The university city of Dumaguete is not just home to some of the country’s top educational institutions, it’s also a popular jumping-off point to nearby touristy islands such as Siquijor and Apo Island. That said, this beautiful and vibrant city is fast becoming a tourist destination in its own right, thanks to its natural treasures, historic buildings, and unique food culture to delight visitors.
If you’re planning to include the city in your itinerary, make sure to get a Dumaguete tour package that comes with these attractions.
One of Dumaguete’s most photographed locations is Casaroro Falls, situated at the foot of Mount Talinis, a.k.a. Cuernos del Negros. The stunning waterfall comes with a hundred feet drop, cascading off a crevice at the highland town of Valencia.
To get to the green pool below the falls, you have to descend a 350-step staircase and cross the metal and concrete paths on the trail. While it’s a very easy trek to do, it may not be the best destination for seniors with joint issues.
Pulang Bato Falls
Just 30 minutes away from Casaroro Falls, you’ll find signs pointing to Pulang Bato Falls and Red Rock Hot Spring. But unlike Casaroro, you won’t have to trek to reach the famed twin falls of Baranggay Malabo.
The first things you’ll notice when you get there are the red rocks all around the waterfalls and the pools. Apparently, the sulfur from Mount Talinis dyes the rocks red, which could mean that the mountain is actually an active volcano. It also explains the smelly fumes you will encounter on the way to these destinations.
Red Rock Hot Spring
Cap off your trek with a dip into the Red Rock Hot Spring just a few hundred meters from the Pulang Bato Falls. Unlike some hot springs that can be unbearable to stay in for a long time, the Red Rock Hot Springs is relatively mild at 37.5°C to 39.5°C, making for a pleasant soak before dinner.
Since Dumaguete is a university city, why not visit the city’s most iconic school campus—that of Silliman University’s? Founded in 1901 by philanthropist Dr. Horace Silliman, the university is actually the country’s oldest American-founded university. As such, the university features some of the Philippines’ oldest American-era buildings, including the Silliman Hall, which is believed to have been inspired by the Stick Style architectural style, popular during the mid-19th century.
A guided tour of the Anthropology Museum is also available to the public, though you’ll have to contact the university and set an appointment before going. Some of the more interesting artefacts in the museum’s collection are antiquities that date back to the years between 500 and 200 B.C.
Rizal Boulevard is where everyone goes when the sun goes down. This area becomes a bustling dining hub filled with food stalls that feature some of city’s street food favorites, including the very popular Dumaguete-style “tempura.“ Don’t get your hopes up of finding a shrimp within the batter though; this version of “tempura” is similar to “kikiam,” only instead of pork flavor, it’s flavored with fish and shrimp, hence the name.
Many of the city’s famous restaurants line up the opposite side of the boulverad, serving up deserts like silvanas and sans rival that Dumaguete is famous for, as well as savory dishes like inato chicken.
Public Market Painitan
In Dumaguete, breakfast means going to the “painitan,” a term which loosely translates to “heat up” and refers to food stalls frequented by locals. At the city’s public market, many painitan food stalls serve hungry customers as early as 4 AM. There, you can choose from a variety of “budbud,” a sticky rice concoction mixed with cocoa and wrapped in banana leaves. Paired with the traditional “sikwate” or hot chocolate drink, these delicacies will certainly get you ready for the day ahead.
There is no doubt that Dumaguete is just starting to become a more popular travel destination among Filipinos. So why not include the city in your itinerary now before the droves of tourists come in? This city of gentle people will definitely welcome you with open arms!