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Dumaguete Vs. Puerto Princesa? The "Top Spot" Battle.

Discussion in 'Dumaguete City' started by Wildlands1, May 3, 2016.

  1. Wildlands1

    Wildlands1 DI Member Restricted Account Showcase Reviewer

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    OK. So I've now been riding my motorbike over 12 months / 20,000+km here searching for "The Top Spot" to retire in. All over all the major and medium islands. Even 3 months around magnificent Mindanao. I had thought I'd found it in Dgt/Valencia until the Iloilo ferry docked in Palawan. (Do NOT take that ferry! Trust me.)
    Back in the states during two years of online research, I always knew Dgt would be the place I'd end my ride and hang my hat. PPC "Puerto" seemed too much like Alaska to be considered. Remote, isolated, impractical. But after over two weeks exploring the island and city I must say I'm pleasantly surprised and might reconsider my top pick. The entire island is awesome and since its the least densly populated province in the Philippines its easy to get away from the crowds. I had no idea it was such an international tourist destination, a boom unleashed the last few years by travel rags such as CNN traveler, Conde Nast, etc.. Heres some comparisons in no particular order;
    Both DGT & PPC are provincial capitals. Similar size 150-250k people. Both have huge mountains just behind them with cool little motorbike/bicycle roads. Ppc's roads are far less crowded out of town. Both a 1+- hour flite from Manila. PPC = tagalog, DGT = Visayan. DGT 7 colleges, PPC 2?. DGT a small mall with another coming. PPC a larger Robinsons with a big SM coming. Dgt has better food choices. Ppc has an international airport thats being enlarged, with direct flites to Korea, Japan, Taiwan, I hear. Ppc has way more hotels and way more euro-hippy tourists. Dgt has closer proximity to Cebu. Dgt has coolerish lovely Valencia, Ppc has nothing comparable up high. Both are equally close to scarey terrorist kidnappers from the south. Dgt probably has better health care. Dgt has 5000+- expats, Ppc has about 1000 or less. The expats in Ppc seem more friendly and approachable, and the girls are by far easier to meet it seems. Dgt is oversaturated with us. Ppc has so many backpacker tourists they're seldom overly chummy. Both seem to have similar living costs. Both have a looming water crisis unfolding. Province girls come to both capitals for work, as their first step into big city life. Both have equally cute baywalks along the seawall. Palawan is not volcanic so less earthquake danger. I hear its also off the typhoon belt. Palawan obviously beats all challengers for beaches and cool islands. Both have excellent diving sites relatively near.
    In Puerto the gov tolerates the "business" of girlie bars/KTV/hookers much more than in Dgt. A good thing or a bad thing is up to debate, but I hate a gov telling me I cant go share a brew with the "musical assistants" (GRO's) as they're called here. There are quite a few clubs here ranging from top talent/fancy down to local dives. Dgt has the Why Not, Ppc has the Tiki. Ppc has 1 mcDo, 3 Joli's, a shakeys and others. Dgt has more and also favs such as the True Love, Tommys Tacos, Taco past Robinsons, the Pasta King, and more. Both have an immigration office. Ppc has timed street lites that usually work and that everyone usually obeys. Both are clogged with tricycles.
    So, before you all beat me up, I think its a tie. I'll try Dgt/Val soon, then maybe move out here awhile later.My other top choices for livable cities here are; Malabalay Bukidnon (small but friendly and cool climate), Mati Davao del Sur (really pretty area but zero foreigner infrastructure yet) and Dapitan/Dipolog just across the big river there. My favorite small livable islands are; Biliran (go there, see it), Camiquin, Marinduque, and of course Siquijoir, tho I doubt I'd actually live on any of them. What say yee, O bretheren?
     

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  2. wireframe74

    wireframe74 DI Junior Member

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    PPC sounds great. What about internet speed there? Have also heard brownouts are more frequent in PPC.
     
  3. Rye83

    Rye83 with pastrami Admin Secured Account Highly Rated Poster SC Connoisseur Veteran Army

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    That two sound very comparable. I have never been to Puerto Princesa but I always suspected the two cities would be very similar. One thing about Dumaguete I like is that you can get to some other large cities within a half days drive (Bacolod, Iloilo, Cebu). How does Puerto Princesa compare in this regard? How long of a ferry ride would it be to Batangas (or any other larger city)?
     
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  4. Jim Franklin

    Jim Franklin DI Junior Member

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    I found Dumaguete 5 years ago after exploring many different areas in the Philippines including Palawan. Although Palawan is beautiful and diver friendly, I found Dumaguete to be easy access, friendly, low cost of living, plenty of restaurants, one decent shopping mall, 5 star resorts, a bus ride to Cebu, lots of expats, decent schools, etc...Palawan is much to remote for my tastes.
    Forbes magazine also discovered Dumaguete and listed it # 4 best place to retire...I'm just glad I got a 5 year jump on them!
     
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  5. robert k

    robert k DI Forum Patron Highly Rated Poster Veteran Army

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    I liked Duma better 3 years ago. I'd have probably been thrilled with it 5 years ago. I think when Forbes or the WSJ call out a place as great for retirement, it's not a good thing and possibly the beginning of the end. I think many places in Thailand lasted longer before people got fed up and started an exodus is because they had good reliable internet, better healthcare and some say better food. Visa runs in Thailand may be annoying but just about anything bureaucratic in the Philippines is. I still think the Philippines is great and wherever I decide to stay, I hope Forbes and the WSJ don't catch on.
     
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  6. davewe

    davewe DI Junior Member

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    It happens that we were in Puerto Pricesa and Palawan in general a few weeks ago, after a week in Dumaguete. I agree that Palawan is an incredibly beautiful island. Our few days in PP were fine but it was when we got out of the city that I was happiest.

    It's apples and oranges I suppose. For us the Dumaguete area is going to be it. But we certainly want to visit Palawan again!
     
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  7. TheDude

    TheDude DI Forum Patron Highly Rated Poster

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    Are you guys trying to screw over Puerto Princesa? Retirees in the best place to retire telling people it's better to retire Puerto Princesa? Its a brilliant strategy, crafty old bastards.
     
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  8. Wimbledon

    Wimbledon DI New Member

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    Great article ! Super imformative and quite an excellent perusal after such a lengthy trip ! Thanks for Sharing and providing this knowledge as i could not find any info similar to this for over a year , just locol stuff ... thank you again brave Traveller
     
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  9. robert k

    robert k DI Forum Patron Highly Rated Poster Veteran Army

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    I have actually heard of foreigners living in Puerto Princessa of their own accord. Maybe they are just unaware of the glory which is Dumaguete?:biggrin:
     
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