This is my second visit to Dumaguete – the center of trade and the provincial capital of Negros Oriental. Dumaguete is quaint, laid-back but refreshingly vibrant and hip.  Dubbed the City of Gentle People, it has one of the lowest crime rate in the country and one of those up and coming tourist and BPO destination that’s on its way to progress and prosperity.  I can only hope that the city government manages this well and avoid the pitfalls that have ensnared other emerging cities who are so in a hurry to fast track their transition.

Nestled at the southeastern tip of Negros facing the island of Siquijor, the city is home to the tree-lined promenade along Rizal boulevard overlooking Tanon Strait.  If you are staying overnight, Bethel Guest House  would be a good place to stay.  It’s clean, cheap and gives you a commanding view of the sea.  It’s just across Rizal boulevard where you can bay-walk safely even at night while enjoying the sea breeze gushing on your face.  On a clear day, you can actually see the contours and landscape of Siquijor and the inviting white-sand beaches dotting its coast.

There are at least a dozen decent restaurants within walking distance from Bethel Guest House; most of them along Rizal boulevard and some of them owned and operated by foreigners serving European cuisine. Check out Lab-as Seafood Restaurant along Flores Avenue near the seaport terminal if you’d rather stick close to the homey and the familiar.  If you’re after the cheap kind, though, there are several barbecue stalls lined up near the seawall going to the port when dusk breaks.  They magically disappear during the day; thankfully maintaining the immaculate clean look of the city’s showcase for tourists and picky travelers looking for a photo-op.  Visit Dumaguete now while the city is still simple, relaxed and easy-going.  It won’t be like this soon.