15 Best things to do in Dumaguete (Philippines)

Dumaguete is the capital city of the Negros Orientale, nicknamed “The City of Gentleness”. Dumaguete is a well-educated city with 4 universities and a handful of colleges and a population of about 30,000 students out of a total population of 113,000. What does this tell you about Dumaguete? The city is safe, has many learning opportunities, and has a lot of entertainment and food to please a diverse group of people from all over the country and region to study here.

In addition to state-of-the-art infrastructure, Dumaguete is home to a beautiful coastline, active volcanoes, tranquil waterfalls, fascinating wildlife, and abundant hiking trails. Your visit here can be quite lively as Dumaguete’s natural lighthouse guides you out to play!

You will find the locals very friendly, helpful and polite. The city welcomes foreigners from all over the world to discover all that Dumaguete has to offer.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Dumaguete:

1. Tarabang Mangrove Park and Bird Sanctuary

Tarabang Mangrove Park

This 400-hectare area protected by DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) is an interesting day trip from Dumaguete.

A nature lover’s dream, look forward to an expansive natural area where you can walk around with your binoculars, do some fantastic bird watching, spot different species of mangroves and be in the echoes of the wildlife around you Calm down.

The highlight of this sanctuary is the mangroves! A place where the locals dive and fish in clothes for dinner and you can dip your toes in the water and watch the fish swim by. When you’re done, take a walk on a long pier that jets into the water and makes you feel like you’re floating in the middle of the ocean.

2. Canlaon Hill

kanlaong mt.

Have you ever seen an active volcano before? Now is your chance! The core of the Kanlaon Mountain Natural Park is 2,430 meters high and is not to be missed. Climbers flock to Mount Kanraon for a 3-day trek filled with wildlife, beauty and hot springs.

Mount Kanlaon, which belongs to the Pacific Ring of Fire, has erupted 9 times since 2001, for a total of 28 eruptions, the most recent eruption was in 2016. Most of these eruptions involved steam jets and earthquakes, but some were more severe.

If you’re an adventurous demon, this might be the perfect mountain for you to climb. Go to the DENR office in Bacolod to apply for a hiking permit in advance.

3. Mount Talinis


Mount Talinis is known as “Cuernos de Negros” or “Cape of Negros”. At 1,903 meters, Mount Talinis is the second highest mountain in the region, after Mount Kanraon. Mount Talinis is just a “potentially” active volcano, not as active as its neighbors, but it does have a lot of hikers.

Mount Talinis is a natural beauty with many volcanic lakes that add to an already incredibly scenic hike. Visit the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park, where you will find three lakes: Kabalin-an Lake and the twin lakes Balinsasayao and Danao. Or hike through some easy nature trails suitable for any hiking ability.

4. Paranan Lake

Paranan Lake Dumaguete

This freshwater lake deep in the forest, surrounded by lush jungle and rolling hilltops, is a must-see in Dumaguete. This is a natural lake formed by a tectonic earthquake in 1925. 3 nearby creeks and rivers gave way during the earthquake and are now the source of the pristine body of water.

It’s very convenient if you want to explore Lake Paranan. There is a long concrete road where the moss starts to grow profusely and the concrete looks like part of the environment. The trail will take you to the river bank with a pier and cottages. Give yourself a few hours to swim, rest and enjoy the view. Oh, and bring a picnic.

5. Dolphin watching in Tanon Strait

dolphin watching

Dolphins are most active in the morning, and it takes about an hour from Dumaguete to reach them. So, if you want to see them in action, you have to be willing to get up at dawn and head to Tanon Strait.

You’ll be on a catamaran with other tourists, eager to see amazing creatures swimming, splashing, and jumping out of the water. As you know, dolphins hunt fish in packs. They are very resourceful and strategic in their tireless fight for a meal. It’s unbelievable.

6. Plumbaato Falls

Plumbato Falls

The rusted red rock walls and the rusted red waterfall basin formed by the sulphur make Plumbato Falls so unique.

The falls are also heavier than others you will encounter in the Philippines. There’s nothing subtle about Plumbaato Falls, as it tumbles angrily and makes an almost deafening roar as it descends from the rapids visible above. Then, like nothing happened, the waterfall basin gradually softened, creating a calm pool in which to swim. Rest on the rocky riverbed, but not too long or you might walk away with a rusty red stain as a souvenir.

7. Japanese Shrines

Japanese shrine

Most hikes take you on a scenic journey without thinking about the real destination. However, as you hike the 2½-hour mountain through footbridges, villages, and a few boulders, you can work your way up to the Japanese shrine until you reach 2,175 feet above sea level.

