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- 08 May 2021, 3 nights
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Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental, is known as the City of Gentle People. Laid-back and friendly, this university town is a good place to simply wander. There's a coconut tree-lined harbour promenade where everyone goes to eat and drink, bustling stalls and local markets within easy reach, plus the odd historic building and a fascinating anthropological museum. Dumaguete is also an ideal starting point for relaxed day trips to swim, snorkel and spot colourful sea life.
Dumaguete hostels are welcoming and range from historic and eclectic to on-trend and minimalist. You can stay in a Dumaguete hostel in a mid-century building dotted with pre-WWII ceramics, a stylish modern hostel with brickwork dorms and gorgeous gardens or a beachside property with a swimming pool and ocean views. Most hostels in Dumaguete have comforts like free Wi-Fi and air con. Look out for options with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms.
There are some interesting neighbourhoods to explore in Dumaguete. Head for the promenade along the harbour to find restaurants and food stalls alongside chic bars. The lively city centre is home to Quezon Park, a relaxing place for a walk amongst trees, flowers and local residents. You'll also find the majestic St Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral and the belfry here. Nearby spots for day trips include the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park, a peaceful area of still waters, Indian Willow trees and lush hilly terrain.
Water activities are plentiful in Dumaguete, including scuba diving in nearby Dauin, and whale watching and dolphin spotting at Bais, a 1 hour drive away. After a taste of local cuisine? Malatapay Market is a 20 minute drive from Dumaguete. There you'll find an outdoor seaside restaurant serving shellfish soup, grilled squid and steamed rice in coconut leaves. Silliman University's Anthropological Museum is a fascinating place to find out about the indigenous Negritos culture. Visit in October and you might catch the annual week-long Buglasan Festival, which has live music, culinary competitions and a street-dancing parade.
Dumaguete Airport is located just outside the city in Sibulan. From Manila to Dumaguete it's a flight of about 1 hour 25 minutes. To get to town from the airport, take a fixed-price tricycle or taxi (the taxi ride is just a few minutes). Dumaguete is a port so boats and ferries are another easy transport option. While in town, get around on buses and tricycles, or rent a tricycle or motorcycle.