The City of Gentle People. The best place to retire in the Philippines. The Capital of Negros Oriental. These are just the things that Dumaguete City is known for.
Dumaguete can be your next address if you want to live in one of the peaceful places in the Philippines. In addition, there are plenty of houses and lots for sale in Dumaguete you can invest in if you want to start a family here or choose this as your retirement home.
Aside from being a Gentle City with an aggressive development, Dumaguete is also the second home of students, called the University Town of the South, home to numerous renowned universities and colleges. These include Silliman University, Negros Oriental State University (NORSU), Foundation University, and St. Paul University – Dumaguete.
Of course, Dumaguete can also be your next travel destination in the Philippines. In this Dumaguete travel guide, you will learn how to travel to Dumaguete, what exciting places and things you can see and do there, and more! You can also find handy phrases in this Dumaguete travel guide to help you navigate your way around the island.
How to Go To Dumaguete
To reach Dumaguete, you can come from the four main entry points: Manila, Cebu, Bohol, and Bacolod. Airplanes, ferries, and buses are the modes of travel going to Dumaguete.
Going to Dumaguete from Metro Manila
If you are coming from Metro Manila, the fastest way to reach Dumaguete is via plane. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia have Manila to Dumaguete and vice versa flights daily. Travel time ranges from 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 35 minutes, depending on your preferred airline.
Going to Dumaguete from Cebu
Cebu is just the neighboring island of Dumaguete. From here, you can ride a plane, a ferry, or a bus to Dumaguete. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific offer Cebu to Dumaguete flights, lasting around 50 minutes for direct flights.
If you come from parts of Cebu close to Liloan Port in Oslob, you can quickly board a ferry to Sibulan Port in Negros Oriental. The ferry ride is around an hour and a half. From Sibulan Port, ride a jeep or multi-cab going to Dumaguete. In addition, the land travel time is around 20 to 30 minutes.
You can also take the bus from Cebu City’s South Bus Terminal. Note that because there is no bridge connecting Cebu and Negros Oriental, the bus will board a ferry. It will then continue to travel to Dumaguete. The travel time is around 5 hours and 30 minutes to 6 hours. The earliest bus trip from Cebu to Dumaguete starts at 5:30 AM, and the last trip is at 6:00 PM.
Going to Dumaguete from Bohol
Like Cebu, Bohol is also close to Dumaguete. To go to Dumaguete from Bohol, you can ride the plane or the ferry.
If you are flying from Bohol to Dumaguete, Philippine Airlines offers flights. However, know that most flights can last from around 6 to 49 hours because the plane will have stopoovers in Metro Manila and Davao before going to Dumaguete.
On the other hand, you can also ride the ferry from Bohol to Dumaguete. OceanJet Ferry offers ferry rides from Tagbilaran in Tagbilaran to Dumaguete daily at 10:40 AM. They also offer ferry rides from Dumaguete to Tagbilaran daily at 1:00 PM. The fare is PhP 900 and the ferry ride is approximately 2 hours.
Going to Dumaguete from Bacolod
From Bacolod, you only need to ride the bus to reach Dumaguete.
Go to Bacolod South Bus terminal and ride one of the buses operated by Ceres Liner bound for Dumaguete. Trips from Bacolod to Dumaguete start at 1:00 AM, and the last trip is at 7:30 PM. On the other hand, the first trip from Dumaguete to Bacolod is at 1:00 AM, and the last trip is at 10:30 PM. The travel time between these two cities is around 6 hours, and the fare is PhP 380 for air-conditioned buses and PhP 295 for non-aircon buses.
Places to See and Things to Do in Dumaguete
Whether you’re into nature, history, architecture, or all of them, here’s a list of the best things to do in Dumaguete from this Dumaguete travel guide:
Historic City Tour
To learn more about Dumaguete, you can go on a city tour and explore the different sites in the city that is rich in history. You can join tours led by an expert Dumaguete travel guide or DIY your itinerary for more freedom.
This is a famous boardwalk where locals and tourists often hang out, stroll, or jog. Benches are lined along the boulevard, and you can sit here to watch the sunrise or sunset. You can also take photos at the Dumaguete Sign on Rizal Boulevard. After staying here, you can dine at nearby cafes or restaurants on the boulevard.
Another park you can visit in Dumaguete is Quezon Park along Percides Street. During your stroll here, you will find canyons, an old fire truck, and Jose Rizal and Maria Clara monuments.
Dumaguete Cathedral and Belfry Tower
In front of Quezon Park is the oldest stone church on Negros Island, St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral. This church was built in the 17th century. Beside it, you will find the old belfry tower built in 1811.
