Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Retirement Haven: Dumaguete City

           Looking for a quiet, somewhere cheap yet invigorating place to chill and relax? Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental may just be for you. Known as the City of the Gentle People, Dumaguete City is the capital, principal seaport and largest city of the province.

           Dumaguete was coined from the Visayan word daggit, which means “to snatch”. The word dumaguet, meaning “to swoop”, was coined because of frequent raids by pirates on this once coastal town, and its power to attract and keep visitors.

       On the other hand, the city has also earned the distinction of being known as the “Center of Learning in the South”, or a university town due to the presence of universities and colleges that have made their mark nationally and abroad. In fact, in 2014 it was hailed as one of the runners-up of the best place to retire in the world by the Forbes Magazine The 7 Best Places To Retire Around The World


        It has been said that our national hero had made a brief visit and took a stroll here before departing to the neighboring island of Dapitan, Dipolog City where he was exhiled. The boulevard’s stretch is a wonderful walkway between the road and the sea. It is best enjoyed at anytime of the day. During daylight is one of the best opportunities to take selfie and a scenic view of the ocean.

Photo credits to:

      However, the fun starts as the daylight is about to end. Along the boulevard, you’d see families, friends or couples enjoying each other’s company while taking a bite of their favorite unripe mangoes with fish paste (manggang hilaw na may bagoong) or street foods. With the street vendors lined up with their mini-carts, tables and chairs, you can enjoy eating tempura, squid balls or balut. It is also an awesome place to hang out even if you’re going solo.

     Rizal Boulevard is definitely one of the city’s best loved places. It has become a landmark as well as a venue for leisure and recreation.

Anthropology Museum of Silliman University

     Silliman University offers a quick peek of what Dumaguete used to be like. The museum offers best collections of Anthropological findings within the province of Negros Oriental and nearby provinces that have been collected for years thru field world, excavations, purchases and donations. The purpose of this museum is to bring the importance of the Filipino’s cultural heritage to the attention of the public.

      The museum has seven (7) galleries and the first three (3), contains exhibits which have been collected from known cultural and ethnic groups. From there, you will be aware on how Filipinos used to believe in superstitions. The plants and herbs mainly found on Dumaguete and the appreciation of the craftsmanship like old weapons, musical instruments, basketry, clothing and tools.

Photo credits to: Christian L. Sangoyo of

     There were also burial jars or old bones dug and were displayed there. Unfortunately, taking photos are not allowed on the first and second floor of the museum where the action really is. In case you’re planning to visit, here’s the schedule of the museum: Open Monday 8:30 – 11:30 AM – Friday 2:30 – 5:00 PM. Holiday or Weekends – by appointment.

Campanario de Dumaguete and Dumaguete Cathedral

    St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral or commonly known as Dumaguete Cathedral itself holds a rich history. It has been situated in its location for hundreds of years and church never fails to provide solace and silence especially to those who seeks spiritual guidance.

    Situated far on the church’s left side is its old bell tower, it is the city’s most popular marker. Campanario de Dumaguete was built in 1760s and developed in the 1870s to warn town folks of attacks by marauding pirates. It was built upon one of the four original massive watchtowers that parish priest Don Jose Manuel Fernandez de Septien built in the 1760s to discourage Moros from ransacking the town. The two layers which are now known as the Bell Tower or the Campanario were added during the administration of Fray Juan Felix de la Encarnacion in 1867.

Twin Lakes: Balinsasayao and Danao

The twin lakes of Balinsasayao are one of the major tourist attractions in the province. Lake Balinsasayao is a protected natural park, surrounded by lush tropical greens and vegetation which is great for biodiversity. Age old trees, giant ferns and other exotic plants and orchids are among its natural inhabitants. It also serves as habitat of many birds and other animals, some of which are also rare and endangered.

  It is located in the mountains of southern Negros Island, 12 km west of the town of Sibulan, Negros Oriental. The lakes are two small but deep crater freshwater lakes rising 1,000 feet above sea level and separated by a narrow mountain ridge, situated in a hollow between four mountains, Mount Mahungot to the south, Mount Kalbasan to the north, Mount Balinsasayao to the east and Mount Guidabon to the west. Lake Balinsasayao lies to the northwest of the ridge and Lake Danao to the southeast.

Sans Rival Bistro

    Started as a small-time garage bakeshop and evolved into a cozy cafè, Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries in Dumaguete City have been baking delicious goodies since 1977. Their specialty? Sans rival and silvanas. Never leave Dumaguete without taking them home.

     If you want to take home silvanas, you can make advance order just like what I did especially if you are to buy quite a number of boxes. Silvanas can last up to 6 hours without melting. Aside from the original creamy and crunchy silvanas, they also have chocolate flavored silvanas but for me nothing beats the original.

       The new Sans Rival Bistro used to be the original owner’s ancestral house. The ground floor has now been converted and renovated for the expansion of the original Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries which is still operating just a  few meters walk from the grand old structure.

Gabby’s Bistro

   Gabby’s Bistro is a nice place to wind up with family and friends. With its unique ambiance, they serve delicious food with array of dishes from pastas, chili chicken cooking’s, and steaks. It offers something for everyone. The food is excellent and cooked really well and their personnel are friendly and approachable. The seating areas are well designed and thought of.

How to Get There:

   There are direct flights to Dumaguete from Manila and Cebu. You can also travel to Dumaguete via RoRo or ferry from Cebu. But if you’re coming from Bacolod, which is on the other side of Negros, you can also take a six-hour bus ride to Dumaguete via Ceres Bus Line.

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading your blog post about traveling! I always love seeing people share their travel experiences. It was great to see that you found a retirement haven in Dumaguete City. The post was very nostalgic and I think it's a great way to share with people how you've been living your life after retirement.
    Can I afford a senior living community