Moon Cafe in Dumaguete (Photo: Hersley Ven Casero)

Where to stay

  • Bungalow Hostel, Valencia Rd, Brgy. Bagacay; +63 927 431 7310; facebook.com/bungalowhostel. A cozy, welcoming backpacker hostel offering pet-friendly accommodation.
  • Florentina Homes, E Rovira Dr; +63 35 422 0827; www.florentinahomes.com. Offers fully-furnished apartments with Mediterranean-, Spanish-, British- and Swiss-inspired décor.
  • Go Hotels Dumaguete, Calindagan corner South Rd, Dumaguete Central Business District; +63 35 522 1100; www.gohotels.ph. Bright and clean rooms with air-conditioning, LCD TVs and free WiFi.
  • Harolds Mansion Hostel, 205 Hibbard Ave, Brgy. Looc; +63 35 522 0144; www.haroldsmansion.com. A hostel for budget travelers that’s located near both the airport and downtown.
  • Hotel Nicanor, San Jose St; +63 35 421 0788; www.hotelnicanor.com. A downtown hotel with spacious, air-conditioned rooms and comfortable beds.

Where to eat

  • 2 Story Kitchen, Sta. Catalina St. Indulge in authentic bibimbap (Korean mixed rice dish) at this Korean-inspired café.
  • Atong Kamalig, Katada St. Serves up delicious and reasonably priced chicken inasal (grilled chicken).
  • Café Filomena, G/F Bethel Guest House, Rizal Blvd; +63 917 419 0541. Stop by this café for a refreshing halo-halo when exploring the city.
  • Hayahay Treehouse Bar and Viewdeck, Flores Ave Piapi, Escano Beach; +63 35 225 3536; facebook.com/HayahayDGTE. A quaint treehouse bar with great views of the beach. Try the Dumaguete Express – seafood cooked in coconut milk, and topped with extra-crispy lechon kawali (crispy fried pork belly).
  • Gabby’s Bistro, Florentina Homes, Rovira Rd, Brgy Bantayan; +63 35 422 0827. Head here for satisfying all day-breakfast dishes, along with interesting desserts such as the Oreo Bonanza.
  • Jo’s Chicken Inato, Silliman Ave; +63 35 225 4412. Best known for its chicken inasal.
  • Lab-as Restaurant, Flores Ave; +63 35 225 3536. Probably Dumaguete’s best-known seafood restaurant. Take your pick from tanks of live seafood, from crabs to mahi-mahi.
  • Mooon Cafe, 7 Silliman Ave. Offers an array of affordably-priced Mexican dishes, such as tacos and ensaladas.
  • Neva’s Pizza, Piapi; +63 975 995 8220. For affordable brick-oven pizzas in flavors such as Milanese chicken, and garlic and cheese.
  • Sans Rival Bistro, San Jose St corner Rizal Ave; +63 35 225 4440. Head here for the best silvanas (frozen cookies) and sans rival (a cake layered with buttercream, meringue and chopped cashews) in town. Coffee here is brewed to perfection, too.
  • Tiki Bar, Escaño Beach, Flores Ave; +63 35 522 0446; tiki.ph. A hip beach bar where the live party beats draw a young crowd.

What to do

  • Apo Island. Hop on the early bus to Zamboangita and catch a bangka (small boat) to Apo Island. Bring along your snorkeling gear and swim with the pawikans (sea turtles), which can be sighted even in shallow waters. The marine sanctuary is also replete with beautiful coral gardens.
  • Bais City. Rent a bangka (small boat) and go whale- and dolphin-watching in the Tanon Strait.
  • Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park, Sibulan. Embrace the great outdoors and go swimming, fishing, boating, trekking or kayaking at this park. Birdwatchers would also be pleased to hear that the park supports at least 114 avifauna species, including the endangered Negros bleeding-heart.
  • Casaroro Falls, Taft St, Valencia. Trek to this 100m-high column of water, which drops into a swimming basin that’s surrounded by steep rock walls.
  • Dumaguete Belfry, Perdices St. Built in 1811, this is the oldest known belfry in the province. It’s also where 18th century pirates supposedly kidnapped local maidens.
  • Manjuyod Sandbar. A picture-perfect sandbar surrounded by clear turquoise waters; easily accessible via a 15-minute boat ride from Capinahan Wharf in Bais City.
  • Quezon Park, Perdices St. Take a stroll around this scenic park, and don’t forget to snap photos with the Jose Rizal and Maria Clara monuments, archaic cannons, and the vintage fire truck.
  • Silliman University, Real St; www.su.edu.ph. Take a leisurely walk around the campus and museums of the first and oldest American university in Asia, which was established in 1904. Check out its Anthropology Museum, too.
  • Siquijor Island. Explore pristine beaches, waterfalls, heritage sites, caves and more on this peaceful island province, which can be reached via a 1.5-hour ferry ride from Dumaguete Port.
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