Dumaguete City: Trip Guide and Itinerary

Home to Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport, Dumaguete City serves as a gateway to Negros Oriental's unspoiled waterfalls, world-renowned islands, pristine beaches and sandbars, and the mystic attractions the neighboring Siquijor province has to offer. More often than not, travelers spend their nights in Dumaguete after jaunting around the city's nearby attractions.

Here's a five-day trip guide to the City of Gentle People.

From Manila to Dumaguete City

Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly to Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport several times daily. Flight takes about an hour. From the airport, you may take a tricycle going to your chosen hotel in Dumaguete City. Tricycle fare is at a minimum of PHP 10.

Where to Stay

We stayed at Grand Pensionne Hotel which apparently is newly-built then. Grand Pensione is a five-minute walk from Dumaguete City Public Market, Rizal Boulevard, and Dumaguete City Port. For updated hotel rates, you may contact them at (035) 225 1577 or book online here.

For other hotels in Dumaguete, check this list.

What to See, What to Do

1. Rizal Boulevard

Late afternoon at Rizal Boulevard

Dumagueteños consider Rizal Boulevard as the "show window" of their city. The 780-meter long promenade faces the sea, thus locals and tourists come for the soothing breeze on late afternoon when a short stretch of the avenue also turns into a street food hub. It was a seaside thoroughfare. Restaurants, café, traveler inns and other commercial establishments are strategically located on streets that terminates at Rizal Boulevard as city visitors often spend some hours at this homey and historical spot during their trip downtime. It would be best to stay near the boulevard and try each diners' noteworthy dishes.

Rizal Boulevard at night

RELATED STORY: Rizal Boulevard, Dumaguete: Reliving History, Satisfying the Tummy

Entrance Fee: NONE
What to Do: Spend some carefree time; relive its history; eat, eat, eat! Check this post about Dumaguete's must-try dishes and restaurants.

2. Dumaguete Cathedral and Belfry

Facade of Dumaguete Cathedral

A short walk from Rizal Boulevard stands the oldest stone church in Negros island, though it might not seem old because of its polished façade. Originally built in 1750s, the Cathedral of Saint Anne of Alexandria, or simply Dumaguete Cathedral, has undergone several reconstruction after multiple events of fire in late 1800s and 1950s destroyed it. Its present façade is also not a part of the original structure but just an extension made in 1936.

Interiors of Dumaguete Cathedral

The equally old Campanario de Dumaguete stands adjacent the church. It was built originally as a watchtower to help protect the town from the Moros (non-Catholic groups that maybe, were considered enemies during that time). It presently watches the daily lives of people passing by the busy streets of Dumaguete downtown.

Dumaguete belfry viewed from the cathedral
Dumaguete belfry

Entrance fee: NONE
What to do: Take a leisure walk; whisper your prayers; relive its history.

3. Quezon Park

Quezon Park, Dumaguete

Across the street from Dumaguete Cathedral is the Manuel L. Quezon Park, the city's town plaza where important city events are held; our furry friends roam around on their leashes during our visit because of an anti-rabies awareness event. Though named after former President Quezon, I saw no statue of him but of Jose Rizal's, his lady-love Josephine Bracken's and a bust of Diego de la Viña, a revolutionary leader in Negros during the late 1800s. Walking around the park is also walking down the city's momentous events in history.

If you happen to visit Dumaguete without an itinerary, visit the city's tourism office located within Quezon Park for information or follow our itinerary provided at the end of this post.

One morning at Quezon Park, Dumaguete

Entrance Fee: NONE
What to do: While away the hours here.

4. Dumaguete Public Market

Painitan in Dumaguete Public Market

Every city's market place is every traveler's one-stop shop. What's special with Dumaguete's is a stretch of small kiosk called painitan. They serve Dumaguete's truly local kakanin treats — budbod, the city's version of suman (rice cake), and puto maya, both when paired with a cup of hot tablea tsokolate (cacao chocolate) will surely kickstart everyone's day.

READ ALSO: Local Delights: Dumaguete's Must-try Dishes and Restaurants

Budbod and tsokolate tablea

Entrance fee: NONE
What to do: Have a taste of Dumaguete, take one of your breakfasts here.

