I have put together this easy travel guide highlighting the 15 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 useful information on how to get to Dumaguete, where to stay, how to get around, and the best time to visit!
I’ve divided this guide into 2 parts – the things to do in Dumaguete and the tourist attractions near Dumaguete, which are Apo Island, Valencia and its surroundings, and much more.
Make sure to read until the end to make the most of your time when planning your Dumaguete itinerary 2023!
QUICK ANSWERS – BEST DUMAGUETE TOURIST SPOTS
Let’s start this guide with the essentials you should know about Dumaguete, like how to get there, how long to stay, and more.
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.
Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Cebu City to Dumaguete which takes approximately 5 hours.
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WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT 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.
HOW LONG TO STAY IN DUMAGUETE?
I recommend staying at least 3 full days to visit all the best attractions in Dumaguete and take a day tour to Apo Island or Siquijor.
WHAT IS DUMAGUETE KNOWN FOR?
Dumaguete is the capital of the province of Negros Oriental. The city is known for its gentle people, hence the nickname “The City of Gentle People”.
Dumaguete is famous for a number of attractions, including Pulangbato Falls, the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao, and Rizal Boulevard.
Also, as you’ll discover in this guide, Dumaguete is known for its nearby islands Apo Island and Siquijor, which are definitely worth visiting. Read until the end to learn more.
TOP DUMAGUETE TOURIST SPOTS 2023
Now that we discussed the essentials, let’s cover the 15 best tourist attractions in Dumaguete to make the most of your time in town!
And if you’re wonder if Dumaguete is worth visiting, it’s a definite yes!
Rizal Boulevard is one of the best Dumaguete tourist spots and it’s 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.
BEST TOUR IN DUMAGUETE CITY
SEE THE #DUMAGETME SIGN
If you don’t take a photo at the DumaGetMe sign on the Rizal Boulevard, can you even say you’ve been to Dumaguete?!
This well-known signage is located has become a popular spot for both local and international tourists.
Its location on Rizal Boulevard offers a nice backdrop of the sea, making it an ideal place for sunset viewing.
While here, you can have a coffee at Bo’s Coffee, right in front and that serves dishes for lunch and other drinks.
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 the impending danger of 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.
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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 itinerary.
It was built hundreds of years ago in 1776 and every Sunday, the Dumaguete Cathedral hosts masses for local Filipinos 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.
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 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.
EAT A SILVANA FROM SANS RIVAL CAKES & PASTRIES
If you haven’t tasted a Silvana from Sans Rival then you are missing out, as it’s one of the best Dumaguete City tourist spots to eat.
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.
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.
TOP TOURIST SPOTS NEAR DUMAGUETE
Now that we covered the best things to do in Dumaguete 2023, let’s discuss the best attractions around town, from Apo Island to Valencia and much more.
BEST DAY TOUR FROM DUMAGUETE
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 of the national park 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 Filipinos and 100 Pesos for tourists. Also, there’s a 20 pesos fee for each motorbike and parking fee.
The best way to get to Balinsasayao Twin Lakes is to join a day tour with an experienced guide that will show you around the best spots.
Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike in Dumaguete for 500 – 800 Pesos per day or rent a car for 1500 – 2000 Pesos per day. The journey time takes around 1 hour.
The twin lakes of Balinsasayao and Danao 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.
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.
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APO ISLAND SNORKELING TOUR
Apo Island is a volcanic island located 30km off the coast of Dumaguete, and is an excellent answer to what to do in 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.
Alternatively, you can book a tour online, which is the most convenient way to visit as everything is included.
Option 2: Budget Package
If you are staying in 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.
Boats to and from the island run frequently throughout the day.
- Cost for jeepney from Dumaguete to Malatapay: 20 Pesos one way p/person
- Cost for bus from Dumaguete terminal to Malatapy: 110 Pesos return ticket p/person
- Cost for the boat from Malatapay to the island (round trip): 3500 Pesos per 3 pax
- Cost for marine park entrance and snorkeling fees: 150 Pesos p/person
- Cost for snorkeling equipment and guide: 300 Pesos p/person
Full Blog Post → Apo Island Dumaguete
TAKE A TRIP TO SIQUIJOR ISLAND
If you’re looking for an exciting day trip to add to your Dumaguete itinerary, look no further than Siquijor Island, one of the best Dumaguete attractions.
