Du­maguete, fi­nally

Sun.Star Davao - - FRONT PAGE - For more pho­tos of this fea­ture, visit www.jeep­neyjing­goy.com. For life­style sto­ries visit www.ofap­ple­san­dle­mons.com Email me at jing­goysal­vador@ya­hoo.com

HOW long has Du­maguete been in my bucket list? Quite a while I guess, but like they say, good things come to those who wait.

It took a while since an air­line of­fered a di­rect flight from Durian City to the City of Gen­tle Peo­ple. So when Cebu Pa­cific opened the route, I im­me­di­ately booked a flight and crossed my fin­gers that noth­ing comes up that may can­cel the trip.

Long be­fore the de­par­ture date, I asked around what to ex­pect of the place and what to do for four days and four nights. The place is small there­fore tour­ing the sites can be done in a cou­ple of hours, go on a week­end, check out this place, eat at these din­ers, try these spe­cial­ties, walk the boule­vard, spend a night at this beach, go div­ing, trekking, etc., came the com­ments and sug­ges­tions.

Ap­par­ently, trav­el­ers make Du­maguete as base or a tran­sit stop to get to other des­ti­na­tions in its vicin­ity. With its easy to reach shore­lines, caves, wa­ter­falls, and nearby is­lands, “Du­maguete is all about na­ture trip­ping and ex­plor­ing,” said a friend.

Most of­ten, I travel solo to a new des­ti­na­tion, but when a cou­ple of Du­maguete-cu­rios good friends de­cided to join me on the trip, I said, why not? It’s good to share the ex­cite­ment (and the ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion cost ?) in ex­plor­ing the place.

Fi­nally, three friends made it to the Ne­gros Ori­en­tal city for the first time, and quite con­ve­niently at that. Mi­nus the has­sle of con­nect­ing flights that can eat up a day off travel plans, we ar­rived in Du­maguete at mid­day with less than an hour plane ride from home­town Davao.

The ride from Sibu­lan Air­port to the ho­tel along Rizal Boule­vard took a few min­utes. We dropped our bags and started our ex­plo­ration.

Rizal Boule­vard was shorter than I ex­pected, but it’s one of the busiest in the city. From the break of day to the late in the night, it’s a choice spot for the health con­scious, lo­cals who want to chill at day’s end and tourists who wants to catch the sun ris­ing Pro­vin­cial Capi­tol of Ne­gros Ori­en­tal across the Philip­pine Sea. Beck­on­ing across the break­wa­ter and calm wa­ters was the is­land of Siqui­jor.

Next to Res­i­den­cia Al Mar, the first ho­tel we stayed in, was the Sil­i­man Uni­ver­sity, the first Amer­i­can Uni­ver­sity in Asia. Stu­dent vol­un­teers will take you to a walk­ing tour around the cam­pus, show the points of in­ter­ests, share the his­tory and if you like, the ghost sto­ries as well.

We moved to Bethel Guest House the next day. The top floor room pro­vided a panoramic view of the boule­vard and the sea from a higher point of view.

A block away is the Que­zon Park and right across it are the Du­maguete Cathe­dral, aka the St. Cather­ine of Alexan­dria Church, the old­est stone Church in

Ne­gros; and the Cama­pario de Du­maguete, the old­est bel­fry in Visayas.

On the next street is the pub­lic mar­ket where we had the fa­mous Tan­jay budud with sik­wate for break­fast, and across the bridge is the Chi­nese Bell Church.

It’s true what they say about Du­maguete, the peo­ple are in­deed warm and gen­tle, vis­i­tors can tour the city cen­ter in a day, and th rest of the sites are short drives away.

We, how­ever, stayed within the bound­aries of the city (ex­cept when we went to Ba­cong Church which was a 10-minute tri­cy­cle ride away) and took our sweet time in vis­it­ing the city sites in be­tween meals for four days. Af­ter all we were in Du­maguete for a sin­gle pur­pose—to eat. I’ m shar­ing the food jour­ney in the next sto­ries.

Cebu Pa­cific flies di­rect from Davao to Duma guete three times a week (Mon­day, Wed­nes­day & Fri­day).

The SIl­i­man Hall at night. The build­ing was erected in 1903, two years af­ter the uni­ver­sity was founded.

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