Clear waters of Manjuyod sandbar

Dumaguete Travel Guide: The Best Place to Retire in the Philippines

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Manjuyod sand bar in Dumaguete

Discover the beautiful province of Dumaguete, The City of Gentle People. Learn what makes it unique, and why should you add it to your Philippines travel bucket list. Find out about the best time to go and how to get here. What are the best activities to do and the top tourist spots to visit? Read on to learn everything you need to know about visiting Dumaguete, .

Dumaguete is the perfect place to satisfy your hunger for exploration or relaxation. This laid-back Philippine destination with a rich history also has easy access to beaches and islands. It is known as "The City of Gentle People" because of the kind-hearted nature of its locals.

It was also known to be a place where pirates come and visit during pre-Spanish colonization. It is where the city got its name from the word "dagit," a Cebuano word which means "to snatch." 

It is sitting at the foot of Cuernos de Negros or Mount Talinis in the Philippine province of Negros Oriental in the Visayas. The peaceful coastal community is a well-known spot for retirement, especially for expats.



It was listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the 7 Best Places to Retire Around the World because it offers beachfront living that is relatively cheaper than other places in the world. The almost year-round hot and humid Dumaguete island weather is also perfect for daily trips to the beach.

Over the years, the economy in the city has improved. Aside from the leading institutions, a lot of BPO and I.T. companies have settled here. Due to the multiple activities and attractions highlighting the city, tourism is also booming in the region. 

Woman swimming with turtlesThis province is home and the gateway to tourist spots and activities like dolphin-watching and swimming with turtles, one of the longest sandbars in the Philippines, trekking and swimming in a natural volcano crater lake, and majestic waterfalls.

It's also accessible to other nearby regions and popular destinations like Bacolod, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor. Known as a budget-friendly destination packed with attractions and unique experiences, it's an ideal destination for backpackers and divers.

Families can also have their quality time in Dumaguete as the majority of attractions in the city are kid-friendly. There are hotels and other types of accommodations that cater to different kinds of travelers.

Dumaguete has earned its nickname of University Town or the center of education in the Visayas because of the presence of four universities and several colleges.

A considerable part of its 130,000 population is made up of students not just from here, but from other parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

One of the dominant institutions found in Dumaguete and a tourist spot itself is Silliman University, the first Protestant university in the Philippines and the first American university in all of Asia. It has its museum of Anthropology, housing remnants of the past that dates back to 200 B.C. 

If you're planning a trip to the Visayas, don't miss the opportunity to see and experience the natural wonders, warm hospitality of the locals, and the rich history and culture of Dumaguete and its nearby attractions.

This guide has everything you need to know to plan your trip, so read on and take notes!

Best Time to Go to Dumaguete

Dolphins near an island in Dumaguete

When you're in Dumaguete, chances are you'll be doing a lot of sightseeing and visiting its best islands and beaches. You can even attend its famous festivals and parades.

It's best to plan your trip around its dry summer season as well as its colorful festivals to fully enjoy the province and their culture. This section is divided into two: a guide on the dry and summer season, plus the two annual festivals within the region.

Dry and Summer Season | February to June

Dumaguete weather is at its best from February to March, the chilly but dry months of the year; and from May to early June, the summer months. If you don't like traveling during the rainy season, avoid going there around October.

If you don't mind the rain and the closed down tourist spots, you will be able to witness and enjoy one of its famous festivals in the mid of October

Festival Season | September to October

If you want to see the city in its lively and vibrant form, consider visiting during the time of their festive celebrations. Both locals and international travelers attend street parades and join local games that are exciting and fun to be a part of!

Two of its most popular celebrations include the Sandurot Festival and Buglasan Festival. This section will describe the festivals and how important it is in helping shape the culture of Dumaguete.

Sandurot Festival

The city holds its Sandurot Festival, which means "fellowship and reaching out," every September. You wouldn't want to miss the Pasigarbo event, where the streets are full of drumbeats and dancing.

And of course, Pasundayag, where different stories of the city's traditions are narrated through dancing. The roads are overcrowded during this time, so make sure to keep your essential belongings near you.

Buglasan Festival

In the middle of October every year, they celebrate the Buglasan Festival, popularly known as "The Festival of Festivals." It's a province-wide event that runs for ten days. Aside from exciting activities, you can witness street dancing and showdowns every 3rd Friday of October.

Most of the establishments are open during this time. Bring your family and friends! You'll get a taste of Dumaguete culture at this festival.

