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Dumaguete Revisited June 5-9, 2015

Dumaguete Revisited

GPS waypoint: 9°18'32.2"N 123°18'34.1"E (boardwalk)
Location: Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental Province, Philippines

Deja Vu
With Tuyen's scheduled scuba diving course and Apo Island adventures awaiting for her, I decided to be in on the fun as well. I thought Dumaguete was a distant blip on my radar after having moved on, but almost immediately after landing and seeing the familiar places, the good food, and bumping into old friends, the reason why I lived and stayed here for 2 years came coming back. In my analogy, if a destination can be compared to a woman, Dumaguete is bridal material.



Neva's Pizza
Perhaps Dumaguete's most under-rated pizza, Neva's Pizza continues to titillate my palate without boring a hole in my pocket. For loose change, you get a good sized pizza baked in a wood-burning oven, and for taste and quality, it compares with the best out there. You should really try to eat there whenever in Dumaguete. Tuyen and I practically had most of our meals there. Any tricycle driver will know where it is - and it's tucked away in some local neighborhood, so don't expect to chance on to it as you take you tourist walk around town.

Hot Cocoa, Local Coffee and BudBud Cabog at the Painitan
One of Dumaguete's charming offerings is a hearty breakfast at the market - at the Painitan, where one could have a native hot chocolate drink (sikwate) or the local coffee. Combined with their famous sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves (budbud), it makes for a truly satisfying way to start the day. There are many types of budbud - the chocolate laced Budbud Tanjay, the plain Budbud Pilit and the prized budbud of them all, the Budbud Cabog (made with millet harvested from the mountain)!

We stayed a day at Dumaguete Royal Suites Inn. Too bad Tuyen is a vegetarian. I would have let her try the hotel's staple dish - Sizzling Bulalo. It's perhaps the only hotel made famous by it's house specialty.

The next few days found us at Harold's Mansion. It remains the backpacker haven for Dumaguete. The most surprising thing was Harold himself. He looks 10 years younger! Apparently, he doesn't drink alcohol anymore, sleeps right and doesn't party as much. His diving enterprise is now full-on with 2 boats and an actual commercial dive shop fronting his hotel (his dive equipment used to be stored in his house). Way to go, Harold!

Ellen Florendo
Back in my younger days, we were officemates at PNOC. It was purely by accident that we bumped into each other in Dumaguete. Now, a visit to Dumaguete is not complete without saying Hi and catching up. Tuyen and I stopped by twice and were hosted to a lavish merienda cena - good eats, good company and pleasant conversation. She and her sister were so generous to lend us a motorbike during our entire stay in Dumaguete. This allowed us to take a ride and explore more of its tourist offerings - Balinsasayao Twin Lakes, Casaroro Falls and the Japanese Shrine.

Balinsasayao Twin Lakes
On top a mountain peak sits two deep craters borne out of a volcanic eruption (time of eruption is not known). Through time, rain water filled it up to become the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao. They rest about 1000 meters up and the lakes go about 100 meters deep (depends who you talk to). It takes a powerful motorcycle to carry two people up the steep but paved road. There were no kayaks (all broken) so we took the bigger boat to carry us to the other side. It's interesting that these 2 adjacent lakes are only meters away from each other. I am not sure if the two lakes connect but since their water level is the same, I will have to assume they do. There is a resto providing an excellent view of the lake from its deck.

Casaroro Falls
On a different day, Tuyen and I took the high road to Valencia to see Casaroro Falls. En route, we passed along mountain roads offering spectacular views of the water - you could see Cebu Island, Siquijor, Sumilon Island and even Apo Island. Foreigners can't resist buying land here for their summer cottage or their retirement home. It takes over 300 steps to go down to the falls. Some of the infrastructure has been destroyed by the torrential flooding a few years ago, which claimed many lives. The falls has a foreboding plunge pool where the pencil-narrow but cliffside-high falls make its splash. This place is spectacular - but it's not easy getting here.

Japanese Shrine
Straight from Casaroro Falls, we drove the unforgiving mountain dirt road to the Japanese Shrine. At some points, we thought about turning back - the roads were too steep, too technical and too rocky. One guy even rode the motorbike for us over a very technical section. There is actually a more forgiving route, but it would have been farther. Finally, we reached the Shrine where intense fighting between the Japanese and the combined Filipino and American Allied Forcees took place in the ending days of WWII. A monument resembling an obelisk and a wall structure with Japanese inscription stand to commemorate the historic event that took place. Again, given its altitude, the view of the Negros Oriental coastline could be seen from the Shrine. You could see Dumaguete and the neighboring islands.

