Good but what is it?
I had seen signs off the Northern Highway indicating Sidlakang Negros Toruist Village and Information and wondered what it was. Finding myself in that part of town and looking for something else I decided to pop in for some info.
The building, as you can see is semi-traditional in design with a nipa / sacsac roof and very pleasant inside. From the little information I can glean on the internet, I believe it was designed t be some sort of village showcasing local arts, crafts and the like. I saw nothing of that here but nwhat I did encounter was a fantastically helpful staff who furnished me with a (free) map and directions to where I was going. They seem to be well set up to assist with all aspects of travel information for Negros Oriental and even beyond and it is well worth a visit even if it is a little out of town which seems odd.Related to:
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Promenade the Boulevard.
The seafront area of Dumaguete is properly called Rizal Boulevard after Jose Rizal, the national hero, but everyone here just refers to it as the Boulevardand it is very much the centre of the social life of the city. It houses most of the expat bars and restaurants and at night has a reputation for being where the bar girls, locally known as Boulevard girls, congregate although it is not blatant nor are there pro0per "girly" bars there should such things offend you.
Although there are no spectacular sunsets here (it faces the wrong direction) people do tend to congregate and stroll about in the early evening and especially at weekends when it is thronged with groups, preachers, buskers, hawkers, beggars and all sorts of others. It is a great place for people watching.
Towards the North end, opposite Silliman University and just before the ferry terminal, there are a number of outsoor food vendors in the evening.
It is a pleasant place for a stroll and, best of all, it's free!
Just one word of warning, however. When the wind gets up, you can easily get an unexpected shower as the waves do tend to break over the sea wall as the second image shows. This even applies to riding a motorbike on the road near the Silliman University end where the road gets close to the wall.Related to:
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Hardly worth the effort.
I have noted in other tips that there is not a huge amount to so in and around Dumaguete, much as I love the place. but one of the things I had heard mentioned was the Museum in the Silliman University.
You have to go trhough the main gates and past the armed security guard. If you have a bike or car you need to park it on the other side of Hibbard Avenue. Don't worry about the guard, just tell him you are going to the Museum and he will show you where it is. There is a nominal entry fee (40pesos I think) and you are not allowed to take photos in the main area although you can on the upper floor which is effectively a museum of the history of the University. This really is not so much of an imposition as there is precious little to see in the place anyway.
One of the images here gives you some idea. A commemorative spoon from the wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton the previous year was deemed worthy of inclusion in a supposed Anthropology Museum. OK, purists may make a claim that it is valid for various cultural reasons but where I live there are warehouses full of this tat now remaindered and available for pennies.
On the positive side, the building housing the Museum is lovely and probably worth the price of admission itself.
Unfortunately, due to the layout it appears the Museum is not accessible to mobility impaired travellers.Related to:
- Museum Visits
Take a dip or cash your chips.
I have to preface this tip by saying that I am not a gambling man, and never have been. I really don't know a full house from the 3/1 favourite in the 3:15 at Kempton. However, I know some people do like a flutter and so I offer this tip.
I know of other places in and around Dumaguete City that offer card games and I will deal with them seperately in other tips. This tip, however, deals with the Black Pearl restobar on National Highway South and there is a poker game which starts here every afternoon at about 1500. Apparently, it can go on quite late but I have never been there too late in the evening. I cannot tell you which variant of poker is played here or what the stakes are. I know chips are used and you can see the boss sorting the chips prior to a game in one of the images. I am told by those that know that it is a straight game and my personal observations are that it is about equally patronised by locals and foreigners.
Black Pearl is a pleasant enough resort with a pool although I do not recommeugh some local dishes are offerednd it. On drunken weekend nights, Philippinos jump in here fully clothed and frolic around. I have no idea what this does for the hygeine of the pool. I have not eaten here but I am told the food is very good if you are not in the mood for gambling. It is predominantly a Western menu although some local dishes are offered.
