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Dumaguete City – Are there Arts and Culture?

“You won’t see concerts, musicals, or other cultural arts programs once you move to the province!”

As soon as we told our friends that we were moving from Manila to Dumaguete, we consistently heard these words. And we believed them. It made sense that we would have to trade access to theater, concerts and galleries for a life at the beach. (Cue the song, Belle, from Beauty and the Beast: “There must be more to this provincial life”!)

Boy, were they WRONG! Dumaguete is definitely NOT a sleepy provincial town.

Here is a brief look at how busy our “arts” calendar is.

Last weekend my husband and I went to the community production of Rent.  While it did not have the Broadway stars, the actors had the same passion and energy that we saw on the “big” stage (and the cost was considerably less).

On Monday, we attended a Senior Choral recital at Silliman University and were treated to wonderful afternoon of classical music.  A few weeks before, we spent the day listening to the semester recitals for the music majors (instrumental and voice). And next week there is another senior recital for one of the piano majors.

On Thursday, We went to the Gala performance of Arias: An Evening of Operatic arias and duets, produced by the Silliman University Arts Council. Again the performers are not the professional stage names, but the talent and musicality of each of the soloists was overwhelming.

Our week of Cultural Arts wrapped up with a Song Writing Competition by Silliman Students who wrote, arranged and performed original songs. Although this concert was radically different from the operatic arias, the intensity and passion of each performer was evident as they performed their original pieces.

There are so many different genres of cultural arts performances within the City of Gentle People. Since there are 5 colleges and universities in Dumaguete city, there are many plays and concerts that are being offered to the community. National and International Artists come to perform and hold workshops at the various schools, which open their doors to the community as well. The Bell Tower Project brings together local artists and promoting their music, who can perform at local bars and coffee houses.

There are small art galleries located throughout the city, highlighting both classical artworks as well as indigenous art and student produced pieces. And if you want to learn some of the techniques, since it is a college town, you are more than welcome to enroll in a class or two.

Needless to say, our main challenge is making sure that our Cultural Arts schedule makes room for lazy days at the beach!