Tag: philippines

Dumaguete on the Cheap

This year, I made a promise to my family that we would explore the Philippines more. We are avid travellers, but sadly, we rarely choose to go around places in our own country because 1) it is hot most of the time and 2) it almost costs as much, or sometimes more than travelling to certain countries with more pleasant weather. But, I told myself that I wouldn’t make any excuses this time and really put the Philippines in our travel agenda.

Dumaguete was actually our second planned trip around the country. The first one was to the Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna, which was really just a day trip so I don’t have a story for that visit.

Dumaguete surprised me with its natural beauty and accessibility. There are so many gorgeous places to go to in this tiny island of just over a hundred thousand people. But, as we were newbies, we took the more expensive route and hired a tour guide. You can skip this part, and benefit from my experience by reading along and finding a more cost-effective way of going around Dumaguete.

Transportation

As I’ve said, all the major attractions in Dumaguete are just 30 minutes to an hour away from the main city, so if you’re travelling in a group, just hire a van. This will set you back Php 3,500 per day, but the van is very comfortable and can easily sit 9 people, ideal for families and groups of friends. If you’re on your own, best to hire your own motorcycle guy to bring you to different places. Of course, you have to risk it because Dumaguete doesn’t require helmets for motorcycle drivers and passengers (go figure).

Accommodations

Our hotel was located at the heart of the city, and I still think it’s a good idea to do that since all sights worth seeing are just walking distance from the hotel. Next time though, I would opt to book a hotel facing the Rizal Boulevard because 1) the scenery’s great. You’re overlooking the sea and the island of Siquijor; and 2) all the major restaurants are lined up along Rizal Boulevard.

Rizal Boulevard
The Places to Hit

Siliman University- Apart from being one of the oldest universities in the Philippines, it also boasts of its very own anthropological museum and the biggest library in Dumaguete. The library is open to the public, while there is a small fee for entering the museum.

The sprawling campus grounds of Siliman University
Rizal Boulevard- For anyone who enjoys eating, or hanging out, the boulevard is the best place to walk through. More on what you can eat in this area later.

Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao- Oh my, this is probably one of the most gorgeous places you can visit. It didn’t even take us thirty minutes to get her from the hotel. Once you arrive, you can take a boat to see both lakes from a viewing point.

Manjuyod Sandbar- I’ve been to the Honda Bay sandbar in Palawan, but it’s tiny compared to the 7 km sandbar of Manjuyod. White sand, clear waters, boatmen selling fresh buko, who can say no to this gorgeous location? After you get your fill of walking (if you don’t swim) or swimming, they’ll whisk you off to the middle of the ocean to look for dolphins! Then there’s lunch on the boat where copious amounts of crabs, shrimp and fish will be served.

Pulangbato Falls and Sulphur Mountains- Pulangbato waterfalls is another easy-to-reach place in Dumaguete. You can swim here, so do bring your bathing suits along. Very near it is a hot springs resort that gets its heat from the sulphur mountains. The water is really rusty, and the stones are a magnificent copper color!

Twinning in Pulangbato Waterfalls
Eats Time to Eat!

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention all the wonderful food that you can eat and bring home from Dumaguete.

Budbod sa Tanjay – A good thing to snack on, and a cheap pasalubong to take home is Dumaguete’s version of suman (sticky sweet rice). You can choose from just plain suman, suman with chocolate (the one I got) and suman with mango. This is normally served along the marketplace. If you want to take some home, I suggest you refrigerate it, or store in the freezer until you’re ready to eat. I usually fry mine once I take them out in the freezer. Yummy breakfast!

Panda Fried Ice Cream-Located at Maria Cristina St. (very near Siliman University), this treat is like eating a donut stuffed with ice cream. I really liked it!

 Sans Rival Cafe – You can get cheap meals here (some are not even Php 200 a plate), plus you can take home a box or two of their silvanas and sansrival. This, and many more restaurants are found along the Rizal boulevard. That’s it! I hope you learned a thing or two! Happy travels =)

Chocolate silvanas? Yes, please!
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Palawan: Paradise Found

Palawan: Paradise Found

 

I am not proud to say this… but I am a foreigner in my own country.  I am even a foreigner in my own hometown of Cebu.  Most tourists know it better than me!  I am always dreaming of seeing other countries that I sometimes overlook the many beautiful natural wonders this country has to offer.

I mean, I have never denied that the Philippines is beautiful.  But being out there and experiencing it firsthand is something I can definitely do much more of.

But hey, it’s never too late to make changes right?

And so I went on my maiden trip to one of my country’s most loved, most talked-about, and most praised beautiful islands: Palawan.  And what a wonder it truly is!

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Our trip was a toss between 2 popular areas in Palawan: El Nido or Coron.  Both locations are equally beautiful but my sisters and I finally settled on Coron – mainly because we discovered Club Paradise, a resort that offered a huge expanse of rose-gold beachfront and clear turquoise waters only steps away from our cabana.  Now that was hard to beat!

The amenities of Club Paradise leave much to be desired.  It was obvious that the resort was old and in need of renovation (which was actually ongoing when we went there).

But who cares about amenities when you have the perfect beach??? No one!!! Not me!!! The place was perfect!!!  We were really in paradise!!!

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I will let my pictures do all the talking…

The gorgeous beachfront.  The best place to watch time go by.

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The unbelievably crystal clear turquoise waters

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The gorgeous sunset.  Namaste to that!

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For the times we wanted to be active, there was a great hiking trail with gorgeous views of the entire island of Club Paradise.

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Not in photos but definitely a big deal were the snorkeling sites only a few meters away from the beachfront.  It was a surreal experience to be surrounded by a school of silver fish – not once but 4 times in less than 2 hours!

It is true…paradise is real!

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Namaste!

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