When in Dumaguete: Speaking at a Convention + Travel

I’ve been pretty idle in the blogosphere recently. Sure, I’ve been active on my personal Facebook account, but aside from that, I’d say I’d been a terrible blogger lately. Nonetheless, February passed by in a whim and before I could even look at the calendar, the last day of the month is already drawing up! So anyway, I went to Dumaguete last February 21 to speak (I don’t know if I even call it that, haha) in a convention spearheaded by one of the organizations in Negros Oriental State University, the Hospitality Management Society. Here was how my weekend went:

The view in our hotel – so refreshing to see the strong waves against the sky’s backdrop.

Prior to getting a permission to soldier on a 5-hour trip to Negros Oriental’s Dumaguete, it was challenging for me to persuade my parents because it will be a first time for me to travel out of the city by myself. Luckily, I wasn’t really alone on the journey because I brought two of my old friends with me at my own expense (but the organizers were really generous to shoulder some of the expenses, which we didn’t have a chance to decline to). I wasn’t really ready to go on a solo travel, so I brought other first-timers just to see where we’d end at.

There is an endless array of food spots in Dumaguete

Upon arriving in our room, we spent a good couple of minutes lounging around while I finish up my talk presentation. Yep, I wasn’t able to prepare well since I’d been bombarded with lots of work weeks and days prior to the event. 🙁

Around last month, I got an invitation to become a speaker for the convention entitled “A Journey into A Gastronomic Tourism”. Apparently, they came across my blog whilst searching on the web and discovered my food photographs. Honestly, it was flattering to think that they even appreciate the photos that I post here when I could barely see the beauty of it, but they did.

We reached Dumaguete just before sundown of February 20th and met up with the organizers. As much as we’d all want take a nap and call it a day, we thought what better way for a food blogger to do in a new city other than food trips?

traveling in Dumaguete

We chanced upon a quaint and vintage food spot near Silliman Ave. that sells yummy breakfast foods!

So we hopped from one food spot to another until late in the evening. Dumaguete is still very alive and charming, even at night. The bars and restaurants are brimming with energy and good vibes, plus the sea (which happens to be our view as the boardwalk is just a few steps away from our hotel) is very calming.

Right in front of the hotel is the wonderful sea that stretches along its streets.

We were situated alongside the boulevard and the dining spots are just in close proximity to one another that we could just take a walk whenever we wanted to have a bite. You could guess that our trip mostly consisted of food, and then another and lots of round of it again.

restaurants in DumagueteDelicious breakfast treat at Scooby’s before I start prepping up for the convention!

The day of the Convention

On the day of the convention, I had a horrifying idea to back out right in the middle of the talk because I was having my stage fright attack, but later on I was able to regain my composure and face my audience.

I’m so awkward, I know. And look at those flabby legs. Props to my friend, Ry, for letting me borrow her dress!

best places to eat in Dumaguete

There were approximately 300 students who attended that day. My mind was choking.

During the Q&A portion. A lot in my audience were curious about my job as a food blogger!

Left to Right: The students’ adviser, Miss Sheena, me, my fellow speaker who is young and successful, Chef Gabby of Gabby’s Bistro, and HM Department Chair Sir Ryan.

Passing up those few moments of numbness and embarrassment was such a relief for me. After I finally warmed up, I was already good to go in talking about food blogging + photography. Good thing it was a kind circumstance that my audience understood how nervous I was that they only let the initial situation slip by.

best hotels in Dumaguete

My ever supportive old friends since elementary days, Ry and Jay! Thanks for supporting and coming with me, guys! <3

Together with Laurence and the rest of the organizers and their adviser. Thank you for giving me this opportunity! 🙂

After the convention, my friends and I had a blast talking in our hotel room about how hilarious I was onstage. We watched the Presidential Debates 2016, but figured out later on just how lousy some politicians are.

Hanging out in our room before we stroll around the city one last time.

In that moment, the sunset was magnificent in its golden glow as it sets back into the horizons of the sea. We couldn’t fathom that it was our last day in Dumaguete and we’ll be boarding a ship by midnight to take us back to Cebu.

It feels very, very surreal to have my name written on their huge tarpaulin and invitation cards as well. It makes my heart swell with humble pride.

Despite that fact, we still gave our best shot and last bit of energy to presume our food trip by dinner time in a popular bistro nearby, then went to chill at a bar restaurant near the sea. It was pure bliss.

If you’re in Dumaguete, don’t forget to check by in this place! It’s called Hayahay, and it’s located just right by the sea. There are fresh catches of seafood here + they make the best pizzas, too!

I haven’t toured much of Dumaguete, but it was enough for me to say that it has the potential to become a favorite city of mine. It’s filled with local dining spots, pubs, beachfront living with the sea nearby, and calming nights – I wouldn’t wonder ever why this city is one of the best places to retire around the world.

45 Comments
  1. Hi Mimi,

    I like this article, and I am also a great fan of Dumaguete – there are quite a few good restaurants like KRI and Lab-As Seafood, apart from Hayahay, where I really enjoy the sashimi:) Please let me know, if there are any new conventions coming up that I could also attend to learn more.