Siquijor is just a short ferry ride away from Dumaguete and offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and a hint of mysticism.
There are 2 ways to visit Siquijor, and I’ll go through the details of each below:
OPTION 1 – JOIN A TOUR TO SIQUIJOR
Joining a trip to Siquijor from Dumaguete is the best option to visit as everything will be organized for you, from the accommodation to the meals and everything in between.
You’ll start the trip at Dumaguete pier and head over to Siquijor by ferry. From there, you’ll spend 3 days discovering the island, from the waterfalls in Siquijor to Paliton Beach and The Century Old Balete Tree.
This particular tour guarantees 8 to 10 spots, which seems very reasonable and that leaves you enough time to chill as well, which I appreciate.
On top of that, your tour guide will take you to the marine sanctuary where you can snorkel and see the underwater life, and that’s definitely a good reason to come to Siquijor!
OPTION 2 – TAKE THE FERRY AND EXPLORE SIQUIJOR
Start your adventure by hopping on a morning ferry – it’s about a 1.5-hour journey, and once you arrive, you can rent a motorbike or hire a tricycle tour to explore the island at your own pace.
I recommend booking online as ferries to Siquijor often sell out.
One of the must-visit spots is the century-old Balete Tree, believed by locals to be enchanted. Dip your feet into the fish spa at its base for a unique experience!
Next, head to the Cambugahay Falls. With its multi-tiered cascading water and inviting turquoise pools, it’s perfect for a refreshing swim.
The island is also home to beautiful white sandy beaches like Paliton Beach, where you can see the sunset and have a drink in the evening after exploring the island.
For lunch, stop by a local eatery and try some traditional Filipino food.
Siquijor is known for its love potions and herbal medicines, so if you’re feeling adventurous, visit a local healer and learn about the island’s age-old traditions.
These are other things you can do in Siquijor:
- Lugnason Falls
- Salagdoong Beach
- The Century Old Balete Tree
- Snorkeling at Tubod Marine Sanctuary
- Lazi Church (San Isidro Labrador Parish Church)
If time allows, I recommend spending 2 to 3 days in Siquijor to make the most of your trip.
READ MORE: 3-Day Siquijor Itinerary
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CATA-AL WORLD WAR 2 MUSEUM
Next on our list of Dumaguete places to visitis the World War 2 Museum in Valencia.
The museum is about 4.5 miles from Dumaguete City and is a treasure trove of historical artifacts.
While there are many war museums around the world, this one if particularly interesting, given the history of the Philippines with Japan, the United States, and Spain.
The museum was started by Porferio Cata-al Sr., an 86-year-old survivor of the battle, and it boasts a massive collection of World War II antiques.
You’ll find everything from heavy artillery and ammunition to grenades and bomb remnants from American and Japanese fleets scattered around the museum.
There’s also a jeep where you can sit and take a photo for the memories.
This museum is not just a collection of artifacts, but also a testament to the resilience and courage of those who lived through the war.
The museum is rather small and you’ll spend around 30 minutes here. It’s open daily from 8.00am to 5.00pm and the entrance is free (donations to keep the museum open are welcome though).
Sometimes referred to as “The Maldives of the Philippines” by travel influencers, the Manjuyod Sandbar is one of the fun Dumaguete tourist attractions located just 1.5 hour away.
This strip of pristine white sand, which can stretch over six kilometers at low tide, is nestled in the Bais Bay along the Tañon Strait.
The sandbar is about 15 minutes by boat from the coast. Once there, you’ll find a few cottages in the middle of the ocean, offering a unique opportunity to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
One of the most popular activities at the sandbar is dolphin watching and snorkeling.
The best way to visit is taking a tour that combines a trip to the sandbar with those 2 activities, and I’m confident to say that you won’t regret it!
Before planning your visit, make sure to check the tide forecast. The beauty of the sandbar is best appreciated during low tide when the sand is exposed.
