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Dec 16, 2021

Dumaguete is the capital city and main port of Negros Oriental, the province that occupies the south-eastern part of Negros Island, in the Philippines. It is sometimes called the “City of Gentle People”. A laid-back university town with a charming sea-front boulevard and a good selection of tourist-oriented services, Dumaguete is a good place to relax for anything from a few days to a few decades. There are many tourists and a large contingent of resident foreigners. According to the Philippine government Dumaguete is the most popular destination in the country for retiring abroad.

Dumaguete is a major transport hub for reaching destinations anywhere on the large island of Negros which is split into two provinces, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. In particular, it often serves as an entry point for trips to the diving on Apo Island or dolphin chasing and whale watching near Bais City. The small island province of Siquijor, with its many beaches and legends of sorcery, is also often reached via Dumaguete; it is visible from the downtown seafront.

The economy is quite diverse and is doing well; a 2009 survey showed Dumaguete with the lowest incidence of poverty of all cities in the Visayas and Mindanao. The city has been a center of education for over a century, and the transport, market and administrative hub of its region for even longer. Tourism and hi-tech have become important; Dumaguete is among the top ten tourist destinations in the country and has quite a few call centers, business process outsourcing companies and other IT-related enterprises.

. . . Dumaguete . . .

This article covers four towns that are administratively separate but effectively one city:

Saint Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral
  • Dumaguete City proper (131,377 in 2015 census)
  • Bacong, south along the coast (36,500)
  • Valencia, on higher ground inland to the southwest (34,850)
Dumaguete, Valencia and Bacong are connected by three roads, approximately an equilateral triangle 8 km (5 miles) on a side.
  • Sibulan, north along the coast; the two town centers are about 12 km apart (59,500)

Dumaguete is not a large city in population but is spread out over quite a wide area. All three suburbs mentioned above have experienced considerable residential development in the last few years; many people live in them but come into Dumaguete to work or shop, or for restaurants and nightlife.

Valencia is in a volcanic area, the volcanic soil is fertile, and there is plenty of rain. The area has long been known for agriculture, especially fruit and vegetable production. There is a large farmers’ market in the center of Valencia, right where the jeepney from Dumaguete arrives.

The urban part of Valencia is over 200 m (660 ft) above sea level so the town is significantly cooler than Dumaguete on the coast. Partly because of this, it has several new upmarket real estate developments which attract both well-off Dumaguetinos and expatriates. Bacong and Dauin, the next coastal town south, also have a lot of upmarket housing development.

The climate is tropical with an average daily high of 30.6°C (87°F) and low of 24.8°C (77°F); this does not vary much from month to month. Precipitation does vary considerably with a dry season January to May and wet season June to December. Average annual rainfall is 807 mm (32 inches); for comparison, San Francisco and London each get about 600 mm while Metro Cebu gets about 1700 and Hong Kong 2400.

As anywhere in the Philippines, there is some risk of earthquakes and typhoons. However, compared to other areas in the country Dumaguete has relatively low risk of either. Sometimes it gets side effects of typhoons elsewhere; for example in October 2017, heavy rain associated with Typhoon Paolo caused some flooding in Dumaguete.

The country’s two largest cities, and its main hubs for international flights, are Metro Manila and Metro Cebu; from either, there are flights, ferries, and buses (which ride ferries for part of the route) to Dumaguete. Cebu is considerably closer and Mactan-Cebu International Airport is a more pleasant airport to arrive at with an international connection.

If you change planes in Manila or Cebu, allow plenty of time since the security controls to enter each terminal before you can even join the queue to check in sometimes cause long delays. On a busy day at Manila Airport it can take almost two hours! You will also need a paper print out of your confirmed flight itinerary.

There are also international flights to Davao, Iloilo, or Clark Airport near Angeles. Cebu Pacific have Davao-Dumaguete and Clark-Dumaguete flights, and from Iloilo one can take a ferry to Bacolod, then bus. Since the new Panglao Airport opened there are now international flights to Bohol and there are good ferry connections from there to Dumaguete.

Kalibo (nearest airport to Boracay) also has international flights, but no good connection to Dumaguete.

. . . Dumaguete . . .

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. . . Dumaguete . . .