Road trip to another part of the Philippines with plans to do absolutely nothing but eat and relax? Yes, please!
On November 16, my friends and I began our drive to Visayas from Davao, Mindanao. Our first stop was Cagayan de Oro, City of Golden Friendship. We had lunch at Circa 1850 (3 1/2 Stars out of 5) and a quick dessert at Honey Moo inside SM CDO Premier. The trip’s barely begun and we were pigging out already! This little pit stop caused us to be stuck in traffic in CDO and Iligan, though, and my meal probably raised my blood pressure significantly high because I started getting a concentrated pounding in the back of my head afterwards (which turned me into a zombie for a day and a half). That part of the trip was NOT fun.
A stopover at Ozamis for a night and two barge rides later, and we were in Dumaguete, City of Gentle People, checking-in to Sea Dream. I was blown away by the place. Simple, beautiful, and a hundred percent relaxing, Sea Dream was just that, a dream come true!
Pros: Clean, beautiful space. Rooms are, well, roomy. They’re fairly spacious. Specially the family room my friends and I rented out. (One king sized and one queen sized bed in a VERY spacious room.) The place is well-maintained. The staff are friendly and accommodating. Wi-Fi is available and reaches most parts of the resort. (I got connection even when I was already by the sea!) The resort also rents out motorcycles and scooters. Most everyone rides one in Dumaguete, which makes it easy to go around the city. Food at the restaurant is also good. I’d skip breakfast if I were you because there’s nothing special about their breakfast food (aside from it being good for picture taking).
Cons: It’s located in Dauin, which is a few minutes away from downtown Dumaguete. My friends and I, since we drove a car to Dumaguete, it was an okay choice. We could drive in and out whenever we wanted to. It still took a while via car, so if you’re going to commute to and from downtown Dumaguete, it might be a hassle. You can also rent a motorcycle/scooter for your own convenience. The resort rents them at a higher price compared to rentals downtown, but the ease of not having to return it downtown once you’re done using it is a plus.
If you’re looking for a place to totally relax in. Sea Dream is your choice. You won’t regret it!
As I mentioned, all we did in Dumaguete was eat, eat, and eat. Here’s a list of places we ate at and my corresponding rating for each (based on taste, interiors, staff, etc).
Mainly because the staff was flustered most of the time. They were friendly, but it wasn’t a good service experience all in all. Food was okay. I had a salmon dish (because I was afraid of getting high blood pressure again) and it was okay. Nothing to write home about. The place is spacious and is probably good for get-togethers.
Pasta King ⭐⭐⭐⭐
If you’re ever craving pizza and pasta while in Dumaguete, I highly recommend this place. They serve great food, they have a cozy, family-friendly space, and the staff was friendly and professional. Ciao Bella!
Café Racer ⭐⭐⭐
Beautiful atmosphere. We chose a table in the open-air area of the restaurant and it felt like I was sitting in a biker-themed restaurant somewhere in the US. We ordered drinks and some snacks. Perfect place to hangout with friends, specially if it’s not sunny out.
Señor Juan ⭐⭐⭐
Premium Spanish Chorizo. Señor Juan is a cozy little bar and bistro that serves Spanish food in downtown Dumaguete. We ordered quite a lot of food but they were either hit or miss. The octopus was a miss, while the shrimp was a hit! I do remember that I loved their brass/copper, earth-themed tableware!
Casa Blanca ⭐⭐⭐
Tried this place out one night. As far as I know, they have a culinary school and some of their students cook and serve in the restaurant. The place is full of movie posters from the Casa Blanca movie. The servers are very friendly and professional and always speak to you in English. They have big servings, and the food was okay for me.
Boulevard Food Fair ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rizal Boulevard is one of Dumaguete’s busiest streets, lined with various restaurants, bars, and cafés, this strip is always full of people. We were in luck because, aside from the usual array of food establishments, there was a food fair happening where we could buy some food from. Unfortunately I was very full when we decided to eat there, so all I had was dessert. But the experience of sitting down underneath the canopy of branches from large trees, hearing the ocean waves lapping nearby, serenaded by a local performer, and eating with friends was the best. You definitely have to take a night stroll here when you visit.
Who would miss this when visiting Dumaguete? No one! (Except maybe those who lack a sweet tooth or have diabetes.) Went here three nights during our whole trip and I’ve got two words for you if you ever go visit. FROZEN. BRAZO. It’s the most perfect dessert served in a little ramekin. I wanted to take some home but since we were driving, it was a no-go. No photos, sadly, because every time we visited I’m already tired as hell. All I wanted was to sink my spoon into that dessert and feed my sweet-loving self some frozen brazo de mercedes!