It’s also advisable to start your tour early in the morning to make the most of your day. That’s right, these tours start at 6 in the morning, so get prepared for that!
Though it might not offer the luxury of Maldivian beaches, the Manjuyod Sandbar has its unique charm that’s hard to resist.
Another of the fun tourist spots near Dumaguete, specifically in Valencia, is Pulangbato Falls, nestled in the countryside about 30 minutes from Dumaguete City.
Located at the Red River Valley, Pulangbato Falls, also known as Red Rock Falls, are approximately 30-feet high with a deep and sloping catch basin to take a dip.
Also, there’s a small, local cafe nearby where you can have a coffee, a sandwich, or instant noodles, among other drinks and dishes.
Getting to the falls from Dumaguete City is fairly straightforward. You can take a Jeepney in Dumaguete to Valencia and then hire a habal-habal to get here.
Alternatively, you can rent a motorbike in Dumaguete or join a tour to Valencia, which also includes Pulangbato Falls.
If you prefer to stay nearby, which is a good option to relax in style, there’s Pulangbato Falls Mountain Resort, which provides accommodation with a natural outdoor swimming pool.
This is a great option to get here too, since they can organize a shuttle from Dumaguete or Valencia for you.
The entrance fee to the waterfalls is 100 pesos, but that is included when you stay at the resort.
SEE THE SULFUR MOUNTAIN
On the way from Dumaguete to Pulangbato Falls is the Sulfur Mountain, which is a cool place to see and take a photo of.
Also known as the Sulfur Vents, the area is characterized by its yellow-colored rocks and soil, the result of sulfur deposits.
The heat from the geothermal activity makes the place quite hot and you’ll see steam rising from the ground, creating a cool environment. The river running through the mountain is also tinged with sulfur, adding to the distinctive landscape.
A word of caution: The sulfur coming from the mountain is pretty smelly, similar to rotten eggs, so that’s a good place for photos but you’ll definitely not spend a long time here.
For nature lovers, a tourist spot in Dumaguete you can’t miss is the stunning Casaroro Falls.
Located in the mountain region of Valencia, this single-drop waterfall is less than a 30-minute drive from Dumaguete City, which is convenient.
Once you arrive, be prepared for a bit of a trek. The path to the falls includes around 300 steps, which can be quite challenging but are well worth the effort.
At the end, you’ll be greeted by the powerful 100ft waterfall cascading into a cool, refreshing pool.
While the pool is narrow, it’s definitely a great spot to relax for a while, and I recommend coming in the morning to avoid the tourist crowds or in the afternoon to cool down after exploring.
The entrance fee is 100 pesos, which includes a guide to take you to the waterfall, and that is mandatory. Also, there’s a parking lot where you can leave your scooter or car while you visit.
All in all, it’s one of the best places to visit in Dumaguete, and the entrance fee worth every penny!
TIERRA ALTA RESIDENTIAL RESORT
Last but not least on this selection of best tourist spots in Dumaguete is Tierra Alta, a resort where you can take photos, relax at the on-site cafe, and see the landscape from above.
Just 7.9 km west of Dumaguete and perched on the mountains of Palinpinon, this resort offers a picture-perfect view of the sea and the lush vegetation of Negros Oriental.
The resort is known for its Greek-inspired clubhouse and pavilion, which is a cool experience for a couple of hours.
There’s also a lighthouse which you can get on top and take more photos and selfies, how cool!
You can also spend the night here and use their swimming pool, but that’s not as authentic and relaxing as the Pulangbato Falls Mountain Resort we discussed above.
Still, it’s a nice Dumaguete tourist spot I recommend visiting!
The entrance fee is 70 pesos per person and I recommend coming during the day to take beautiful shots!
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.
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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 when considering where to go in Dumaguete:
LUXURY: ATLANTIS DIVE RESORT
MID RANGE: SIERRA HOTEL
BUDGET: CLAYTOWN PENSION HOUSE
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FINAL THOUGHTS – TOURIST SPOTS IN DUMAGUETE
I hope you enjoyed reading this Dumaguete travel blog 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.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations about any Dumaguete tourist destination to our awesome community.
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THANKS FOR READING
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