Deep in the woods, this shrine teaches you a little about the history of Dumaguete. The shrine was built to commemorate the Japanese surrender on September 22, 1945, marking the end of heavy fighting and massive invasion.

8. Malata Pay

Malata payment

Open 7 days a week, Malatapay is an amazing outdoor market selling food, drink, handicrafts, furniture, hats, machetes and more. It’s a very local market and not just here for western tourists – which in turn is very interesting for western tourists!

Wednesday is the biggest day of the week at Malatapay Market, where you can enjoy whole grilled lechon and some Filipino delights for the intrepid eaters. There are also live animal auctions selling pigs, chickens and cattle to local farmers and butchers.

9. Rizal Avenue

Dumaguete Rizal Avenue

Take a seaside walk along Rizal Avenue. The ocean is on one side and the tree-lined hills, park benches, trinket vendors and intermittent food stalls on the other.

At night, the boulevard is illuminated by bright lampposts, creating an atmosphere that is both safe and romantic. Take a stroll or sit and watch the waters of passing ships and boats. As night falls, more and more food stalls appear, including the popular tempura stall. There are even plastic chairs and tables for you to sit and enjoy.

10. Aquino Liberty Park

Aquino Liberty Park

Aquino Liberty Park is a lovely little patch of land where you can sit on the grass, relax on park benches and watch frogs swim around in the pond – but the park’s surroundings offer so much more.

The bustling streets are lined with permanent Filipino food stalls, each named after its owner. Order some Adobo chicken, tapa corned beef, longganisa Filipino sausage, or the holy grail of Filipino cuisine: Lumpia, or deep-fried Filipino spring rolls.

Aquino Liberty Park is one of the best places to get authentic Filipino food at a cheap price.

11. Clock Tower

Bell Tower, Dumaguete

Learning about the history of Dumaguete and its people is best done at the Clock Tower. This ancient watchtower played a huge role in protecting the city and protecting it from pirates, who used to raid the port to steal agricultural products, material wealth, and even humans for use as slaves. Once it was built in the 1800s, the watchtower began as a Dumaguete fortification.

You can visit this magnificent brick tower and imagine what it will look like in operation. Climb the weathered stairs to say hello to the modern statue of the Virgin Mary, or wait for sunset, when the tower lights come on, creating a cozy atmosphere at night.

12. Center for Tropical Research (CENTROP)

Center for Tropical Studies, Dumaguete

CENTROP’s Zoological Garden is a natural habitat for flowers, plants and lovely animals. Created and maintained by Sillman University’s CENTROP Center for Tropical Studies, this is a place for field professionals and the public to learn about Philippine wildlife.

During your visit, you will be paired with a caretaker who will guide you through the gardens and introduce you to the breeding and research centre for endangered animals, where warthogs, bats and sika deer thrive. You will be surrounded by towering trees and singing birds that will make you never want to leave.

13. Three-Hole Bourwan Tour

    Three Hole Bourwan Tour

Put on your cute little green helmet and a sweater, and head underground to explore Panligawan Cave, Pandalihan Cave and Crystal Cave.

The caves are varied, including dark underground tunnels, spaceship-sized open caves that let in shining beams of light, and icicle structures that cover the ceiling.

The three caves are relatively close to each other, so they are the perfect day trip. You need to wear sneakers because there are steps to climb and rocks to wade through.

14. Macawelli Ridge

Macawelli Ridge

Also known as ‘the saddle in the sky’, Makawiwili Ridge is a hiker’s dream destination with stunning misty peaks and surrounding green rolling hills. Located between Mt. Kanlaon and Silay at Mt. Mandalagan, expect a challenging hike that’s sure to get your heart pumping.

Hikers are welcome to camp once they reach the Macawelli Ridge, where they can sleep under the stars with zero light pollution and wake up to a stunning sunrise view. It is recommended to sign up for an organized hike with a guide who can get you there safely.

15. Casaroro Falls

Casaroro Falls

“Picturesque” is the word that best describes Casaroro Falls and the journey to reach it. You’ll climb a rocky hill, cross a stunning suspension bridge, descend 355 stairs, meander along a rocky riverbed, and finally reach the bottom of a waterfall, where a cold pool awaits!

The expedition was a bit of a challenge, but the rewards were rich. The waterfall itself is a pristine stream of water from 100 feet high, surrounded by lush green jungle foliage and nothing else.

You can hire a private driver to pick you up or ask your hotel to arrange it for you.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Dumaguete, Philippines
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