DUMAGUETE: A PRACTICAL TRAVEL GUIDE FOR DIY & BUDGET TRAVELERS [UPDATED as of 2021]

Note: As a precautionary measure in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, it is best to check with the authorities the updated travel requirements and possible restrictions that might affect your travel plan. Contact Dumaguete Tourism office at tourismdgte@gmail.com or at (035) 422 9409 to know the latest update.

Remember to always follow the health and safety protocols imposed from your travel origin to your destination. I wish you a safe trip ahead!

Traveling to Dumaguete for the first time? This detailed DIY travel guide is exactly what you need. Scroll down and take note of the outlined information from sample itinerary and budget, best places to visit, top things to do, recommended tours and transports, budget-friendly accommodations, and other travel tips. Have a fun and enjoyable trip ahead!

START HERE!

DUMAGUETE AT A GLANCE

DUMAGUETE, the “City of Gentle People.” Whether the phrase stays true or not, Dumaguete to this day has a well-kept atmosphere of laid-back, tranquil, low-cost, moderate-way-of-living city. This is despite the presence of a vibrant economy brought about by BPOs and other industries.

Silliman University Amphitheater
The amphitheater of Silliman Univeristy. The place was built in 1921 and will turn a century old 3 years from now.

While here, enjoy the feel of a University town with a strong concentration of student population. That is so because Dumaguete has many distinct universities and colleges that have earned a mark both in the local and international scene attracting students from the nearby towns and provinces in Negros and Siquijor. Taking the lead among these schools is Silliman University, the first American university in Asia.

In case you are collecting a kilometer zero post, you can find one at the capitol area in Dumaguete.

Despite being a city and the capital of Negros Oriental, the main mode of transport to get around is by tricycle – a human-powered, three-wheeled vehicle that is larger in capacity than most that you will see in the Philippines. Regular fare is P8. On the other hand, transport outside the city to its neighboring towns in Negros is by bus or jeepney. Regular fare for jeepney is P12.

WHERE TO STAY IN DUMAGUETE

The best place to stay in Dumaguete is at the downtown area for easy access of transport. Here are the best-rated accommodations that you can find. Click the photo for more details.

DINO RESIDENCES
Rating: 8.9 | Price: 1,245 for a family room good for 4 adults and 2 kids
GOLDEN GATE SUITES
Rating: 8.4 | Price: P972 for a room good for 3 adults and 2 kids
LANI’S PLACE
Rating: 9.9 | Price: P1,724 for an apartment good for 3 persons
HENIA HOTEL
Rating: 8.8 | Price: P3,266 for a family room good for 4 adults and 2 kids
ASTRA BELLA APARTMENT
Rating: 8.5 | Price: P2,374 for an apartment good for 3 persons
FLORENTINA HOMES
Rating: 8.4 | Price: P2,846 for an apartelle good for 4 adults and 2 kids
THE FLYING FISH HOSTEL
Rating: 8.7 | Price: P1,666 for a deluxe room with a garden view good for 4 persons

HOW TO GET TO DUMAGUETE

Here are options to get to Dumaguete.

By Air

The airport is not located in Dumaguete city but in Sibulan, a neighboring municipality. It is small and flight only caters three (3) domestic destinations which are operated by CebuPacific and PAL Express.

By Land

In Bacolod, go to the South Bus terminal at Lopez Jaena st. and take a bus en route to Dumaguete which goes in an hourly basis. Travel time is 5 to 6 hours depending on traffic situation , bus fare is roughly P290.

Another ‘near’ Dumaguete attraction: Casaroro falls of Valencia.

By Sea

There are a number of ferry operators that travel to Dumaguete from these destinations.

  • Bohol via Tagbilaran
  • Cebu via Santander
  • Dipolog
  • Siquijor
  • Zamboanga via Dapitan

TOP ATTRACTIONS IN AND NEAR DUMAGUETE 

It appears that there is not much tourist spots in Dumaguete city except for the old cathedral and its belfry tower, the Silliman University attractions and Rizal boulevard with its seafront promenade and the #DumaGetMe sign. However, Dumaguete is an ideal jump-off point to nearby town attractions that will take for less than an hour on a bus or jeepney.

Here are twelve (12) top tourist spots that you can cover in a day tour or with an itinerary for 2 to 3 days while in and near Dumaguete city.