I do not know why but I do not really like the Black Pearl. There is no logical reason for this, the staff have been universally friendly and efficient, the beer is cold as anywhere else and it is a pleasant setting but I just do not feel at home here. As always, I will present the facts and let the reader make up their own mind.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
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A fine Cathedral.
The Cathedral Church of Dumageute, properly titled St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, is a very imposing structure situated opposite Quezon (Rizal) Park on F. Perdices Street and forms very much the centrepiece of the city.
The Church as it then (it was raised to Cathedral status much later) was was constructed between 1754 and 1776 which makes it the oldest stone Church on Negros. It was reconstructed in 1885 but the facade you see now dates only from 1936.
The inside of the building is light and airy although I didn't take any photos as there was a Mass in progress when I visited and I thought it disrespectful. I shall revisit soon and update the photos here.Related to:
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A walk in the park.
When Dumaguetans (is that the right word?) are not promenading on the Boulevardthey are likely to be found in Rizal Park. Actually, Google maps refers to it as Qeuzon Park but I always hear it referred to as Rizal, named for the national hero Jose Rizal.
In the evenings you wil see men playing draughts (checkers) on the permanent stone tables, young lovers sitting talking and women walkig with children. It is a very relaxed atmosphere and a nice place to sit and people watch.
There are a few interesting things to see, apart from the obligatory Rizal statue, including the old three-wheeled fire engine. It appear just about everything on Negros is a tricycle! How that would have handled at speed I have no idea.
There are a couple of old cannon flanking a much more moder piece, presumably from the Second Wrold War.
Don't worry about the fact that the sewage treatment works is adjacent to the park, it doesn't smell and they grow some lovely flowers there.Related to:
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Here come the slavers.
This is not really so much of a things to do tip as a thing to look at tip as there really is not much to do at the Belltower except look at it, take a photo and perhaps perform an act of devotion at the small shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Help if you are of that religious persuasion. Should that be your purpose, there is a small stall adjacent selling candles and devotional items. There is no entrance into the tower, although the views from the top must be pleasant.
The belltower is somewhat of a symbol of Dumaguete and features as the main image on a number of websites. It is situated on F. Perdices Street, which is the street that runs parallel to the Boulevard one black back from the sea and is adjacent to the impressive St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral opposite Rizal Park. This makes it a fairly central feature in a town not overly endowed with landmarks.
The belltower was constructed in 1811 during the Spanish colonial period and was designed to warn the people fo Dumaguete about Moslem raiders who marauded about these parts looking to take slaves. I presume they all took to the hills when the bell tolled.
As I said, not really much to do but it is worth aRelated to:
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Artistic licence I hope.
About halfway along Rizal BoulevardI came upon this odd little statue. It is of concrete construction, as are many statues in the Philippines and depicts the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in 1904. These sisters had been i8nvited to the island of Negros by the Bishop of Iloilo to assist in educating local children. As well as the obvious French sisters, there was one American, one Portuguese and one Chinese. The first Philippino sister in the order, Sr. Ambroisine, joined shortly thereafter. By 1905, the good sisters had established St. Paul's Academy opened less than three months after they arrived. It continues to this day as St. Paul's University still very much focusing on the Christian beliefs of the sisters who started it.
If you are wondering about the title of this tip, it is merely that I hope the sisters had something a soght more substantial to tranport them here. I have seen what the seas can be like and I wouldn't fancy taking to them in the craft depicted.Related to:
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Mystery treats at a Shrine
If you are in the area of Zamboanguita, Siaton or Sta. Catalina towns south of Dumaguete, drop by the Inalad, Siaton shrine of Our Lady of Fatima. It is noted for numerous cures and solutions to personal problems, as well as 'mystery treats' like sounds of a choir singing (where there is none) and floral perfume from nowhere. On my one visit I spent some minutes looking for the source of a strong wafting scent but could not find any. From the looks of it the shrine owners certainly can't afford to spray a good part of the huge area with freshener.
If you don't get the onsite treats, take a drink of the spring water or bring home a bottle (bring empties) for an inexplicable (for non-Catholics) feeling of lightness and wellbeing. One girl felt something solid in her mouth after a drink. It turned out to be a communion host which showed an image of the Virgin when dried.
