Thrill and Chill: The Dumaguete experience-A A +A
Thursday, October 10, 2013
ARE you looking for a dose of thrill and chill? Dumaguete City is the place to be.
You can trek through the beautiful Oriental mountains, and not even at their peaks, you can see the ocean hugging the islands. The music those falls echo calms one's soul - made perfect when with good friends.
Although not as famed as the other Philippine destinations, Dumaguete, known as the City of Gentle People, has been attracting groups of tourists who prefer a laid-back and friendly atmosphere.
Dumaguete comes from the Visayan word "dumaguit," which means to snatch or hold captive -- aptly named because of its power to captivate tourists of its charming beauty and warm people.
Together with some friends, I headed back to my second home (because I had college there, although I grew up in Cebu) over the weekend. Despite the intermittent rains, we made way through our stopover, Silliman University being the first.
Silliman University, established in 1901 and considered as the oldest American institution in the Philippines, fascinates those whose hearts remain young for learning and those whose passion goes for the environment. The campus has over 300 acacia trees. Sure is the academic thrill, but no way does chill left in Silliman where spiritual and socio-cultural feel combined. As you leave the portals of the university, stop by the Silliman Cafeteria for a heaven-scent, finger-licking cheese bread.
In the evening, the cool breeze calls you for a good walk along the 780-meter strip fronting the Dumaguete Bay, the Dumaguete Boulevard, known to many as the Rizal Boulevard. It was named after the national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, who was believed to have stepped foot in Dumaguete before he was exiled in Dapitan. Right across it, pubs and restaurants line up where partygoers and diners meet.
For some adventure, head to uphill Valencia (locals call it the little Baguio because of its cool climate), and get a rush of excitement as you struggle through slippy rocks and strong current leading to the Casaroro Falls, hidden behind a gigantic rock formation. The falls is dubbed as the most photographed in all of Negros. If you plan to take one, come determined! There is no chance for weak knees!
Falls are all over Valencia, a little drive to the east and you'll see more along the roads. Red rock formations, sulfuric mountains, hot springs and trees lining up the streets are a common sight!
Enjoy the gushing of waters coming from the Negros mountains that lead to the Forest Camp -- a no-exception for travelers looking for a place to unwind. You may hop from one intricately designed pool to another, or enjoy the freezing water of a picturesque river right at the middle of the resort. A plant enthusiast may also take pleasure from a walk around the gardens of tropical endemic species. If you fancy in photography and modeling (like most of us in my group), get your Facebook account ready for hundreds of photographs you could take. Oh, the selfie posts!
As my friends say, come hungry to Dumaguete, so that you will appreciate with great taste the scrumptious food locals offer. No worries, because a little over a hundred peso, one can definitely get an ambrosial treat!
Looking for kuripot (budget) pizzas and platters? Look for Neva's. A taste of street food at the Tempurahan sa Boulevard! Get delighted by the sweets of Sans Rival, and don't leave the place with no Silvanas on hand for your friends and family. Pass by the Panda Ice Cream Haus for no run-of-the-mill fried ice cream (the soya milk used in their products is a plus for health buffs). Meet and engage in friendly conversations with some of the locals as you enjoy puto and sikwate on the side at the Painitan sa Merkado.
For a breathtaking view and food served like no other, Azalea is the place to go. Built on a mountain slope, 289 meters above sea level, in San Jose town, Azalea is a bolt out of the blue for first-timers. Quite a long drive from the city of Dumaguete, there is no reason not to explore this romantic place, especially when you are heading to the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao, which is eight kilometers further from the restaurant.
While this city is a perfect getaway for one who wants a moment of self-reflection, it is as perfect when explored with good friends.