Climate and Weather

Before visiting, make sure to check weather updates as this will help plan itinerary better. It will also help in knowing what you have to wear on specific days.

Traveller enjoying the warm days of summerThe province is known to be a tropical destination, with an average annual temperature of 28°C. May is the warmest month at around 29°C, while January is the month with the lowest temperature, at approximately 26°C. 

Here's an overview of the average monthly temperature in Dumaguete:

Dumaguete Travel Guide: The Best Place to Retire in the Philippines

Source: NOAA

What to Wear

During the dry and summer season, it's best to wear light clothing such as t-shirts, blouses, and shorts. Regardless of the weather, always bring a light jacket or umbrella with you as unexpected showers might occur.

If you're attending a festival, make sure to bring an extra shirt, especially if you're planning to party until the early dawn. Bring slippers and running shoes, so you have options to wear for any tour.

How to Get to Dumaguete​Philippine Airlines flies to Manila to Dumaguete

Photo by Philippine Airlines
There are four main entry points when going to Dumaguete: Manila, Cebu, Bacolod, and Bohol. It's essential to do your research on which option for transport to choose and what time to leave so you can maximize your stay here.

Make sure to book all airplane or ferry tickets in advance to avoid problems during your trip.

From Manila 

If you're coming from the capital of the Philippines, Manila in Luzon, the fastest way is to fly directly to Dumaguete island. Below is the detailed information, including which airlines you can choose from.

By Flights

Usually, the flight will take you around 1 hour to 15 or 25 minutes, depending on the airline. You can check flights in local airlines such as Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Make sure to book in advance as there might be a lot of people going to Dumaguete during peak season, specifically during the summer season. Have your travel documents with you at all times.

From Cebu

Cebu is an island located right next to Dumaguete. From Cebu, you can ride a plane, a bus, or a ferry, depending on your budget and schedule.

Regardless of your chosen mode of transportation, make sure to plan and buy tickets in advance (if applicable) to avoid delayed or worse, canceled plans. Always have your travel documents ready in case you need to present it to an airport authority or personnel.

By Flights

If you're looking for the fastest way, your best option is to take a 50-minute direct flight. It’s convenient and safer if you’re not familiar with other modes of transportation.

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific cater flights from Cebu to Dumaguete. Have your travel documents prepared before booking a flight. Book in advance to get the most comfortable seats in your chosen time.

By Bus

You can hop on a bus from Cebu's South Bus Terminal in Cebu City. It is if you want a less expensive but longer route than a direct flight. The earliest trip starts at 5:30 AM and the latest is at 6:00 PM.

Since there's no bridge connecting the main island of Negros Oriental and Cebu, the bus will board a ferry and continue the travel to Dumaguete. The total travel time is around 5 hours and 30 minutes to 6 hours. Don't be shy to ask the bus conductor should you have any concerns during the ride.

By Ferry

You don't have to ride a bus anymore if you're coming from parts of Cebu near Liloan Port in Oslob. Just board the ferry bound to Sibulan Port that will take you an hour and 30 minutes of travel time. From Sibulan Port, ride a 20-30 minute jeep or multicab going to Dumaguete island. Book in advance if you can as there are limited seats during peak hours.

From Bacolod

Bacolod is on the southeastern half of the large island of Negros, Negros Occidental. From Bacolod, you can ride a bus direct to Dumaguete. Below is the detailed information, including which bus line you should take.

By Bus

Go directly to the Bacolod South Bus terminal and look for available buses operated by Ceres Liner. It's the most effective and convenient way without unnecessary stops along the way. Travel time is around 5 to 6 hours. If you can, go to the bus stop 30 minutes before your target time. Seats get occupied quickly, especially during the morning.

From Bohol

Similar to Cebu, Bohol is a vast island region near Dumaguete that you can reach via a quick flight or a ferry ride. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific offer flights at selected times. Ocean Jet Ferry offers ferry rides that are cheap and convenient.

Just make sure to book tickets at least a week for your chosen trip as seats may be bought quickly due to the number of people traveling from Bohol. Make sure to bring all essential documents with you too for fast entry to these transportations.

By Flights

If you want the fastest route from Bohol, take a direct 50-minute flight from Tagbilaran. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific offer flights going to and from Tagbilaran. Non-stop flights are 50 minutes long while connecting flights are on an average of 4 hours to 5 hours long. Book in advance to get the best seats. 

