The sights of Dumaguete feature a wide and sometimes bizarre array of things for the worldly traveler. Here are just a few of the must see sights to visit when you are in the city.
Your first impression of this part of Dumaguete will be from some kind of vehicle. As you putter down the street scanning side to side there is a definite feel to the area. From the tourist bars and restaurants to the old street lamps and students lounging on the grass to the waves meeting the break wall, there is something special about Rizal Boulevard.
Named after Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal, who apparently spent one or two nights here on his way from a forced exile in Dipitan, the boulevard stretches along the front coast of the city and is the only one of its kind in the Philippines. Something the locals are very proud of!
Rizal Boulevard is only a 5 minute walk from the central shopping area and few minutes from the park. Bars and restaurants offer a variety of cuisine and nightly entertainment making this a popular evening haunt for locals and tourists alike. One of the best loved places in Dumaguete City, a leisurely stroll along this picturesque boulevard is a must do for any visiting tourist.
Built in 1811 to essentially warn the locals when marauding pirates were coming to kidnap people and turn them into slaves! The bell tower still stands in all her glory and is the oldest known belfry in the Visayas.
Located adjacent to the central park and next to St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, which is the largest church in the city and was also constructed in 1811; the belfry is an imposing stone structure and despite the addition of a small garden and grotto still somehow manages to retain its old authentic look.
Dumaguete City has essentially grown around Silliman University. It originally opened as an elementary school in 1901 by protestant missionaries from the USA with only 15 male pupils the Silliman project expanded rapidly acquiring university status and international recognition in 1938 with its student population of both sexes now in the 1000s.
The university has lots to offer a tourist. Take a stroll around the stunning grounds, visit the museum which is located in the founding building of the university, which itself is beautifully crafted and lovingly preserved. The museum collection is both interesting and varied with a history of the modern day Philippines, some magic and medicine, tribal history and artifacts.
Visit the Silliman Zoo with its collection of rare local animals including bleeding heart doves, spotted deer, vampire bats and crocodiles or head to the marine laboratory to visit their giant clam, crocodile and seaweed breeding programs. The university is steeped in history and is well worth a visit.
The Dumaguete City Public Market or ‘tiangge’ (local word for market) is the best place to scout for locally produced fruits & veg, fish & meat, handicrafts or general plastic fantastic junk!
Situated near the center of town the market is composed of 3 main buildings. One offers mainly fish, meat and poultry, the next veggies and fruits and the last one plastic, haircuts, tailoring and basically anything else you could possibly think of to sell.
Everyone is ready to barter so do not be afraid to ask for a better price! The market opens around 4am and is hustling till the doors close around 8pm.
Dr. Rico Absin is a local practicing anesthesiologist who has a strange yet genuine passion for art, decoration and kids! He has transformed his modest home into a virtual children’s dream castle complete with princesses and carriages. Every Christmas Dr. Absin covers his magical kingdom in thousands of flickering lights creating an enchanting mystical fairy tale dream land, that he opens up to the public.
Dr. Absin also holds a benefit party for the less fortunate children of Dumaguete every Christmas, where he invites all to his wonderland and evens gives each child a present. An active member of the City Tourism Council, he arranges many fund raisers for local causes and is an advocate for Children’s charities.
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