Easily the most charming little coastal town in the entire Philippine archipelago, Dumaguete is the capital of the province of Negros Oriental in the Central Visayas region. The small town is popular with both local and international tourists because Dumaguete has a youthful student character, laid-back charms that the Philippine islands has to offer.
One of the most noticeable features of Dumaguete is its young population. The city is a center of higher learning in the Visayas with four major universities based here, namely Silliman, Foundation, Negros Oriental State, and St. Paul. In contrast, Dumaguete also ranks high among the best Philippine towns to retire in due to its relatively good health facilities and low cost of living.
Dumaguete has good accommodation options, cafes, and great eating and drinking spots in town. Because of this and the city’s central location, Dumaguete makes for a good base to explore the beautiful outdoors of the Central Visayan region. Nearby are lush mountains, placid lakes, beautiful beaches and sandbars, and rich coral reefs.
Dumaguete is easily reached from either the Philippine capital Manila or the largest city in the southern half of the country, Cebu. Sibulan Airport is Dumaguete’s main entry point for many tourists with flights arriving daily from Manila and Cebu. Regular ferries connect Dumaguete to nearby islands such as Cebu City, Tagbilaran in Bohol, Siquijor, and Dapitan in Zamboanga. The port is located near the downtown area, at the northern end of Roxas Boulevard.
As with the rest of the country, Dumaguete has both wet and dry seasons. The wet season begins in June and ends around early December. An ideal visit would be from January to March. April and May is good, too, but this is high summer in the Philippines. Temperatures, which can reach 35C during the day, can be unbearable.
What to See
For a bit of history, visitors can see Dumaguete’s Bell Tower. The tower dates back to the mid-1700s, is made of coral stone, and is the oldest surviving structure in town. Also worth a visit is the Silliman University Anthropology Museum. Housed in an attractive building which combines American and Spanish colonial styles called the Silliman Hall, the museum features items from pre-colonial Philippines, including a precious Malay sword called the kris.
Silliman University itself is a great place to spend the day. The university was founded by the Americans in 1901 and is considered the first American university in the Philippines and in Asia. The campus is a peaceful part of downtown Dumaguete with a number of significant city landmarks such as Silliman Hall, the Silliman University Church, the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium, and the Metta J. Silliman Library.
Our signature Experiences
Climb Mount Talinis
This volcano is known as “Cuernos de Negros” for the horn-like peaks that highlight the mountain. It is the second highest mountain in Negros, after Mount Kanlaon.
Explore the Balinsayao Twin Lakes
Visit the twin lakes Balinsayao and Danao and visit communities along the way. Explore the lakes by kayak and hiking.
Dolphin spotting and whale-watching at Bais
Boats leave from Bais, north of the city center, head to the Manjuyod Sandbar, before heading to the spots where these marine creatures roam. Overnight here is possible as well.
Diving and snorkeling at Apo Island
South of Dumaguete is Apo Island. This tiny island is a community-based marine sanctuary and has become a popular spot for snorkeling and diving not only in Dumaguete but in the entire Visayas region. Sea turtles, sea snakes, the lion fish, the clown fish, and other marine creatures can be found here.
Visit a farming project
Visit farmers involved in the OURFood project.
Enjoy a local homestay
Travel Authentic Philippines has its own homestay at the foot of Mt.Talinis. Immerse yourself in local cultures.
Dumaguete is located right in the heart of the Visayan region. Locals speak Cebuano as with the rest of the region. However, Dumaguete is a youthful university town, so many locals use English. This is especially the case for those working in the city’s tourism industry.
The city is particularly known in the Philippines as the home of the Silliman National Writers Workshop. This literary worship was founded in 1962 and runs for three weeks every summer. Many successful contemporary writers from all over the Philippines have gone through the workshop, either as participants, panelists, or lecturers.
Dumaguete is also the venue for the Buglasan Festival, a province-wide festival which features street dancers representing each of their communities. Large production numbers where participants wear all sorts of colorful and elaborately-designed costumes are staged during the festival. The festival is a multi-day event taking place around early to mid-October.