By Ferry

You can ride fast crafts and ferries bound from Tagbilaran in Bohol. Ocean Jet Ferry offers rides going to and from the Tagbilaran port. The travel time takes around two hours. Take note of their policies and requirements before traveling.  

Getting Around Dumaguete

Most modes of transportation are accessible and cheap. Compared to other regions, traveling in Dumaguete is pretty straightforward. Depending on your budget and comfort and convenience preference, you can choose from these types of transportation options:


Tricyle in DumagueteIt is the primary mode of transportation around Dumaguete. The tricycles are a sight in its own with its solid colors and full width, almost like a regular car.

Fare is cheap, and if you're going around Dumaguete, some even offer exclusive use for tours. Just make sure to have at least an idea on the best route by searching online so you can avoid getting overcharged.


To reach nearby towns, you can head to the Ceres Bus Terminal in Dumaguete City and hop on and off a city bus. Riding a bus is your best option for long-distance travel within and outside Dumaguete. 

Bring exact or smaller bills for the fare so the operator won’t have a hard time finding change for your money.

Self-Drive Motorcycle

If you want a more rugged type of transportation, you can opt to rent a motorcycle. This type of transportation is perfect for a short city tour, especially if you're a pair of travelers. You can also rent one but make sure that you know how to maneuver it, especially if you're in a place you're not familiar with.

Ask if you can use a mobile app such as Waze or Google Maps while driving the motorcycle. They usually have a mobile phone holder you can attach on the motorcycle.

Private Tour Vans

Alternatively, there are plenty of travel agencies that offer private tours in vans to explore an array of activities in Dumaguete. The majority of these tour operators are DOT-accredited, which means their offered tours and services are tried and tested.

It's a good option if you're seeking a hassle-free adventure. All you have to do is focus on your outfits for the day and completing your itinerary.

Where to Stay in Dumaguete

When in Dumaguete, you have to keep in mind that the most crucial aspect of your itinerary is the place you'll be staying in. If you're going to the beach, it might be best to stay at beach resorts.

If you're going on a sightseeing excursion, it might be best to stay near the city center. It depends on what activities you'll be doing and destinations you'll be going to during your stay in the beautiful province.

This section will discuss the types of accommodations, neighborhoods and areas, and the top accommodations in any budget within the region.

Types of Accommodations

There are a lot of accommodation types in Dumaguete. You have to find one that fits your preference. Consider your budget, the number of people staying, and its proximity to the attractions you're planning to go to.

Make sure to book in advance so you can get the best rooms and deals within the area. Prepare your travel documents such as passport and valid I.D. so you can reserve quickly. Also, expect that most accommodations ask for a security deposit that will be refunded upon check-out. 

Island and Beach Resorts or Hotels

If you're looking for a place to stay that has direct access to the beaches, then staying at a resort is ideal. It's the most convenient choice if you're traveling for island and beach trips or diving adventures.

Most offer rooms with beachfront access and have excellent amenities such as Wi-Fi and breakfast. Some even have their indoor pool. There are reasonable hotels that are quite near the city center, providing comfort regardless if you're staying for business or vacation. Most of these hotels offer valet service and 24-hour security.

Vacation Rentals

Homestays are also popular here. Many homeowners work outside the province, which is why they let other people rent their houses during peak season, and sometimes, off-peak season.

It's much better to rent a home if you're in a big group as you get the extra amenities such as a kitchen and laundry area. You might have to pay a security deposit and a cleaning fee, so make sure to ask the owner in advance.


In case you're traveling solo, or you're a group who's into budget-friendly accommodations, don't fret! There are multiple hostels in Dumaguete that are suitable for any budget traveler. Avoid the ones located on far neighborhoods as the commute going to and from the top destinations in the province might be more expensive.

Neighborhoods and Areas

The province of Dumaguete is divided into 30 barangays. However, when you're in the region, you'd mostly be frequenting five towns only, namely: Dumaguete City, Dauin, Bacong, Valencia and Sibulan.

It's essential to be familiar with these areas so you won't get lost. Here are some of the critical information you need to know about these neighborhoods and areas in the province:

Dumaguete City

Often known as the most populated neighborhood in the region, this is where you can find popular establishments for food, shopping, and many more. Nightlife is booming in this neighborhood too.

It's the business and town proper, and the main link to transport in the other cities. Most attractions included in Dumaguete tours can also be found here.


If you're planning to dive to Apo Island, you'll have to go to this neighborhood. It is where Apo Island is, a volcanic island known to have unique rock formations and abundant marine life.