5. Silliman University Anthropology Museum

Silliman Hall

Silliman University is one of Dumaguete's pride, consistently belonging to the country's list of top institution for its academic excellence. But apart from being a hub of knowledge, the colonial edifices within and the seaside campus itself that was dotted with more than a hundred acacia trees make Silliman an ideal spot for a lazy stroll. The century-old university's Hibbard Hall houses a museum that exhibits artifacts collected across Negros island and other sites near the region — burial jars, old and rusty weapons and precious stones among others. The iconic Silliman Hall, the oldest American structure in the country, housed the anthropology museum long before it was transferred to Hibbard.

Bust of Horace Silliman at Silliman University
Silliman University's Hibbard Hall

Entrance fee (general): PHP 50 (Monday-Saturday); PHP 100 (Sunday and Holidays)
Entrance fee (children below 15 years and Filipino students): PHP 20 (Monday-Saturday); PHP 40 (Sunday and Holidays)
Entrance fee (senior citizen): PHP 40 (Monday-Saturday); PHP 80 (Sunday and Holidays)
Museum Schedule: 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM / 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM (Monday-Saturday); By appointments (Sunday and Holidays)

6. Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park | Sibulan, Negros Oriental

Lake Balinsasayao

Hidden within the jungles of Sibulan, Lakes Balinsasayao and Danao are placid bodies of water separated by a hill, requiring a boat or a long trek to reach one from another. The lakes' emerald waters and calm surroundings rejuvenate a worn-out soul; it offers a surefire way to get in commune with nature undisturbed. Visiting the twins that looks identical, except in size, takes about an hour from Dumaguete City by taking a multicab and a scenic habal-habal ride.

Scenic habal-habal ride en route Balinsasayao twin lakes
Lake Danao

Entrance fee: PHP 25 (locals); expect a higher rate for non-Filipinos.
What to do: Kayaking; paddle boating; swimming; snorkeling; picnic; trekking; bird watching.
Getting there, itinerary and other tips: Read Balinsasayao, Danao — the Twin Lakes of Sibulan, Negros Oriental

7. Casaroro Falls | Valencia, Negros Oriental

Trekking to Casaroro Falls

Habal-habal ride to where trekking commences, knee-jerking descent upon concrete stairs (and back up), a couple of river crossings and climbing over large boulders and ruins of destroyed footpaths — all that anyone seeking a glimpse of Casaroro Falls has to undertake. But one thing's for sure, Casaroro is worth all the trouble. Nestled in a verdant jungle in the town of Valencia, the narrow cascade soars high at 100 feet, violently drops its waters into a small and bouldery basin that is prohibited to dive into (someone has perished doing so, that's why). Her charm has been one of the highlights of my Dumaguete trip.

Casaroro Falls

Entrance fee: PHP 10
Getting there, itinerary and other tips: Read Casaroro Falls of Valencia, Negros Oriental — "She's magical"

8. Pulangbato Falls | Valencia, Negros Oriental

Pulangbato Falls

Another must-see waterfalls when in Valencia; witnessing Pulangbato's unearthly beauty demands no struggle unlike Casaroro Falls. Tucked within a fenced facility surrounded with well-maintained resort amenities and lush greens, you can hear the sound of gushing waters upon arriving at its gate. "Pulang bato" is a direct translation of "red rock", derived from the color of rocks where the water of the falls streams through. The water's sulfuric content dyes the rocks turning them into orange-red when wet and yellowish when dried. It's a waterfalls like no other.

Red-dyed stones at Pulangbato Falls

Entrance fee: PHP 25 (adult), PHP 10 (child)
Cottage rentals: PHP 100 (table with chairs), PHP 200 (small cottage)
Getting there, itinerary and other tips: Read Pulangbato Falls, Red Rock Hot Spring — a Warm and Cool Treat from Valencia Negros Oriental

9. Red Rock Hot Spring | Valencia, Negros Oriental

Swimming pool at Red Rock Hot Spring

A small, privately owned resort just a stone's throw away from Pulangbato Falls. Red Rock's soothing warm water comes from a naturally occurring spring that spouts through an opening by the concreted pool. Red Rock Hot Spring nestles near Mount Talinis, a potentially active volcano. On the way to the hot spring and Pulangbato Falls, you'll pass by a rocky hill that gives off a great deal of sulfuric steam — a site that's pleasing to see, just don't mind the smell. It's best to end a day in Red Rock Hot Spring.

