The Philippines has sparked interest not only among Westerners, but also among Asian neighbors. Popular for its 7,000+ islands, year-round warm weather, history of Spanish and American colonization, friendly citizens, and appealing natural attractions.
Dumaguete, the City of Gentle People, is located in the Province of Negros Oriental. This is the province’s capital and most populous city. It’s a great tourist destination with many historical places like Rizal Boulevard and St. Catherine of Alexandria Church. However, there are beautiful spots nearby where you can enjoy nature.
The name “Dumaguete” comes from the Cebuano word dagit, which means “to snatch.” The term dumaguet, which means “to swoop,” was coined in response to Moro pirate raids on this coastal community and its ability to attract and retain both local and foreign visitors. You will fall in love with this place because of its beautiful beaches, mountains or volcanoes, and wildlife.
Here are some of the Dumaguete Tourist Spots that you can visit and explore:
CATHEDRAL OF ST. CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA
The oldest and most historic church in Dumaguete City, St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, is on the list of must-see Dumaguete tourist spots. The Dumaguete Cathedral, which was built in 1776, hosts mass every Sunday for local Filipinos and other religious tourists. The entrance gate to the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral is supported by four large stone pillars and is surrounded by lush green palm trees and frangipani gardens.
Another place that is considered as one of Dumaguete tourist spots is Silliman University. It is the first American university in the Philippines and the Asian continent as a whole. Silliman University, established in 1901, is primarily used for private research.
The symmetrical tree line that surrounds a field of well-kept turf in front of the main campus entrance is the most aesthetically pleasing feature at Silliman University. The anthropology museum at Silliman University also displays artifacts from ancient Filipino culture. The museum is open Monday through Friday, with a small admission fee for outside visitors.
Campanario De Dumaguete / Dumaguete Belfry
Campanario De Dumaguete is a well-known landmark in the heart of the city.
This belfry tower was built in 1811 to warn Dumaguete residents of the impending danger of Moro pirate attacks. Campanario De Dumaguete is a two-tiered watchtower located right next to St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral. A grotto on one side of the watchtower is where locals and devotees pray to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
A few small street vendors sell candles and other religious souvenirs near the grotto’s entrance.
Ninoy Aquino Memorial Freedom Park
The Ninoy Aquino Memorial Freedom Park is a calm, refreshing patch of green near the heart of a bustling city like Dumaguete. It’s the ideal place to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Ninoy Aquino Park is named after a prominent politician who was assassinated in 1983. Freedom Park is also politically significant because it houses the provincial capitol building. The park is occasionally used for special events.
While Freedom Park is usually peaceful, small and large events are occasionally held there. Dance competitions and other events are held at local schools. The park also hosts the Buglasan Festival at the end of the year, usually between late September and early October. This is a festival commemorating the origins and history of Negros Oriental. Live music, dance competitions, and a Buglasan Festival King and Queen pageant are among the festival’s activities. Other activities and vendor stalls can be found in the streets surrounding the park.
While not usually a tourist attraction in and of itself, Ninoy Aquino Memorial Freedom Park is a nice place to go in Dumaguete to rest while sightseeing, to stroll after a busy day, and to check out local shows and festivals.
Rizal Boulevard is one of the best Dumaguete tourist spots, and it should be on your itinerary if you visit Negros Oriental. Rizal Boulevard is a bustling waterfront strip with bars, restaurants, and street vendors open 24 hours a day. Rizal Boulevard also hosts several festivals throughout the year, including parades, live music, and outdoor barbeques for all to enjoy.
Rizal Boulevard faces east over the Philippines Sea and is the best place in Dumaguete to catch the sunrise from one of the bench seats while watching local boats zip in and out of the Dumaguete Port.
READ ALSO: Bria House and Lot: Festive Davao: Kadayawan Festival
SILVANA AT SANS RIVAL CAKES & PASTRIES
Dumaguete alone has hundreds of restaurants and food outlets serving locally and internationally inspired cuisines. Food trips are thus highly recommended for those whose taste buds are open to new flavors. Filipino classics are also served with new twists and turns. Like “Hukad “in Robinsons, “Lantaw “Restaurant if you’re craving for some Filipino food, “Restaurant Kri” for their unique menu, “Hayahay” for the chill night vibe and “JO’s chicken by the Sea” are some places that would be interesting to try when craving for food.
If eating is considered as one of your favorite activities you’re missing out if you haven’t tried a Silvana from Sans Rival.
People from all over the world are flocking to the flagship store in Dumaguete to try this buttery sweet treat. Sans Rival is famous for its creamy, mouth-watering Silvana. Silvana’s recipe calls for egg whites, cream of tartar, cashews, butter, milk, and cake crumbs.