It's also the home of Baslay Hot Springs, a geothermal spring which can be accessed by a short hike through a jungle. Most local and international travelers stay within the area for the mentioned attractions.


Located on the southern part of the coast, it is one of the smallest towns not only in Dumaguete but in the whole Negros Oriental. Most historical monuments are located here, as well as art museums catering to various local and international artists. You can ride a jeepney from the city center going to Bacong.


When you're in Valencia, you will notice that the winds are more relaxed than in the city proper. It's because it's on higher ground. It's the main area for agricultural production in Dumaguete with the abundance of fruits and vegetables. Going here is easy as routes are going directly here from the city center.


It is where you can find Dumaguete's airport. The local seaport is also in this area, as well as other modes of transportation. Although there's no nightlife in the area, it's one of the most highly-developed municipalities in the province. You can comfortably ride a jeep going here from the city center.

Accommodation Highlights in Dumaguete

Since Dumaguete is known as a budget-friendly destination, there are plenty of accommodations that won't cost you an arm and a leg. But if you're looking for a more upscale temporary home, there are also mid-range to luxury resorts and hotels that you can choose.

Just make sure it stays within your budget and can accommodate the number of people you'll be going with. This list will discuss the different hotels ranging from the type of budget:

Budget Accommodations

These hotels are perfect for backpackers or those traveling with a limited budget. They are also located near most of the top tourist destinations and are in a safe neighborhood. Check out these budget-friendly Dumaguete hotels:

The Flying Fish Hostel

Flying Fish Hostel is a modern-classic style lodging that is a perfect choice for backpackers and casual travelers who are on a tight budget. They have dormitory type rooms and private rooms available.

The place is only a 10- to 15-minute walking distance to Silliman University and Rizal Boulevard. It's also in nearby restaurants such as Neva's Brick and Oven Pizzas and Hayahay Treehouse Bar and View.

Gabby's Bed & Breakfast

You'll find Gabby's Bed & Breakfast tucked in a small town called Daro. The place is aesthetically quaint, which can be a massive hit for young travelers on a budget. They have single rooms, double rooms, and quad rooms.

The B&B is just 10 minutes away from the airport, 5 minutes to the city proper, and 10 minutes to the seaport. It’s a highly-recommended for people wanting to appreciate the countryside vibe of Dumaguete.

Mid-range Accommodations

If you're looking for mid-range priced hotels, check out these listings. These are the most recommended ones to stay in because they're near the beach and offer food at a reasonable price. Book in advance as most of the rooms in these hotels get sold out quickly.

Victoria's Haven

A heritage house within a large family property, Victoria's Haven displays the fascinating history of the lot in its sophisticated and welcoming ambiance. The place will remind you of Philippine ancestral houses.

It's an excellent place to stay for families who want comfort within a budget. It offers six room lodging options and is nearby the popular city spots and restaurants.

Liquid Dumaguete

Room in Liquid Dumaguete in Dumaguete, Negros OrientalPhoto by Liquid Dumaguete

If you're looking for a good resort at a reasonable rate, Liquid Dumaguete offers a lodging experience that has everything you need. They have fantastic food, a beachfront, and a dive center.

Prices per room are reasonable, considering the amenities, facilities, and service of the resort and includes breakfast. It’s perfect for couples and families wanting to have a relaxing time in the area.

Luxury Accommodations

If you're willing to pay for top-notch comfort, facilities, and amenities when choosing Dumaguete hotels, here are your options.

These are the most recommended ones because of their famous beaches and facilities, such as an indoor pool, wellness rooms, etc. You'll feel like a VIP when staying at these hotels:

Salaya Beach Houses

This luxury dive resort in Dauin accommodates experienced divers, families, couples, and even friends who want the best home away from home. The resort exudes Dumaguete’s island charm and splendor in one ground.

Aside from the diving service, the resort provides wellness and yoga retreats, an infinity pool, massage services, a pool bar, and contemporary European and Filipino style cuisine.

They have various lodging style options: apartments, penthouses, and deluxe penthouses. It’s perfect for you regardless if you’re traveling solo, a pair or a group of family and friends.

Atmosphere Resort

Feel like indulging in a luxurious boutique resort out of town? Atmosphere Resort complements their warm hospitality with first-class amenities and facilities. From its top-notch exceptional dining experience to its sanctuary spa and fitness center, the place is a paradise on its own.

