In July 2017, I got assigned to Dumaguete with Joan, Clare and Claud. I have talked about our Apo Island adventure (click to view separate post) but I was not able to share our experiences within the city, especially our food trips.
The first hotel we stayed in was Hotel Palwa where the rooms were big and spacious. We had a comfortable stay in this hotel and did not have any problems with cleanliness of the rooms or the quality of its services. The place was simple and affordable but did not have the amenities like those offered by more expensive hotels. Despite that, it was good enough for us since we were at work for most of the day anyway.
Our stay in Hotel Palwa was cut short since we had to move to another hotel. Thanks to corporate discounts, we got to transfer to Hotel Essencia without hurting our budget. This hotel was bigger (though our rooms were smaller) and had more amenities compared to Hotel Palwa. We loved their restaurant where we ate our supper when we were too tired to look for anywhere less expensive. It’s okay though because their restaurant served very delicious food in big servings.
Some of the hotel’s amenities include a spa and a souvenir shop. I was not able to visit and try the spa, much to my regret (I love massages) but I was able to go inside the souvenir shop. There were a lot of terribly cute items sold there but most of them were terribly expensive. We were saving up for our Apo Island trip so we did not spend much on souvenir items.
Dumaguete has many restaurants to choose from so you will not have to worry about looking for places to eat. Whether you are looking for Italian, American or our own Filipino cuisine, there will always be a place that offers food suited to your taste.
The first restaurant we went to was the Mooon Café at the Al Fresco of Robinson’s Place Dumaguete. It’s a Mexican-inspired restaurant so expect nachos, fajitas and quesadillas. The food serving was not too big but enough to be enjoyed with a friend. They also have a wide range of drinks that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. I was disappointed though that they did not have horchata—a drink made of rice, cinnamon and sometimes, vanilla.
Another restaurant we tried was CB City Burger. I have to admit that I was shocked with the menu of this food joint. For a place that states burger in its name, only one type of burger was sold.
The meals, most of which were rice meals, were very affordable and tasted okay. Perhaps my burger expectations were not met that’s why I did not enjoy our experience so much.
If you cannot decide among American, Italian and Filipino food, Café Mamia might be the place for you. The restaurant had all-day breakfast, salads, paninis and sandwiches, and pasta. I think I ordered Spanish Chorizo while the three other girls ordered pasta. Unfortunately, we were famished at that time because we were so busy with our audit. For that reason, we were not able to take pictures of our food before digging in.
On our first weekend, we went to Siliman University. My golly, the campus looked so peaceful! I started missing being a student and not worrying much about anything other than my grades. Oh, adulting, why must you be tough?
The university, despite not being in Manila, is one of the best universities in the Philippines. It was the first American University not only in the Philippines, but in Asia as well. It was named after philanthropist Dr. Horace Brinsmade Silliman who provided the initial funding to start the school.
The cutest thing about having Claud and Clare with you is that they can find spots that would make the perfect background for pictorials. Claud is very good at taking pictures and is very creative with the angles and poses of her subject.
I like taking photos of Clare because of her curly locks (we call her Goldilocks sometimes). Did you know that she can braid her hair without any elastic and the braids do not get unraveled?
I would have loved to go inside the chapel but it was closed when we visited. We had to content ourselves with just touring the grounds and just admiring the chapel from the outside.
After our Apo Island Trip the following day, we also had the chance to eat at Lab-as Seafood Restaurant at the boulevard. I took my antihistamine before eating so I can enjoy eating without worrying about allergies (damn my allergy to seafood!) afterwards.
The food was so delicious! We ordered Dumaguete express (it’s their seafood take on the Bicol express), garlic shrimps, sizzling pork, and sinigang. I still cannot believe how food could be so cheap but super delicious in Dumaguete! How could they keep their prices so low but still earn?!
Part of me felt guilty though for eating sea food when we just swam with fishes and turtles a few hours ago. Tsk…tsk…tsk…
Towards the end of our audit, we were stressed out because we kept on losing electricity. To aid Leyte after going through a deadly earthquake on July 6, 2017, neighboring provinces shared their supply of electricity. That meant rotational brownouts not just for Dumaguete. As noble as the purpose was, when your internet connection and your staff’s laptops are electricity-dependent, work is compromised. We could not extend our stay in Dumaguete because we had a training to attend in Manila as soon as we got back.
Despite the stress brought by our work, Gabby’s Bistro‘s very cute restaurant (the one along the boulevard) managed to take some of the stress away. The place looked like it was a Barbie film setting brought to life! Take out your cameras because the entire place is Instagram-worthy!
The food they served were not bad either. I loved their calamares and mojos here. We had a great time just chatting and taking pictures of the restaurant, completely forgetting about work. Awesome people, good food and adorable surroundings make up a great evening!
If you ask me though what my favorite place we have gone to eat in was, it would definitely be Sans Rival Bistro. Not only were the food very affordable and delicious, the bistro sells the famous desserts in Dumaguete–sans rival and silvanas! We brought several boxes of them to bring home to Manila (must be placed in the freezer within 8 hours after purchase though).
Sans rival is a Filipino dessert made of layers of meringue, buttercream frosting and cashew nuts. The result is a sweet, chewy treat that truly is without rival! Its cookie version is the silvanas which come in the original and chocolate flavors. Whoever discovered these desserts, we love you guys!!!
Before flying home to Manila on our last day, we still had a few hours to visit one more site. We were able to check out Tierra Alta Residential Resort and saw the Greek-like wonder we have heard about.
Situated in Valencia, I believe it took us half an hour only to get there. Come to think of it though, it seems far already given that there’s not much heavy traffic in the area at that time. Apparently, thirty minutes of travel in Negros Oriental is equivalent to two hours of travel in Manila traffic.
There was an event to be held that night in the resort and there were ongoing preparations when we got there. We paid Php 50/pax for the sightseeing and found that the price was cheap already for the beauty it had to offer.
We first went up the lighthouse before more people arrived hoping to get a 360-degree view of the compound. As beautiful as the view was, I hated the part when we had to go down because spiral staircases make me dizzy when descending. Something about my eyeglasses that I cannot explain.
While the area available for sightseeing was not too big, there was lots of spots to take pictures of all kinds imaginable (serious, wacky, candid, jump shots, etc.). Since we could not enjoy any of their facilities having only paid for sightseeing, we just took lots and lots of pictures of the place and of ourselves.
Remember what I said about Claud being good at taking photos? She’s actually quite a dedicated photographer (we call her services CPD Photography). Look how she does it:
If Claud likes taking the pictures, Joan loves posing for them. I was making silly faces while Joan’s “photo shoot” was on-going.
Claud is very good at taking pictures of people while posing. I have to admit I suck in that area. I think I am better at snapping candid shots.
For some reason, Claud’s candid shots always turn out the best.
Our flight was delayed for more than four hours because of weather conditions in Manila. Still, we were thankful to have returned home safely. We returned with smiles on our faces, memories (and pictures) to share with friends, pasalubong for almost everyone, and extra weight on our hips because of all the food we have been eating.
Joan and I signed up for Guava Pass a few days later in an attempt to lose all those pounds we gained. Ha-ha-ha!