Silliman University is the most prominent of Dumaguete’s seven universities and colleges. Established in 1901, it is the oldest American-founded university in Asia.
Stroll around the campus and visit its anthropology museum, which contains artifacts that date back 2,000 years, and an ethnographic compendium of the different indigenous groups of the Philippines.
Other popular landmarks are the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral and the Dumaguete Belfry, both of which were built in 1811. The belfry formerly served as a watchtower that alerted locals of marauding pirates.
Spend some time on Rizal Boulevard, a beachfront promenade along the city’s commercial district. Thanks to its restaurants, tempurahan (hawker-style stalls) and various watering holes, the area is an excellent place to take in the bay, go for a leisurely stroll, enjoy a morning cup of coffee or a have lively evening with friends.
To see Dumaguete transformed, time your stay to coincide with one of the city’s festivals.
Not to be missed are the Sandurot Festival, a celebration of Dumaguete’s multicultural roots, and the Buglasan Festival of Festivals, in the fourth quarter of the year, when Dumaguete hosts a bevy of cultural events and competitions showcasing the entire province.
Dumaguete is also a great jump-off point for exploring other attractions within the province.
The Negros Oriental Arts and Heritage Stonecraft (NOAH) in Bacong features stone-crafting factories and a souvenir shop that sells original handicrafts. The craftsmanship here is superb.
Head to Bais City (less than an hour away from Dumaguete) any time between March and October and cruise the Tañon Strait for dolphin and whale-watching.
Make a pit stop at the Manjuyod White Sand Bar, a stretch of powdery white sand that fully emerges during low tide.
Bais City is also home to the Central Azucarera de Bais – established in 1918, it is the first sugar mill in the Philippines. Early machines, tools, and even the Baldwin Locomotive that was used to transport the sugarcane remain on display.
Don’t leave without exploring the waters of the world-famousApo Island, located just off the southeastern tip of Negros Island. This dazzling marine reserve is home to some 650 species of fish and 400 species of corals, and boasts spectacular drop-offs and sea walls. With 15 dive sites, it is among the best underwater experiences the Philippines has to offer.