Where to Stay and Eat in Dumaguete City

In 2012--our first visit to Dumaguete City--my husband, Akisha, and I had stayed at Hotel Nicanor, a boutique hotel near the old Sanzrival cafe. We were so happy with the interiors of the hotel as it was relatively new at that time, albeit service was a bit slow (read full review here). This year, I returned to this city with my travel buddies to visit the famous Apo Island and the underrated Dauin Marine Sanctuary, and since it was a tipid trip, we stayed at Harold's Mansion, a pension house that is famous for divers and backpackers alike.

Location:
Harold's Mansion sits on Hibbard Avenue, walking distance from Siliman University, the port to Siquijor, and the tempurahan at the boulevard. Though there are eateries and bars nearby, fast food chains and other famous restaurants like Sanzrival Bistro and Bethel's Cafe Filomena are a bit far from here. If you intend to walk, its about 10-15 minutes away. There are tricycles that can bring you there at Php 9 per person. If touring the historic sites of the city like the old church and belfry is your goal, you might find the location a bit off, as these are about five minutes away by tricycle, too, but, if you plan to board the earliest ferry to Siquijor, which is usually scheduled to leave the port at around 5:00 am, then Harold's Mansion's location is a good choice.

Rooms and Rates:
Our group got a suite good for four pax, which is priced at Php 1,300 plus Php 175 extra person charge since we were five. They also have dormitory rooms at dirt cheap Php 250 per pax per night.

The suite where we stayed was clean and furnished with the basics like cable TV, aircon, neat beddings, and a ceiling fan. Aircon seems not enough to cool the entire room especially in the mid-afternoon when the heat of the sun is at its peak.

The suite
The bathroom is clean, too, though we find it a bit cramped. Hot shower was seriously HOT, so take a bath with caution. Water pressure can be weak especially at peak hours. I remember washing my hair on the faucet instead because there's too little water coming out of the shower. Bring your own toiletries.

The bathroom

Breakfast and Perks:
The rate of the suite already comes with free breakfast that includes a buffet of sticky rice with local chocolate syrup, pan de sal and butter. Unlimited coffee and tea are available for guests all day long.

If you wish to have a heavier breakfast, meal sets are available at Php 100 and up per order.

Sticky rice
Pinoy breakfast (corned beef, eggs, and rice)
Dumaguete is also known as a foodie haven as the city is dotted with restaurants that range from the more upscale down to the quaint hole-in-the-wall ones. It is home to the famous Sanzrival Bistro, Panda fried ice cream, Cafe Filomena (famous for its halo-halo), and a lot more. Out of these dining options, Sanzrival remains to be my favorite.

Sanzrival Bistro
Back in 2012, Sanzrival Bistro used to be a small but often full cafe. We were surprised when we learned that it has built a new bistro-style nook on Rizal Avenue, just beside it's old cafe site. It's bigger and more stylish, yet it still serves some of the old-time favorites.

The menu items increased to include some tapas and bistro favorites, so we were so excited to try them out.

Here's a glimpse of what we had ordered:

Spaghetti Vongole
Gladys and I originally ordered grilled spare ribs with barbecue sauce but  it was not available so we settled for spaghetti vongole which was a bit bland and watery at first and turned out salty in the end. Needs improvement.

Spanish Fritatta
Irog tried the Spanish fritatta, an omelette loaded with chorizo, caramelised onions, and cheese, served with French bread. I got a spoonful from his plate and it was good! Rich and buttery.

Chicken Cacciatore
Roast Pork with Gravy
Ayi and Jen ordered my favorite lasagna (this was my favorite back when it was still a cafe) but I wasn't able to take a photo.

Bethel Guesthouse's Cafe Filomena
On our last night, we were craving for halo-halo and so we decided to have dinner at the famous Christian-run Bethel's Guesthouse where they say the best halo-halo in the city can be found.

Jen and I shared a serving of lechon paksiw with rice, and halo-halo for dessert. Our bill was Php 140, so each one of us paid only Php 70 for a hearty meal with a dessert of what was supposed to be the best halo-halo in town!

Lechon Paksiw

The famous Cafe Filomena's Halo-Halo
After dinner, we walked down the boulevard and as if lighting our paths, we saw the moon peeking at one of the old trees on the sidewalk. It was as if it's bidding us goodbye.

Full Moon in Dumaguete

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