The City of Gentle People, Dumaguete City, had been my home for almost five long memory-filled years. And it feels so uncanny to be here again, not as a student anymore but as a visitor.
I decided to visit Dumaguete since aside from missing this little place west of Cebu Island; I also need to get my Transcript of Records from my university. So, it’s like hitting two birds with one stone.
From Cebu City, I ferried the Cebu Strait over night and when I woke up early the next day, I’m already at Dumaguete’s Pier facing my beloved school, the university by the sea, Silliman University.
Dumaguete is so small a place that you can just walk from point A to B. I wanted to walk, too, but I do have a cute pink back pack which is quite heavy so a pedicab would be the best choice for now. Pedicab is a three-wheeled motorcycle with a covered seat on the side. And you can ride this one without injuring your already-injured wallet.
Since I already gave up my apartment here two years ago, I need to find myself a place to call home for the night. And this wouldn’t be a problem here in Dumaguete since it’s packed with very affordable hotels, pension houses, inns and the like. But my ultimate choice would be, Vintage Inn. It’s not the usual posh hotel but it’s not bad either. It’s a three-story building and it has small but tidy rooms with air-conditioning units and a clean bathroom. It’s actually very affordable which will definitely help backpackers to stay within their budget. One night for a lone backpacker like me will cost you around 10-15 US dollars and that’s for a standard room already.
After I freshened up, I left my pink back pack in my room and decided to fill my now-hungry stomach. My head hurt when I tried choosing one out of the 20-or-so good restaurants in the city. But after much deliberation, I finally decided to eat at Qyosko. It’s a quaint cafe and restaurant with dim yellow lights. They serve good food for a budget-friendly price. Plus, they also have coffee and my favorite chocolate decadent cupcake; a very good way to start my day right.
After eating my heart out, I traversed the path down to my beloved school, Silliman University. She will be turning 111 years old come August. My school is the first American private school in the country, founded by Protestant missionaries and was named after a businessman philanthropist New Yorker, Dr. Horace Silliman. Our more than 60-hectare campus is dotted with big old acacia trees and is beside the Rizal Boulevard, thus the nickname, Silliman by the sea.
You can tour the whole campus for just an hour but it has too many lovely spots and history to stop inside that half a day would be too modest a time. By the time I finished getting my Transcript of Records and after being dragged by my old teachers and friends for not-so-quick chitchats, it’s already past lunch time, so my human instinct told me that it was already time for lunch.
So again, I deliberated and thankfully, God saw me troubled He gave me a friend that can clear out my boggled mind. He gave me my old college classmate for company. And she was the one who decided where we should eat. So next stop is, Hayahay Tree House. It’s a resto-bar with a second floor made out of old trees that it looked like a tree house from afar. Since the place is facing the sea, the view from there is worthwhile. The food there is very delicious yet you have to pay a not-too-expensive-but-not-too-cheap-either price, but since God doesn’t want me to be troubled with my budget, it was my friend’s treat. Lucky me.
When it was time for her class, we bid farewell and went on separate paths. I liked to try strolling now, and I stopped by to almost the same stores I usually stop by when I was still in college. When my feet started to feel pain, it was already time for a quick coffee break. And I found myself in front of my favorite café in town, Café Antonio. It’s an old Spanish-colonial house made of wood, brick, ironwork and capiz screens, which was remodeled to be a function hall, a café and a hotel. I love the place for its cozy, peaceful and laid-back atmosphere. I love their coffee and I love their old piano. I usually play there when there are few people around; it is a good way to relieve myself from school stress.
The glorious sun king is on its way to bidding farewell to the land, so it’s now a good time to stroll down the long beautiful Rizal Boulevard. Its starting point is somewhere in front of Silliman University’s old main gate. And as you traverse the 780-metere strip of beachfront promenade, you’ll see people from different walks of life. You’ll see people selling food and souvenirs, families strolling, sports aficionados jogging, lovers dating, children playing and a whole lot more. As I was about to take a round 2 on my strolling I received a message from my old friends, a key to my last stop for the day.
Last destination would be Gabby’s Bistro a dainty and quirky restaurant with a lot of old Hollywood memorabilia. This is one of my favorite places in Dumaguete and its known for its cute chef and owner, sumptuous meals and picture-worthy milieu. Perfect for a little gathering with old friends sharing good ‘ol memories.
And after having a hearty meal with a bunch of goofy friends, it was now time to have a good night’s rest. And as I sleep I’ll have a big smile plastered on my face, enough to last a long while.