Quick Bites in Dumaguete (Plus Siquijor- Dumaguete Expenses)

Dates of travel: June 15-17, 2013

You gotta love trip stopovers. They’re an excuse not to deliberately sightsee. To kick back. To take your time. 
That’s what Dumaguete was to us – a stopover, albeit a very long one. The city has the airport closest to Siquijor, our destination, so we flew into, and flew out from, Dumaguete. It didn’t matter that the amount of time we spent in Siquijor was about the same as the amount of time we spent in Dumaguete. We were convinced we would do nothing in Dumaguete – never mind that the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao and the Casaroro Falls were nearby, or that we could have at least explored Silliman University. Nope. None of that.
This belfry tower is an iconic landmark in Dumaguete.
These chili peppers are NOT iconic to Dumaguete, but ‘t was the first time I saw chili peppers set on the street to dry under the sun.  

Bikes are everywhere in Dumaguete. They seem to be one of the primary modes of transportation in the city, next only to skateboards 😉 .   
Downtown Dumaguete at about 6:15, maybe 6:16 a.m. That’s Hotel Nicanor on the right, our home for a day and a night. We were  very happy with our hotel room which for only P2200.00 for a night was spacious enough for four people and had a bathtub, yo!
What we ended up doing was eat. A lot. We grabbed some grub whenever we could. ‘Grabbed some sans rival and silvanas at Sans Rival upon arriving from Siquijor. ‘Had more cakes at Sans Rival Bistro shortly after. ‘Coffee at Bo’s right after that. Then, capped the night off with food and drinks at Hayahay (it’s a word in the Visayan languages which roughly translates to “perfect time to get wasted.” The Visayan languages are very specific like that.)  Restaurant. 
All of that happened in the span of about eight hours. 

Sans Rival Bistro

Dumaguete is best known for being the origin of the best sans rival and silvanas in the country. That said, a trip to Dumaguete will not be complete without dropping by one of the Sans Rival branches. Their original branch has a casual atmosphere about it and is where people mainly go to buy pastries in boxes to bring home as pasalubong. A few meters away, facing the iconic Rizal Boulevard, is Sans Rival Bistro, which seems more appropriate for conversations. It’s  not as busy, and its decor gives it a fine dining vibe. I reckon they serve meals too, aside from the cakes.  

Salted Caramel Cheesecake, and Date and Walnut Dacquoise Mousse (I think ).
Sans Rival. 
Very early the next day, I wanted something quintessentially Dumagueteño for my headache courtesy of the drinks the night before. I considered Jollibee, Chowking, McDonald’s, and that other McDonald’s. 😉 ‘T was a  tough decision, but I went with Chowking since they have noodles, soup, and stuff supposedly good for when you’re nursing a hangover (read: It was the first food place I saw after stepping out of the hotel). 
For lunch, we went to Cafe Antonio to try the baby back ribs tourists rave about. Unfortunately, they were out of baby back ribs, so they offered us some other type ribs instead. We agreed. After all, as Shakespeare said, ribs by any other name would taste as good (I edited this liberally. What he really said was “a rose by any other name blah blah blah blah.”)
I fell in love with Café Antonio not necessarily because of the food, but because of its interiors. The resto is housed in a colonial, well, house, and has a retro thing going on – complete with vinyl records hanging from the ceiling; and guitars, framed posters, and a host of other artwork on the wall. In short, the place is eye candy. Their food and service, however, don’t seem as sweet based on reviews online.

Cafe Antonio


Swing seats on Cafe Antonio’s patio.
Cafe Antonio’s decor is a hodgepodge of stuff. It’s a hodgepodge that works, though.

Our last chow stop was Café Mamia. Their blueberry cheesecake is quite famous. I wanted to see if something would finally outdo Chocolate Kiss’s blueberry cheesecake as the best in my book. Well, Café Mamia’s cheesecake was fine but still did not come close to my favorite.

Cafe Mamia

Clockwise: Classic blueberry cheesecake (P125.00) and regular iced tea (P30.00), caramelized onion (P85.00), and cream puff (P25.00)

Dumaguete turned out to be a much-needed break before flying out because of the traffic situation we’d get into upon arriving in Manila. Apparently, it had been raining hard all day in the city, and EDSA naturally was clogged with cars. That was by far the most horrible trip home from the airport- a trip which usually only takes about an hour, took five. That’s a very long time considering we took the train at one point.

Oddly, despite all the eating we did in Dumaguete, we did not get to try budbud kabog – a local delicacy. A friend, who’s a Dumaguete local,  said he thought we wouldn’t be interested in rice-based food because we’re “from Manila.” (Don’t ask me what that means.)

Travel Expenses

Here’s how much the Siqujor trip and all that bingeing in Dumaguete cost me:

Siquijor and Dumaguete 2013
Cost for 4 people
Cost per person
Pre-departure
MRT ride (Quezon Ave to Magallanes Station)
15
Cab fare shared with Lois (Magallanes to NAIA Terminal 3)
50
Airfare Manila-Dumaguete-Manila
4549.92
1137.48
15-kilo baggage allowance
300
75
Total
1277.48
Siquijor June 15-16
Breakfast in Dumaguete (Coney’s- longganisa tapa meal with coffee)
70
Delta fastcraft fare with P15.00 terminal fee (1 hour and 15 minutes to Siquijor)
175
Overnight stay at Coco Grove (with breakfast for 4)
4600
1150
Bread from Park N Go
20
Salagdoong Beach Resort entrance fee
15
Dinner at JJ’s Café
1160
290
Tour guide and tricycle driver fee (Kuya Joam)
1000
250
Bottled water (from a store in front of Coco Grove)
20
Bottle of San Miguel Light from Coco Grove room mini-bar
50
 Chef’s Pizza at Coco Grove Salamandas Restaurant (P430.00 split three ways)
143.33
Coke Zero at Salamandas Restaurant
50
Fastcraft fare Siqujor to Dumaguete
220
Drop off Siquijor Port from Coco Grove
25
Total
2478.33
Dumaguete June 16-17
1 night stay Hotel Nicanor executive deluxe room
2200
550
Hot Caffe Mocha Grande at Bo’s Coffee Shop
125
Hayahay Restaurant dinner and drinks
480
Tall brewed coffee at Bo’s Coffee Shop
80
Café Antonio (Ribs with rice)
144
 Café Mamia Classic blueberry cheesecake with regular iced tea
155
Dumaguete airport terminal fee
30
Total
1564
Total Expenses
5319.81

Notes:
  1. I did not include pasalubong and tip expenses in the total. To give you an idea, a box of  butter Silvanas costs P125, a box chocolate Silvanas is P180, and a box of  butter sans rival is P310.00.
  2. My Dumaguete-local friend kindly picked us up from and brought us to the airport, so we saved on transportation costs. According to him (although I wouldn’t take his word for it since he’s unskilled in the field of public transportation because “he has his own ride”), a tricycle ride from the airport to downtown Dumaguete, and vice-versa, would typically  set you back by P100.00; P50.00 if you get a tricycle outside the airport area. Still according to this non-commuter friend, a tricycle ride within Dumaguete City costs P10.00/ person.
  3. The Chowking breakfast meal is not factored in the total. The brain is just not capable of taking down notes when you wake up quite early after turning in late, a little intoxicated, the night before. 
  4. Apparently, the brain is also not capable of remembering how much was spent on fare when the trip home from the airport takes five hours and includes standing on a crowded train with a heavy bag on your back while the people in front of you are seated comfortably, Instagram-ming photos of the traffic situation, wondering what filter and hashtags to use. 

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