I have put together this easy travel guide highlighting the 7 Best Dumaguete tourist spots for anyone planning a visit to the famed ‘City of Gentle People’ on Negros Island in the Philippines.
Also in this Dumaguete guide, I have included some useful information on how to get to Dumaguete, where to stay in, getting around, and the best time to visit!
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WHERE IS DUMAGUETE & HOW TO GET THERE
Dumaguete City is located in the southern region of the Philippines on Negros Island.
From Manila to Dumaguete, it’s approximately a 1.5-hour flight that will cost you around $50 – $150 one way.
The majority of travelers tend to visit Cebu Island first before making their way over to Dumaguete.
From Cebu to Dumaguete you can take a 50-minute direct flight that will cost you around $50 – $100 one way.
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Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Cebu City to Dumaguete which takes approximately 5 hours.
I always use 12Go Asia to book all of my transport in the Philippines.
TOP 7 DUMAGUETE TOURIST SPOTS
Rizal Boulevard is one of the best Dumaguete tourist spots and it’s for sure to be added to your itinerary when visiting Negros Oriental.
Rizal Boulevard is a buzzing waterfront strip that is lined with bars, restaurants, and street vendors during all hours of the day. There are also several festivals throughout the year where Rizal Boulevard plays host to parades, live music, and outdoor barbeques for everyone to enjoy.
Rizal Boulevard faces east over the Philippines Sea and it is the best spot in Dumaguete to catch the sunrise from one of the bench seats, all the while watching local boats zipping in and out of the Dumaguete Port.
At dusk, Rizal Boulevard comes to life with the brightly lit street lamps shimmering on the waterfront and the cool sea breeze that fills the air, a tranquil end to a busy day exploring Dumaguete City.
Last but not least, don’t miss getting a photo taken in front of the ‘Dumaguete Sign’ on Rizal Boulevard.
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The Dumaguete Sign
CAMPANARIO DE DUMAGUETE
Campanario De Dumaguete is an iconic landmark right in the center of town. Built in 1811, this belfry tower was put in place to warn the local residents of Dumaguete of impending danger by Moyo pirate attacks.
Campanario De Dumaguete is a two-tiered watchtower located right next to the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria.
On one side of the watchtower, there is a grotto where locals and devotees offer prayers to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
At the entrance to the grotto are a few small street vendors selling candles and other religious souvenirs.
Campanario De Dumaguete
ST. CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA CATHEDRAL
St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral is the oldest and most historic church in Dumaguete City making it to the list of must-see Dumaguete tourist spots. It was built some hundreds of years ago in 1776 and every Sunday, the Dumaguete Cathedral hosts masses for local Filipino’s and other religious tourists.
Upon entrance to the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, you can see four large stone pillars holding up the entrance gate which is also surrounded by lush green palm trees and frangipani gardens.
The best time to visit the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral is on a Sunday from 10 am onwards to experience all the action.
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A mass at the Cathedral
Silliman University is the first American University in the Philippines and the entire Asian continent. Silliman University was founded in 1901 and it is mainly used for private research.
The most aesthetically pleasing point of interest at the Silliman University is the symmetrical tree line that surrounds a field of well-kept turf in front of the main campus entrance.
The Silliman University is also home to the anthropology museum showcasing artifacts of ancient Filipino culture. The museum is open Monday to Friday and there is a small entrance fee for outside visitors.
Admiring the fields at Silliman University
EAT A SILVANA FROM SANS RIVAL CAKES & PASTRIES
If you haven’t tasted a Silvana from Sans Rival then you are missing out. A global craze for this buttery sweet treat has people traveling to the flagship store in Dumaguete just to get their hands on some.
Sans Rival is widely known for its creamy, mouth-drooling Silvana’s.
Silvana’s consist of egg whites, cream of tartar, ground cashews, butter, milk, and cake crumbs. Silvana’s are available in original butter or chocolate for 26 pesos per piece or you can buy a dozen for 312 pesos.
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Sans Rival store
Unfortunately, Nic is allergic
APO ISLAND SNORKELLING TOUR
Apo Island is a volcanic island located 30km off the coast of Dumaguete. Apo Island is the longest-lasting community-led marine protected area in the Philippines since 1986.
I highly recommend adding Apo Island to your Dumaguete itinerary to experience an entire day of snorkeling with sea turtles, reef fish, sea snakes, and hundreds of colorful corals. There are a few small mountain peaks on Apo Island that you can hike also.
