Back in 2010, Ms. Carmen Del Prado made a short documentary film about “Dumaguete: An Artist’s Haven” that focuses on the artists and their work revolving around the city of Dumaguete. But the question is why? Why do artists think about Dumaguete as their haven? Of all the cities that are also rich in arts and culture, why do most of them pick Dumaguete?

Photo from Allison Irv Miller

The “City of Gentle People” is what they portray Dumaguete. They also say that it is the best place to retire because of its natural attractions, historical arts and museum, and a very laid-back culture plus the cheap cost of living. The locals are very friendly and approachable, especially to the tourist. Maybe, these are one of the reasons artists prefer to travel or stay here and be inspired by their environment. 

Photo from Allison Irv Miller

It has a long history of artists being nurtured here as the two of our national artists were born and raised in this city. Edith Tiempo for literature and Eddie Romero for the film. They were an alumnus of Silliman University – one of the top private universities and one of the best locales for arts courses in Negros Oriental. They offer a lot of courses but for the arts, they have the College of Performing and Visual Arts where you can study Fine Arts, Music, Theater Arts, and Speech. Located on a hillside overlooking the bay, Silliman plays host to some phenomenal art fairs and galleries, offers art classes all year round, and preserves its heritage through art exhibits, murals, and creative museums.

Photo from Allison Irv Miller
Photo from Silliman Anthropology Museum

Anthropology Museum is located inside the University. With an entrance fee of only 100 pesos for general admission and 40 pesos for the students, you can enjoy and learn about the archeological artifacts and ethnological items preserved inside the Museum. They are open Monday to Friday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 2:00-4:30 p.m. However, Visits require prior arrangements, especially on holidays and weekends. You can contact the following for the arrangements:

  • Information Booth 422-6002 local 414
  • SOAD Office 09065277323422-6002 local 335
  • Christine S. Batiles 0906527511; 422-6002 local 207, 368
  • Connie P. Cadeliña 09166805714; 422-6002 local 207; 422-4170

You can also check out Gonzales Museum of Natural History located on the first floor of the Science Complex which showcases preserved animals and different fishes, and the Marine Mammal Museum on the first floor of Roman Yap Hall which contains a collection of sharks and whale bones. They are for educational and research purposes.

Ariniego Art Gallery | Photo from Ang Sandigan Zamboanga Del Norte

If you want to see more, Ariniego Art Gallery is only 6 minutes walking distance from the University. They feature paintings, artwork, and drawings. Open for the public free of charge. It opens Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. You can contact them at (063) 422 6002 for any inquiries.

Photo from MUGNA Gallery Facebook Page
Photo from MUGNA Gallery Facebook Page

If you are into exhibits you can check the Mugna Art Gallery. They showcase local cultures, undiscovered artists, sculptors, painters, poets, filmmakers, and other creative individuals. They are located at Unit 1 Uypitching Building, Bong-ao, Valencia. Just 13 minutes away drive from Arniego Art Gallery. However, the exhibits are only for scheduled events and usually last for a month but you can check out their page at https://mugnagallery.com/ for any updates about their upcoming exhibits.

These are just a few of the many art galleries and museums Dumaguete has.  But let us move to music where you can visit Rizal Boulevard at night where you can hear and enjoy live music at several locations. It is amazing how the culture in Dumaguete is still very lively. A big warm of applause to the locals that really preserve and take care of their cultures.

From the vibrant art fairs, galleries, and various cultural sites to the preserved heritage and their awe-inspiring sunsets – no wonder Dumaguete is really every artist’s haven!


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