My Manangs
When I was still living there, I would hangout at the market for hot chocolate drinks or local coffee and have conversation with the elderly women - my Manangs as I would fondly refer to them. During this visit, I made it a point to stop by just to say Hi. I'm glad they still remembered me with affection. I have Manangs from the Painitan at the Dumaguete market, at the market in Valencia. It was an introduction to Tuyen but a nostalgic revisit for me.

Ending Thoughts
Tuyen and I could have stayed much longer, but Dauin and its scuba diving promise awaited.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Liquid Dumaguete and Dumaguete Divers in Dauin

arriving Dumaguete from Manila via Cebu Pacific bumping into Aesha, my partner at Eco Adventure Race 2010 sneaking behind the pizza boyz of Neva's Pizza chilling out with Ellen and her sister
Tuyen loves Dumaguete leisurely stroll along Dumaguete's famous boardwalk at the fruit market at the Dumaguete Royal Suite Inn
lavish merienda cena at Ellen's at Neva's Pizza - best pizza in town a passenger again with my Manang at the Painitan - best budbud cabog!
Tuyen amused at the Dumaguete Market scene Tae Kwon Do demo at Robinson's Mall in Dumaguete meeting Teenie at Hayahay Budbud Kabog and Pilit - Dumaguete special
typical scene at the Painitan at Dumaguete's Market getting my Swiss Army knife sharpened at the fruit stall in Valencia's weekend market Valencia's weekend market scene
with my Manang Tusay with my Manangs at the Valencia Market Tuyen at Valencia's Forest Camp jump-off to the trek of Mt. Talinis and entrance to Casaroro Falls
300+ steps down to Casaroro Falls still a good trek to reach the Falls Tuyen's first sight of the Falls up close and personal
with Tuyen by the plunge pool the passage in and out of the Falls Tuyen by the plunge pool not really feeling it for the swim
going through boulders on the way back nobody said it was easy the technical dirt road to the Japanese Shrine Cebu Island in the background from the Japanese Shrine
at the obelisk the Japanese Shrine was the site of the fierce battle that took place in WWII photobombed by a passing dog at the decorative lighthouse of Tierra Alta
Dumaguete's rich and famous take residency at the Tierra Alta Tierra Alta's infinity pool with a view meeting Architect Rocamora at Azalea at Architect Rocamora's latest project across Azalea
arriving at Lake Balinsasayao boarding time for the boat ride the lake was calm and placid ...more comfortable if someone is paddling the boat
Tuyen resting on the great divide between the 2 lakes back at Harold's Mansion, at the roofdeck no talk, just being online bumping into Pipoy of the Cuernos de Negros Mountaineers
getting around Dumaguete on a tricycle (tuktuk) once more at the Painitan engine trouble on the way to Dauin on the ferry bound for Cebu

Google Map Dumaguete, Philippines

tourist attractions in Dumaguete tourist attractions hotels in Dumaguete - hotel
Hotel Essencia Hotel Essencia - 9-storie hotel in the heart of Dumaguete
    39 Real St., Corner San Juan St., Dumaguete City - 09°18'32.1"N 123°18'20.3"E
scuba diving in Dumaguete scuba diving
  • Mario Scuba Diving and Homestay Mario Scuba Diving and Homestay - homestay in Apo Island, scuba diving, restaurant
    Apo Island - 09°04'40.08"N 123°16'09.19"E
  • Dumaguete Divers Dumaguete Divers - scuba diving in Apo Island, resto / cafe, accommodation
    Dauin - 9°11'18.6"N 123°15'54.3"E
cafes in Dumaguete cafe

More Information about Dumaguete

The following people like this:

Angel Pfleider Amigo-Villanueva
Angel Villanueva
Steven Rosello
Steven Rosello
Teenie Fleischer
Teenie Fleischer
Angelo Villanueva
Angelo Villanueva
Tuyen Nguyen
Tuyen Nguyen
Lester Alcaria
Lester Alcaria
Dave Joudrey
Dave Joudrey
Pipoy Equipado
Pipoy Equipado
Ruth Abella Penano
Ruth Abella Penano

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Reader Comments:

Tuyen NguyenTuyen Vietnam
(July 20, 2015) I like the fact that you became friend with some Manangs in the market and they like you. Yes, I love Dumaguete!

Teenie FleischerTeenie Fleischer
(July 20, 2015) You amaze me as always. Here we call it 'pula ug lobot' (red butt) - i think it was coined after an insect, meaning you can't stay put. Thanks. I'm glad you revisited Negros Island not as Lone Rider.

Steven RoselloSteven Rosello
(July 20, 2015) Awesome food destination. Also a good place to Swim with sea turtles

June 5-9, 2015

»» next Traveling story: Scuba Diving in Dauin with Simon Speight's Dumaguete Divers
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