Red Rock Hot Spring
Sulfuric steams from a hill at Valencia, Negros Oriental

Entrance fee: PHP 30
Getting there, itinerary and other tips: Read Pulangbato Falls, Red Rock Hot Spring — a Warm and Cool Treat from Valencia Negros Oriental

10. Apo Island | Dauin, Negros Oriental

Boat ride en route to Apo Island

Swimming with sea turtles even in the shallows; that has been Apo Island's tourist magnet apart from its rocky beaches and iconic rock formation. Not to be mistaken with Mindoro's Apo Reef (which is always the case), Apo Island is a world-class diving spot off the southern tip of Negros island. Put on your rashguards and learn breathing through snorkel (if you're not a licensed diver yet) and allot a day for this world-renowned island destination.

Rocky shore of Apo Island

Getting there: Take a bus in Dumaguete to Malatapay Market, PHP 50. Charter a round-trip outrigger boat to Apo Island, price varies.
Boat rental: Medium-sized (4 passengers) - PHP 2000; Big-sized (8 passengers) - PHP 3000.
Other rentals: Snorkeling gears, life vests and water shoes were available for rent in Apo Island at PHP 100 per piece (or per pair). Imagine how much you'll save if you bring your own.

11. Siquijor

Siquijor Church

Next to Camiguin and Batanes, Siquijor is the country's third smallest province. The island province though small was once full of stories of sorcery and supernatural; voodoo-ish past that has hidden the island's real charm — its pristine beaches, picturesque waterfalls and rich cultural heritage. An hour of ferry ride from Dumaguete port makes Siquijor an ideal side trip when exploring the City of Gentle People.

Cambugahay Falls, Siquijor
Siquijor's century-old balete tree

Getting there, itinerary and other tips: Read Siquijor in Less Than 24 Hours

Pinoy Travelogue Itinerary: 4 Nights in Dumaguete and Siquijor

Day 0 - Arrival
  • 5:00 PM : Arrived in Dumaguete; check-in at Asia Novotel
  • 6:00 PM : Stroll along Rizal Boulevard, food trip!
  • 9:00 PM : Beer time at Hayahay Treehouse Bar and Viewdeck

Day 1 - Siquijor Road Trip!
  • 7:00 AM : Depart from Dumaguete City Port
  • 8:00 AM : Arrival at Siquijor Port
  • 8:30 AM : Check-in at Palm Village Guesthouse
  • 9:00 AM : Explore the mystic island!
  • 6:00 PM : Cap off the day (with a beer by the beach)

Day 2 - Nature Trip in Valencia
  • 6:00 AM : Depart from Siquijor Port
  • 7:00 AM : Arrival at Dumaguete City Port
  • 7:30 AM : Check-in at Grand Pensione Plaza
  • 8:00 AM : Breakfast at Dumaguete Public Market — kickstart the day with budbod and puto maya!
  • 9:00 AM : Travel via multicab and habal-habal to Balinsasayao Twin Lakes
  • 11:00 AM : Enjoy the lakes!
  • 1:00 PM : Depart for Casaroro Falls
  • 2:30 PM : Brave the jungle to see Casaroro Falls
  • 3:45 PM : Depart for Pulangbato Falls
  • 4:30 PM : Marvel the uniqueness of Pulangbato Falls
  • 5:00 PM : Cap off the day at Red Rock Hot Spring
  • 5:45 PM : Back to Dumaguete
  • 7:00 PM : Rizal Boulevard. Food trip.

Check out these great hotel deals in Dumaguete!

Day 3 - Apo Island
  • 7:00 AM : Bus Ride to Malatapay Market
  • 7:30 AM : Arrival at Malatapay, charter a roundtrip outrigger to Apo Island
  • 8:00 AM : Boat ride to Apo Island
  • 3:00 PM : Boats usually leaves the island before 3:00 PM or 4:00 PM because of the harsh sea.
  • 4:00 PM : Arrive in Malatapay. Back to Dumaguete.
  • 5:00 PM : Food trip! Because Dumaguete is a haven for every gastronome.

Day 4 - Around Dumaguete/Back to Manila
  • 7:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Visit Dumaguete Cathedral, Quezon Park, Dumaguete City Hall and Silliman University Anthropology Museum


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