TOURIST TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN DUMAGUETE

SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY

The oldest American University in Asia, Silliman University is a private research university in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental which was established in 1901. It has its own Anthropology museum at Hibbard Hall which exhibits some artifacts that date back as early as 500-200 B.C. Entrance fee is P100. Operating hours is from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m., Mondays to Fridays.

The university is located at Rizal boulevard. To get there, at the promenade walk to its left side until you spot Moon Cafe, go to its intersection which will lead to the entrance near the Anthropology museum.

Rating: 3/5

CAMPANARIO DE DUMAGUETE

Campanario de Dumaguete was built in 1811 and its belfry tower has been recognized as the oldest in Visayas. It is positioned beside the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria along Perdices street in front of Rizal Park.

To get there from Silliman University, walk the Hibbard avenue outside the entrance of the museum to its right. It will take 2 minutes past Robinson’s market to get to the belfry.

Rating: 2/5

RIZAL BOULEVARD

Rizal boulevard centers most of the activities in Dumaguete, especially at night when the #DumaGetMe sign lits up and vendors flock together to form a bazaar of street eats. The boulevard is just next to Silliman University and can be easily located even by just walking around.

Rating: 2/5

TOP ATTRACTIONS NEAR DUMAGUETE

TWIN LAKES OF DANAO & BALINSASAYAO

The tranquil and relaxing lakes of Danao and Balinsasayao in Sibulan, Negros Oriental is a protected natural park that stretches to an area of about 8,000 hectares. It has a rich fish fauna and bird life, and presents an atmosphere of cool and unadulterated wonder of nature.

Getting there from the junction in San Jose, Sibulan requires a long motorbike ride of steep, curvy yet scenic road up at the highlands for about 30 minutes. Entrance fee to the lake is P30 for locals, P100 for foreigners. From the entrance, you can hike through the outskirts of the mountain or paddle a boat through the vastness of Balinsasayao lake (the first lake from the entrance) for P250 per boat to the viewpoint section where both lakes meet.

Rating: 4/5

Get a hassle-free trip to the Twin Lakes by arranging an affordable tour with KLOOK. Click here for details: Twin Lakes Natural Park with Dumaguete City Tour

ALIMYON RESTAURANT & BAR

An overlooking restaurant and bar at the highlands of Sibulan, on the way to the twin lakes. Alimyon Restaurant and Bar offers affordable Filipino food. Drop by in the morning or late afternoon to feel the soothing breeze that its surrounding can offer. On a good day, you can also catch a fascinating view of the sunset from here.

Rating: 2.5/5

MANJUYOD SANDBAR

At its best condition, Manjuyod sandbar promises an experience of a tropical paradise which is a rare offering as most beaches in Negros Oriental do not possess a long strip of ivory, white sand.

The best time to visit the sandbar is on a low tide during full moon between the months of April to October to get a chance of seeing the sandbar on its full stretch and the dolphins parading at its seas early in the morning.

To get there, take a bus bound for Bais at Dumaguete city near Robinsons mall. Drop off at Jollibee beside a gymnasium and take a tricycle that goes to a small port where outrigger boats that go to the sandbar await for guests. The boat ride will take for about 20 minutes on a good weather condition. Note: Getting to the sandbar from the port can only be done with a tour operator so make sure to arrange ahead.

Arrange an affordable Dolphin Watching and Manjuyod Sandbar Tour with KLOOK for a hassle-free experience. Click the link for details.

Rating: 3/5

TIERRA ALTA

Tierra Alta residential resort is a premiere events destination in Negros Oriental. It offers an overlooking sight of the highlands of Dumaguete. Visit here near sundown and catch the place all aglow. Contact them at (035) 536 0096.

To get there, catch a jeepney with a Valencia sign near the public market in Dumaguete city proper; fare is P10. Tell the driver to drop off at the junction to Tierra Alta. At your drop off, take a motorcycle-for-hire to the clubhouse for P30.

Rating: 3/5

PULANGBATO FALLS

The rustic stones that surround its catch basin make for an astounding view from the dine area of the resort. Pulangbato falls is located in Valencia, Negros Oriental. Entrance is P50 (P100 for Sundays and holidays). Table rent is P200.