    Thx

    John

  2. Wow! Congratulations on your talk, girl! You did it. By the way, I wanted to say that I love your blog layout. Your layout is something that I would dreamt my blog to have. You present your posts effectively and people need you to hear you to be inspired. Keep it up!

  3. Congrats on this talk! And btw, I love your theme/template! It’s so simple yet sophisticated. I kinda miss going on trips for things like this. I used to tag along with my mom. I’m going to DGT for a wedding and I hope I’ll be able to enjoy the trip as well even if I’m only staying overnight. 😃

  4. Congratulations! Taking in front of a crowd is never easy. I’ve been doing teachings to kids and youth and the beginning was a challenge. I was always nervous and scared in case I say something wrong. But with time I got over it and have gone as far as speaking in front of students in schools and universities. Well done! 🙂

  5. It’s a noble thing that you use your blog to inspire and educate others. Glad you were brave enough to travel and experience speaking in front of a big audience in a far away land 🙂

  6. First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your successful talk… It must be a very rewarding experience! It’s actually one of my dreams but I don’t think I have enough courage to share my thoughts and ideas to the crowd…

  7. I’ve been a terrible blogger lately as well, haha. But if you post happy trips like this from time to time, then I guess it’s ok. Never been to Dumaguete.. In fact, I haven’t been to much of the places in PH. 😛 I’m glad you enjoyed the trip, and that your current situation provides the opportunity for your to travel as well. Good luck with your future talks!

    1. I’ve toured around for a bit, mostly just to widen up my gastronomic experience there. Such a city with big potential! 😀 I’ve walked around Rizal Boulevard and stores near Silliman. The next time I visit, I should really check out the amazing beaches! 🙂

  8. I have stage fright to the nth power that’s why I declined the speaking opportunity offered to me recently before high-profile partners of a known company. haha. Good job mimi! I wish I could have such courage as yours…

  9. Congrats on your speaking engagement! I’m sure this is one of the many events to come. I have no idea about the places to visit in Dumaguete or what the province is famous for. I hope hear more about their tourism campaigns soon.

  10. WOW its amazing how you are able to manage to stand in front of a huge crowd! Good job!
    i also wanted to go to dumaguete and check the place out (someone is just always screwing up our plans) seems like a really nice place to see.

  11. First of all congratulations on your successful talk! It must be an interesting and rewarding experience to be able to share your passion to others! If i was at your feet, i don’t think if I will have enough courage to even speak a word haha
    Anyway, your trip to Dumaguete made me more excited for Summer. I still have a month to wait before that much awaited vacation and my feet are itching already to hit the beach haha

  12. Wow!! Congratualtions to your talk. It just shows that people are noticing you and that you’re going in the right path! Yay! I hope I could do the same in the future. Haha. Great job, Mimi! The whole blogging community is proud of you! xo

  13. Stage fright IS paralyzing at its best. Haha. What flabby legs are you talking about?! Honey, they came to hear you talk, not critic your looks, and you’re pretty, so it’s not really a problem. Haha. The breakfast at Scooby’s looks delicious! Good for you for NOT backing out and regretting things later. 🙂

  14. You had a great opportunity right there. As bloggers we all want to be recognized somehow for what we do and you obviously have just been recognized by being invited to speak in that event. Congratulations!

  15. Awww lingawa nako nagbasa ani Miii!!! Congratulations to the highest level Mi!!! My gosh, mag stage fright gyud kog taman sa 300 nga audience!!! OMG! I’m sooo happy for you!!! <3

  16. Aaah your photos Mimi! <3 <3 Congrats on your talk! I'm sure you did well despite the stage-fright attack xD You've come a long way na! Look at you reaping the fruits of hard work! I'm so proud of you Mi! 🙂

  17. The last time I conducted a talk was during one of the events of Cebu Bloggers Society. If I remember correctly, it was called Pay IT Forward by Smart Communications. I talked about volunteerism and my experience as a Gawad Kalinga volunteer. I felt nervous during that time, and I don’t think I’ll do it again any time soon. Hahahaha. Downside of being an introvert. ????

    1. Hahaha, I agree with you! Sayang, I think I wasn’t a member of CBS pa then. But, really, speaking in front of many people can be quite scary. This experience taught me so much better! 😀

  18. I have been invited twice to a different events but both about writing. The first one was two years ago in Raffles Hotel, Makati. It was for Philippine Literary Festival. Reading this post made me remember all the feels as well as the ‘backing out’ at the last minute feeling because I was dang nervous. Although the set up was different because there’s no stage and we were just sitting but we are the focus of the people but yey for us, we survived! Haha. The second one was in UE Manila. The audience were a lot more than the audience we had in Phil Lit Fest but I did better, I guess. I got a little more confident at that time. 🙂

    1. I know it comes with practice. First timers like me just really try hard to wiggle out of such situation talaga. Haha but congrats to you for conquering your fears and getting better at public speaking! 🙂

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