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Many visitors to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental tend to leave their hearts there. But once upon a time, outsiders raided it for its beauties.
The city's name is derived from “daggit,” the Visayan word for “to snatch.” Legend has it that passing pirates had the habit of stealing gorgeous women from Dumaguete's shores, inspiring its dramatic name.
Even Jose Rizal wasn't immune to its charms, having stopped over on his way to be exiled in Dapitan and lending his name to the picturesque Rizal Boulevard. It is, the locals like to say, one of the few places named after Rizal that our National Hero actually set foot on.
There are many hotel, hostels, and resorts in the city to suit every budget.
If you have the cash to spend, check into Coco Grande, which offers one of the most luxurious accommodations in the city.
If backpacking is more your style, you might enjoy Harold's Mansion, a hostel which offers clean, affordable rooms at reasonable prices.
Nowadays, Dumaguete is known as a sleepy university town where the food is good and the pace of life is relaxing. The city has been making a name for itself on the culinary map, with restaurants popping up all over, many of them serving food comparable or better than in Manila.
Restaurants to try include KRI, a contemporary restaurant whose imaginative fusion dishes are a joy to the palate, and Lab-As, famous for its fresh seafood dishes. Beside the latter is Hayahay, a nightspot gaining a reputation as the place to go for good music and cheap drinks.
Of course, a trip to Dumaguete is not complete without a stopover at Sans Rival. The silvanas in this tiny bakeshop have become the unofficial pasalubong of Dumaguete City. Enjoy and afternoon snack here, then place your order, to be picked up on the way to the airport on the day of your departure. A sweet reminder of your trip.
If you want to make the most of Negros Oriental, leave the city and check into Antulang Beach Resort, where it is easy to unwind and leave all your problems behind. Situated on a cliff, the resort offers a gorgeous view of the Sulu Sea.
Drive to the nearby Atelier Aguila to watch the sunset and admire the furniture that double as art pieces on sale—or perhaps take a few home.
But if you are loathe to leave the city, stop by Silliman University and take shade underneath the trees while admiring the old buildings, some of which date back to the American era.
While you're in Silliman, buy tickets for whatever production the Cultural Affairs Committee is supporting, be it performances from Ballet Philippines or the Philippine Opera Company, or perhaps a film screening.
Dumaguete may be a small city, but there is no lack of things to do in or around it. Whether it's food, relaxation, or culture you're after, it's hard to be bored in the City of Gentle People. –KG, GMA News