They also offer scuba diving service for guests. The boutique resort lies nearby Apo Island Marine Reserve that is known for diving. Their lodging options include deluxe suite rooms, garden apartments, and penthouses.

What to See and Do in Dumaguete

Old Cathedral of DumagueteWhether you're a history buff, nature lover, or a beach enthusiast, Dumaguete and its nearby tourist attractions have plenty of activities waiting for you.

Make sure to plan your itinerary well. Luckily for you, we collated this list of the top things to see and do in the area. These are some of the prime tourist attractions:

Explore the Rich History of Dumaguete City

One of the best ways to discover the beautiful province is to retrace its past. Not known to many, this province is full of historical value. From its landmark universities to an old stone church that witnessed Dumaguete's history, these are some must-visit attractions during your Dumaguete City tour.

Make sure to add them to your travel itinerary. You can visit most of these when you join a Dumaguete City day tour.

Silliman University 

Established in 1901, this gem of a historical landmark lies in the heart of Dumaguete City along Hibbard Avenue. From Rizal Boulevard, Silliman University is just an arm's reach. You can take a stroll around the massive campus and take snapshots. The university's surrounded by greenery.

You can even spot giant acacia trees around. While you're there, make sure to drop by the Anthropology Museum to check out fascinating artifacts, including hand-woven products and a collection of whale bones. Take photos of the landscape scenery on the campus as well!

Rizal Boulevard

Rizal Boulevard in DumagueteThis famous boardwalk is among the most popular attractions for both locals and international travelers. It's one of the go-to places in the city to stroll, jog, or hang out.

The boulevard has benches where people can sit and watch the sunrise and sunset in a panoramic view. The street is also near popular restaurants in the city.

After a late afternoon jog, you can reward yourself with a sumptuous treat in a nearby café or restaurant as you watch the sun go down. Don't forget to take a photo in the Dumaguete sign located in Rizal Boulevard! It's an excellent way to promote the city through your friends and family.

Quezon Park

The city is filled with places perfect for a stroll. Another one to note is Quezon Park along Percides Street. What makes the stroll more delightful there is the company of historical spots, including the canyons, an old fire truck, and monuments of Jose Rizal and Maria Clara.

It's where you'll find the tourism office as well.​ You can relax and appreciate the view of Dumaguete here.

Dumaguete Cathedral and Belfry Tower

Dumaguete Belfry TowerSituated just right in front of Quezon Park is the famed oldest stone church in Negros Island, the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral.

Say a little prayer in the historic church built in the 17th century. Besides the cathedral, you'll find another historical landmark in Dumaguete; the old belfry tower built back in 1811.

It served as a watchtower to warn the residents of Moro pirate attacks coming from Mindanao to search for slaves. Before leaving the cathedral and the tower, you can also light a candle and say a prayer at the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes or shop for religious souvenirs.

Sidlakang Negros Village

Want to know more about the culture of the different towns of Negros Oriental? There's no need to leave the city for that. Just drop by the Sidlakang Negros Village in E.J. Blanco Drive.

This site is filled with textiles, furniture, stoneware, and trade exhibitions to feast your eyes. Each product tells the narrative and different cultures of Negros Oriental. You'll find new souvenir items here as well! Make sure to buy some for your friends and family.

Swim in Dumaguete's Unique Attractions

You'll never run out of Dumaguete beach, pools and lakes to swim in. After all, this province is known for its unique water formations and beautiful swimming attractions.

Not to mention most of its unique water attractions are accessible by the public. Check out these unique tourist spots when you're traveling around the region:

Forest Camp

A fun swimming destination is the Forest Camp in Valencia, a less than a 30-minute drive away from Dumaguete City.

If you're down for some relaxation, fun activities, and witnessing a natural landscape, Forest Camp should be on your travel list. Upon arrival, you'll have to pay an entrance fee.

The place is home to natural pools, native cottages, hammock houses, exciting outdoor activities like ziplines, and a restaurant that serves Filipino gastronomic dishes.

The resort has nine cold swimming pools that look like natural lagoons. It's arguably one of the most enchanting resorts. Swim and relax while you admire the view of Dumaguete’s landscapes.

Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park

Twin Lakes in DumagueteThe mesmerizing Balinsasayao Twin Lakes in Negros Oriental is a stunning work of Mother Earth that is tucked away in the mountains of Sibulan. It is around 30 minutes to an hour away from Dumaguete City.

Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao are deep freshwater lakes that were naturally formed after years of rain and stream deposits that filled up the craters.