To get there, you may charter a tricycle from Dumaguete city for a day tour including Casaroro falls and the twin lakes for P1,400. On a DIY, you can take a jeepney with a Valencia signboard. Fare is P12. The drop off point is at Valencia terminal where you can find motorcycle-for-hire that are regulated by tourism. Ask any driver around for a day tour covering Pulangbato and Casaroro falls based on the tariff rate as they will be gladly show it to you.

Rating: 3/5

SMOKEY MOUNTAIN 

On the way to Pulangbato falls in Valencia, Negros Oriental is a mountain with geothermal vents of sulfuric smoke. Check out this pure delight for free especially during rainy season when the vents produce more smoke than usual.

Rating: 2/5

RED ROCK HOT SPRING

Enjoy a warm bath in this small resort of Red Rock Hot Spring in Valencia, Negros Oriental. The place is few meters before reaching Pulangbato falls resort. Entrance fee is P30. To get there, please refer to the information shared on Pulangbato Falls.

Rating: 2.5/5

FOREST CAMP

The nature resort in Valencia, Negros Oriental is 2.5 hectares in capacity and features swimming pools, a campground, a valley, indigenous forest trees, a zipline and a wall climb activity. Entrance fee is P100 during weekdays (P80 for kids) and P120 during weekends (P100 for kids). To get there, please refer to the information shared on Pulangbato Falls.

Rating: 3/5

CASARORO FALLS

You are looking at one of the sought after gems in Valencia, Negros Oriental. Casaroro falls is nature’s finest. To get to the falls, you will hurdle through steep, long staircase and go over rocks and boulders before finally able to view a scenic waterfall with its majestic cascade. To get there, please refer to the information shared on Pulangbato Falls.

Rating: 3.5/5

Click here for other top attractions in Negros Island. 

TOP THINGS TO DO IN DUMAGUETE

Here are top things to do and activities that are worth a try in the city of Dumaguete.

  1. Watch the sunrise or grab a photo-op of the #DumaGetMe sign at Rizal boulevard. The sign lits up in varying colors at night at exactly 6PM.
  2. Taste the crowd favorite sweets of Sans Rival. The main dessert house is near Rizal boulevard while another one is at the ground floor of Robinsons mall.
  3. Join the flock as you crowd at the boulevard stalls at 6PM for tempura and balut!
  4. Catch a glimpse of the belfry tower, the oldest in Visayas.
A cold “kawa” bath experience in Forest Camp.

TOP THINGS TO DO NEAR DUMAGUETE (NEGROS ORIENTAL AREA ONLY)

  • Trek for 15-minutes over boulders and stones and be mesmerized by the majestic Casaroro falls.
  • Go scuba diving at the world-famous marine sanctuary of Apo island.
A limestone mound at the shores of Apo island. The Flying Fish Hostel in Dumaguete takes a day trip to the island for a group of 4. Contact them at (035) 422 0167.

Click here for Apo Island Budget Travel Guide

  • If waking up in the morning is not a chore, hop on an outrigger and chase a sight of dolphins at Tanion strait.
  • Catch yourself walking on a long stretch of white sandbar of Manjuyod in Bais.
Manjuyod at its gloomy disposition.
  • Visit the “smokey” mountain of geothermal vents in Valencia.
  • My favorite: Go kayaking at the twin lakes of Balinsasayao and Danao.
At Balinsasayao lake

DUMAGUETE RECOMMENDED TOURS

Here are some of the recommended and affordable tours from KLOOK for Dumaguete City. Click the link for more details.

Search below for more KLOOK tour packages and transport services for Dumaguete:

Klook.com

DUMAGUETE SAMPLE ITINERARY & BUDGET

Attractions within and the nearby towns of Dumaguete city can also be covered through DIY. For “within” Dumaguete attractions, just hop on to any available tricycle in the city, tell the driver the destination and pay the regular fare of P10. For “near” Dumaguete attractions, just go to the assigned jeepney terminal of your desired destination and pay the regular fare of P12. (All jeepney terminals are located at the downtown area. You will know that you are in the right terminal by looking at the signboard of the jeepney; or better yet, ask the driver. They will be willing to help.)

Dumaguete Sunset
A fiery sunset as viewed from the 4F of Hotel Essencia in Dumaguete downtown area.