There are two options for getting over to Apo Island for a snorkeling trip:
Option 1: Ultimate Package
Atlantis Dive Resort in Dauin, just 20-minutes south of Dumaguete City, offers the ultimate package for scuba diving and snorkeling tours every day of the week to Apo Island.
The tour kicks off after a complimentary breakfast at the Atlantis Resort before jumping on the boat at 8 am for the 45-minute journey over to Apo Island.
There are 3 stops throughout the day to different dive and snorkel sites around Apo Island. A barbeque lunch is also included on the boat and the tour ends back at Atlantis Resort around 4:00 pm.
Cost for snorkeling: 4095 pesos / includes a tour guide, boat transfers, mask, snorkel, and fins hire, barbeque lunch, and marine park fees.
Cost for diving if certified: 2300 pesos per dive / includes dive instructor, dive equipment, barbeque lunch, and marine park fees.
To book accommodation and a snorkeling trip to Apo Island with Atlantis Resort, Click Here.
Option 2: Budget Package
If you are staying in the Dumaguete, the cheapest option to get to Apo Island is to take a 1-hour jeepney ride from Dumaguete to Malatapay and from here you can take a motorized outrigger boat over to Apo Island which is a 30-minute journey. Boats to and from Apo Island run frequently throughout the day.
Cost for jeepney from Dumaguete to Malatapay: 20 pesos
Cost for the boat from Malatapay to Apo Island (round trip): 2500 pesos
Cost for marine park entrance and snorkeling fees: 150 pesos
Cost for snorkeling equipment on Apo Island: 150 pesos per day
Full Blog Post → Apo Island Dumaguete
Snorkeling with turtles on Apo Island
On the boat to Apo Island
Snorkeling at Apo Island
BALINSASAYAO TWIN LAKES
One of the best Dumaguete tourist spots is Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park. The twin crater lakes known as Balinsasayo and Danao are the prominent features within the national park which is located on the western side of Mount Guintabon.
The twin lakes national park is located 14.5 km west of Dumaguete in a small village known as Sibulan. It’s open Monday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and the entry fee is 50 pesos for local Filipino’s and 100 pesos for tourists.
The best way to get to Balinsasayao Twin Lakes is to rent a motorbike in Dumaguete for 500 – 800 pesos per day or you can rent a car for 1500 – 2000 pesos per day. The journey time takes around 1 hour.
The twin lakes of Balinsasayao and Danao have formed from a volcanic eruption some 10,000 years ago and the 90 meter deep craters over time have filled up with water from rain and stream deposits, resulting in the two lakes, separated by a narrow mountain ridge.
Must Read → 3 Weeks Philippines Itinerary
Hundreds of species of forest trees, fruit-bearing, and flower plants dominate the vegetation around the lakes. On top of this, Twin Lakes is a famed spot for bird-watching enthusiasts, playing home to many different species of bird, the most popular being the Flaming Sunbird.
Across the lake, you can also visit the Olayan Waterfall and rock pools which were the highlight of my adventure to Balinsasayao Twin Lakes National Park.
Full Blog Post → Balinsasayao Twin Lakes
Twin Lakes Dumaguete
Hiking to Lake Danao
View of Lake Danao
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Dumaguete is located on the southeast tip of Negros Island, which is the 4th largest island in the Philippines. The population of Dumaguete is 130,000.
It’s commonly known as the ‘City of Gentle People’ and you will quickly realize why when you interact and experience the kind-hearted souls of the people of Dumaguete.
The best time to visit Dumaguete is in the hot and dry months between February and June. Although, I visited Dumaguete in the low season in October and was welcomed with fantastic weather throughout my stay.
The English language is spoken throughout Dumaguete, so you shouldn’t have any trouble conversing with the locals if you are in need of some directions or something of the like.
Dumaguete Airport is located 20-minutes away from the city center. Taxis and jeepneys are readily available for transportation to and from Dumaguete City and the airport.
WHERE TO STAY IN DUMAGUETE
Dumaguete has hundreds of accommodations to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
LUXURY: ATLANTIS DIVE RESORT
MID RANGE: SIERRA HOTEL
BUDGET: OPTIMUM PENSION HOUSE
Another option for accommodation in Dumaguete is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals!
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LONELY PLANET PHILIPPINES
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Philippines Guide!
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MORE PHILIPPINES TRAVEL GUIDES
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- Dumaguete: Best Dumaguete Tourist Spots
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I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about Dumaguete Tourist Spots, please drop me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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