If you're the type of traveler, who values some peace while surrounded by nature, add a tour of Balinsasayao Twin Lakes to your Dumaguete trip.

It is also known as a brilliant bird-watching destination since it's home to different and rare species of birds. Aside from bird-watching, you can go boating, swimming, freediving, and kayaking here to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the lakes.

When you get there, you'll need to pay an entrance fee, and the fee might be different for local and international travelers. Pay in exact or with a smaller bill so you won’t get the added hassle of finding change for your money.



Red Rock Hot Spring

If you're looking for something more relaxing, add the hot springs of Pulang-tubig, Valencia like Red Rock Hot Spring in your itinerary. This town in Valencia sits close to an active volcano, thus the presence of natural hot springs.

The stream comes from a naturally formed spring that travels through an opening by the pool. This relaxing sanctuary is the best place to unwind and cap off a long day of touring in Dumaguete to free your body of aches and muscle pains. Join a Dumaguete countryside tour to visit the hot spring, 

Waterfalls Adventure

Casaroro Falls in DumagueteAside from hot springs, Valencia is also home to beautiful waterfalls. There lies the marvelous Casaroro Falls, known to be the most photographed waterfall in Negros province.

With a jaw-dropping height of 100 feet, the waterfalls into a basin then down to a stream. What makes the Casaroro falls unique is its narrow cascade as opposed to the usual extensive features.  

Meanwhile, Pulangbato Falls is perfect for families and solo adventurers since it doesn't involve hiking. Upon arrival, you need to walk in and take in the beauty of the multiple falls and swimming holes. Join a day tour to Pulangbato Falls and dip in its refreshing pool. 

Finally, the Niludhan Falls in Bayawan City will welcome you with a spectacular 25 by 40 meters waterfall. Traveling there can take three hours from Dumaguete City.

Despite the long journey, you'll deem the time well worth it when you see the impressive view. Take your time in capturing the spectacle. It might just be your next desktop wallpaper!

Explore Dumaguete City's Neighboring Tourist Spots

One of the best things about Dumaguete is its proximity to other destinations that Negros Island is known for. It's hitting two birds with one stone as you get to explore all of these even just for a few days.

If you’ve got time, explore its neighboring spots is a must! Don't miss out on these top attractions listed here!

Apo Island

Woman Diver spotting a turtle in nearby Apo Island, DumagueteOne of the must-visit tourist spots when in Dumaguete is Apo Island in Dauin. The 24-hectare volcanic island sits at the tip of Negros Oriental and is known for its abundant marine life like turtles.

From Dumaguete City, the journey takes roughly 40 minutes. Once you reach the island, you'll register and pay the marine sanctuary fee for the maintenance and preservation of the island.

Listen to the safety regulations before going in for the tour. You can also book an all-inclusive tour of Apo Island


Video by the Philippine Department of Tourism

Here, you can swim with the turtles! You'll find them bobbing their heads even in shallow waters. Better document your experience was swimming with them. But do not touch and feed marine turtles, and don't disturb them while they're eating.

Aside from diving and turtle swimming, you can also snorkel to see the different corals, schools of fish, and the various types of marine life.



Manjuyod Sandbar

Manjuyod Sandbar near DumagueteManjuyod Sandbar dubbed the "Maldives of the Philippines," is situated in Bais. Going there from the city takes an hour and a half. Its view is made more captivating with the floating cottages in the middle of the ocean.

Aside from taking a dip in its crystal clear waters, a day tour to Manjuyod Sandbar will let you enjoy a leisurely walk across the white sandbar, one of the longest in the country.

Water activities like snorkeling, banana boat riding, have a picnic in the middle of the sea and watch dolphins swimming in the wild as you head to Tañon Strait. Take photos when you can!



What to Eat and Drink in Dumaguete

When you're in Dumaguete, you’ll be treated to a gastronomic adventure that would let you taste various delicacies unique and famous in the province. It's a good immersion, as you'd be able to know the province's culture through their food.

This section will discuss the province's local cuisine and some of its highly-recommended restaurants. Make sure to try them all if you can!

Local Cuisine

Your time will be well-spent with feasting in Dumaguete food, especially their three famous food staples: silvanas, fried ice cream, and sans rival. One of the unique cuisines has become their staple food is called "budbod."

It's made with millet seed and rice, similar to "suman," a famous Filipino rice cake made with glutinous rice and wrapped in banana leaves. Here's your guide to the local food scene.