Take a good look at the huge hilltop statue and its surroundings, then take a photo or two. You might see something in the photos which wasn't there when you took it.
The highway from Dumaguete to Inalad is lined with a dozen resorts where you can have meals at all prices. The Siaton portion features a scenic winding road lined with trees-- honk at the blind corners and stay on your lane! Those willing to go the 8 km. sideroad to Antulang Resort can add shots of tranquil Tambobo Bay to holiday photos.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Family Travel
I am not really sure if this is part already of negros or bacolod. But during my trip to Dumaguete, this was really what i remembered. BAIS is a place where you can watch dolphins jumps besides the boat. I last done this in 2002 if i remember correctly, and basically as you ride the boat, the dolphins jump and go the same direction as your boat goes. Really really fun. I remember shouting "AMBAK, AMBAK, AMBAK!" which means jump in Bisaya.Related to:
- Whale Watching
A great place to base yourself for some of the best dive sites, Apo Island is only 40 minute boat ride away with sites like Chapel, Coconut point and drop off you will be spoilt. If muck diving is your thing then a must dive site is the Pier in Dumaguete.
I dived with Michael at Adventure dive, who are based on Rizal Ave, Dumaguete city only 5 minutes from the port.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
For a glimpse of Dumaguete through national hero Jose Rizal's eyes, ask the city tourism office at the Sta. Catalina St. side of the town plaza to arrange a visit to the second floor of the old Locsin house a few steps away. This should be done 24-48 hours in advance as the house is not usually open to the public.
Old folks' tradition has it that passing by Dumaguete to his Dapitan exile in the late 1800's, Rizal had breakfast at this house. At that time, its owner was Teniente (Lt.) Cornelio Yapsutco, a local stalwart of the 1896 revolution against Spain. The house was venue for the 1898 (year of Rizal's execution) election for the provisional takeover Negros Oriental government. The present owners are Yapsutco descendants.
Rizal noted down his impression of Dumaguete as being "like a little European town" after hearing piano music amid the lush greenery and colonial architecture of the time.
The Locsin house's second floor retains the old hardwood floors, decor and furnishings in its sprawling living room and bedrooms.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Back in the 90's we visited Mrs. Ng's stupendous private orchid garden in Camanjac, Dumaguete with its thousands of blooms. It was an other-worldly experience.
Orchid fanciers can check with Jo's Inato at Silliman Ave., if ALL the blooms were moved to her hilltop public park fronting Sea Forest in Sibulan, or someplace else. I still daydream about having a garden party amid all that beauty .Add to your Trip Planner
Sampling Neg. Oriental stonecraft and hemp weaves
Stonecraft here is made by grinding up local stone, molding and baking it into lively decor and gift items with native traditional and contemporary designs. Check them out at Marjorie's, EBT Bldg. beside Chin Loong on Rizal, Blvd., Dumaguete. You could ask for their factory location for more choices, and ask if they are in factory discount season.
Local hemp weaves have morphed from the dull old good-for-one-washes of years ago to today's glitter-flecked panels in peacock shades. Will make you rethink your Christmas decor.
Check them out at souvenir shops Handumanan and the one on the ground floor of the old Locsin house on Sta. Catalina St. (downstairs from where Jose Rizal had breakfast). You might ask for directions to the weavers, too, just say it's for a study and not discounted shopping.Related to:
- Museum Visits
Indiana Jones-ing it in Dumaguete
World War 2 Japanese gold mania aside, Silliman University has a museum with real preHispanic and other artifacts housed in that Victorian-style landmark Silliman Hall (you might call ahead and see what's to be on display at arrival time).
Want to go along on an archeo-dig or site view? This might be arranged if you can get a recommendation from your local school or government addressed to the Silliman administration. Amateurs will have to go by the rules, though, and not scream at the skeletons or pocket the little figurines in the burial sites. I have a little stone idol the naive warehousemen gave away years ago because they thought it was junk.Add to your Trip Planner
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