Dumaguete Fiesta Dancers

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ARTS AND CULTURE

An important, but lesser known aspect of life here in Dumaguete, is the existence of our vibrant arts and culture community. There are several reasons for this. The physical environment certainly lends itself to contemplation and creativity. While the bountiful Visayen sea washes the shoreline along Rizal Boulevard, glorious Mount Talinas, standing 1864 meters high, is a commanding presence over the city. Four universities make a significant contribution to the creative environment. Dumaguete has been attracting talented, creative individuals here for almost fifty years.

Silliman University, founded over a century ago, has been influential in promoting culture here. Each year it attracts significant numbers of accomplished local and international musicians, writers, performing artists, and dancers. Some of the recent performances at Silliman included the Broadway musical Rent, a Senior Choral Recital, a Gala Evening of Arias, and a student writing competition. For the past fifty nine years, (to 2020) Silliman has had an annual writers event where ten writers from throughout the Philippines are selected to present their work. They also have the opportunity to hone their craft by learning from guest lecturers who are among the most prominent writers in the country.

There are art galleries that display and sell classical artwork, indigenous art and work by local students. One interesting process happens when artists bring prospective clients to selected coffee shops and restaurants to view their art. This approach creates a level of intimacy that usually results in the formation of a strong bond between artists and the public.

The Bell Tower Project brings together local musicians to promote their music. This adds a somewhat bohemian atmosphere to our city. Musical and singing sessions regularly happen in local coffee shops and restaurants. Its an effortless blending of large city sensibilities with laid back, island attitudes. Funshop Creative Learning teaches children and adults to play musical instruments and also how to sing. The Negros Oriental Musical Society performs all over the island. Its choir is composed mainly of teenagers.

It’s important to also mention the quality and variety of classes that are available for mature students. If you never had time to earn your BA, MA or doctorate degree, both Silliman and Foundation universities offer a wide range of post graduate programs. Foundation University is recognized as a leading progressive university, while Silliman is regularly ranked as one of the top universities not only in the Philippines, but in Asia.

It’s wisely said in order for a newcomer to get a clear insight to the people of Dumaguete, an evening walk along Rizal Boulevard is essential. The best time is at sunset when the blue ocean turns dark as the sun begins to disappear, and Sequijor and Apo islands shimmer in the evening light. While walking along the boulevard, you will hear the excited chatter of locals exchanging gossip and laughter especially close to Silliman Avenue where food stalls are plentiful.

By now, you will have realized Dumaguete has much to offer you in terms of the arts, culture, and education. But, if you need specific details about any aspect, please contact us and we will take care of you.

FOOD

One of the best ways to understand any country is to immerse yourself into its food culture. In order to best do that, its wise to eat with the locals, if not necessarily eat like the locals. Filipinos love their food. They seem to constantly eat large amounts that have zero impact on their weight and slim bodies. Its impossible to walk through any town or village without, in a maximum of five minutes, coming across some food outlet. Most popular with locals are the Caninderias. These are basic eateries with a few pots and pans and much used, plastic chairs to sit on. The food could include, pork, fish, or perhaps chicken. Recipes will differ from Caninderia to Caninderia and be based on the cooks mother or grandmother’s recipe. Inexpensive, basic, but usually good food made with pride and skill. Don’t be shy to ask for explanations about the food. You will be responded to with civility and that, almost inevitable, warm Dumaguete smile.

If you want Western food, the best place to go is Rizal Boulevard. Why Not restaurant (seriously, that’s its name) and Casablanca offer very good eating experiences and a large menu focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on Western food. Sans Rival is a highly successful family owned company that has restaurants and bakeries in Dumaguete, Cebu and Manila. Their pastries and cakes are always in high demand throughout the Philippines. They offer both Western and Filipino foods and have an excellent reputation for their food quality and service.

Inevitability, fast food has arrived into the Philippines. Dumaguete is no exception and has McDonald’s. Colonel Saunders, and the Filipino owned Jollibee chain. Starbucks has an outlet on Rizal Boulevard. You can “dine in” at the fast food outlets or purchase a take out meal. Food is quickly available, inexpensive, and good value. Some outlets offer unlimited rice. This is a big plus for Filipinos who love their rice the way the French drool over pastries or Irish people adore their potatoes. Some places are open 24/7 while others close at midnight and reopen at 7 am for breakfast.