Recommended Best Restaurants and Bars

After learning about their local cuisine, it’s time you try it for yourself. Most of these recommended best restaurants and bars are affordable and located within the city area.

They have a story as to why they are popular with both locals and international travelers. If you’re ready for an exciting food experience, here are some of the food establishments you should go:

Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries

Dumaguete City is known for its delightful silvanas and mouth-watering sans rival. Your trip will not be complete if you don't pay a visit to Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries. It's the place to go for the famous, melt-in-your-mouth, quality silvanas and sans rival that is known for.

If you're looking for something to bring home to your family, Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries' silvanas and sans rival won't disappoint. The store is located in San Jose Street, just a few steps away from Silliman University.

Snap a photo of the sans rival to share with your friends and make sure to tell them how delicious it is!

Sta. Teresa Resto

Sta. Teresa Resto is your budget-friendly option if you're cutting costs but still want to taste quality Filipino food in Dumaguete. It's a self-service restaurant where the selection of home-cooked Filipino food is displayed at the front and customers can have their pick.

The food selection includes pork adobo, which is a pork dish cooked in soy sauce and vinegar.

You can already have two dish variants, two cups of rice, and two bottled water for a low price. It's a great place if you're craving for the kinds of food a Filipino mom would serve at home.

If you're coming from the city center, ride a tricycle to get there. Make sure not to deprive yourself!

Gabby's Bistro

For a casual dining option, check out the quirky ambiance and flavorful dishes at Gabby's Bistro. Setting foot in the restaurant will give you vintage diner vibes that are full of character.

Gabby's Bistro is known for its Filipino dishes and American platters. They offer a variety of food ranging from chicken inasal to pasta dishes and more.

You can try their tomato soup, apparently a tasty cure for a hangover, baconsilog (a fusion of bacon, fried rice, and sunny side up eggs with atsara or pickled papaya) on the side) shrimp scampi for some light lunch, and pizza baguette Hawaiian for a classic pizza with a spin.

Servings are significant, and the price range of meals is not that expensive. There's a  branch of this off-the-beaten-path restaurant along Rizal Boulevard.

Panda Ice Cream Store

Fried ice cream is one of the favorite food items in Dumaguete. Ask any local about where you could find the best of these, and they'll point you to Panda Ice Cream Store.

You can get a taste of this in Ma. Cristina Street, just a stone's throw away from Silliman University's side gate. The composition of the dessert is simple: it's ice cream inside a crispy breaded shell, served fried. One bite and you'll find the ice cream inside is still hard and frozen. 

Hayahay Treehouse Bar and View Deck

If you want to dine at a restaurant with a beach view, lively ambiance, and excellent food, Hayahay Treehouse Bar and View Desk has all three. The restaurant has two levels.

The ground floor is where a live band occasionally performs, while the second floor has an open, overlooking ocean view. The price ranges are the same as typical restaurants.

While there, try their Dumaguete Express, a combination of fried pork, coconut strips, and squid in white sauce; and The Sizzling Tanigue, made with brown gravy and potatoes served sizzling hot. From the city proper, hail a tricycle to Hayahay Treehouse and View Deck. 

Practical Information and Tips

For you to have an exciting time in the province, you need to understand every important aspect of traveling there, such as their currency, language, and safety tips.

It’s a general rule of every traveler going to unfamiliar places. Dumaguete is generally a safe place and its very welcoming to visitors. However, you need to try and blend into their culture as a sign of respect.


The main currency in Dumaguete is the Philippines Peso (PHP). ATMs might be limited, so make sure you have enough cash with you. Take note that smaller bills are better for hassle-free transactions in most establishments. Credit cards might be limited if you’re not in the city proper.


Visayan language, or Cebuano, is the widely-used dialect in the province. Most speak Filipino and English too. If you are more familiar with the two languages mentioned above, they can respond to you as accurately as they can.

Just make sure to enunciate your words carefully and with a neutral accent if possible so they can understand your questions clearly. If you want to learn more about them in the most authentic way possible, download a dialect app on your smartphone.

Safety Tips

Dumaguete is a safe place, but just like any other place in the world, it's better to take some precautions. Be alert at all times. As much as possible, don't walk alone on secluded streets, especially at night.

Keep your bags close to you. In case of an emergency, go to the nearest hospital! There are medical centers available within and outside Dumaguete city proper.

Sample Itinerary in Dumaguete

To help you visualize how you can plan your trip to Dumaguete, here's a rundown of the places you can visit and activities to experience.

