Dumaguete City: Places to Visit and Things to Do
February 7, 2019
by Farrah Mae Pastor
The Philippines has three major islands: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. One of the most sought to places is located in Region VII, in the Island of Visayas, called Dumaguete City. This place has been named by the National Hero of the country, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, as the “City of Gentle People.” It is through his visit to the City that he met locals who are sweet spoken, hospitable and amiable. There’s even a statue of him in the Quezon Park right across the Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria (the Patron Saint). It was said that Dr. Rizal visited and stood right across in front of the Church where his sculpture can be seen. Many people visit and choose to stay here for good. What are exciting ways to enjoy the City? What are the most ideal things to do in the City of Gentle People? Dumaguete City is the capital city of Negros Oriental (Negros Island). It is also known as the “University City” for we can see Four Main Universities and other colleges here. In fact, one of the coolest places to see is Silliman University which is the first Protestant and American School in the country and in Asia. There are a lot of things to do and experience here with your own two eyes and to feed your soul with astounding experiences.
Mode of Transportation
Tricycle is the mode of transportation here. It’s a public vehicle with three wheels where 6 or 7 people can ride on. Other transportation can be Jeepneys (public mini-trucks) accommodating for about 15-20 people (depending on the size of the vehicle) and a bus that has about 40-50 seating capacity. You can also rent some motorcycles. Renting a motorcycle can range from P500 – P1,000.00 (more or less) per day depending on the range of destination.
What’s in Dumaguete?
When you look at one of the Universities here like Silliman, you can see that it has withstood the test of time since it plays a vital role in history for it is here where the Japanese forces used it as one of their headquarters. Near the school, you can see the Rizal Boulevard that is also named by Philippine’s Hero. You can take a walk or jog. You can also sit on the benches while looking at the sunrise or sunset and the boats that come and go from the nearby port. Imagine a romantic picnic with the love of your life as you sit together on a cozy night and watch the twinkling stars and the power of the moonlight. There are a lot of restaurants and pubs as well right across the boulevard. You can witness and jam with the live bands at night and even try or taste the exotic local food called “Balut (hard-boiled duck fetus).”
Interesting Foods to Try
Usually around 5:30 PM or 6:00, vendors will now get ready to set their small food cart up and display their frying pans to cook the street foods “tempura, Kwik-Kwik (Colored Flour-Wrapped Quail Egg), Squid Roll, fish ball and fish or chicken nuggets. Every section of food carts has their own sets of small tables and chairs lined up in columns. Tourists and locals can then sit down and enjoy the food especially the “balut.” You can choose 16 days (the duck fetus is very small and isn’t so well formed yet). You can also choose 18 days (the duck fetus has been well formed and you can see the hair that surrounds it. This means it’s almost old enough). While eating this exotic food or other street food you might like, you can also see other locals entertain you thru singing or playing musical instruments.
What are other interesting things to see?
Dumaguete along with other places in the country has a long line of history. You can tell especially with the old churches that were even built during the time of the Spaniards in the 15th century. Precisely same with the Cathedral Church (St. Catherine of Alexandria Church) located in the heart of the city. Though slightly renovated, you can tell from its main structure and its facade that it has been in its location for hundreds of years. Outside the church, upon looking at the gate, you can see four pillars with statues representing the four main evangelists or writers in the Bible, Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You can also see the statues of St. Peter and Paul on the churches veneer. Upon entering the church, you can see its magnificent architecture, its high ceilings, antique chandeliers and many devotees who come often to pay respect and offer prayers even when no mass is being held. Right beside the Cathedral Church, you can see the “Campanario de Dumaguete” (Bell Tower of Dumaguete).
History of the “Campanario”
This was built to forewarn the locals through ringing the bell if pirates on big ships are about to invade the City. Once you climb up the stairs and reach the very top of the bell tower, you can see (overlooking) the city especially the boulevard area.
Dumaguete City Hall
As its name “Dumaguete,” it was named after the Cebuano dialect, “Dagit” which means to snatch. It was then said that pirates used to come here to steal the women for wives and slaves. Legend tells that when another attempt was made to invade the city, the bees of St. Catherine of Alexandria (“Mga putchokan ni Sta. Catalina de Alejandria”) covered the city so that it could not be seen and stung the pirates so they could no longer return. That’s why Sta. Catalina de Alejandria became the Patroness of Dumaguete City.
Freedom Park featuring The Oriental Negros Capitol
We talked about Quezon Park earlier and there’s also another Park that we call “Freedom Park.” You can see the statue of Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. He fought with the Filipinos against the Martial Law and even when he felt that he had a lot of death threats, he said that the Filipinos are worth dying for. There’s truly a lot of things to do and to see here. From Parks to Churches to the Boulevard. Dumaguete is a small city but there a lot of things you can do here especially to the other municipalities nearby here in Negros Oriental.