Are you a breakfast person? If yes, then GET TO GABBY’S RIGHT AWAY! Ah, I still dream of the food I ate during that one glorious morning. Order everything you want to order. You won’t regret it! TIP: You can order extra servings of viands like tocino, tapa, etc.
We didn’t get to see the rooms of the B&B but if you want to be closer downtown and have awesome breakfast food every morning? I would suggest Gabby’s!
Aside from stuffing our faces every other hour, we went to visit Siliman University, one of the Philippines’ famous and highly respected educational institutions. We took a leisurely stroll around the campus and I asked my friends to take photos of me.
If you do plan to visit the university, try and schedule a campus tour with them. They let you ride this cool Siliman Cruiser and take you around. We didn’t get to go on the tour. We’re just posers in this photo.
I think I would have liked studying here. In my next life, maybe.
One of the plans during the trip was to do a day tour in Siquijor. Despite its infamy for being ‘scary’, ‘spooky’, and ‘filled with mankukulams‘, I actually enjoyed our stay! Plus, I learned how to ride a scooter here!
Our itinerary : Breakfast – Century Old Balete Tree – Cambugahay Falls – Lunch – Paliton Beach – Back to Dumaguete
Breakfast at The Baha B’ar was magical. The place looked like it was situated in the middle of a jungle (but was really just beside the main road). I fell in love with the place and the food. You have to visit when you’re in Siquijor!
And check out these awesome seating spaces in the dining area! Also, no shoes or slippers allowed inside! It all felt so natural! It was the perfect place to read~
Breakfast was good. We ordered the usual. Chorizo, corned beef, paired with fresh juices.
This pumped us up for the next legs of our trip:
Century Old Balete Tree
This 400-year-old Balete Tree is an iconic tourist spot in Siquijor. The locals say it is enchanted up to this day.
This particular balete tree is curious because a spring originates from its base and this flows straight into the man-made pool that locals and tourists can get Feet Fish Cleaning (or what I like to call, Feetish Cleaning).
I am deathly afraid of the small fish that swim up to your feet and eat your dead skin. So I was a mess when I tried dipping my feet into the pool and I saw that they didn’t only have small fish, they had big ones.
Let’s just say my feet didn’t get cleaned thoroughly… and my seatmates may have gotten wet from all my flailing.
Another must-visit spot in Siquijor. Cambugahay Falls offers crystal clear waters for leisure swimming, Tarzan ropes for those who want some action, and bamboo rafts for those who want to stay underneath the waterfalls (cash required). You can rent life vests in the area if you’re not comfortable swimming in deep waters.
We spent quite some time here, jumping off from and swimming underneath the waterfalls. Make sure to go early or on a weekday to avoid the tourist rush. We went on a Monday so there wasn’t that many people.
After a bit of lazing around in the waters, we decided to get a move on because we were on a schedule. Next stop was lunch, and then Paliton Beach. We had lunch at Coco Grove Resort’s Sunset Restaurant. Food was okay but the place was beautiful! Paliton Beach wasn’t special. It was literally a strip of beach. There were fishing boats docked by the shore. We made the most of it by taking photos before we ended our Siquijor Day Trip.
But we got a surprise when we reached the docks. The coast guard wasn’t allowing any boats to travel because of a Storm Signal. We were stranded in Siquijor with no clothes, some money, and no hotel. Without the power to go back to Dumaguete, we checked in to a nearby resort and made the best of the situation. We relaxed the hell out of our 2 days of being stranded in Siquijor.
The resort we checked-in to had a billiard table so we played a LOT of billiards. We played Ultimate Frisbee in the pool at night. We went back to Baha B’ar for lunch on one of our stranded days. We rented two extra scooters when we found out we were gonna be stranded, so it was pretty cool driving around the island on a scooter.
We didn’t let our situation bring us down (even though I did not have any extra underwear) and we actually had tons of fun being stranded. Siquijor will always be special to me because of this.
Once the boats and barges were allowed to travel again, we left the island and headed to Dumaguete. One of us left with a heavier heart more than the others. He fell in love with the island.
The rest of our trip was driving back to Davao, with pitstops at Dahilayan for a night, and a snack break at Manna x Quail in Valencia the next day. I highly recommend visiting MxQ if you ever find yourself in the area! They serve some pretty delicious snacks, plus the place looks fantastic!
So, that’s my recent trip! Most of the restaurants and the resort names on this blog are clickable so you can go to their respective facebook pages or sites, so you can research about them more! Thanks for reading!
P.S. If you’re ever in Siquijor and on tour, there’s a way for you to be able to ride a flying broomstick! Magic word is ‘Hapitanan’. *wink*