We should have checked out the date of our travel to coincide it with the gig of Wolfgang. But gig or no gig, I got five reasons to visit the City of Gentle People.
The city is a university town. Think Los Banos in Laguna. Or some uni in a faraway European country. Economy is driven bystudents and teachers and everyone feels a bit academic and youthful. Everything screams students: from fashion to food.
During our you-can-go-anywhere time, we visited the Silliman grounds. I’ve been there years before with high school classmates and all I can remember was a football field with college students all over the place. This time around, the university was quiet because it was on a Sunday when we visited the place. Silliman is really an old old school [older than UP] with buildings reminiscent of Educ/Benitez Hall lining up the main avenue. A field lies at the center with benches all over for those “tambay” moments. The buildings actually remind one of ghost stories which happened to be true based on May’s experience.
Since it was a special week, the grounds were decked with streamers and what have yous. We walked along the tree-lined streets and it was kinda eerie because of the stillness of the surroundings. Kind scary in a good of way.
Forget fast food chains while one is there. Savor the delectable food Dumaguete has to offer to satiate everyone’s taste. But…for the sweet tooth in me – there is no better sweet heaven than Sans Rival (SR) and Gabby’s Bistro.
No rival for SR’s Sans Rival
SR is obviously famous for its melt-in-your-mouth buttery Sans Rival. An order is a loaf size for 300ish. Smaller version is in the form of silvanas at 10 bucks a piece. During our trip to Forest Camp, I got an inkling I devoured 1/8 of the loaf for dessert…and to think I am a dark chocolate person!
Talking about chocolates, we had a night cap at Gabby’s Bistro. A young chef making a name for himself with his Asian-American fusion cuisine. Of course, we didn’t had dinner there. It would be an overkill if we have dinner and dessert at the same place. And so we had coffee, crepes and cheesecake.The coffee was good and desserts were delectable…the place is decked with 50s memorabilia and one of the waiters (or probably chef himself) is really not badlooking… Also a.k.a as major cutie that we actually ignored a Kapamilya singer who was also dining there that time. I think that no one ignores a cute guy that can whip up sinful desserts.
The reason why I always wanted to go Dumaguete is this out of the way resort. I just wanted to be in an infinity pool. Yet, I never imagined I could get that and more.
Upon entering the tall gate of the resort, you feel that you were transported somewhere else. Tell me, who offers a horse ride in the beach? White Castle, anyone? Canadian pinewood-lined casitas, rock formations, long and winding stairs to the beach and the Infinity Pool! Too bad, the pool was limited to house-in guests.
Food might take a little long to serve but this is the place I first tasted a flavored beer. Think San Mig Light + strawberry (or watermelon) flavored juice (?).
After some dip in the secluded pebbled beach, sun worshipping and the mandatory photo-ops, I can say Antulang is cool to the eyes and a breath of fresh air when you think of a resort.
A Taste of Nature and Old Charm
Dumaguete is figuratively an arm away from the land of azucareras and nature park. We had a short roadtrip to the other parts of Negros Oriental to marvel at the neighboring cities and towns like Tanjay, Valencia and Bais. Tanjay and Bais were so quiet that at 6 PM onwards, the streets were deserted and everyone seemed to sleep early. It didn’t stop us, though, to slow down when we passed by a former sugarcane compound. It could have been great except we felt so spooky with the old houses and large trees. Who knows someone donning a top hat and full old world regalia might hitch a ride with us.
Valencia, on the other hand, is where Forest Camp is located. After a dip in seawater in Antulang, it was time to savor freshwater bathing! As the name implies, it is a forest turned camping ground. Our first dip was a makeshift pool that composed of arranged large rocks. It was slippery and cold but still, one has to experience wading in the river.
There are around 5 “natural pools” in the area for the enjoyment of everyone : the rocky pool, kid’s area, deep end (where you can practice your threading skills) and 2 jacuzzi types (without the warm water!). Since the place was set-up like a camping ground – there are wooden bridges, trees and tree houses and carabao grass-planted grounds for those running and goofing around with kids like Anna and Ayi.
There was never a dull moment in Dumaguete. I felt there was so much more to see but due to limited time, a trip back is the next move.
A heartfelt thanks to May and her family for being the most gracious host. When I think of the place, I will forever equate it to her and her hospitality.