Good Food Trip explores Dumaguete (a food trip diary)
For the longest time, I’ve wanted to write about my travels on this blog; hence the name trip. But with so many different travel blogs out there, I didn’t want to join in on the bandwagon. I kept searching for something different yet still intact with my Good Food Trip adventure. After years of trying to determine what that is, it finally dawned on me while my husband and I were making our way to the City of Gentle People. My edge was this: a Good Food Trip in another place. Allow me to explain.
I noticed that whenever we travel, we don’t usually end up visiting tourist destinations. Instead, we end up going on a trip and exploring different restaurants. While many travel bloggers choose to hike mountains and visit beaches, we choose to hike (yes) to a nearby restaurant. Our trips are consistently filled with itineraries full of names of establishments we consider a must to visit, instead of yet another tourist landmark. Trips like these are so common, that we often realize we spent an entire day doing nothing but eat.
Growing up in Negros Occidental, I always considered our neighboring region to be a sleepy and boring town. My last visit to Dumaguete was back in 2013, when I wanted to take an overnight trip as a way of relieving stress from work. Ever since I met my husband, I always talked to him about Dumaguete and how everything was walkable and affordable. But ever since Sans Rival opened in Robinsons Galleria Cebu, I never had a reason to go back; until a few weeks ago, when we learned our workplace was opening a branch in Dumaguete. So on our next long weekend, we decided to finally visit the sleepy city only to end up spending our short vacation eating.
Here are the restaurants we indulged in during our Dumaguete adventure:
Breakfast: Corned Beef and Spam
Our first stop for the day was Florentina Homes. Ever since I first saw photos of the hotel in 2015, I always knew I wanted to stay there someday. My husband and I actually wanted to stay there on our honeymoon but since we decided to go to Iloilo after our wedding, this plan never materialized. Since we were already staying in a different hotel (plus budget constraints), we decided to visit the picturesque hotel and have our breakfast there.
I thought that Gabby’s Bed & Breakfast was in the same location as Florentina Homes. But when we got to the restaurant, we discovered that we had gotten confused with the information online. I originally wanted to go to Gabby’s after seeing a friend’s photo there. But since we were already at Florentina Homes, we decided to just stay there and visit Gabby’s on another occasion.
Lunch: Sizzling Bulalo
For lunch, we met up with an old friend of mine who was now living in Dumaguete with her husband and son. They suggested we eat at Dumaguete Royal Suite Inn because of their popular sizzling bulalo. The hotel was actually being renovated so we had walk up to the third floor of the hotel instead of eat at the ground floor restaurant. When we got there, Riza advised us not to order anything else since the bulalo was huge. And boy oh boy, was she right! The sizzling bulalo could serve up to 7 or 8 people and cost less than P600.
Dessert: Estrella’s Fresh Fruits Halo-Halo
Riza and her husband offered to bring us up to Valencia, a neighboring municipality just a few minutes away from the city itself. Prior to our visit, Riza found a post online of a carinderia that served halo-halo with fresh fruits instead of the usual canned items. After a few turns, we found Estrella’s; an open-air carinderia that served plenty of other dishes.
The halo-halo came as a surprise as it was a big serving that only cost P65. Underneath all the ice, you’d find fresh fruits such as watermelon, pineapple, banana, and mango. It was also topped with fresh milk, nata de coco, and ube ice cream. Because they used fresh fruits, we didn’t see the need to add sugar in our bowl.
Merienda: Tempura & Squid Balls
After our leisurely lunch and dessert, our host drove us back to our hotel so we could rest. We decided to hurry to Rizal Boulevard so we could catch the sunset– but it turns out sunrise was the best time to go. We also found our new office there with a scenic view right across the bay. A few steps later and we found a crowd of people seated beside several tempura vendors. Of course, we had to join in on the experience!
The scene reminds me of Cebu’s Larsian.
When it was time for dinner, we followed the advice of our friends. But unfortunately, the restaurants they recommended were either closed (because it was a Sunday) and permanently gone. Along the way, I spotted a garage called Ate Josie Grill House that served barbecue to diners. We decided to try it out.
At first, I was very disappointed because the slices of the pork BBQ was very small. But the taste did not disappoint me. Not only that, our total bill was only P175; which already included 5 pork BBQ sticks, 1 Pecho, 1 Chicken Wings stick, 2 cups of rice, mineral water, and Coke in can. Also, they used native chicken instead of commercial dressed chicken.
Funny story, the garage was full of large aquariums with different types of fish swimming in it. While waiting for our food, a fish jumped out of the water and I yelped at the guy preparing our rice. Thankfully, he was able to return the fish right away.
Lunch (Day 2): Carinderia-style Beef Steak
Since our hotel came with free breakfast, we decided to try another restaurant before heading back to Cebu. Since everything was closed at 10:30 am, I decided to bring my husband to good old Scooby’s. I told him that it was comparable with Cebu’s Orange Brutus in the sense that it was a college student’s favorite restaurant. I chose the branch beside Silliman University.
When we entered, I was surprised that it had turned into an upscale cafe. I confirmed this with the waitress inside and she confirmed that they had partnered with The Bean Connection Cafe. I decided to eat the beef steak they served, a dish you’d typically find in carinderias in Cebu, Bacolod, and Dumaguete. I love this dish but can’t seem to find a recipe for it unfortunately.
The End of Our Good Food Trip in Dumaguete
So yes, it’s another journey where we felt refreshed. With our hearts and stomachs full, we bid Dumaguete adieu; ready to take on another few months of busy work.
I’ll be sharing more posts on our Dumaguete adventure and where we stayed during our trip, so watch out for them.