Turtle spotted in Apo Island - accessible attraction near DumagueteThis itinerary is ideal for four days and three nights stay in Dumaguete. You can customize it further based on your preferences on events and places to explore in the province.

Day 1: Forest Camp + City Tour

  • 4:00 AM - ETD Manila to Dumaguete

  • 5:25 AM - ETA Dumaguete Airport

  • 5:50 AM - Multicab from Dumaguete Airport to Dumaguete City hotel

  • 6:25 AM - Check-in at hotel

  • 7:00 AM - Breakfast

  • 8:30 AM - ETD to Forest Camp

  • 9:00 AM - ETA Forest Camp

  • 12:00 N.N. - Lunch at Forest Camp

  • 1:30 PM - ETD Forest Camp back to Dumaguete City

  • 2:30 PM - Dumaguete City Tour 

  • 5:30 PM - Stroll and watch the sunset at Rizal Boulevard

  • 6:00 PM - Dinner by the bay

  • 8:00 PM - ETA back at the hotel

Day 2: Apo Island

  • 6:00 AM - Breakfast

  • 7:00 AM - Ceres Bus to Malatapay

  • 8:00 AM - ETA Malatapay

  • 8:30 AM - Boat ride to Apo Island

  • 9:30 AM - ETA Apo Island

  • 10:00 AM -  Apo Island tour

  • 12:00 N.N. - Lunch

  • 1:00 PM - Swimming, snorkeling, and diving in Apo Island

  • 3:00 PM - Back to the mainland and wash up

  • 4:00 PM - ETD from Malatapay to Dumaguete City

  • 5:00 PM - ETA at Dumaguete City

  • 5:15 PM - Sidlakang Negros Village

  • 6:00 PM - Dinner and Social

  • 9:00 PM - Wash-up and go back to the hotel

Day 3: Twin Lakes + Valencia tour

  • 6:00 AM - Breakfast

  • 7:00 AM - ETD to Balinsasayao Twin Lakes

  • 8:30 AM - Tour of Balinsasayao Twin Lakes

  • 10:30 AM - ETD to Dumaguete City

  • 12:00 N.N. - ETA at Dumaguete City hotel and wash up

  • 1:00 PM - Late lunch

  • 2:00 PM - Ride a jeep to Valencia

  • 2:30 PM - ETA at Valencia Terminal. Hire a motorcycle to start Valencia tour (Casaroro Falls, Pulangbato Falls, Red Rock Hot Spring)

  • 5:00 PM - Ride a jeep to Dumaguete City

  • 5:30 PM - ETA at Dumaguete City

  • 6:00 PM - Dinner and Socials

  • 9:00 PM - ETA at the hotel. Wash-up, relax, and go to bed

Day 4: Manjuyod Sandbar + Fly back to Manila

  • 5:00 AM - Early breakfast

  • 6:00 AM - ETD from Dumaguete City to Bais

  • 7:00 AM - ETA at Bais. Ride a tricycle to Canibol Wharf

  • 7:10 AM - ETA at Canibol Wharf

  • 7:30 AM - Rent boat. Start tour of Manjuyod Sandbar: Mangrove Forest, Dolphin Watching and Manjuyod Sandbar

  • 12:00 N.N. - Lunch

  • 1:00 PM - ETD from Canibol Wharf to Bais

  • 2:00 PM - ETD from Bais to Dumaguete City

  • 3:00 PM - ETA at Dumaguete City hotel to pack up

  • 4:00 PM - ETD from hotel to Dumaguete Airport

  • 4:30 PM - ETA at Dumaguete Airport. Wait for your flight going back to Manila

Pack Your Bags and Go to Dumaguete!

Dumaguete is the place to be for a no-frills adventure. Behind Dumaguete's small busy city lies the gateway to historic landmarks, fabulous restaurants, and panoramic sights.

What's better is in every corner of Dumaguete, you'll find kind and welcoming people that bring warmth to your experience.

Clear waters of Manjuyod sandbarIt also serves as a good base point for visiting other postcard-worthy spots outside the city. Traveling there means you get a chance to set foot in Cebu, Siquijor, Bohol, and Apo Island. It's as if going to a festival that features a mind-blowing lineup.

If you're looking to spend your vacation in a relaxing, peaceful, nature-filled destination, you'll find fulfillment in Dumaguete.

Who knows you might even leave your heart there and choose to retire in this charming place. Explore Dumaguete tours and activities that you can add in your itinerary.

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