Dumaguete – DGTE

An officemate was asking for directions to Dumaguete last Thursday. Not sure when will he go there but I hoped he follows the route I suggested to him which is perfect if you’re just after spending the day in Cebu and plans to go to Dumaguete the following day. I told him to ride the bus straight to Liloan port in Santander early next morning. That bus ride is a special trip in itself.

Santanders Liloan port (above) with its white sand surf. Santander is the southernmost municipality of Cebu famous for its amazing dive spots. Fast craft boats ferry passengers to Sibulan, Negros Oriental – the picture below is Sibulan’s coastline as seen from the boat.

Thanks to him I was reminded that I have not yet posted some pictures of my visits to this place they call the land of genteel people .

From Santander, on a clear day, one can already see from afar the houses’ windows in Sibulan. I was told that this is the closes point between the two province. Sometimes the ride can be a little bumpy but trip does not last long, about 15 to 20 minutes, so hold on to your sits. The ships are Japanese made, aging but very sturdy and relatively fast – strange but the fact that its from Japan eases my worries a bit – as you can see, for a man passionate about traveling, I hate traveling by sea. Traveling down south in a bus is kinda like an unguided tour; you get to see the spectacular coastal scenes of the charming southern Cebu towns. I remember my first time seeing the church of Boljoon, nestled by the mountains, surrounded by lush greens, fronting the beautiful sea-hands down, one of the most memorable landscapes of my wandering in that part of the country.

The great Symbols of Dumaguete. The seal and the Campanaria de Dumaguete (also seen in the official seal of the city) – the ancient sentinel that guarded the Catholic population from violent Moro raiders. These frequent incursion, called Daguet (meaning to “poach”) is believe to have been the origin of the word Dumaguete.

Dumaguete is a special place and is truly worth visiting – I visited the town several times. The town has this university atmosphere to it.  Silliman University, a protestant school founded at the turn of the 20th century can be seen from the port of Dumaguete. It’s a vast campus, perhaps one of the biggest in our country. It also have scientific research centers outside Dumaguete. A man named Dr. Hibbard, who stayed in Cebu was on his way to densely inhabited Iloilo and Zamboanga when he suddenly made a side trip to Dumaguete upon the suggestion of a friend. That side trip would be the beginning of the Protestant school. It started as a research campus and to this day is renowned for its science programs. Another important institution is St. Paul, a Catholic university founded by seven Sisters of the Congrgation of the Sisters of St. Paul in 1904.These Nuns have a small memorial spot in Rizal Boulevard, where they’re depicted crossing the Tanon straits. Students refer to the monument as ” sister act”. The provincial state university of Negros Oriental is also in Dumaguete.

I’m trying to imagine how popular Rizal may have been during his days (while he was still alive) because  every word he utter gets around. He remarked that Dumaguete is a “Land of Genteel People”  during his brief visit that lasted just a few hours and today this is the city’s other name. Unbelievable! You can’t help but wonder if he had that rockstar status – were people calling his name out asking for autographs then?

When the town was captured by the Japs they made Silliman and the spacious American styled houses their offices and barracks. Making the town a virtual Jap country. A man showed me the house where the notorious Kempetai held office. Executions are done in the plaza for all to see – I wonder if people came out and watch those barbaric Japs execute their hapless victims. A Japanese Prince who serve the Imperial Army is buried somewhere n Rizal Boulevard – a Japanese Parliament member, who visited the WWII collector from Valencia told the collector, even pointing its location. What I find truly amazing is that when the American liberated the town – they never viciously bombed Silliman, if they did not with the same tenacity and obsessive streak they had with the other assignments to “flush out” the Sacangs – thanks to this merciful act the town’s iconic university has remained intact, unfortunately to some of our towns, they had to suffer the wrath of the yanqui heavy bombers.

César Ruiz Aquino and the Tiempos are residents of Dumaguete. Eddie Romero is a Dumaguete native. Just some of the familiar names that calls one of the smallest Filipino city home. Some of our relative on the Father side lives in this awesome town. Although distance and time has separated my Father to most of his Negrense relative he remembers them like it was yesterday, especially the ones in Bais and Bacolod. While I was working in Cebu, I met someone who turned out to be of distant kin; her Father’s mother was from the Arnaiz clan of Negros – what a small world we live in.

DGTE has all the things that you need if you’re a city soul but not far are nature places where you can rest and recover from all the pressures of this world –like the twin lake on top of a mountain past Sibulan and the picturesque town of Valencia. Every time I visit the Dumaguete, I stay in this inn (called Vintage) fronting the public market. The location suggest that its no five star but nice none the less and economical (in short cheap). Mornings are spent eating puto maya and drinking brewed coffee at the popular red stalls in the market, the coffees are the best ones that I ever had in the region. When I asked where the coffee beans are from – they showed me the sack, it says “Product of  Vietnam”. The hot thick tsokolate is also a favorite, this time, the cocoa’s are local. Of course if your in Dumaguete complete your experience and try their famous Sans Rival. There are several pastry shops in town but the one that I tried is the shop near the gate of Silliman.

As luck would have it, all the nights that I’ve been in Dumaguete were rainy and disagreeable. But mornings are pleasant and warm – the Rizal Boulevard, where Rizal once strolled during a stopover before heading to Dapitan is a handsome park along the coast near the port. I plan to tour my parents here soon – I’ll be needing time and money of course – something that has been lacking these days ☻

Some of the houses near Rizal boulevard. Most noticeable is the American colonial influence that took place in the manner of  styling. Except the white gate (with the name E.Colon) of a house that resembles a Franciscan mission gateway.

Examples of Post American structures. These building are near the mercado.


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