Church of the Chinese Bells
The Chinese Bell Church, which has a colorful landmark visible from the southern end of Rizal Boulevard, is another popular tourist spot in Dumaguete. It is a Taoist temple in the traditional sense. The old Chinese temple by the sea is a great place to meditate and simply visit, with bell towers, dragon figures, a pagoda, and lush landscaped gardens. The Filipino-Chinese and Chinese communities in Dumaguete City run it. They are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. You are free to take as many pictures as you want in the area. They do, however, ask that you be respectful when taking photographs inside the temple. Aside from photographing the colorful statues and taking selfies, visitors can light an incense and pray to a Chinese deity.
Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park
The twin lakes of Balinsasayao and Danao were formed 10,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption, and the 90-meter-deep craters have filled up with water from rain and stream deposits over time, resulting in the two lakes being separated by a narrow mountain ridge. The vegetation around the lakes is dominated by hundreds of species of forest trees, fruit-bearing plants, and flowering plants.
Furthermore, Twin Lakes is a popular destination for bird-watching enthusiasts, as it is home to a variety of bird species, the most well-known of which is the Flaming Sunbird.
Tierra Alta is located in the Valencia mountains, about a 20-minute drive from Dumaguete City. It’s known as the Philippines’ Santorini, and it’s easy to see why, with its fresh clean whites and royal blues mimicking the Greek island. The grounds, which feature a lighthouse as its focal point, also include a restaurant, a swimming pool, and a high-end sub-division that is currently being developed.
Tierra Alta is also a popular location for couples to exchange wedding vows due to its natural beauty. It’s a dream wedding location for any bride and groom, high in the Philippines mountains with the ocean as a backdrop. It unquestionably takes the prize for the most picturesque setting in Dumaguete.
There’s not much to do at the mini-Santorini besides relax, so whether you’re looking for a day by the pool or to hire out the space for a private event, it’s a very special location. There are sun loungers and a small bar and restaurant in the shade by the pool. So, if you can plan your day around the weather and get lucky with a sunny day, you’ll have a lovely day up in the hills.
Also, if you enjoy photography, there is a lovely lighthouse that can be photographed from a variety of perspectives.
The town of Valencia in Negros Oriental, located at the foot of Mount Talinis, is home to numerous waterfalls, including Pulangbato Falls, also known as Malabo Falls. It is quickly becoming a tourism hotspot due to its proximity and accessibility from Dumaguete City.
Pulangbato Falls is one of Barangay Malabo’s so-called Twin Falls. Twin Falls, as the name implies, is made up of two cascades that originate from two different sources. The first is a clear and narrow drop, while the second is the famous Pulangbato, where water cascades down a wall covered in sulfur deposits, making it appear red (or orange).
Pulangbato Fall is approximately 30 feet tall, with a deep and sloping catch basin. Its water comes from the Okoy River Valley highlands at the base of Mount Talinis, a potentially active volcano. Bathing in the waterfalls is permitted despite the presence of sulfur.
One of the signs that Mount Talinis is a potentially active volcano is the sulfur-emitting mountainside just along the road leading to Pulangbato Falls. You won’t be able to miss it because the area is literally fuming and emitting a strong odor.
Red Rock Hot Spring
There are numerous ways to get to Red Rock Hot Spring. Due to its location in Valencia, it would take approximately half an hour to travel from Dumaguete City to Valencia. Because the hot spring is a popular tourist destination in the area, local tricycles can transport you there for a reasonable price. There are also other modes of transportation available, such as renting motorcycles or scooters for a certain fee.
The rusty color of the rocks was caused by oxidation, resulting in a reddish landscape of waterfalls. When minerals, such as iron, are exposed to oxygen and water, they oxidize. However, there is no need to be concerned about the safety of the waters. Anyone can freely soak and relax in the hot spring’s warm waters, which typically range from 37.5 to 39.5 degrees Celsius.
Apart from the unique appearance and color of the rocks, this makes the hot spring a popular destination for people looking to relax their aching muscles. In fact, the hot spring claims to have provided relief for a variety of health issues, including asthma and arthritis.
There are also numerous man-made pools in the area that use spring water to generate natural heat. The waters are sourced from nature streams and provide the ultimate relaxation to unwind and enjoy the natural spring waters because they come directly from the mountains.
There will be an entrance fee upon entering the location while gazebos and picnic huts can be rented for different prices depending on their size. The prices are reasonable, and the experience is well worth the money.
