I would consider Silliman University as one of the most beautiful campuses in the Philippines. Located on Hibbard Avenue, Dumaguete City, it is a short walk away from Rizal Boulevard. The picturesque 62-hectare campus is dotted with greenery, and surrounded by mountains on one side, and the sea on the other.
Silliman is currently one of the Philippines’ top universities, and the oldest American-founded private university in the country. There is a good mix of local and international students enrolled here. The school’s population makes up about a third of the total number of student-residents in Dumaguete, which has become known as a university town over the years.
It is named after Dr. Horace Silliman, a philanthropist and retired businessman from New York, who was an active supporter of academic institutions. It was his vision and dedication towards furthering education in the Philippines that led to the establishing of Silliman University.
In 1901, Silliman Institute formally opened its doors as an elementary school for boys. It saw great progress over the years, and by 1938 it was granted university status.
Be prepared to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours on campus to really make the most out of the experience. Here are some activities that I recommend.
1. Take a leisurely walk around the campus and enjoy being surrounded by trees and open fields. If you prefer a quiet visit, come on a weekend, when there are hardly any classes ongoing.
2. Go on a guided tour of Silliman University Anthropology Museum courtesy of one of the campus ambassadors. Exhibits here include rare collections of archeological and ethnographic artifacts from as early as 200 BC. The museum is open on weekdays from 8:30-11:30 AM, and 2:00-4:30 PM. All visits require prior arrangements. You may view their policies and contact details to make an appointment here.
3. Say a prayer at Silliman University Church. Its early beginnings date back to 1899 along with the arrival of the American Presbyterian missionaries in the Philippines.
4. Check out the beautifully-designed buildings, and other points of interest on-campus such as The Gate of Knowledge, The Gate of Opportunity, and Silliman University Bell. There’s a lot of history to be learned here.
5. For thrill-seekers, visit the sites where, as urban legend has it, the ghosts of Silliman University reside. The dormitory halls of Woodward, Larena, and Doltz are said to be haunted by a frustrated Miss Silliman pageant contestant. The Katipunan Hall building was once a mission hospital, and a few lost souls are rumored to still be there today. There’s also the perfect acacia tree, situated near the gymnasium, which is said to have been a hanging site for prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation.
The mesmerizing beauty and rich history of Silliman University is more than enough reason for me to consider it a must-see when in Dumaguete. I invite you to read up on more of my top places to visit here.
Always remember, travel enriches life. It teaches us to enjoy moments, to say goodbye to stress and embrace joy instead. Experience has taught me this, and I’m happy that I get to share my journeys with you now, too. Anytime you need help and tips finding worry-free, budget-friendly places to see, I’m here to help!