DUMAGUETE landmark on Rizal Boulevard.
Dumaguete, the provincial capital of Negros Oriental, is known as “The City of Gentle People” due to its kind-hearted citizens, as well as its genteel way of life which endears it to many travelers.
It is also a university town whose most prominent learning institute is Silliman University, with its scenic view of the bay, lush greeneries and laid-back ambiance.
For professionals seeking a less harried pace of life after decades of working, Dumaguete is a preferred retirement place due to its countryside lifestyle with the comforts of urban amenities.
A few years back, it was awarded by the Philippine Retirement Authority as the top Retirement Area Deemed as Retiree-Friendly (RADAR), the standards of the United Nations and the World Health Organization for international living.
For all its rustic aura, Dumaguete has lured organizers to make it a venue for regional, national and Southeast Asian events before the pandemic.
Its sports program hasn’t gone unnoticed as the city has been named Organizer of the Year (Government) and a Sports Destination of the Year runner-up at the Philippine Sports Tourism Awards in recent years. Its mayor, Felipe Antonio Remollo, was hailed in 2020 as the top government sports tourism personality by the same group.
On the cultural front, the local government has taken a lead role in preserving its heritage structures to retain its Old World charm. Its city hall, built in 1937 by architect Juan Arellano, was recently restored and is now a branch of The National Museum.
A new historic spot is the bayside Panilongon marker, unveiled early this year to mark the Magellan-Elcano expedition quincentennial, which passed by the area in 1521.
But just like other urban settlements, Dumaguete is marching into the future and embracing the winds of change.
According to Mayor Remollo, while the city is among the smallest in the country, it plans to take a great leap forward by building a global township as a legacy for the next generations. To be built under a public-private partnership at no cost to the government, the planned 174-hectare development will commence with a wave protection system and wastewater treatment plant to improve the bay’s water quality which revealed high levels of pollution.
Its proponent builder, EM Cuerpo Inc., will use earth-friendly building systems, modern information technologies, renewable energy sources and electric-powered vehicles suited for master-planned communities.
The integrated community will house a mixed-use business park, recreational centers such as a marina and esplanade, fish ports, as well as public facilities for health, housing, education, sports and transportation. And just like the city’s retirement village positioning, it will have mid-rise residential condominiums, medical and wellness tourism establishments, lifestyle and retail shops, green parks and landscaped open spaces.
The National Museum in Dumaguete City.
The proposed development will not obstruct the panoramic bayview of Rizal Boulevard, the show window of the city and hub of public recreation.
Envisioned as a P23-billion economic zone, Remollo said that the proposed development will initially employ some 12,000 people in the city, and neighboring towns of Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Cebu and northern Mindanao. The mayor said that once fully developed, the township will catapult Dumaguete into a new economic center in the Visayas.
Remollo said the bold and exciting proposition is also a balancing act which entails mitigating the impact on marine resources, preserving its eclectic allure, satisfying stringent government environmental regulations and harnessing the community fiber that binds the city’s gentle people.
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