I never really expected I would enjoy my “spontaneous” trip to Dumaguete as much as I did during my first visit. I say spontaneous because, on impulse, I just went ahead and took advantage of Cebu Pacific’s P1 fare promo last January. Hehe I did not plan on spending my birthday out of town, much less a place I have never been to. The only person I knew there was Igor and he had just relocated three months ago. I definitely had my hesitations.

However, they disappeared the moment I stepped out of the plane. Dumaguete is haunting.

boulevard day

The city is just lovely. After spending an afternoon walking along Rizal Boulevard while waiting for Igor to take me out on my birthday dinner, I felt all the stress and tension melt away. Manila, much as I love the city, can be toxic sometimes. Okay, all of the time. But I still love it. Haha

Anyway.

Dumaguete City is just so laid back.

Its being a university town makes it a melting pot of students, artists, professionals, scholars…anyone looking to recharge creatively. And it’s Backpacker Central. They really go out of their way to visit the place. Every place I went to in the short amount of time I had, I would see foreign expats come and go. Some would still be carrying their backpacks with them, some would be drinking ice cold beer with their lady friends, while others I would spy reading a book while waiting for the next ferry to Cebu, Siquijor or other nearby islands.

You’ll never run out of places to visit when you’re in the city.

If you have a sudden History craving, there are tons. I think the city really goes out of its way to preserve its cultural heritage. The Boulevard, for one, is reminiscent of Dr. Jose Rizal. He was actually the one who dubbed Dumaguete as “The City of Gentle People.” It was his last stop before he went to Dapitan where he lived in exile.

boulevard night

The Dumaguete Bell Tower is also a historical attraction. Locals would take time out to offer a solemn prayer to God. Igor told me he has yet to see the tower devoid of people.

bell tower

Siliman Museum. It was closed during my visit but here’s me shamelessly camwhoring in front of it anyway.

siliman museum

They also have a lot of cozy, hole-in-the-wall cafes.There’s this quaint pattisserie, Sans Rival Cafe, where people like me flock to buy last-minute pasalubongs. They serve the best Sans Rival I’ve ever tasted. I don’t even eat Sans Rival–I don’t usually like it–but I lurve the ones they make here! I, er, even took a whole loaf home with me. Ahehe. Heh.

They also serve yummy sandwiches. I loved the club sandwich. It’s not Pancake House (I’m sorry hands down, Pancake House pa rin!) but it’s not half-bad!

And I love the cafe’s interiors. Very cozy, very homey. So unlike the cosmopolitan interiors of most of Manila’s cafes.

I particularly liked this chandelier:

sansrival.jpg

Another noteworthy haunt: Cafe Antonio, located at the Spanish Heritage Center. I could stay there all day with nothing but my laptop for company.

cafe antonio

It’s a great place to start that book you’ve always wanted to write but continue to put off for another day…and another…and another…and…you get my drift. It has this air of Spanish nostalgia to it:

cafe antonio 2

And they have charming, old-fashioned swings like this one:

swing

Perfect for camwhoring! And the walls are literally covered with art. I loved the ink and coffee stained drawings on display during my visit. It’s a creative hub. 🙂

Other places I went to were Hayahay, a seaside restaurant. Hayahay means ‘relax’ or ‘rest’ in bisaya. Perfect name for the restaurant. Very tranquil atmosphere. And they serve really good fried rice with bits of chorizo. Chorizo, apparently, is a staple in Dumaguete. Hehe I could really live there! LOL

If you’re in the mood for Italian, Mamias is good. They serve really good marinara pasta. And the frozen coffee for dessert? Sinful.

Santa Teresa serves yummy dinuguan and sisig. Gaaah I’m craving already.

The best thing about food-tripping in Dumaguete? Really affordable prices!

Food comes cheap here, especially when you compare it to Manila. You can eat until you feel like you can’t eat anymore. And then you eat some more—which was what I did during my last day there. Haha

You don’t really need to bring that much money with you. I think, the whole trip, plane and ferry fares and hotel accommodations included, cost me a little over P6,500. And that already includes an overnight trip to Siquijor Island! Not bad—I can’t wait until my next visit. I might even stretch it to a week…or two! Haha

Also, the city is loaded with spas and massage salons. I tried Urban Nirvana‘s full body spa. I loved it. I thought I’d died and gone to spa heaven. 🙂

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