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Dumaguete April 12, 2010


The Green Light
I should have left Manila earlier for Bohol. But the plane left without me. Yes, I was late. That hasn't happened before. Now, in hindsight, perhaps is was better that way. I had some unfinished business in Manila that needed resolution. Now that that's settled, I was free to leave. Besides, unsolicited signs were all there - my skip rope that I'd been using for 6 years just snapped...and 2 more, but now I forget. My benevolent universe was paving a way for my departure. I like that. It inspires confidence (I'm fatalistic when it serves my purpose).

Always a Nomad
While it was my plan to start life all over again after Manila, I had no clear destination about where to settle. In fact, I'm still conflicted about "settling down". Perhaps, I just stay in one place long enough until it gets old...then move on to another place that calls out. At least, that's the ideal picture.

Dumaguete! Dumaguete!
AS for Dumaguete, I just told myself I'll take the first cheap plane out of Manila...and Cebu Pacific came up with a Dumaguete seat sale. Although I haven't been to this place, nor know of anyone here, nor a definite place I could lodge for the night, I was somehow consoled by the fact that I only hear good things about Dumaguete...the land of gentle people. It enjoys a university flavor much like UP since there are various universities here, Silliman University topping the list. From the map, it's very handy. It's close to other significant destinations - Cebu, Siquijor, Camiguin and Bohol. I'm just about an hour away from these lovely places. How cool is that?


A Roof Over My Head
First things first. A lodging place...a cheap lodging place. Lonely Planet's cheapest option was Vintage Inn at P242/night...that's a little too rich for me. I draw the line at P150/night (common baths, fan room, etc.). Ideally, I should find a monthly place to lower my cost...maybe somewhere like P3K monthly...max. Maybe I could find that soon, but I needed a place to crash for the night. Fortunately, after asking around, I found Aldea Lodge for P180/night - right in the heart of the city. I can live with that if only for a few days. Actually I slept there for 2 nights before I found a room for P1500/month, plus P100 for an electric!

Now that the roof-over-my-head issue was addressed, I can chillax and roam more leisurely around the city.

The one thing I really appreciate about traveling outside Manila is that everything else costs cheaper. Movies here at the newly constructed mall, Robinson's Plaza is only P100. Compare that to P170 in Manila. I can even watch a movie everyday...if only there were enough choices. My first movie was Clash of the Titans. For P100, I won't bitch too much about how it fails in comparison to the 1981 classic. My second movie was The Book of Eli...another apocalyptic sojourn about keeping the Holy Book from being used as a weapon...nice movie, but not exactly life-altering.

Silliman University Anthropology Museum
Since it was close by, I stopped by the Silliman University Anthropology Museum (P25 admission). It had 3 floors of artifacts from around the country - Chinese vases, medicinal herbs and plants, witchcraft gadgetry, ancient day-to-day utensils, boat coffins, fish traps, etc. It's not very extensive though. No picture taking on the 2nd floor.

Silliman University Marine Laboratory
Next stop was the Silliman University Marine Laboratory - a short tricycle ride going north along the coastline. Visually, they had 2 marine aquariums (home-type size). On the breeding tanks, I saw baby clams...soon to be giant clams. The rest of the displays were mostly writings about their work and advocacy. Since marine conservation is close to my heart, I asked for an audience with the program director (without an appointment of course). Her first words were, "I'm terribly have 5 minutes". It extended beyond that as I offered to update their dated website. It's good that I can also be useful to the community.

Board Walk
The favorite pastime for everyone here is really the board walk along the nearly 1 kilometer stretch of Rizal Blvd. If you've been to the Bay Walk along Roxas Blvd, it's something very similar to that. Except that here, people don't seem to be rushed. They take their time. Vendors are not aggressive, no pan handlers, no street kids begging, maybe a bum or two caught up by the parade of people. On the other side of the street are rows upon rows of restaurants, hotels and bars...lots of elderly foreigners with young lasses. Life seems to go smoothly, unperturbed.

Ending Thoughts
I've barely scratched the surface of Dumaguete. Every new acquaintance brings promise of getting to know not just the friendly people of Dumaguete but of the city itself. It's a cultural experience - best eats, best kept secret places, local heroes we never learned about, challenges the city face in this growing migratory pattern within the Visayas, etc. The future looks bright.

--- TheLoneRider

  • The town proper is a very short ride from the airport with jeeps and tricycles plying the route. Instead of cabbing it from the airport or chartering a van (there will be lots of vendors hawking this service), walk outside the airport into the main road and flag down a jeep or tricycle. Fare is only P8.00
P4113338 P4113342 P4123344 P4123345
P4123347 P4123348 P4123350 P4123356
P4123358 P4123361 P4123362 P4123363
P4123364 P4123366 P4123370 P4123373
P4123376 P4123377 P4133382 P4133384

Reader Comments:

Marivic Roldan
(May 29, 2011) That's the epitome of "going where the spirit leads." How nice to be able to do what you want to do when you want to do it:)

Gawani Domogo
(Sep 24, 2010) You're right. Living in Manila is almost impossible if you've tried how free and wonderful it is in the countryside.

Zoe Arugay
(Sep 11, 2010) What? You are all over the country!!! hahaha! Nomad ka talaga in the truest sense! ;-)

(Jun 1, 2010) BTW, I just might be in Dumaguete this month. Not sure yet. I'll look you up. Stay cool. ;)

(May 11, 2010) Dumaguete was the first place where I had snorkeling. Yes, it's the nice place to stay, travel and enjoy coastal scenery. Good for you! I thought Manila wasn't the right place for people like you who had been fed with nature's energy.

(May 11, 2010) Wonderful to hear that you've settled down south. I've heard lotsa wonderful things about Dumagete and Siquijor. Sounds like a wonderful place for you to settle for a while.

(May 11, 2010) Life in Dumaguete sounds wonderful. If I can stick with my job at the airline I may at long last have the opportunity to come and see you. The invitation you've just extended does sound like the best idea I have heard in some time. Namaste my friend.

(May 4, 2010) I was reading your website and looks like Dumaguete is a nice place and you are enjoying yourself there which is good.

Outback Greg
(May 4, 2010) Sounds like it's great in Dumaguete.

(May 2, 2010) You seem so far away. Glad you're settled in your new hub...continue having a blast in your new place. :)

(Apr 14, 2010) I have been a lurker on your page and been following your travels in the Islands. Enjoyed reading your adventures. Cool life you choose. Nice pictures. You really have a time of your life...Dude. A friend of mine retired from the US Navy and decided to call Dumaguete home with his wife. With these cool pictures I might surprise him.

Rene and Nadia Abesamis
(Apr 19, 2010) I heard from friends at the SU marine lab that you're in town and thinking of settling in (at least for a bit?). I thought a friendly email from a fellow 'new-comer' to the land of gentle peeps would help you get comfortable in this fine Visayan spot. My wife and I were both from UP. We are both marine biologists. We didn't speak a word of Cebuano when we first got here a few years ago. Now we call this place home. If you need a biking, diving, eating or yoga buddy do send us a text. I suspect we share some common friends back in UP too.

(Apr 17, 2010) ...did you relocate to Dumaguete? good luck in your new abode! For sure, Dumaguete is much livable than Manila... well you know what I mean.

(Apr 16, 2010) Dumaguete is one really wonderful place. You can explore the nearby beaches (diving, snorkeling, etc) :) Food is cheap there too, and it's easy to get around. Enjoy it there :D

(Apr 15, 2010) finally arrived and didn't miss your flight!!! Nice blog! Enjoy your new home, metta! :)

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April 12, 2010

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