Food is plentiful and cheap in Dumaguete. I cannot believe the number of local restaurants dominating the city proper. And with the market of hungry university students looking for a great fill on a student budget, Dumaguete’s homegrown restos face stiff competition. We dined at Kawaway’s, a native restaurant serving mostly grilled fish and meat and filling stews, and the bill was just around 600pesos. Note that we had 4 viands, 4 cups of rice, plus drinks. For breakfast, we grab coffee at Mcdonald’s, just 2 blocks from our accommodation. Refills are free until 10:30am – a fact that I was unaware of till my last breakfast in Dumaguete where I didn’t even avail of the free refill as we were pressed for time. Or haven’t I had enough Mcdo pancakes and sausages in Metro Manila to know that this is indeed the case with all Mcdo braches?
The night is alive with bars and grill restaurants providing local entertainment to enhance the gastronomic experience. Hayahay, for example, conveniently located along Rizal Boulevard was staging an acoustic one-man show when we stopped by to grab some drinks during our first night in Negros Oriental. We squeezed in some shuteye at our humble room in OK Pension House where the rates are perfect for the budget traveler who’d rather spend the money on his daytime adventures. An airconditioned room with a queen-sized bed costs just 440pesos a night. We were lucky enough to get soap and towels with that rockbottom of a price. Cheapskates as we were, we didn’t even buy toiletries from the nearby grocer. My 3 shampoo sachets and 1 toothpaste twin sachet (emphasis on the twin!) proved sufficient for our hygiene needs. (I sense that sneer of disgust in you, reader!ha!) Don’t worry; I brought a deo all along. (Now a sigh of relief I hear!)
The second night’s socials was much affordable with 4 500-mL beers for just 168pesos at Garahe, a raw and rustic no-nonsense drinking arena which reminds me of Papus near ADMU and brings to mind another bar bearing same name in UP Diliman (yes bandang amorsolo. haha). We decided not to wait for the band playing as they were busy watching ‘Naked and Funny’ non-verbal comedic gags on the bar’s mounted TV screen. We then hopped to a bar our tricycle driver recommended where the showband’s female lead was earning raving reviews and howls of approvals from the old men in the front row of tables. Right there and then I knew why our driver liked this place. haha
When in the province, I cannot miss watching a movie on the big screen. Movie tickets are cheaper in the provinces compared to their Metro Manila counterparts. And as Green Lantern was right on schedule, we scored seats for just 110pesos each at Robinson’s Dumaguete on our second night. Back in my hometown, I watched Thor for a measly 60bucks. Now that’s cheap! You wouldn’t kick yourself and feel bad for falling asleep halfway through the film because it cost you just half of what you pay for that tall cafe mocha.
Going home late after the cinema’s last full show (which is not that late in Dumaguete, actually) is never a problem as tricycles are easily accessible for just 8pesos per ride (minimum). I was sorry and embarrassed to have haggled for my tricycle fare to the airport during my last day, only to settle at a higher price in the end. The Sibulan Airport was already too far from the city center, I have come to know. In this Negros Oriental trip, I have realized that not only do I have a tendency to become disoriented every 30 minutes; I also lack spatial relation and distance approximation skills. I’m a complete geographic idiot.