The Casaroro Falls
Casaroro Falls, located 9.4 kilometers west of Dumaguete City in the town of Valencia, Negros Oriental, is the most photographed waterfall in the entire Negros province.
Casaroro Falls is nestled deep within the rock crevices of Valencia’s rugged mountains. The water falls from a height of 100 feet into a deep cold basin before flowing down to a stream. The waterfall is much narrower than the typical wide cascade, but this is precisely what distinguishes Casaroro. Despite its narrowness, the volume of water that drops is large and creates a roar when it hits the pool. Natural boulders large enough to rest any weary traveler’s feet surround the basin.
READ ALSO: Why Dumaguete is one of the best places to invest in an affordable house and lot
Dumaguete City is more than just a tourist destination with scenic park walks. It serves as the entry point to the wonders and adventures of Negros Oriental. There are numerous things to do in Dumaguete and Negros Oriental, such as exploring caves, mountain biking near the hills, and even scuba diving the world’s water paradise below. Adventure and thrills await from the northernmost to the southernmost parts of Negros Oriental.
Here are some of the best activities when you’re in Dumaguete and you have a good chunk of time to spare to travel a bit further.
Trekking is one of the most popular types of adventure here in Negros Oriental. Valencia is the closest trekking destination from Dumaguete City. Mt. Talinis is an inactive volcano in Valencia that is popular for hiking and camping. Mt. Kanlaon, the highest point on the island of Negros, is another excellent trekking destination. Trekking near this active volcano is probably not the best thing to do when the alert levels are high.
Negros Oriental is indeed blessed with thick forestry, not only to entice visitors with its refreshing views, but also to protect some of the island’s rarest creatures. Some of the known rare birds found only on the island of Negros include the Negros bleeding-heart pigeon and the Visayan Hornbill (and some of Panay). They can be seen stretching their wings to the embrace of nature on Negros Oriental near Lake Balinsasayao in Sibulan.
The Amlan Zoo and Adventure Park is another place to go bird watching. Although it offers more than just bird watching, it is well worth a visit.
CAVING AND SPELUNKING
Say no more when it comes to spelunking and caving! The municipality of Mabinay may not be blessed with coastal areas, but it is rich in caves. Mabinay is known as the Cave Capital of the Philippines because of the hundreds of known and unknown caves in its vicinity. It caters to all levels of visitors who dare to explore its ‘cavy’ wonders. Most of the caves in Mabinay have been developed, so there is no need to be concerned.
Although Mabinay is well-known for caving and spelunking, the island is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of undiscovered caves. Some can be found in the towns of La Libertad and Basay.
Have you done too much with just your feet? Why not try on some wheels? Mountain biking is one of the most rewarding activities you can do while visiting the wonders of Negros Oriental. There are numerous mountain biking trails to explore. If you are staying in Dumaguete City, the best DIY (do it yourself) tour is to go up to the municipality of Valencia and then back. There is also the option of traveling to neighboring towns such as Bacong, Dauin, or even just Sibulan.
SWIMMING AND SNORKELING
Because Negros Oriental has a 275-kilometer-long coastline, it’s no surprise that most visitors enjoy swimming and snorkeling. There are numerous sanctuaries in Dauin, as well as beaches worth visiting in Zamboaguita, Siaton, Santa Catalina, Bayawan, Basay, Vallehermoso, Tayasan, Amlan, and pretty much every municipality in Negros Oriental.
Aside from the obvious tan lines and beach bumming, swimming holes can be found in mountainous areas such as Valencia and Sibulan. The Casaroro and Pulangbato Falls in Valencia are beautiful places to visit and swim. The Twin Lakes in Sibulan are also excellent places to swim and relax.
The majority of visitors to Negros Oriental come to explore the underwater paradise along the province’s coastal wonders and the world-famous Apo Island, which is only a few kilometers from the coasts of Dauin and Zamboaguita. There are numerous Beach Resorts in Dauin that provide scuba diving in Dauin and Apo Island.
READ ALSO: Few Things to Consider When Diving in Dumaguete and Apo Island
Dumaguete is known not only for its tourist spots and various activities, but it is also one of the best places to consider to stay after retirement in the Philippines. Fortunately, there is a Bria Homes in Dumaguete that can provide you with a low-cost house and lot. It is a 5-hectare residential complex with approximately 1,200 units. It is easily accessible and strategically located. in Barangay Cantil-e, Dumaguete City, accessible via the Bacong-Valencia Road.
Along with providing them with the opportunity to own their own homes at a low cost. Interested buyers can view BRIA Homes developments via virtual tours on the BRIA website. Inquiries can also be sent to the official BRIA Facebook page, and reservations can be made online through the BRIA reservation page.