One of the known universities in Dumaguete is Silliman University, established in 1901. This university is located at the center of Dumaguete City, along Hibbard Avenue. Even if you don’t study here, you can stroll around the university’s campus and take photos. Inside the campus, you can find gigantic acacia trees and other greeneries. While there, you can also check out their Anthropology Museum to see artifacts, including hand-woven products and a collection of whale bones.
With the presence of numerous educational institutions in Dumaguete, it is also one of the university cities in the Philippines to invest in real estate properties.
Water Adventure Awaits
One of the best things to do in Dumaguete is to swim and enjoy the water, be it on a beach, lake, falls, or pool.
Located in Valencia, Forest Camp is less than 30 minutes from Dumaguete City. This camp houses natural pools, native cottages, and hammock houses. It is perfect for families who want to enjoy Dumaguete’s landscapes and experience exciting outdoor activities such as ziplining and sampling Filipino dishes.
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park
Another tourist attraction 30 minutes from Dumaguete is Balinsasayao Twin Lakes in Negros Oriental. Balinsasayao and Danao Lakes are deep freshwater lakes naturally formed after years of rain and stream fill the deposits up to the craters of the Sibulan mountains.
This tourist spot is perfect for nature lovers as it is also a great place to watch different and rare species of birds. Other activities you can do here are swimming, kayaking, boating, and freediving.
Red Rock Hot Spring
For the ultimate relaxation, visit the hot springs of Red Rock Hot Spring in Pulang-tubig, Valencia. Since Valencia is close to an active volcano, the area has natural hot springs. Often, tourists would end their Dumaguete tour here to relieve the muscles in their bodies.
Aside from hot springs, there are also numerous falls in Valencia. The Casaroro Falls, the most photographed waterfall in Negros province with a height of 100 feet is one of the falls you will find here. Another notable fall is Pulangbato Falls, perfect for families because you can go here without hiking. You can walk in and be amazed at the multiple falls and swimming holes when you’re here.
Last is the Niludhan Falls in Bayawan City, around 3 hours from Dumaguete. This falls measures 25 meters by 40 meters. Though quite far, plenty of tourists go here to admire the beautiful scenery and enjoy swimming.
Side Trips to Nearby Tourist Spots in Dumaguete
You are in for a treat when you visit or live in Dumaguete because it allows you to visit other tourist attractions on Negros Island. Here are other tourist attractions near Dumaguete you should visit:
Located in Bais, around one hour and a half from Dumaguete, Manjuyod Sandbar’s white sand and clear aquamarine waters prove it to be the “Maldives of the Philippines.” You will also find plenty of floating cottages in the middle of the ocean here.
Aside from swimming, you can also do water activities such as snorkeling and banana boat riding. You can also leisurely walk across the longest sandbar in the Philippines located here. Once you’re done, you can also relax by having a picnic in the middle of the sea. You can also watch dolphins in the wild while you’re heading to Tañon Strait.
Located in Dauin, Apo Island is only 40 minutes away from Dumaguete City. This 24-hectare volcanic island also sits at the tip of Negros Oriental and is home to abundant marine life. One of the exciting activities you can do here is swimming with the turtles. However, remember not to feed or touch them. You can also dive or snorkel to see corals, fish, and other marine life.
Best Time to Visit Dumaguete
The best time to visit Dumaguete is during the dry summer season (February to June) or the festival season (September to October).
During the dry and summer season in Dumaguete, you can take advantage of the clear skies and the city’s best islands and beaches. October is often the rainy season in Dumaguete. However, during September and October, you can witness the Sandurot Festival and Buglasan Festivals in Dumaguete.
Useful Phrases You Can Use in Dumaguete
Locals can understand and speak English and Tagalog. While Negros province uses the Hiligaynon language, Dumaguete’s proximity to Cebu has contributed to Cebuano being the primary language used in Dumaguete.
This Dumaguete travel guide includes helpful phrases in Cebuano you can use during your stay if you want to speak with the locals in their primary language:
- Yes – Oo
- No – Dili
- Please – Palihug
- Good Morning – Maayong Buntag
- Good Afternoon – Maayong Hapon
- Good Evening – Maayong Gabii
- How are you? – Kumusta?
- What’s your name? – Unsa’y pangalan nimo?
- Where is…? – Asa ang…?
- How much? – Tag pila?
- What time is it? – Unsang oras na?
- Delicious – Lami
- Let’s eat – Mangaon ta
- I’m hungry – Gigutom ko
- Stop – Para
- Left – Wa-la
- Right – Tuo
And that’s it! Let this Dumaguete travel guide help you in planning a vacation to remember.
For more tips and advice, check out our previous journals here.
Photos from Depositphotos