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An occasionally belligerent mother of four and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dateline : Dumaguete 2011

history, charmingly repeating itself
Reminiscing a trip he had with his father as a kid, the memory of clear waters meeting the shore and beautiful natural resources were the things Phil remembered about Dumaguete. 

Just as his father did when he was young, we planned to bring MAX along to this sentimental journey. A peek at the Go Dumaguete Website helped us decide to add this city and it's surrounding areas sealed the deal for us, prompting us to add Dumaguete our "must see" list.

behind the windshield of what I felt was an overpriced cab ride
Nicknamed "Home of the Gentle People" Dumaguete City, the Capital of Negros Oriental may be found in the Visayas region of the Philippines. Like Baguio City, it is a University Town, as it boasts of four universities and several colleges, including the first American University in Asia, Siliman University. Being a city, ATMs, shopping complexes and other places that one might need to go to (albeit early closing times) are available.
We're here! :)
Getting there: 
Near almost everywhere worth going to in the Visayas area (Cebu, Negros Occidental, Siquijor, Bacolod, etc.), we opted to fly to Dumaguete from Metro Manila. The flights are daily, ranging between 3-5 times a day, 7 days a week and are serviced by two airline companies, Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific.
the Ipad is mommy's new bff  in travelling with a  toddler
Getting there by plane takes a little over an hour and the airport facilities at the Sibulan Airport are basic and  quite adequate.
Sibulan Domestic Airport

Getting Around:
Multicabs, tricycles, jeeps, buses and non-metered taxis abound in Dumaguete. Be ready to haggle though when it comes to rates. The standard rate for a cab ride from the airport is 300 php (even if your destination is only 10 minutes away). If you travel light, you're better off riding a multicab/tricycle as it would only set you back by 60-70 php (given your resort is 10 minutes away, like ours was :-p). You could also check  with your resort for reliable drivers and car rental services.

a sculpture in front of the Sidlakang Negros Village
What We Did In Dumaguete:
The Mediocre Wanderer headed out to Dumaguete in the hopes of seeing the wild dolphins of Bais. We were not disappointed (see blog about this adventure here).
Sunrise over high tide as ween from our room's balcony
Dumaguete's got a lot of natural wonders to visit. The marine sanctuary that is Apo Island, various lakes and waterfalls, the volcano Mt. Kanlaon, hot springs, beaches and other extreme activities like spelunking or hanging out with slithery reptiles in a cave.
Hornbill at Sea Forest Resort
Being the mediocre wanderers that we are, we opted to just do the Dolphin and Sandbar adventure and just went around to look at the city from a casual traveler's point of view. It didn't help that I had eaten something that didn't agree with me, and was sick from Day 1.
one of the many birds (I shall be posting more) one might see at Sea Forest
FYI: establishments such as stores and drugstores open AFTER 8 am. With malls opening at 9. Should you need any medication , go to the nearest hospital. There are drugstores opened 24 hours near them. However, should you find yourself short on cash and have a spare camera or cellphone lying around, we happened to notice a  Cebuana Lhuillier Pawnshop opened at 6:30 in the morning. (a bit odd don't you think? :-p )
magnificent isn't he?
We didn't feel bad about missing out on things simply because we plan to come back (hopefully next year) and visit all the sights that we missed (including an overnight stay in nearby Siquijor).
Our home for 4 days
Luckily, we got to stay at a fabulous, family-friendly beach resort / mini water theme park / aviary / restaurant: Sea Forest Resort.
low tide at the resort's beach front. expect fishermen to catch all sorts of sea delicacies in the shallow waters :)
That's also Cebu in the background
Yep, the place had everything we could've wanted in a resort. A decent beachfront, the view of nearby Cebu, a clean & comfortable room, various swimming pools, lots of shade from the Junglebook-esque theme (with cottages and tree houses in most of the giant trees surrounding the water park area) to the educational side of it, the aviary that was filled with exotic birds like the horn bill, osprey, cockatoos and so much more).
one of the many tree houses one may rent at Sea Forest 

main pool with water slide
It's also not far from the airport/ town and has free wi-fi. The rates (see website link above) were quite decent too. Staff was very helpful, courteous, anxious to please and quick on their feet, so that was a big plus as well.
one of the kiddie pools at the resort
here's another one...
The resort's restaurant serves regular Filipino fare with burgers and sandwiches for the less adventurous. Taste was decent and the prices won't break the bank. Try the local ice cream brand  Panda (available at the resort) and be surprised  at how this was so much better than the big commercial brands we have in the Philippines.
souvenir shop / restaurant / sari sari store 

PANDA good!

On the bathroom: they do have a bidet (Attention: Bellarocca). Their hot water showers use solar energy and the resort does provide you with basic toiletries. Taking a shower with the view of the sea and the nearby island is kinda cool too.
this picture just can't seem to show how pretty the view was in the shower :)
sunrise, sunset and the Island of Cebu's view made accessible
(perfect for dining Al fresco as well) 

On pasalubongs / souvenirs:
For those who have an early flight out, you're better off going to the Sidlakang Negros Village which is also the home of the area's tourism office. It houses a museum of sorts and retails a complete line of the various products made in the region at reasonable prices. Food, jewelry, apparel, and other curio items, this is a one stop shop for you.

If your plane, on the hand, leaves after lunch, the souvenir shop at the airport's waiting area is the place for you. It contains all the goodies that is akin to the Visayas region: dried danggit, otap, piaya, broas, butterscotch, wonderful cacao tablets and the likes may be bought at surprisingly competitive prices.
inside the souvenir shop at Sidlakang Negros Village
As with all the places we've been to, we did enjoy Dumaguete and are looking forward to exploring more of it's natural treasures and unhurried pace.

Adieu Sea Forest!
From TMW, may your wanderings be better than ours!

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