400.
- 17 La Residencia Almar, Rizal Blvd. Spanish-influenced style, very central. The building includes three upmarket restaurants (one Spanish, one Filipino and one Japanese) and a moderately-priced burger bar. From ₱1350.
- Bravo Golf Course (Sibulan). (listed under #Do) has a hotel with rooms from ₱2200.
- 18 Loly's Place, Rovira Road, Purok Bantayan (across from Florentina Hotel/Gabby's Bistro, next to the Mormon Church), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 4 pm, check-out: 11 am. Built on two floors with all modern-day amenities. It has four spacious bedrooms each with a private balcony, a large living room, a modern gourmet kitchen, ample parking, and an outside garden. Amenities include free high-speed WiFi, TV, Netflix, hot/cold shower, air conditioning, and utilities. The home can accommodate 8 guests. Other services can be arranged such as airport transfer, on-site chef, restaurant recommendation, grocery pickup, rental transportation, laundry service, and child care. ₱1,500 (Private Room + shared CR) ₱2,200 (Private Suite) ₱3,500 (Private Suite+Kitchen).
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 ₱1200/month for a room in a house full of students; unfurnished studio apartments start around ₱6000/month. Most of the resident foreigners have nice places in the ₱10,000-40,000 range, and many of those are furnished, but finding vacancies for such places may be difficult and you need to sign at least a six-month lease for most of them.
- 19 DND Suites, Perdices St (Above the Frozen Throne Internet cafe), ☏ . Good hotel for longer-term stay, central location. Large rooms with a/c, cable TV (not many channels), free Wi-Fi, fridge (but no cooking facilities), bathroom and shower (with hot water in some rooms, not in others). Rooms are on 2nd and 3rd floor and there is no elevator. No laundry facilities but nearby Silliman Road has both a do-it-yourself laundromat and a do-it-for-you laundry place.
Weekly & monthly rates are not always available; when it is busy they will rent only by the day. For weekly or monthly stays, electricity bill is extra. ₱800/day, ₱3000/week, ₱10000/month.
- 20 Dumaguete Studio Apartments, Palinpinon Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Furnished, with 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. Rent includes fast Internet and a motorcycle. ₱24000-30600 a month.
- 21 Hermogina (just off the highway, south of Robinson Mall), ☏ . Apartments from studio to three bedroom. Fully furnished, free wired Internet, in a walled compound with security guards and parking. They have a second location further from the city, to the south, with only studio units. ₱10000 to ₱30000.
- 22 Villa Prescilla, E.J. Blanco Extension, Daro, ☏ , email@example.com. Furnished apartments, owned & run by a Swedish/Filipina couple. Rent includes Internet connection, cable TV, and access to laundry area and swimming pool. There is a small eatery next to the pool. from ₱15000 a month.
- 23 Dumaguete Springs Apartments (across the road from Hypermarket), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Swimming pool plus access to the beach at the company's resort in Bacong. High-speed Internet available for 1400/month. daily ₱1900 1 bedroom, 2600 for 2. Monthly ₱24,400-31,600.
- Andy's Private Garden, Noreco Road, Mangnao (Turn towards the sea at the Shell Gas Station, go to the end of the road, right side with red gate.), ☏ , email@example.com. On the beach. All rooms studio type with queen size beds, stove, fridge, aircon, hot water shower, wifi, cable TV. Water included, and electric up to 2000 pesos per month. All rooms have their own electric meters. Kids two years plus accepted, pets possibly depending on size. Has a resto/bar with a fairly simple menu, Western and Filipino food. Great expat breakfasts. ₱12,000 per month.
A foreigner cannot legally own land in the Philippines, but they can buy a condo in their own name. It is common to buy land in the name of a Filipina wife or girlfriend, and that often works well, but a condo is safer.
- 24 Marina Spatial (Flores Boulevard, near EJ Blanco). A condo development with units from 20 to 64 sq m (220 to 740 sq ft) at prices from 1.94 to 6.29 million pesos.
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. Why Not? on the boulevard and Red Tables in Valencia have notice boards with ads to rent or sell property, cars and motorcycles. The Facebook group Dumaguete Marketplace often lists apartments for rent.
West 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.
- 25 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:
Beyond those is 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.
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 only occasionally 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 and bats, so rabies vaccine may be a good idea. It takes three shots spaced over a month; cost in the Philippines is ₱2000-3000 per shot.
- 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.
- 12 Dr. Myrine Garupa (dentist), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 8AM-6PM. A dentist many of the local expatriates use. Implants are expensive at ₱65000 but most services are cheap by western standards. She does not offer procedures under general anesthesia.
Hospitals & clinics
The city has five hospitals:
- 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, ☏ , email@example.com. Next to the cathedral, very central. It has a large eye clinic with a good reputation.
- 16 ACE Dumaguete Doctors Hospital, Claytown Road, ☏ . Some expatriates have bought shares in the company. According to them the investment gives a reasonable return, and it gets you a discount on many services.
- 17 Negros Polymedic Hospital (Sibulan, on highway from Dumaguete). Newest hospital; they opened in early 2021, but as of March 2022 they are still recruiting more staff. 100 beds.
The Social Hygiene Clinic, part of the city health office at the City Hall on Colon Street, offers free testing for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. The Central Visayas region ranks third in the country for the most cases of HIV.
- The Generics Pharmacy (TGP), Door No. 4 GF Forex Bldg No. 46 San Jose Street (across the street from the side door of Lee Plaza). A national chain with several branches in Dumaguete.
- Generika Drug Stores, Noblefranca Street, ☏ .
- 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 around the corner of Perdices and Silliman to catch the student trade; one of the largest and most popular is Frozen Throne a half-block south on Perdices.
If you rent or buy a place, home Internet service starts around ₱700 a month and ranges up to over ₱10000. 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.
Dumaguete has frequent (once every few weeks) "brownouts", the local term for a complete shutdown of electrical power; these are nearly all planned shutdowns announced in advance by the power company, and are usually several hours on a Sunday. Locals often cope with them by having a day out at a resort in some nearby area, most commonly Dauin to the south or Amlan to the north. Valencia may also be an alternative, and has a Sunday market, but some Dumaguete brownouts include Valencia.
- 18 Caltex Filling Station. 24/7. Accepts AmEx, JCB, UnionPay, Visa & MasterCards for fuel and knicknacks in the air-conditioned mini-bar attached.
- 19 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), ☏ . 8AM-5PM. The 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. from ₱2930 per two month extension.
- 20 Negros Oriental provincial tourism headquarters, EJ Blanco Drive, Piapi, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 8AM-5PM. Near the Sidiakan Negros handicraft outlet.
- 21 Post Office.
- Buglas Isla Co-working (above Allegre restaurant on the boulevard). Space and services for digital nomad workers.
Smoking is not encouraged in Dumaguete; a municipal ordinance prohibits smoking in public places, including on the streets or in restaurants and bars, and there are officers on scooters who give out tickets for this, ₱500 for a first offense. 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 Galore (small stand, upper floor at Robinson's Place). A wide selection of lighters and cigarette cases.
They have a range of electric lighters from around ₱250 up to ₱1800. These are not supposed to be disposable and do not burn a fossil fuel (recharged via a USB port), so arguably they are rather green. Also convenient, completely windproof and unlikely to set hair or beard afire. However, they are generally not a good buy, except perhaps for a cheap one treated as disposable. They often fail after a few months use; the vendor knows this and gives only a two week warranty.
For those who prefer a vaporizer:
- 16 Vape Avenue, Santa Catalina, corner of Nobelfranca (above a restaurant). 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, 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.