The Heart-Capturing City of Dumaguete, Philippines

 

34680_1573417175816_810368_nEach city has its own story. Each has its own rich history. But not all of them have very interesting ones. Dumaguete is one of the very few cities with interesting stories behind them. Why? That is because it involves pirates, beautiful ladies, and even a living statue. The key words that gave birth to the name Dumaguete are “domo”, which means women, and “daguit”, which means “to hold captive”.

Back then, before Dumaguete got its name, it used to be a simple yet elegant island with a white sand beach, a lot of coconut trees, and a sparkling vast ocean of blue surrounding it. Though it was simple, it was also very popular; because it was packed full of beautiful women [even now]. It also got the attention of many neighboring islands. That is why they would send moros (pirates) to Dumaguete to capture these well-known beautiful women and make them their wives. That is where the words domo and daguit came from; pirates would want to ‘capture’ the ‘women’ of the island which is now called Dumaguete.

After being constantly visited by moros, natives decided to ring the bell tower every time they came so that the beautiful women and the women who think they are beautiful can hide in their houses or under the bell tower. This is the reason why Dumaguete has towns named “Bantayan”, which means “to guard”, and “Tinaguan”, which means “hidden”.

Like most olden time stories, Dumaguete also has its share of the paranormal. Legend has it that when the moros came to try and kidnap the beautiful women in Dumaguete, St. Catalina (a statue) would come to life to protect its people. Their reason for believing in such thought is that after the moros leave the island, the people would find Amorsiko seeds on the skirt of the statue. And since it’s impossible for Amorsiko seeds to get caught on the skirt without the statue walking through the plant itself, the villagers were completely convinced that it did come to life.

Years later, Dumaguete became the city that ‘captures’ the hearts of everybody who comes to visit. It is otherwise known as The City of Gentle People. This delightful title was given to Dumaguete by the national hero of the Philippines himself – Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Before he was executed in Dapitan (where you can find Rizal Shrine), he was sent to Dumaguete. So, even when he was down and hopeless, the people around him were still very kind and hospitable that Rizal figured, “there ARE still kind and gentle people in this world”; thus conferring Dumaguete its rightful title.

Dumaguete City is also a University town because it encompasses four major universities: Silliman University – the first and oldest American Institute in Asia; Negros Oriental State University (NORSU) – the first State University in the Philippines; Foundation University – otherwise known as the University of Mac because it has a relationship with the Mac company; and St. Paul University – the first St. Paul University in the Philippines.

Along with all these, Dumaguete is also known as the “Motorcycle Capital of the Philippines” according to a National Survey. This is because we are believed to have the most number of motorcycles and the best motorcycle drivers in the country. Getting places is never a problem in Dumaguete because of the many motorcabs (works like a taxi) around the city.

If you come to visit, you’re going to want to go on a food trip. Dumaguete is famous for three major delicacies: Budbod and Tsokolate, Hot Piaya, and Silvannas. Budbod and tsokolate (sticky rice with liquefied chocolate) is the city’s welcoming food. Every time visitors come here, they are offered budbod and tsokolate with sliced mangoes on the side by the hosts. Hot piaya is Dumaguete’s most famous pasalubong (gift for family at home). It’s sweet, gooey in the inside, crunchy on the outside, and has two flavors: plain and ube. Silvannas is a famous sweet treat from Sans Rival. It’s like a bite of pure happiness.

Dumaguete City also has two parks: Quezon Park and Freedom Park. Freedom Park is a favorite for many dogs and dog owners. It’s not shocking to see many dogs of different breeds in this park early in the morning or late in the afternoon. But both parks are favorite hangout places for students and lovers all over the city. And if that’s not enough for you; this city also has a clean and big boulevard, more than four malls, a whole lot of restaurants, pools and beaches, tons of coffee shops, and so much more. Plus, it’s a very serene and peaceful city with many kind people. So what are you waiting for? Visit Dumaguete today, and have a fun yet peaceful time!

About the Author: Gerr Marie R. Ladera is an English Creative Writing Major in Silliman Uniersity and is also an essay and short story writer (Beginner Level)

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