Obviously you can’t eat out all the time. Well, you could, but its understandable you want to occasionally eat at home. Newcomers are pleasantly surprised by the year round, low cost for vegetables , eggs, rice, fresh fish, pork, and beef. Depending on the menu, its possible to cook an excellent dinner for three people as a cost of anywhere from 350 pesos (approximately US6. 85) to 500 pesos, (US $9.80) while still having food left over for a next day meal.

Regarding food, food supply and eating out, you really do have the best of all worlds. You have a large number of good choices where you can enjoy local dishes, or, if inclined, you can go to restaurants with excellent Western food. You can also enjoy cooking lovely meals at home that are inexpensive to put on the table. Not that its needed but, this is further confirmation your move to Dumaguete was a wise decision.

Dumaguete Food Culture

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DUMAGUETE SPORT AND ADVENTURE

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SPORT AND ADVENTURE

Because of it’s location on the sea and also being close to the mountains and other islands such as Apo and Sequijor,Dumaguete is an ideal location for exploring. It has a cornucopia of options available for outside adventures, sporting activities, or more leisurely pursuits. Whether you are highly active and looking for adventure, or would prefer a more relaxed approach when experiencing the outdoors, Dumaguete is an ideal location for you.

Sports tourism in Dumaguete has evolved dramatically over the past five years. In addition to being chosen as the best place to retire by the Philippine Retirement Authority, and among the top six cities in the world to retire by Forbes magazine, Dumaguete was recognized in 2017 as the best sports organized location in the Visayas. This came after years of successfully hosting local, national, and international sporting events. Additionally, Dumaguete was selected to host the 2020 OSEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) student games. That involved participation by the best school athletes from the twelve country region.

Let’s review some of your options. Due to space limitations, it will be detailed but not all inclusive. We can provide any other clarification you want when you contact us. One factor that will please you is the cost will be meaningfully, less expensive than what you would pay in Europe, North America, or Australia.

There are several sight seeing tour companies that will happily take you on tours of the city. If you prefer something more adventurous, you could go with them island hopping for a few days. Apart from the pleasure of viewing giant waterfalls, or swimming in pools under them, you could experience exotic islands, and, if inclined, swim with turtles, dolphins, while occasionally seeing whales. The tour companies provide hotel accommodations, recommend restaurants, and will cater to most of your needs.

It’s important you select a company that has accreditation with some, it not all, of the following agencies: The Department of Tourism, the Philippine Travel Agents Association (PTAA), Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), and/or Negros Oriental Travel and Tour Agencies (NOATTA)

The following are some, but not all, of the outside activities and adventures available for you: Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Kite Flying, running,trail waking, mountain climbing, trail hiking, hiring an airplane, swimming with dolphins and turtles, visiting a bee farm, golfing, exploring waterfalls, kayaking, windsurfing, canoeing, zip lining, visiting a bird sanctuary, visiting the Japanese shrine, and cave exploration.

SCUBA DIVING: Dauin, which is a short drive from Dumaguete, is the central point for scuba diving and snorkeling in Negros Oriental and is considered to be one of the best in the Philippines. All dive sites there are marine sanctuaries and officially protected. No fishing is allowed inside these areas. Not is any boat traffic permitted. The consequence of such protection is an abundance of spectacular aquatic life and healthy corals. It’s not coincidental that several diving websites refer to Dauin as “a truly amazing place to dive.”

RUNNING: Running is a way of life here in Dumaguete. There are clubs you can join for regular training with a view to doing competitive racing such a 5k, 10 k up to marathon, or even triathlon level. Or you might simply want to join the joggers along Rizal Boulevard for their daily activity. Either way, if you enjoy running, the options available are plentiful.

The purpose here was to let you know about the variety of adventures, sporting, and outside activities available for you. We discussed some in detail but clearly, there is much more you need to know depending on what your preferences are. If you want more specific information, or want to discuss an activity we did not discuss, please contact us. We will be happy to provide you with all the information you need to maximize the enjoyment of your experience.

NATURE AND PARKS

Because of the vast number of options, it’s challenging to know where to begin or end when discussing these topics. Therefore, we will discuss some in detail here and if you subsequently want more specific information, we will happily provide it for you. The common thread that binds comments from visitors enjoying nature and parks here is their astonishment at the beauty, tranquility and diversity available for them to enjoy.

