Why Not, Dumaguete City

Dumaguete is one of my favourite places in the Philippines. Unfortunately, I never have enough time to explore all of it. While I’m I’m the city to give a talk on horror writing in Silliman University, I’m also taking time out to explore as much of Dumaguete as I can before returning to the weekday grind. And for me, the best way to get to know an area is through its food.

Glenn, the guy from the hostel who picked me up at the airport recommended Why Not, a Swiss restaurant that also served international dishes.

Why Not is located along the scenic Rizal Boulevard, with a beautiful view of the sea. They serve breakfast from 7 to 11am. Since I wasn’t in the mood for a Swiss, German or American breakfast, I ordered tapa, a Filipino favourite, knowing full well the irony of walking into a Swiss restaurant in the middle of a Filipino city and ordering a typical Filipino breakfast. At Php265, I also felt that the meal was overpriced, since you can get tapsilog for as low as Php50, depending where you eat. When the dish came, I had to eat my words.

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The meat was more bistek than tapa, salty and savory, with an underlying sweetness. It had a flavour that was quite overwhelming on its own but paired with rice, was heavenly. Or maybe I was just hungry.

The breakfast meal came with coffee and fresh mango juice. The coffee was serviceable. The mango juice was actually a shake-thick and rich and not too sweet. Actually, I noticed that the shakes in Dumaguete tend not to be cloyingly sweet-something that most Manila fruit shakes should take a cue from.

And since it was on Rizal Boulevard, if you sat outside, you’d get this as a view:

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All in all, an excellent way to spend the morning.

When I went to meet Dumaguete writer and good friend Ian Casocot, who was horrified that I had eaten brunch right before he was supposed to take me out to lunch.

He said that Why Not was geared more towards tourists than locals, and that it had excellent steak. Well, I’m more tourist than local, and I think that I should an another trip to Dumaguete soon to try the steak.