Dumaguete Travel Guide

Rizal Boulevard
It's a charming little city - Dumaguete. A mother can never go wrong in giving her daughter a scooter to freely glide through its streets on the way to school. Ceres Bus is lucky for its monopoly on the bus transportation sector, and it looks like its street food vendors are protected by an organized association.

Dumaguete beats to the pulse of its local citizens, its students and the younger generation. It is a growing and educated lot - interesting, dynamic and very promising. Koreans and expats may not be a new sight for Dumaguete locals, but they sure help boost the local businesses in the area.

Dumaguete is indeed a laid back town with gentle people. But at the same time, it is alive - very much alive - with its vibrant young crowd, growing businesses and its currently-flourishing economy.

Our Dumaguete travel guide is ideal for the young and adventurous at heart. It is so action-packed and may sometimes leave no room for a cozy breakfast, but its suggestions will be worth every second of your stay in Dumaguete.


Loving tricycles in Dumaguete (PHP 9)
From Manila, the most convenient way to reach Dumaguete City is by plane. Plan early and book your plane ticket months before your target date to avail of the cheap airline rates. You can get round trip tickets for as low as PHP 1,200 (Cebu Pacific’s Round Trip Promo).

Upon arriving in Dumaguete, simply board a tricycle (good for 6 passengers) to your hotel. It will cost about PHP 100 (per tricycle) for hotels located in Dumaguete’s commercial center. The travel time will take about 10-15 minutes.


This largely depends on your planned activities. There are a lot of hotels in Dumaguete City, and some in the coastal community of Dauin. If you are planning to go to Apo Island, go heavy on snorkeling/diving, or just have a relaxing time overlooking the sea, then better stay in Dauin. It is only 30 minutes away from Dumaguete City.

If you are leaning towards city tours, food trips and dolphin watching, better stay in Dumaguete City for a more accessible location. Here is a list of some very affordable accommodations in Dumaguete:

1. Hotel Palwa
- Click here for a short review on Hotel Palwa

2. Harold’s Mansion
- A well-loved inn by backpackers; a Lonely Planet favorite

3. Honeycomb Tourist Inn
- Beautifully located along Rizal Boulevard
- May not be a good choice for those who value peace and quiet as Rizal Boulevard is alive (and kicking) with drinking sessions and parties at night


A pod of dolphins!
Do something new! Head out to TaƱon Straight in Bais and check out dolphins in their natural habitat.

Bais is a small, quiet city north of Dumaguete. It has been governed by Spanish descendants for years. Recently, a member of Bais' indigenous group has been hailed as their mayor.

A notable tour guide, who is also part of their indigenous group, is Jen Pancho. She is probably known as the most passionate and educated tour guide in Bais. She lives to fight for the rights of her people, her province, and the development of tourism in Bais.

Her family owns a 6-8 seater boat dedicated to tourists for dolphin watching tours. It is perfect for dolphin watching as it is smaller compared to the other 20-seater boats offered by the city. Its engine creates less noise compared to the larger boats, making it more dolphin-friendly. You will definitely have a better and closer view of the dolphins given the boat’s smaller height.

Boatman Jesus Pancho Jr., Jen's father, also goes the extra mile to make sure that tourists get to see the dolphins - not just from a distance but also beside you, swimming with your boat.

Reserve their boat before going to Bais (09358623595). Their very accommodating family offers it for only PHP 3,000.

Inclusive of the PHP 3,000 fee is a trip to Bais’ Talabong Mangrove Park and Manjuyod's White Sand Bar. If a fan of snorkeling, you may ask the boatman to take you to a safe spot for your snorkeling activities. For your lunch-on-the-boat package, kindly contact Jen for more details.

To go to Bais, board a bus at the Ceres Bus Station in Dumaguete City. It will take you 45 minutes – 1 hour to get there. A one-way air-conditioned bus ticket costs around PHP 54-57 per person (as of July 2013). Alight at the Bais Bus Terminal for Jen to pick you up. She will also bring you back here when you are done with your tour. She will be hiring a tricycle, of course, and this costs PHP 100 per way.