OMOYEN BEE FARM :It’s difficult, if not impossible, to walk away from Omoyen Bee farm without a deep appreciation of the positive impact bees have worldwide on the environment and agriculture. The visit also instructs you on the regimental order that exists within the bee community. Perhaps those are reasons why visiting bee farms has evolved into a new tourist industry. It’s become so important the Philippine government now accredits qualified bee farmers to allow tourists visit. There is a strong move toward making only organic honey with bee growers providing flowers and other sources for their bees to pollinate. Visitors also include beekeepers wanting to improve their farms, are given an overview of how to do that without harming the environment by using pesticides. After the exchange of information, you are taken on a tour of the farm, given honey to enjoy, and also drinks mixed with honey and fruits grown on the farm. Overall, its a fascinating, worthwhile, and thought provoking experience!

MOUNT TALINAS : Standing at 1864 meters above sea level, Mount Talinas is the second highest mountain in Negros Oriental. Its actually classified as a “potential volcano” which seems to be a safe way for bureaucrats to say it may, or many not, explode in the future. The mountain is highly fumarolic and, because of that, is a valuable source of electricity for Valencia and Dumaguete. It is a demanding but worthwhile trek to reach the summit of Mount Talinis. It’s advisable to bring a guide and allow yourself an overnight sleepover at Lake Nailig before attempting the final stage of the climb. Your efforts will be well rewarded by breathing pure mountain air while observing stunning views in every direction.

AQUINO FREEDOM PARK : This was named after politician Ninoy Aquino who was the assassinated in 1983. This death began the People Power movement that led to a change in government. It’s a spacious park in the heart of Dumaguete city. Its also one of the main locations for the annual Buglasan ten day festival held in mid October. Families enjoy it for picnics especially on weekends, lovers stroll during daytime while holding hands, and joggers use it for early morning workouts and running.

CASARORA FALLS: Located only 9.4 miles west of Dumaguete is the magnificent Casarora Falls. This is the most photographed waterfall in all of Negros Oriental. It is 100 feet or 33.33 meters high. What makes this waterfall unique is the narrowness of the usually much wider cascade.The water falls 100 feet while making thunderous sounds on its journey down into a deep basin, then it becomes a gentle stream. While this is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, be prepared for walking up and down the 357 step stairway!

JAPANESE SHRINE: Known as the Japanese Shrine, the correct name of this historical obelisk is the Filipono-American-Japanese Amity Shrine. It stands 30 feet or 10 meters high, with a three sided pillar to represent the three countries involved. It’s intended to symbolize the end of war and the beginning of peace between the countries. It stands on the ground where some of the fiercest fighting of WW2 happened. If you enjoy hiking, and are willing to walk up to three hours each way depending on your condition, then this destination is ideal for you.

APO ISLAND: Is less than 3 nautical miles from Dumaguete. This is yet another internationally acclaimed diving site. But it offers much more including hikes and the opportunity to quietly swim with giant turtles and view an astonishing volume of marine life. There are 650 documented species of fish and over 400 types of corral reef. Marine life includes clown fish, giant clams, turtles while coral areas have barracudas, white reef sharks, tuna, black and white snappers, groupers and scorpion fish. Please bear in mind access to the island is available only from 7 pm to 10 pm.

Forest Camp Nature and Parks

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HAYAHAY NIGHT LIFE

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NIGHT LIFE

For most retirees, a really rocking nightlife will probably not be a deciding factor when choosing a place to retire, however we likely would not be content in a place where the sidewalks are rolled up at 6 pm.

Dumaguete City and some of the surrounding towns definitely do not become ghost towns after dark. The most prevalent night time entertainment in this area for retirees would definitely be centered around live bands.

Right downtown the most polar venue would be Hayahay’s, which is an open air native “treehouse” on the Northern strip of the Boulevard, overlooking the ocean. From Thursdays to Saturdays you will find good live entertainment in a festive atmosphere, enjoy a good meal , catch a refreshing sea breeze and look out over the water taking in the lights of Siquijor and Cebu Islands.

Just down the road from Hayahays, again on the boulevard, you will find The Tiki Bar. Another great location with both live bands and DJ’s, however definitely catering to a younger crowd.

Heading down South towards the more traditional center of the boulevard, the place to be is Why Not. This is a Dumaguete institution where you can dance the night away or play pool in the back room.

By far the most prolific night life though comes from a bevy of small restobars dotted around the city and some of the outlying towns. There is Thunder Road, Grumpy’s Tavern, Sideways Sports Bar, Flip Flops, and Bamboo Bobs, just to name a few. Typically these are places where you can go out, have a good meal and stay for live music from diverse mixture of local Filipino talent and retired foreigners.