My wife asked me to come along in her recent trip to Dumaguete. (1st week of March 2008) She works as regional coordinator of the Early Childhood Care and Development program (ECCD) of the Philippine government’s Department of Social Welfare and Development. As regional coordinator, she gets to travel a lot.
Dumaguete City is the Capital city of Negros Oriental. It is about one hour flight from Manila. It is known as a “University town” mainly because of Silliman University, the oldest protestant University in the country. Aside from that, Dumaguete City boast of other well known educational institutions. If Filipinos are known to be hospitable, then perhaps the greatest example of that hospitality can be found in Dumaguete City since it is also known as the “City of Gentle People.”
We started our journey by traveling from our house in Talisay City, Cebu and driving more than a 100 kilometers to Lilo-an, Oslob for a boat ride in a barge. We left at around 4 p.m. in the afternoon and arrived there at around 8 p.m. We opted to ride the barge since we will be bringing our vehicle with us. Unfortunately the waves were so rough and the departure of the barge was delayed because the captain decided to wait a little while, perhaps the rough seas will be calmer in the next few hours. My wife could not stand traveling in rough seas, so we decided to spend the night at Oslob.
We drove around town and looked for a pension house to spend the night. We were surprised that this once sleepy town already has several hotels, inns and resorts. We were told that the reason for such is because Oslob has become a favorite destination for divers because of its proximity to Sumilon island, Apo island and a portion of Negros Oriental which is known to be world famous dive spots.
There were too many to choose from. We decided to stay at the Marine Village where we got a good spacious, aircondition room for P 1,500.00 a night. According to the hotel’s manager, most of their customers are mainly Japanese tourists.
The next morning (Thursday) at around 5 a.m. we took the barge and sailed to Amlan more than 7 kilometers from Dumaugete City. After some 20 to 30 minutes of driving we finally arrived at Dumaguete City.
The first order of business was to confirm our reservation by checking in. So we went to Harold’s place, a popular tourist inn or “hostel” as the Europeans call it which is known for its low prices. The room only costs P 700 a day with free “continental breakfast”, cable T.V aircondition, free use of the computer in their coffee shop for 30 minutes a day and if you have a laptop you can get free 24 hours internet connection via Wifi. Unfortunately the Wifi connetion is only available in the second floor and only in areas which is nearby the wireless router.
Harold’s place is a great place to stay. Harold himself who owns the place is a very gregarious person and very entertaining to his customers. I noticed that he spends a lot of time in the coffee shop talking to his guest about anything. The place is great, clean and best of all cheap. You can checkout the Harold’s mansion website for more information. I’ve got a couple of suggestion for Harold though. First, Wifi connection should be made available in all floors. Secondly, it is advisable that the coffee shop be expanded to accommodate more people. Thirdly, the staff needs additional training in terms of customer service. Fourth, provide at least 2 pillows each for each guest and lastly, a telephone in the room might help. There are some rooms that have telephones but our room does not have one.
After checking in, we decided to hit the sack since we were very tired because of the long journey. About 11 a.m. my wife went out to do her job. I was left alone in the hotel. I slept a little longer, watched T.V and decided to get some lunch. I first went to see my wife since she asked me to bring some files she needed for their seminar. Afterwards I went to Lee Plaza and brought some personal stuff then it was off to Scooby’s for lunch. I had fish fingers and pancit palabok.
Since I am already in Dumaguete City, I took the time to promote Jurists Bar Review Center. I bought some flyers and posters with me to be distributed in law schools and various government offices. My first stop was the College of Law at Silliman University. I posted some posters there and left some flyers. The college secretary informed me that they have 7 graduating students for this year. I then took the tricycle to Foundation University, where I also posted some posters and gave the college secretary some flyers. Foundation University College of law has close to 20 graduating students. I then went back to Scoobys to have a snack and surf the internet. After 15 minutes my phone rang, my wife told that she is coming over to fetch me.
My wife and I are no stranger to Dumaguete City. We were quite familiar with the place. The reason for such is because my wife spent several years there when she was still schooling at Silliman University. I also frequented the place when I courted her. But even before that, I was a regular visitor of Dumaguete since my grandfather was born and raised there and we have several relatives in the area.
We went to the Boulevard, a famous city landmark where there are many plant stands and where tourists and locals spend a lot of time in the afternoons for a stroll and just to enjoy the breeze that the sea brings. We went there mainly to eat tempura. Afterwards we went back to the hotel. At around 8 p.m. we ate at an Italian restaurant. One of the things I love about Dumaguete city is that prices are much more cheaper than in big cities. Aside from that the city may be small, but it has all the modern amenities and conveniences of a big city. Plus it has a rich and vibrant culture because of its rich educational heritage.
After dinner we drove back to the hotel watched T.V and decided to call it a day.
The next day (Friday) my wife was suppose to attend a seminar again. Unfortunately she was so sick that she decided to just stay in the hotel and rest. We spent most of our morning in the hotel. By lunch time, I bought some “House Pizza” from Rosante. We use to date there and we just love their house Pizza. Afterwards I have to get changed to go to government offices to place Jurists bar review posters. I went to the Provincial Capitol, City hall, and even the pier to post posters. Afterwards I went to the famous Sansrival house to buy some “pasalubong” and to taste the famous “Sansrival” of Dumaguete. I have frequented Dumaguete but I never had a change to buy this unique delicacy. I then went to Jo’s chicken house to buy dinner then it was off to the hotel.
We ate our dinner at the hotel and believe it or not we at all of the Sansrival that we bought. It was delicious ! We then went to the 2nd floor of Harold’s mansion to surf the internet. By about 9 p.m. we had a massage in our hotel room then it was time to hit the sack.
The next morning we were suppose to visit the famous Balinsasayo lake but because we didn’t have time we decided to go home. We had lunch at the famous Tasters, known in Dumaugete City for its great tasting burgers. I’m telling you, Taster’s burger taste so great that I would bet my money on them than on any other burgers sold by popular fastfood chains.
After lunch we drove to the Amlan port and sailed back to Cebu. We traveled for several hours, stopped at Argao and had an early dinner there. Argao is famous for it’s “Torta” a cake like confectionary. We bought some of it for pasalubong. We also stopped at Carcar, famous for it’s “Chicharon” (Deep Fried pig’s skin) finally we arrived at our house in Talisay City.
I always love traveling to other places exploring famous tourist spots and experiencing the culture of neighboring towns and cities. A food trip is also a great way of experiencing the richness of the place. Aside from that traveling to other places also gives me the break that I need from the busy life that I had always been used to. In my future vacations and travels I’ll always include Dumaguete City in my short list.
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