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Something for Every Traveler in Dumaguete
Story by: jovy avisado ( Member ) on 2016-10-13

Having a big family that travels has its perks and challenges. Travelling has been one of our traditions but due to schedule constraints, we opt to travel during the long holiday season after Christmas and before New Year. 

Choosing a destination that everyone (the young ones and young once) will enjoy is top priority. To give you a better idea, the age range of our group is from 18-80 years old. After doing our research online and several discussions, Dumaguete with a side trip to Siquijor seemed to be the best fit for our needs. 

Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental province, is dubbed as the "City of Gentle People". The city and nearby towns offer both historical, natural and culinary attractions. Not to mention its close proximity to the islands of Siquijor and Cebu gives you pristine white sand beaches to visit.


The easiest way to get to Dumaguete is via air on Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines flights. The Dumaguete City Airport is very near (approx. 15mins away) from the town proper. Some of my cousins went to Oslob,Cebu directly from the airport to swim with the whale sharks or 'butanding'. The rest of the group rode the van pick up and checked in at Hotel Essencia -- one of the newer hotels in the city. 


After resting for a while, we went to try the infamous Jo's Chicken Inato ('inato' is the local term for grilled). We decided to walk back to our hotel since we were so full, yummy! It was nice to see all the restaurants in the area, truly a foodie haven. Highlights of our city tour that day were the picturesque Siliman University, Sta. Catalina Church and Belfry, Sidlakang Negros Village, Cataal War Museum, and Forest Camp. For a quick snack, visit the Panda Ice Cream Haus to try their fried Ice Cream in different flavors. As sundown came, we were taken to Lab-as Seafood Restaurant for a sumptuous dinner. This restaurant had a homey feel and ideal for families like us. 

fried ice cream Dumaguete

(fried ice cream at Panda Ice Cream Haus)

The next day, our group was split into two to visit the popular destinations in the nearby towns: Apo Island and Lake Balanan. Apo Island gives you the opportunity to see and swim with sea turtles while Lake Balanan is very laid back as you take a banca ride and explore the nearby waterfall. Both groups met at the Negros Oriental Arts and Heritage in Bacong where we marveled at how the locals create handicraft and jewelry with various Philippine gemstones. We visited Rizal Boulevard for street food merienda and another well known restaurant for dinner -- at Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries. The interiors were very pretty! We highly recommend making a reservation since seats are quite limited. Another local food spot is the two-storey Kitchen for coffee and desserts. 

Siliman University Dumaguete

(Siliman University in Dumaguete)

Our final tour was supposedly a day trip to Siquijor Island also known as "The Island of Fire". The skies were a bit cloudy that morning and the seas were rough. We were told that this is normal during Amihan season. Upon arrival, we proceeded to San Isidro Labrador Church and Convent, Capilay Spring Park, the Century Old Balete (tried the free "fish spa"), and finally had lunch at Salagdoong Beach. Our day trip ended up to be a two-night stay because of the Typhoon Seniang. 

balete tree Dumaguete

(the century old balete tree)

Fortunately, our tour operator (Orientwind) already contacted an available accommodation for us. After buying clothes and supplies in town, we checked in and then headed to the beach! Since we won't be able to make our flights and the next day flights were fully booked, our only option was to leave via Bacolod, Negros Occidental. Bacolod is an approx. 4-5hrs land trip drive through Mt. Kanlaon. We arrived very early at around 4am in the morning (read: freezing cold) and we're one of the first ones lined outside the airport (a lot of tourists were also affected by the typhoon). We got back in Manila in one piece and just in time to catch some sleep before the New Year celebration.


TIP: Of course every trip is not complete without pasalubong: buy Silvanas and/or Sans Rival in Dumaguete, Banana and/or Gabi Chips in Siquijor and Barquillos and/or Piyaya in Bacolod. 

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