Saturday, January 31, 2009

Discovering Dumaguete 3

As I mentioned in the end of my last post, the Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete is "Expat Central" in the region. All tourists gravitate there for the obvious reasons of ambiance, restaurants, dive shops, banks, and cafes. By day the boulevard is a busy and attractive street lined with Coco palms giant Acacia trees.

From Rizal Boulevard
The boulevard is a haven for walkers and tourists who want to enjoy the street side park and walking path running the length of the downtown segment of the avenue.

From Rizal Boulevard

Dumaguete is Home to the Why Not Disco, restaurant, and delicatessen. This business is famous throughout the Philippines I have come to find out. Everyone who has been to Dumaguete knows the Why Not. The restaurant has outdoor and indoor seating and affords the guests a front row seat to the busy street scene unfolding in front of them.

Mamias, an upscale restaurant, sits adjacent to the Why Not. This establishment is owned and operated by Mayor Perdices son. Coco Amigos a Mexican motif restaurant is the Expat anchor at the other end of the Boulevard. Between these two places you will find a variety of shops and cafes, including Mike's Dive shop, Happy Fred's Bar, and other local establishments. All cater to the tourist and affluent local crowd.

By night the atmosphere changes somewhat. Prostitution is quite apparent and the girls and gay pimps roam freely and unhindered around the expat hangouts. The seedy but unavoidable side of life in the Philippines. The girls and ladyboys (gays) range in age from 15 -30. Sadly there is much mesoginistic behaivior going on due to the influx of European single men coming to Dumaguete to scuba dive, as well as older men comming to the Philippines as sex tourists.

I don't like to talk about the negative side of life, but this is something that eventually caused me to retreat from hanging out on the boulevard and move to the countryside and get a chance to meet the good people of Dumaguete. These being the families and native residents who enjoy a normal life style, raising children, going to school, and working. I was going to stay for a while it seemed.

I first moved to a run down resort in Sibulan named Babayan. Actually a clean quiet place with a swimming pool. It has since been bought and has undergone extensive improvement. At the time in 2006, I was happy to be away from living on the boulevard, with the noise of the Why Not pounding through the walls of my room at the Honeycomb Pension. I stayed for a ten day stretch. Somewhere along the way I meet a girl and decided I would look for a house to rent in the area. I bought a motorbike, and began my search for a suitable place to live. I was putting down roots in Dumaguete, and quite without making a concious descision to do so, I was attracted to Negros Oriental because of it's natural beauty, and I had begun to make friends.

By night

1 comment:

Ems said...

I'm visiting Dumaguete next week for a sort of personal retreat. Over the course of my researching, I came across your blog. I didn't realize that I was reading entry after entry after entry. I fell in love with Dumaguete too when I went there for a 3-day work trip in January. Lo and behold, two months later, I found an excuse to book a ticket and go back! Its quite hard not to fall in love with the little town.

Your blog has been very helpful and I appreciate that you talk about the ups and the downs of the city. It's helped frame a more balanced picture in my head.