Dumanjug Daydreams

When someone says "southern Cebu adventure", the little sleepy town of Dumanjug isn't the first thing that comes to mind. It's usually Moalboal, with its teeming sea life, or Badian and its secret caverns and canyons, or Oslob's famed whale sharks.

Unfortunately, it's hardly ever Dumanjug.

I tried to recall what makes Dumanjug worth visiting as my taxi sped down Highway at around 4 in the morning. An idling van that would take me south was waiting under the great big shadow of the San Miguel factory. I still didn't know why Dumanjug was the place to be... until I went there to see it for myself.

The road to Dumanjug is a familiar one, and it's one of my favorites.

You take a scenic drive south, preferably before the crack of dawn to skip the traffic. Once you reach Carcar's rotunda, you take the road that points to Barili. You climb up hills and cliffs and of course, once in Barili proper, stop by Milk Station for a quick pee break.

Once a tiny hole-in-the-wall (or hole-by-the-side-of-the-mountain?), Milk Station has now expanded into something like a city cafe.

We had some avocado ice cream, which was too early for 6:30 in the morning. Not very impressive for its price, but the place now has a more sophisticated vibe, so you can hang out here if you want. We leave after a quick stretch and trip to the toilet because we have bigger fish to fry.

Here's what I know about Dumanjug: 

its mayor once demanded to kill the whale sharks because they were apparently eating all the fish in Tanon Strait. It's kind of funny in a stupid way because whale sharks obviously don't eat fish.

Another thing I know about Dumanjug: they have a market.

I remember this because we stopped by here on our way to Moalboal a few summers ago. I found out that said market was also great for street photos.

Finally, after several more minutes of driving, we arrive. We turn to a nondescript corner and stop in front of a nondescript rest house that looks over the sea. At first glance, it's nothing special. But when you step out into the balcony, this:

There was shade and sea breeze and an unfettered view of Negros, Tanon Strait, and everything in between.

Oh my God, I whispered under my breath, so this is why.

It turns out that Dumanjug is actually made of daydreams: clear sunny skies even in the middle of December, layers of blues of every kind and a summer breeze that makes you want to stop what you're doing and just....be. 

Here the air is fresh and people speak in gentle, lilting tones that sound like music to the ears.

I have to say, I didn't do much during the short weekend that I was there.

There weren't any whale sharks to swim with, or canyons to jump from. 

And I think that's the beauty of this place. You don't really need to do anything to enjoy it.

I spent the weekend alternating between fresh food and city-bought pastries. Lounged around wooden chairs and nodded to sleep during the breezy afternoons. Explored the beach and its rocky shorelines. And of course, watched the sun set and waited for the many stars to appear. 

Before morning the next day, the moon would set and the beach would be filled with tiny little lights--- flashlights used by fisherfolk who gather shellfish. I haven't seen anything quite like it, and the camera couldn't ever do it justice.

We only spent two days and a night in the rest house, but it feels so much longer. Time seems to flow slower there; and life, gentler. It was one of the best weekends I could ever remember, and one I'd love to repeat someday.

I may have visited more exciting places, jumped from cliffs or jumped into reefs. But really, if I'm being honest it's in Dumanjug that I would someday like to stay.

Oh, and here's us:

I hope you liked this little travel diary entry, guys. The rest house is private and as far as I know, don't accept guests other than close family and friends, so, unfortunately, I can't give their contact details. :)

Til the next entry,


K x

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