Their tricycle is good for 7-8 passengers.

To go back to Dumaguete City, simply board a Ceres Bus. A non-air-conditioned bus costs around PHP40+ per person, one way.

Dolphin watching season is from March – October (Source: Dumagueteinfo.com). Do not set your booze sessions a night before this trip as the recommended time for dolphin watching is 7AM. The whole tour takes about 6-8 hours, so to bring a light snack and an extra bottle of water will help if you’re the hungry type.


Once you're back in Dumaguete City, why not head out to your hotel to freshen up and rest for a bit. Better yet, have a cup of coffee along Rizal Boulevard and probably some delightful dish and mouth-watering sylvannas in Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries. Wait for dusk and slowly take it all in - the dramatic scenery, the good company and the perfect ambiance.

Here is a list of must-try restaurants and coffee houses in Dumaguete City. (Not all are located along Rizal Boulevard)

1. Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries
- Simply put, this place can complete one's Dumaguete experience. Besides their homey ambiance and its strategic location along Rizal Boulevard, its food and coffee boasts of flavor and spirit. Their specialty, sylvannas, is a delicacy that should not be missed.
- Location: 1 San Jose St., Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental

2. Neva's Pizza and Pasta
- Neva's Pizza produces really cheap brick-oven pizzas. What's funny here is that their all-meat kuripot pizza is tastier and more delicious than their signature pizza.
- Location: Corner Hibbard Avenue and Amigo Subdivision, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental

3. Support the Tempura-Balut Vendors Association (Street Food Strip)
- A stick of squid balls along Rizal Boulevard in Dumageuete is appealing, especially when a strip of small monoblock tables and chairs is organized for your comfortable stay. The place is a magnet that attracts all kinds of tourists - caucasians, Manilenos, and the local Visayan crowd.
- Location: Rizal Boulevard

4. Hayahay Treehouse Bar and Lab-as Seafood Restaurant
- End the night with a good old Pale at Hayahay. If you're looking for live bands and reggae nights, then this place is for you.
- Beside Hayahay is Lab-as, which is dubbed as the best seafood restaurant in Dumaguete. For pulutans and second-dinners, order their very own version of Bicol Express and splurge on some grilled garlic prawns for a very happy ending.
- Location: Flores Avenue, Piapi Beach, Dumaguete

These suggestions are just a tip of the iceberg. Lined up along the city's safe streets are seemingly never-ending cafes and new restaurants to try. There is 2 Story Cafe for Korean food and a soothing cup of mocha coffee, as well as Qyosko for their very affordable corned beef potato omelette.

2 Story Cafe
This is just Day 1, and the options are endless. If you could extend another 12 hours to a day, go down South and visit the heaven for divers and beach-goers - Apo Island.

If blessed with a longer time in Dumaguete, head out to the island of Siquijor. An equally action-packed and informative travel guide is located here.

The Travel Archives


  1. Wow this really helps! My Mom frequently goes there now because of her job. We're planning a trip there soon. Thanks for this Camilla! (:

    1. Waaaw so glad naging helpful ito sayo! Favor - pwede pabili sylvanas? Hahaha!! Joke. Kain kayo sa Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries - super sarap ng ambiance and ng sylvanas. :)

  2. Went there twice, aside from it's famous attractions what I like about Dumaguete is it's so close to many great destinations like Cebu, Bohol, Bacolod, and the other parts of Negros Oriental and Occidental. (P.S. you wrote a very detailed and helpful travel guide- great job!)

  3. Thanks for your helpful travel guide...we will be going to Dumaguete this Feb...I was able to contact Jen Pancho for the dolphin/whale watching. She's grateful for your post. Much appreciated. God bless.

    1. This is so good to hear. I'm glad I've helped her in some way. Thank you for sharing. :)