This month’s location independent adventure takes us well off the tracks to a little Asian gem. Our stop? Dumaguete: a coastal town in the central Visayas in the Philippines.
A Word About the Philippines
The Southeast Asian country of the Philippines is oven overlooked on many a tourist trek. With 7,107 islands, though, there’s bound to be something for everyone. There’s the capital, Manilla, featured by us as one of the Pearls of Asia. Then there’s the locals – despite a massive 96 million of them (12th most populous country in the world – if you’re in the mood for statistics today) I’ve yet to meet a Philippine who isn’t warm and friendly.
There’s also the beaches – glorious beaches! With all those islands, that’s a whole lot of shoreline. Boracay’s famous “white beach” is one of the most popular, but there are plenty of options, including Dumaguete of course.
Where is Dumaguete?
It may look difficult but in fact it’s not that hard to get around in the Philippines. There is air service to many major cities as well as a raft of buses and ferries. For Dumaguete, there are daily ferries from Cebu and air or ground service from Manila.
Well, Dumaguete is the perfect combination between active city life and a laid back beach town. From fab shopping at Lee Plaza (a department store), to great cafes (try the famous San Rival cakes) to just enjoying the atmosphere of an Asian university town, Dumaguete is lovely.
Colonial Spanish influence can still be seen in Dumaguete (as well as the rest of the country) today. Some of the buildings will leave you feeling like you’re in a quaint village near Madrid or Bilbao. But then you can be off for a dive or a few hours sunning on the shore. What’s not to like?
I asked Kelly Hale, author of the Little Location Independent Guide to Dumaguete, to give us some insider tips and info into exploring Dumaguete.
Dumaguete’s nickname is “The City of Gentle People” and it’s a huge university town. What’s the vibe there like on a day to day basis?
Dumaguete is definitely a laid back place. Everyone is super friendly and the vibe is pretty chill. During the day you’ll see lots of university students wandering around town shopping or hanging out between classes, and in the evening the boulevard is full of young couples and older expats, either strolling along the water or having a drink at one of the bars and restaurants. There are a couple of bars that are a little further down the strip that have more of a local vibe, and play live music. Or in you’re more interested in quite beach life Dauin is about 20-30mins away and great place to chillout.
Is Dumaguete a good spot to combine with other must-see destinations in the Philippines? If so, where?
Definitely a good spot to combine with other areas… it’s located in the Central Visayas region and there are several nearby islands to explore. Cebu, Siquior & Bohol are all popular destinations and easily accessible by ferry (or you can fly to cebu & manila) If in Bohol, definitely checkout the very unique Tarsier, an tiny and adorable endangered primate.
What are your three “must see” sights/attractions/experiences for anyone visiting Dumaguete?
- Diving: If you’re a diver you have definitely come to the right place… there is fantastic diving in the area all along the coast or you can take a day trip to the nearby apo island.
- Casaroro Falls: a great day trip (pictured above – isn’t it lovely?)
- Malapataya Market: a sleepy little seaside town with a bustling Wednesday market.
Great tips – Thanks Kelly!
I’m sure many of you have heard of the recent disaster caused by Typhoon Ondoy. Over 100 people have died, 300,000 families are displaced, and nearly 80 percent of the nation’s capital region is flooded. Although the Dumaguete region was not affected, my heart goes out to all the people of the Philippines as they struggle with the aftermath of such a tragedy. If you would like to donate towards the relief effort, please help.
If you think Dumaguete sounds like the place for you, why not visit the Location Independent website where you can pick up your copy of Little LIP Guide to Dumaguete.
If you want more help about location independent living, check out my review of X Marks the Spot, a fantastic book in which Lea and Jon Woodward talk about their experiences of relocating and becoming location independent.