Dumaguete is a city with a gentle breeze that could lull you to sleep, gentle people that could give you a glimpse of Filipino hospitality and rich historical past. What makes it more interesting is that, for a small city, it could offer the best of all cultures and a unique collection of races that could probably well represent the United Nations.
A quaint city where the past and the present meet, Dumaguete is, both, traditional and modern; it has successfully preserved its past while it continues to conquer the future.
Dumaguete has amenities that are fairly adequate for a city its size. It has restaurants that offer the best of both oriental and western delicacies, a diving spot that is recognized as one of the best in the world, and education that is acknowledged both locally and internationally and basically, all the best things in the world are here in Dumaguete.
Where else can you be as close to nature as possible without living the technologically advanced world? Where else can you find a city that has more than three festivals in a year?
As the center of the province of Negros Oriental, Dumaguete banks on its rich tourism industry. Every year, the city plays host to both local and foreign tourists that passes by the city to the different tourist attractions that the province offers. With few hotels outside the city to accommodate the tourists, visitors has to stay in the city.
Dumaguete is also excellent in terms of business because it is easily accessible through land, sea and air travel. It serves as a gateway to Negros Oriental’s world class resorts and other tourist attractions.
Your stay in Dumaguete will not be complete if you have not experienced eating balut and tempura along the famous and historical Rizal Boulevard. The cool breeze and the mouth-watering delicacies would make you enjoy the famous night scenery of the historical place.
There is one more thing that would make your mouth water in Dumaguete and that is, the ukay-ukay and bargain centers. The amazingly low prices of things shocked me on my first two weeks in the city. Just imagine buying a pair of trendy and durable sneakers for only P59 and you will understand.
It is probably in this city where I have seen businessmen sacrificing a single day to worship as a lot of department stores in the city are close during Sundays—the day when, in most cities, business is brisk and costumers are abundant.
In terms of education, Dumaguete could compete with the rest of the cities in the country. It boasts of eleven tertiary institutions, four of which are universities. It is also home to the earliest protestant institution and one of the most prominent educational institutions both here and abroad—Silliman Univeristy and the home of the first St. Paul in the Philippines. With almost one fourth of its population as students, Dumaguete prides itself as a university town.
“I read somewhere that Dumaguete has a good educational atmosphere…” said my personal physician when I informed him that I would be away for a long while to study in Dumaguete city, a city that was then, and even until now, a stranger to me.
With majority of its population preferring to ride in pedicabs than private vehicles, the streets of the city is seldom clogged with vehicles unlike major cities like Metro Manila and Cebu. Business establishments are also concentrated in the downtown area which makes it easily accessible by foot.
Dumaguete is a mish mash of cultures and languages. Foreign students walking side by side with their Filipino counterparts are common sights as well as Caucasians with their Filipina beaus.
Unlike provincial capitals like Bacolod, Cebu and Iloilo city, Dumaguete is surprisingly peaceful and far from being a clogged, highly-polluted city.
In fact, Dumaguete is a city that is totally different what I had envisioned it to be. It is different in so many ways. For one, Dumaguete is quite small compared to the cities I’ve been into—the whole downtown area is just as big as the parking lot of SM Cebu. There are fewer malls compared to Bacolod and you can visit all the stores in downtown area in less than a day, something which you cannot do in Bacolod.
The malls in the city are not exactly the kind that I had been used to. When the word “mall” is mentioned, what comes to mind is a picture of Robinson’s, SM, and Gaisano and none of the city’s malls came as close.
Unlike other cities that never seemed to sleep, Dumaguete is unusually quite as eight in the evening approaches because department stores close as early as seven in the evening.
The dazzling lights and cool breeze of the boulevard is something that one cannot easily forget—and so is the stench that seemed to come from the weed covered shoreline exposed by the low tide. After days, the mystery of the nose crinkling smell was solved. It was not the weeds that gave off that horrible stench; it is the water that flows through the dike coming from the drainage in the city.
So, what is in this city that makes me want to stay in it forever?
Dumaguete city may not be as urbanized as Manila and Cebu, it may not even have as many malls as Iloilo and Bacolod but it offers a serenity that other cities cannot afford to give. It lacks the noise of any big cities, for Dumaguete is surprisingly small. Yet, it is this particular aspect of the city that makes it worth visiting. It is only here where you can enjoy the beauty of nature and relax at the same time, where you can dally and cast your worries to the gentle breeze of the boulevard.
Dumaguete is a city with a rich history; unafraid to step forward yet manages to cling to their traditions and past. A city where “hospitality is a way of life…”