What's So Special About Dumaguete? - Retire Dumaguete and Siquijor

You may have already be aware of statements from Forbes magazine, the Live and Invest Overseas and the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) praising Dumaguete as the best place to retire in 2018. Complex measurements were used to arrives at those conclusions. Here, we are going to discuss other important reasons that make Dumaguete an ideal retirement destination, but it will be based on less measurably objective analytics.


Dumaguete still retains its small-town sensibilities but also has a vibrant city atmosphere. The creative energy coming from students attending the four universities and many colleges contributes to Dumaguete being referred to as “the learning center for the southern Visayas.”

Dumaguete has historically been renowned for the welcoming nature of its people. That tradition still exists. The generosity of the people in welcoming foreigners has never decreased. There’s also a delightful attitude to life. The French call it “joie de vivre,” or joy of life. That joyful attitude is ingrained into the local’s DNA. They always seem to be about to erupt into laughter for the slightest reason. Their attitude is contagious and inevitably brightens the day of any ex-pat observing their behavior.

But in addition to that, it’s local peoples’ attitude to life’s challenges that ex-pats living here find so intriguing. Regardless of whatever the difficult situation is, people here always maintain a cheerful attitude and a firm belief they will collectively work through even the most challenging of problems.

The current world pandemic is a classic example. You will hear no complaining about having to wear a mask or being urged to exercise caution against this killer virus. Locals in Dumaguete view this as a collective problem and willingly accept their duty as responsible members of society.


Regardless of what outdoor activities you may want to enjoy, it’s probably available in Dumaguete. The area is world-renowned for nature sanctuaries and for being one of the best places for scuba diving in the Philippines. Dauin, a few miles outside the city is an example of that. Apo island, which is a short boat ride from Dauin, has a world-renowned sanctuary with rare marine and corral life in abundance. Magnificent aspects of Nature can be found close to the city. Examples are Mount Talinas, Cassarora Falls, the Twin lakes of Bainsasayao and Danao, Pulangbato Falls, and Omoyon Bee Farm. Some of the other activities include golfing, trekking, mountain climbing, fishing, and windsurfing.


Rightly or wrongly, parts of the Philippines are suggested to be open to political corruption. That may, or may not, be true. What is certain is the current mayor of Dumaguete, Felipe Antonio Remollo, is a man of unquestioned integrity. The general finances of Dumaguete are in excellent shape. The local treasury has sufficient funds on hand to have embarked on an ambitious reclamation project that will positively transform the Rizal Boulevard part of Dumaguete. Mayor Remollo has ambitious plans to improve the overall infrastructure in Dumaguete. He also wants to redesign the city so that, when completed, the outcome will be a modern city that will serve as a benchmark for other cities in the Philippines wanting to attract foreign retirees.

The Dumaguete Chamber of Commerce is remarkable when measured by any standards. Edward Du, a prominent businessman from a highly respected Dumaguete family is a former president and has been instrumental in leading the Chamber to the remarkable success it has achieved. It has been named the second-best Chamber of Commerce in Asia, and the best Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines. This organization is yet another shining example of excellence that’s part and parcel of the Dumaguete landscape.

Rotary clubs in Dumaguete have distinguished themselves for many years by providing funding for the creation of much needed sustainable projects. In the process, they have transformed the lives of many people who had been living on the outer fringes of society. A prime example is the building of homes for people who had been displaced every year because of flooding on river banks where they lived in deplorable conditions. Their new homes built by Rotary Dumaguete also helped build a small but thriving community. The children now have access to schooling and future opportunities they never had before.

In what is a reflection on the attractiveness of the city and the effectiveness of its leaders, Dumaguete draws political, business, and social leaders of the highest caliber to live, work, and serve here.


Despite the fact it’s been recognized as an exceptional place in which to retire by Forbes magazine and The Philippine Retirement Authority, overall costs of living in Dumaguete remain low. The cost of buying a home or having it built remains significantly lower than what could reasonably be expected for such a popular retirement destination.

If not buying or building a home, the cost of renting an apartment or home is also modest compared to what people living in the West have been accustomed.

Fresh produce is abundant and inexpensive. Fish caught locally on a daily basis offer a wide choice and yet again is priced modestly. The same applies to meat such as chicken and pork.

If you don’t have a car or a scooter, transport is available that will drive you to any part of the city of only 10 pesos. (approximately 20 US cents)

While it’s presently inexpensive to live in Dumaguete it’s probable the cost of renting a house or building one will increase in the future. Despite that everything may still be attractively priced and viable.


There are a significant number of foreigners from America, Canada, England, and other European countries, who have come to live in Dumaguete. What’s important to note is few of them have ever left. That tells much about the quality of life here and how ex-pats have successfully adapted to enjoy life here in its many forms.

You can find many ex-pat forums online or see them in the many coffee shops. It’s up to you to decide on connecting as much, or as little, as you want to.


Another benefit of living here is, if you wish, the possibility of experiencing a special, loving relationship. All of us at Retire Dumaguete have met and subsequently married Filipinos. We have been most fortunate. But it’s important to know it can be a challenge to find the “right” woman. Some you will meet are focused on finances and only care about the material benefit a relationship with a foreigner will bring to them and their families. But, when genuine love is mutually experienced, the right woman found, our experiences have convinced us it’s difficult, perhaps impossible, to find a life partner as special as a Filipina.


You may have questions and concerns when considering retiring in a new country. Perhaps it may be beneficial for you to chat with one of our ambassadors. They come from many countries including America, Canada, France, England, Ireland, and the Philippines. They will probably have encountered many of the issues that presently concern you. Most of the ambassadors will have made mistakes both before and after they came to live in Dumaguete. So why not learn from them and avoid unnecessary expense and inconvenience?


Talk to Our Ambassadors






      Margriet & Willem
      The Netherlands


        German American


          Randal & Paula