Before going back to Manila, I decided to explore Dumaguete city by foot. I had myself dropped off at the boulevard, and looked for lunch. The last time I visited, I wasn't really able to digest that I was in Dumaguete, so it was just like any quaint city to me. This time however, I was pleasantly surprised to see how it reminds me of a laid back Southeast Asian coastal town.
Since Dumaguete is the home of Visayas' prestigious Siliman University, the city has a young vibe. The surroundings were clean and organized. I was walking with my backpack, and I felt I blended right in. I was surprised to see a lot of restaurants and other retail establishments lining up the streets.
I was still looking for an interesting place to eat in, when I stumbled upon a sign that says Cafe Antonio. I was intrigued by the old building facade, so I went in. Again, I was surprised to see this:
It was an ancestral home, empty, so I wondered if the restaurant was open. I moved up the stairs, and even wondered where the restaurant was. There was a door that led to a function room. I felt like I was in Intramuros. I moved further into a hallway and discovered an open space.
I finally found Cafe Antonio, and I was ecstatic. The place definitely was old Filipino, but it had a modern feel. I quickly remembered the cafes in Ho Chi Minh.
The place was packed so I opted to stay in outdoors. It was quite breezy and sunny so staying outside was perfect. I ordered their popular ribs. The meat was tender and the sauce was thick and rich in flavor. I was satisfied with my lunch, and wanted to stay longer, but I was to leave for Manila in an hour.
But before heading off to the airport, I decided to make a quick stop for dessert. So while I walked briskly to Siliman University, where I saw Poppy Coffee & Cupcakes.
The cupcakes were displayed in such a way that you just want to try everything. I also ordered iced latte to go with my white chocolate cupcake. Well, I ate it on my way to the airport in a tricycle, and I was quite disappointed with the cake. It was dry and lackluster in flavor.
I arrived in the airport after 15 minutes, and checked in smoothly. My trip to Dumaguete and Antulang were both a whirlwind, but it made me want to go back soon. I discovered how much Dumaguete can be the backpack center of the Visayas islands. With a laid back island vibe, Dumaguete City can reinvent itself as such and win more tourists. I hear that a lot of foreigners own the resorts and restaurants here, to the point that they seem to run the city already. I do hope Filipinos learn from these foreigner entrepreneurs so that they themselves can set up their businesses on their own.
With that, I leave you with a shot of a hotel and restaurant complex I passed by on my way to the boulevard. We dropped off some other guests in Antulang in this place. I forgot the name of this complex, but it had an interesting diner and a hotel that looked promising.
If you know this place, please leave me a message. I would definitely stay in this place when I go back to Dumaguete.