The sample DIY itineraries below assume a party of two. Budget per person is indicated per itinerary which does not include expenses for accommodation.

One day Dumaguete Budget Itinerary with side trip to Valencia| P1,070.00 budget per person

ActivityTimeBudget
Arrive in Dumaguete10:00AM
Silliman University tour10:30AM
museumP50
amphitheater
sightseeing
Campanario De Dumaguete11:30AM
Eat at Sans Rival12:00PMP200
Side trip to Valencia1:00PMP500
‘smokey’ mountain
Pulangbato FallsP50
Casaroro FallsP20
Back to Dumaguete
Street Food at Rizal Boulevard7:00PMP50
DumaGetMe Photo-op7:30PM
Dinner at Lantaw8:00PMP200
Party at Café Racer9:00PM

For a quick Dumaguete stop, you may avail the tour package from KLOOK. Click here for details and reservation: Half Day Dumaguete City Heritage Tour

The smaller cascade of Pulangbato falls.

Dumaguete Itinerary for 2 or 3 days with side trip to Valencia, Bais, and San Jose | P3,500+ budget per person

DAY ONE

ActivityTimeBudget
Arrive in Dumaguete10:00AM
Silliman University tour10:30AM
museumP50
amphitheater
sightseeing
Campanario De Dumaguete11:30AM
lunch12:00PMP100
Side trip to Valencia1:00PMP500
‘smokey’ mountain
Red Rock Hot SpringP20
Pulangbato FallsP50
Forest CampP80
Casaroro FallsP20
Back to Dumaguete6:00PM
Street Food at Rizal Boulevard7:00PMP50
DumaGetMe Photo-op7:30PM
Dinner at Lantaw8:00PMP200
Party at Café Racer9:00PM

DAY TWO

ActivityTimeBudget
To Bais City5:00AMP61
Manjuyod Sandbar & Dolphin Watching6:00AMP1500
Lunch at Alimyon Restaurant12:00PMP200
Twin Lakes of Danao and Balinsasayao1:00PMP300
Tierra Alta resort3:00PMP50
Eat at Sans Rival5:00PMP200

Contact for DIY Dumaguete tour:

  • Victor +63 926 393 9436 P1,400 for a tour covering Casaroro, Pulang bato, and Twin lakes

(Note: Most of the attractions in and near Dumaguete are regulated by tourism. The usual mode of transport for the tours are motorcycle and tricycle which are readily available as you arrive at the town proper or at the junction of each area.)

The main cascade of Pulangbato falls of Valencia, Negros. Its rocks are crimsoned in rustic yellow which made it a standout among waterfalls in the area.

QUICK FACTS & TIPS ABOUT DUMAGUETE

Here are few facts and tips to consider when traveling around Dumaguete.

  1. Dumaguete, as the capital of Negros Oriental, makes for a perfect gateway by bus to nearby cities like Bacolod and Sipalay or by ferry to neighboring islands like Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor in the Visayas region or Zamboanga in Mindanao.
  2. Dumaguete has a kilometer zero post which can be found at its Capitol area.
  3. As of April 2018, there are no traffic lights in the city. Take caution as you cross the streets. Safety first!
  4. The city is famous for its street eats: tempura, balut (a cooked developing bird embryo mostly of a duck) and budbud (a glutinous rice roll). Check out the first 2 food items at the boulevard from 6:00 p.m. and budbud at the market in the morning.
the delectable “budbud”

USEFUL PHRASES

Generally, the locals in Dumaguete can understand and speak English. However, here are phrases that are proved to be useful when endearing with them.

English to Cebuano (main language in Dumaguete)

Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gabii
Thank you – Salamat
Where is… – Asa ang…
How much – Tagpila

EXTEND YOUR TRIP

Visit top tourist destinations from Sipalay that are only few hours away by bus.

MEET THE BLOGGER

Leaning on our boat at Punta Sibaring 1. This photo was taken during a high tide.

Hey there! I’m Ker, The Fun-sized Traveller. Fun-size because I’m a short guy from the Philippines. Thanks for checking out this virtual block I have started building since my 30th birthday to document my 2nd quarter life. Yup, it’s more of a personal pursuit, but a part of me also wants to give back to the travel community that is why I make it a point to share travel articles out from my trips around Asia.

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