Whenever I mention to my friends about wanting to visit Dumaguete, I always get the same reaction, a wide bright smile followed by an eager ‘Maganda roon! Punta ka na!’ (It’s beautiful there, you’d better go!). I finally did this March after my 3-day Siquijor sojourn.My body was still aching from the activities back in Siquijor. I decided to just lay low in the city and was just thinking of relaxing in my hotel room all day. However, there were quite a few misgivings in where I stayed that I decided to spend a couple of hours exploring the downtown.
From my hotel, I walked for about ten minutes to reach the city center. I immediately went straight to Dumaguete Cathedral. It was nearing the last hour before dusk and I had to settle for a slightly overcast sky. Nevertheless, I was glad that there was no mass being held. I entered the church and found out that it was undergoing some renovations. Aside from a handful of praying individuals, I had the church all to myself.
The church was like the other Catholic Churches I have seen, but the Campanario de Dumaguete sure attracted my attention. It is a famous landmark which was built in 1811 serving as a watchtower for incoming Moro raiders in the early days.
The marker states: The Campanario De Dumaguete was built upon one of the four original massive watchtowers that parish priest Don Jose Manuel Fernandez De Septien built in the 1760’s to discourage Moros from pillaging the town. The two layers which are now known as the Belltower or the Campanarion were added during the administration of Fray Juan Felix De La Encarnacion in 1867.
I dropped by this historical landmark after admiring the church. I bought a couple of candles which I planned on lighting up at once but I had to take shelter when it rained for a good ten minutes. When the rain let down a bit, I went ahead and left the candles to burn after mouthing a silent prayer.
It was past business and school hours by the time I crossed the street and went to the park. There I saw a vintage firetruck, Dr. Jose Rizal’s statue, the Dumaguete City Tourism Office and the Quezon Marker. After taking a few snapshots, I proceeded to Dumaguete Blvd. when the rain finally stopped.
It has been said that Dr. Rizal spent a short time in Dumaguete before proceeding to Dapitan to begin his exile. The historical marker stated that he walked at this very path, making this boulevard an integral part of history.
I walked further north and observed many foreigners. There were actually many foreign visitors, this city. And I began to understand as to why they seem to like making Dumaguete City their home. It has Dipolog City’s charm while having the bustling feel of a provincial city. But still not too crowded for those wanting to escape the madness of bigger cities. I guess being a seaside city and having a gracious view of the mountains in the hinterlands added more to its beauty.
I passed by Siliman University many times. It is the oldest American structure in Philippines. I did not go inside the university grounds but I never failed to give it an admiring glance whenever I pass by it. I am guessing it was one cool school. It reminded me of my college Alma Mater too.
Someone I know who hails from here mentioned that there were many restaurants to choose from. Too many to mention she told me. Since I was not really a foodie, I let go of the idea of searching for popular places to eat. I was also unable to buy the famous Sylvana from Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries because my pocket no longer allowed it.
My Dumaguete trip was a laid back one. I guess I should’ve visited this city first before Siquijor so I wouldn’t feel as drained as I was.